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Effective arrangements in place at UHI, according to independent quality experts

Date: April 1 - 2022

The University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) has ‘effective arrangements for managing academic standards and the student learning experience’, according to a review conducted by QAA, the UK’s independent higher education quality body. The review commended the achievements of UHI in several areas, including learning and teaching support, and personal academic tutoring.

The review was undertaken by a team of six independent reviewers, who were appointed by QAA. The review took place through a Planning Visit in October 2021, followed by a Review Visit in November 2021. Its commendations included:

  • UHI Learning and Teaching Academy provides an engaging learning and teaching community hub, which is highly valued by staff and acts as an effective connection point across the university academic partner network for academic staff development and enhancement.
  • UHI Library Services deliver an integrated, helpful and responsive team-based approach which operates effectively as a seamless single service across the university academic partner network and provides support to students across all locations.
  • The Personal Academic Tutor system embedded across the UHI partnership provides an identified contact for students, an effective referral mechanism to other university services and results in the effective delivery of an accessible and personalised approach to student support.
  • UHI’s strategic approach to developing its student mental health provision has resulted in an effective, well utilised and highly valued set of resources embedded at both university and academic partner levels.

UHI Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Todd Walker commented: 'UHI is delighted to receive another positive and encouraging Enhancement-led Institutional Review, confirming that we have effective arrangements for managing our academic standards and the student learning experience. We found the review process extremely valuable. It is a great opportunity for us to engage with our staff and students across the partnership, to reflect on our strengths and identify areas where we can further enhance our provision for students.

'Students are at the heart of what we do, our dedicated local and regional staff provide personalised support for all students wherever they choose to study. We are extremely proud of the many areas of good practice outlined in the report, which highlighted our student support as a particular strength. The QAA report affirms the significant contribution our academic and professional staff make towards ensuring a quality experience for all our students, and I commend our staff for their dedication and service.'

QAA’s report also makes a number of recommendations, including asking the University to:

  • work in partnership with the Highlands and Islands Students’ Association, to ensure that there are appropriate mechanisms in place to monitor and address vacancies in student representative structures and to promote the value of the student representative role to students and staff across UHI and with collaborative partners
  • improve oversight of collaborative activity, ensuring that effective arrangements are in place for identifying and addressing potential operational and strategic risks and concerns
  • make demonstrable progress, within the next academic year, to implement an institution-wide, strategic approach to managing retention, recognising the diverse student population of UHI.