Document 14414782

Quality Review Process
1.0 Purpose
Periodic quality review of academic and service Units in compliance with the statutes of the Irish
Universities Act 1997, Section 35 (2).
2.0 Description
The University’s goal for developing higher quality is centred around its staff and their ability to assess
and continuously improve performance. Higher quality is achieved in a number of ways including:
strategic and operational planning; staff training and development; PMDS; and mentoring. Quality is
also assured through continuous development and implementation of Policies and Procedures (P&P)
that include standards and guidelines around topics such as external examiners, student feedback and
periodic Quality Reviews. Periodic Quality Reviews involve two interrelated processes: (i) internal Selfassessment; and (ii) external Peer Review. Self-assessment involves University staff assessing
performance of their Unit and comparing it against international best practice. It also involves
generating and implementing ideas that can increase quality and performance as part of the
operational planning process. Peer Review involves inviting independent peers from other
organisations to evaluate the self-assessment process, provide insight and ideas and then issue
recommendations on how to improve quality and performance within the Unit. Quality Reviews are
based around the following criteria:
Review all major academic and service Units every seven years.
Benchmark against leading organisations of high regard internationally.
Develop concise self-assessment reports.
Select and inform independent internationally-recognised reviewers.
Conduct effective peer review process resulting in actionable Review Reports.
Communicate review results to major resource allocation committees and the public.
Monitor action plans arising from Review recommendations.
Support and train Units in self-assessment and performance measurement techniques.
3.0 Responsibilities
Quality and Innovation
Committee (QIC)
Quality Office
Policy Owner
Management of the review process. Document Management
Self-assessment, Benchmarking, Self-assessment Report and later
Action Plans and Progress Reports
Monitoring of Review Reports, Action Plans and Progress Reports
4.0 Attachments
Quality Review – Guidelines
Self-Assessment Report – Guidelines
Review Report – Guidelines
Action Plan – Guidelines
Indicative Timetable
Quality Review
The Universities Act 1997 requires that all Irish universities assure quality and enhance performance
within all academic and service Units through periodic quality review. These guidelines and associated
processes have been developed in collaboration with other Irish Universities and are themselves
reviewed periodically by QQI. The quality review process within NUI Galway is overseen by the Quality
and Innovation Committee (QIC). The QIC reports to the University’s Governing Authority. Quality
Review documentation is tabled at major committees including APRC, SSC and AC.
Review Process
The quality Review process involves a number of key stages:
Early December
April to June
Approval of Review List, commencement of Self-assessment including
Benchmarking and the development of the Self-assessment Report.
Selection of Review Team.
Submission of Self-assessment Reports. Preparation of Review Visit Timetable.
Review Visit and completion of Review Report.
Action Plan meetings and agreement of Action Plans.
Preparation of Review Results and publication. Annual Progress Reports.
Review List
All major Units are to be reviewed every seven years. The list of Units to be reviewed is approved on
behalf of Údarás by the Quality and Innovation Committee and submitted annually to APRC, SSC and
AC. Units typically have two years notice of an impending quality review.
Self-assessment involves self-critical evaluation by the Unit of the processes, procedures and
performance of its activities and services. The aim is to engage all staff within the Unit in mapping and
evaluating current processes, structures, plans and performance and in generating ideas that can
improve quality and performance. These ideas can be incorporated into existing operational plans and
personal development plans (PMDS). The self-assessment can also highlight issues and ideas to be
considered by University Management and other stakeholders.
Benchmarking is the process of identifying key performance and/or best practice in other
organisations. The purpose is to generate new ideas that when applied can enhance quality at NUI
Galway. Benchmarking can involve desk research and/or site visits. Benchmarking performance (e.g.
PhDs per Staff, Cost per Invoice, etc.) may be useful but often other information such as ‘specific ideas
that have succeeded’ or how ‘the organisation manages planning and quality’ can be more valuable in
generating ideas. These new ideas can be used in new Operational Plans and PMDS.
