Queen Margaret University commended by UK independent quality experts
Queen Margaret University has created a strong ethos of student partnership and an exemplary approach to raising aspirations and attainment of students from all backgrounds, says a new report from the UK's independent quality body.
QAA appointed a team of five independent experts to review the Edinburgh-based university earlier this year. The team awarded Queen Margaret University nine commendations, including:
- a holistic and student-centred approach to widening participation and supporting students from all backgrounds to succeed
- programmes and staff that focus on preparing students for employment
- the strong partnership with its students in developing and refreshing the University strategy.
QAA reports on Queen Margaret's vision to be a 'university of ideas and influence', building a 'broad community of learners without borders or barriers', where all learners can fulfil their potential regardless of background.
Care leavers are just one group receiving specialised support, including a named contact and access to additional financial support where available.
Along with other universities in Scotland, Queen Margaret has partnered with Who Cares Scotland to set up a corporate parenting policy that guarantees a place in student accommodation and advises of campus work opportunities.
QAA also reports on 'significant steps' taken by the University to build effective partnerships within the local and wider community. These include partnering with the Children's University initiative, providing innovative learning activities and experiences to 3,800 children and their families.
'This work supports the University in promoting social mobility and raising the aspirations and attainment of participants', says the report.
QAA makes seven recommendations, including:
- continuing to work with students on improving the consistency of academic feedback on assignments
- ensuring that the student learning experience for programmes delivered by collaborative partners is consistent with the University ‘home’ programmes, for example, at the Metropolitan College in Greece, checking that students have the English language skills to make full use of the academic literature provided, or alternatively, supplying additional texts in Greek.
'We were pleased to participate in the first year of the new methodology, which we consider has evolved very positively since the introduction of ELIR to the Scottish sector in 2003', said Dawn Martin who leads the Governance and Quality Enhancement team at Queen Margaret.
'We particularly welcomed the opportunity to engage in discussion with the reviewers around the contextualised themes, which we were invited to identify in our written Reflective Analysis, as a new feature for this cycle of reviews.
'We were delighted to receive the very positive commendations and recognition for our work in the key areas of strategy, quality assurance, employability, student access and support,'
'The areas identified for development are also very helpful as we move forward with our programme of enhancement activity in partnership with our Students' Union and the wider student population.'