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University of St Andrews commended by independent quality experts

Date: February 19 - 2021

The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) has published the latest Enhancement-led Institutional Review (ELIR) report for the University of St Andrews. The UK's independent higher education quality body has commended the University of St Andrews for its achievements in many areas, including diversity and inclusion, student wellbeing and responsiveness to the student voice.

QAA appointed a team of six independent experts to review the University of St Andrews. The team reviewed the University in February and October of 2020. Its commendations included the following areas:

  • Partnership working and responsiveness to the student voice, stimulating engagement and enabling students to partake in decision-making on matters affecting them, including the University’s response to the pandemic
  • Dedicated commitment to increasing access, diversity and inclusion, evident from the range of processes and strategic actions implemented to support these goals
  • A systemic approach to enhancement underpinned by established quality processes that strengthen the link between pedagogical research and teaching practice
  • Prioritisation of student wellbeing, particularly regarding mental health
  • Provision of an excellent overall student learning experience that contributes to a strong sense of belonging among students and staff.

Founded in the 15th century on the east coast of Scotland, the University of St Andrews is Scotland's first university and the third oldest in the English-speaking world. Its vision is to attract and nurture the best staff and the most promising students from around the world, and provide an environment in which they can produce their best work for maximum societal benefit.

The University has 20 schools in four faculties (Arts, Divinity, Medicine and Science).

Professor Clare Peddie, Vice-Principal Education (Proctor), said: ‘I am delighted that the University of St Andrews has received such an outstanding report which has made eight substantial commendations for good practice particularly around support for access, diversity and inclusion; student wellbeing; responsiveness to the student voice; and the excellent overall student experience.

‘The review endorses our strategic approach and commitment to delivering teaching of the highest quality and providing students with the environment in which they can flourish and excel.’

QAA's report also makes a number of recommendations, asking St Andrews to:

  • Develop more effective oversight of the training and support provided at school level to postgraduate research students (PGRs) who teach
  • Continue developing and implementing systems to monitor staff engagement with mandatory areas of training and support
  • Ensure that all students have easy access to external examiners’ reports for their programme of study by the end of academic year 2020-21
  • Implement the University’s intended approach to sharing a final analysis of degree classification with external examiners and asking them to reflect on the distribution patterns when submitting their final reports from 2020-21.