Self-assessment Report
The Self-assessment Report documents concisely evidence of performance of the current processes,
services and future plans of the Unit. Self-assessment Reports inform reviewers about the Unit prior
to the Review Team’s visit. Self-assessment Reports are confidential to the Unit under review,
reviewers and senior line management and are also excluded from the Freedom of Information Act
since they involve self-critical evaluations necessary for generating ideas for change. The document is
only available by express agreement of the Unit.
Self-assessment Team
The Head of Unit forms the Self-assessment Team to conduct the self-assessment exercise and to
prepare the self-assessment report. The team is representative of members of the Unit and need not
include the head of Unit. The Chair of the team liaises with the Quality Office on all aspects of the
review. All staff of the Unit should be involved, where appropriate, and should be kept informed at
each stage of the self-assessment process.
Review Team
Review teams typically comprise four or five independent reviewers – internal and external. The
review team is selected by the Director of Quality and typically consists of staff from overseas
Universities, senior NUI Galway staff, and a Coordinator (typically an external consultant) who will
coordinate the Review Report and liaise with the Quality Office. Experienced students may also be
asked to participate as reviewers. An external member agrees to Chair the Review Team. Members of
the Review Team must not have close working relationships with the Unit. The Unit may be asked to
suggest reviewer profiles (e.g. institution, school, status, etc.) and to view nominated reviewers in
advance, but only to point out potential conflicts of interest. Each reviewer receives the Selfassessment Report in advance of the review visit.
Review Team Visit
The Review Team visit takes place over three days. It begins the evening before the visit to the Unit
with an orientation session between the Review Team and the Director of Quality. This is typically
followed by dinner with the Head of Unit and/or Chair of the Self-assessment Team. The visit to the
Unit on the following day begins with a brief presentation from the Unit of self-assessment data. The
Review comprises mainly of meetings between the Review Team and the Unit’s main stakeholders e.g.
students, researchers, heads, staff, alumni, employers and university management. The Review also
includes time to review documentation and other information, and time to finalise the Review Team
Report. A timetable for the review visit is agreed in advance between all major stakeholders including
the coordinating reviewer. A synopsis of the Review Team Report is presented orally at the exit
meeting at the end of the visit.
Review Team Report
The purpose of the Review Team Report is to communicate major ideas for changes to the way in
which the Unit can improve quality and performance. Recommendations are clear and explicit and
need not contain rationale, justification or dialogue. Recommendations are made with due regard and
sensitivity around resource constraints and the strategic goals of the University. Reports are
completed at the end of the review visit. The Review Team should consider if more than ten key
recommendations are necessary. The Review Team Report is given verbally at the exit meeting. The
final text should be emailed to the Quality Office within five working days following the review visit.
All Review Reports are distributed through the University’s various resource allocation committees.
They are also publicly accessible through the Quality Office website.
Action Plans
An action planning meeting is held to consider recommendations made in the Review Team Report.
Attendance at this meeting should include all major stakeholders affected by the recommendations,
including internal members of the Review Team. The Director of Quality chairs the meeting. An Action
Plan is finalised at the meeting. A Progress Report is required each year, for two years after the
Action Plan is agreed, from both the Unit and from University Management.
Review Results
Review Team Reports, Action Plans and Progress Reports are sent to UMT, Údarás, APRC and SSC.
Following approval, they are posted on the public website of the Quality Office. Publication concludes
the statutory requirements of the Irish Universities Act 1997, Section 35 (2).
Self-assessment Report
The purpose of this document is to assist you (self-assessment teams) in presenting a record of your
self-assessment and is also used by reviewers during the Review Team visit. This is not an annual
report of your achievements. It is a self-critical and evidence-based report of your activities,
organisation, performance and also your plans for development. It may also contain your recent
achievements. The sections presented are considered fit for purpose but sections can be altered and
adjusted to suit your needs.
1. Form a self-assessment team to critically access evidence of your Unit’s performance.
2. Develop this report from active data and plans used within your Unit.
3. Highlight strengths, weaknesses, achievements and any lessons learned using the evidence.
4. Adhere to font, formats and layout, as presented below, as much as possible.
5. Avoid excessive dialogue and narrative i.e. allow data to speak for itself.
6. Additional back-up data and evidence can be presented during the review visit if requested.
7. Notes within [square brackets] including this page, are guidelines and should be deleted.
Please contact Quality Office regarding any aspect of this report or the review process. Meetings can
be arranged at short notice and/or clarifications made over the phone or by email. Much of the data
referred to in this template can also be provided by the Institutional Research Officer.
Ownership and presentation of all data in this report resides with you. Self-assessment reports are
confidential to reviewers, quality office and line management and are excluded from the Freedom of
Information Act. This document is not available to others without the express agreement of the Head
of Unit.
Self-assessment Report
[Unit Title]
Date: [dd/mm/2014]
Compiled By
[Title Firstname Lastname, (Job Title, Chairperson); Title Firstname Lastname, (Job Title); List all names
of the self-assessment team.]
[Indicate Unit website address. All other websites e.g. programmes, disciplines, intranet, etc., should
be linked within this Unit website. Details such as module descriptions, programme outlines, staff
profiles, current projects, etc. should be easily accessible from Unit website. Reviewers are encouraged
to review this website prior to the review visit and during the review.]
[Please try to use these section headings in your self-assessment report]
Executive Summary ..................................................................................... x
Aims, Objectives and Planning .................................................................... x
Organisation and Management .................................................................. x
Programme and Instruction (Academic Units Only) ................................... x
Scholarship and Research (Academic Units Only)....................................... x
Public Impact (Academic Units Only) .......................................................... x
Services (Support Units Only)...................................................................... x
Appendix ..................................................................................................... x
Other Documentation ................................................................................. x
Executive Summary
[Brief profile of your Unit including key data on: mission, structure, strengths, weaknesses, demands,
strategic goals, indicators, actions, and achievements. Include a table of key indicators. Use data
provided by Institutional Research Officer where available. NB: This is not an annual report to an
external public, rather it is an analysis and self-assessment of your own operational performance. One
Aims, Objectives and Planning
[Large elements of this section may be populated from existing operational plans. Please use discretion
on content, format and layout but try to include information on all of the elements below.]
[List major strategic goals to be achieved over the long term. Indicate the status of the goals. Include
self-assessment commentary. One page.]
[Statements of key strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities. You may also include
achievements and lessons from any failures. Include self-assessment commentary. Two pages.]
[Key requirements and demands from various stakeholder groups (e.g. students, university staff,
industry, etc.). What are the top seven requirements from each of your stakeholder groups? If
requirements are contained in separate reports, list report titles. Include self-assessment commentary.]
Benchmarks/Best Practice
[List the major organisations used for benchmarking or best practice visits and/or title of report(s).
Include self-assessment commentary. One page.]
[List values of major indicators used to monitor performance. Include self-assessment commentary.
One page.]
[List major short and medium-term actions, projects or initiatives - past, current and future. Highlight
actions from the past that have been major achievements and include lessons learned from any failed
actions. Include self-assessment commentary. One page.]
[List major requests for staff, space and other major resources already issued to University and support
services. Include self-assessment commentary. One page.]
Organisation and Management
Organisation Chart
[Present a simple organisation chart for the Unit – graphical or textual. Include self-assessment
commentary, if required. Half page.]
[List key data about staff numbers within the Unit. Include self-assessment commentary. Names and
titles of staff can be contained in the appendix. Half page.]
[List major teams and groups within the Unit e.g. disciplines, committees, etc. Include self-assessment
commentary. Half page.]
[List all major ‘minuted’ meetings and dates in the last 12 months and for which minutes or reports are
available. One page.]
Externs [Academic Units Only]
[List external examiners to taught programmes, excluding PhD examiners. Include self-assessment
commentary, if necessary. Half page.]
[Present total budget data for the Unit. Include ‘income’, ‘pay’ and ‘non-pay’ elements. Include selfassessment commentary. One page.]
Work Loads
[Demonstrate how workloads of individual staff are monitored to ensure fair and balanced
contribution across the Unit. Include self-assessment commentary. Half page. Details of workload
balance for Academic Units can be outlined in the ‘Workloads Table’ in the Appendix.]
Policies & Procedures
[List the formally-documented Policies and Procedures that you use to deliver services. Include selfassessment commentary. Please have these Policies and Procedures available for inspection during
review visit. Half page.]
Programme and Instruction [Academic Units Only]
[List core data for all taught modules (courses). Include self-assessment commentary]
[List the number of student FTEs by programme. Multiyear programmes should have an individual
entry for each year. Include self-assessment commentary. Only indicate FTEs attributable to your Unit
in each of the programmes listed. Sample table:]
Programme Instance
PhD Programmes (Fulltime)
PhD Programmes (Parttime)
Research Masters Programme
Competitive Positioning
[Remark on what makes your programmes distinctive in terms of competitors and student experience.
What actions have been recently completed that enhance student experience or provide distinctive
[List FTEs in each grade category for each taught programme (See sample table). Include selfassessment commentary. Half page.]
Programme Instance
Total FTEs
[List retention rates for each taught programme. Include self-assessment commentary.]
[Submit compliance data for: QA221 Feedback on Modules and Programmes, QA006 Taught
Programme Reviews, QA005 External Examiners, QA008 Taught Programme Boards, ‘Exam Paper OnTime Submissions’ and other key processes i.e. what is the percentage compliance across the Unit?]
Scholarship and Research [Academic Units Only]
[List all PhD researchers sorted by supervisor. If large, please place in the appendix and insert
commentary and self-assessment commentary here.]
Research Projects
[List all current research projects and proposals submitted for external review. Sample table below:]
Value to School (€k) Investigator
Start Year End Year Funding Source
Web Site
[Report total numbers of peer-reviewed publications by all individuals affiliated to the Unit. One page
max. Use the ‘Workloads Table’ in the Appendix to attribute recent publications to individual staff.]
[List all research institutes and Units within the university affiliated to the Unit.]
[Research Profile:
A comprehensive profile of your units research activity (e.g. proposals, grants, publications,
citations, etc.) will be prepared and presented by the Institutional Research Officer for the
reviewers. This profile may also be addressed by the Research Office during their meetings
with the reviewers. Please familiarise yourself with this data about your unit and propose any
modifications or clarifications in advance of the review visit.]
Public Impact
[List major events or groups of events managed by the Unit – teaching, research, outreach and
community. Include self-assessment and reflection commentary. One page.]
Services [Support Units Only]
[List major services offered by the Unit to various stakeholders. One page.]
[List major projects being managed by the Unit. Two pages.]
Workload Table [Academic Units Only]
[List all individual staff in the Unit. Also list key data for each member of academic staff (e.g. credits
taught, no. of peer-reviewed publications in last five years, PhDs currently being supervised and major
roles e.g. programme director, discipline head, vice-dean of teaching, etc. Other columns can be added
e.g. funding acquired, minor projects and theses supervised, etc. Sample table below:]
Lastname, Title Firstname
Job Grade Publications Credits PhDs Major Roles
Modules Table [Academic Units Only]
[Consider adding a list of all modules taught by academic staff of the Unit. Extract module titles, FTEs
and other data from University databases.]
Policies and Procedures [Support Units Only]
[List all Policies and Procedures managed by the Unit and date they were last reviewed and updated.]
Other Documentation
[The following documentation/information should be considered for easy access by reviewers during
the review visit.]
The following data will be accessible during the peer-review visit:
[Delete or add as appropriate. Items marked with (*) should be automatically available to reviewers
during the review.]
Programme Board Minutes (*)
Minutes of Meetings (*)
Student Feedback for all Programmes (*)
Safety Policy (*)
WLM/PMDS Templates (*)
External Examiner Reports and Action Plans (*)
Previous Review Reports and Action Plans (*)
Policies and Procedures
Sample Student Feedback and Action Plans for Modules
Benchmarking Report(s)
University, Research, Teaching and College Strategic Plans
Review Team Report
[Review Name or Unit]
Title Firstname Surname, Unit, Organisation (Chair); Title Firstname Surname, Unit, Organisation; Title
Firstname Surname, Unit, Organisation; Title Firstname Surname, Unit, Organisation (Cognate); Title
Firstname Surname, Unit, Organisation (Coordinator).
Key Strengths
[List the key strengths of the Unit as single sentences. Half Page.]
1. …
Key Recommendations
[List your key recommendations here. There is no need for qualification, rationalisation or dialogue.
Details can be offered verbally during the exit meeting. Further clarification can also be offered
verbally by internal reviewers at the Action Planning meeting. Consider limiting key recommendations
to TEN high-impact ideas.]
Other Recommendations
[List other recommendations.]
1. …
Comments on the Review Process
[List key recommendations for changes to the methodology of the review process. There is no need for
qualification, rationalisation or dialogue. Further clarification can be offered verbally by internal
reviewers to the Director of Quality. These comments may be incorporated into improvements to the
quality review process of future reviews.]
Sunday dd/mm/2014
Orientation & Review Team Meeting
Dinner Meeting - Review Team, Unit Representatives and Director of Quality
Monday dd/mm/2014
Review Team alone
Meeting with Self-assessment Team beginning with 15 minute presentation
Unit Defined Timeslots
[The Unit under review is asked to schedule events for these timeslots and make details available to the Quality
Office prior to the Review Team visit: meetings with student reps. (undergraduate reps., recent graduates,
postgraduates and researchers); meetings with discipline heads, programme directors and vice-heads; meetings
with research centre heads; other meetings agreed with review team. Building and laboratory visits. Meetings can
include brief seven minute (max.) presentations with the prior agreement of reviewers. Reviewers can stop
presentations or meetings and request other changes as required. Units may propose other events with prior
approval of the reviewers e.g. benchmarking presentation, programme outlines, etc.]
Review Team alone
Unit Defined Timeslots (see above)
Meeting with the Academic Secretary and Registrar & Deputy President (or Executive Director of Operations)
Lunch with Director of Quality (Lunch delivered)
Meeting with Dean(s)
Unit Performance Profile (Vice-President for Research, Aoife Flanagan or other members of UMT)
Unit Defined Time-slots (see above)
Review Team alone
Dinner Meeting, Review Team alone
Tuesday dd/mm/2014
Review Team alone
Teaching and Learning Policies (Director of CELT, Dean of Graduate Studies, Vice Dean of Teaching)
Unit Defined Time-slots (see above)
Review Team alone
Unit Defined Time-slots (see above)
Lunch, Review Team alone
Unit Defined Time-slots (see above)
Review Team alone
Wednesday dd/mm/2014
Review Team alone
Meeting with Head of Unit
Exit Meeting
End Review
Action Plan
[Review name or Unit]
Action Plan meeting held on [date] at [time] in [venue]
From the Unit:
From the Review Team:
From University Management:
This Action Plan has been agreed by the Review Team, the Unit under review and University Management in
response to the Review Team Report. This Action Plan and the Review Team Report are now made available on
the University’s public website. Progress on this Action Plan will be followed up by the Quality Office after 12
Actions for ‘Unit’ and ‘University Management’
1. Action 1 [Responsible: Head of Unit/UMT; Due: xx/xx/xxxx]
2. Action 2 [Responsible: Head of Unit/UMT; Due: xx/xx/xxxx]
3. Action 3 [Responsible: Head of Unit/UMT; Due: xx/xx/xxxx]
4. Action 4 [Responsible: Head of Unit/UMT; Due: xx/xx/xxxx]
Approved by:
[Head of Unit]
[Registrar and Deputy-President or UMT Member]
[Director of Quality]
[Date of Approval]