03 December 2010

Clean bill of health for University partnerships

University Campus Suffolk

Learning opportunities and academic standards for students at the University of Essex’s partner colleges across Essex and Suffolk have been given the seal of approval of by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA).

The audit of the University’s collaborative partnerships, due to be published today (3 December), highlighted good practice in the University’s management of academic standards.

The audit covered the University’s partnerships with Colchester Institute, South Essex College, Writtle College, Kaplan Open Learning, the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust, and its joint provision with the University of East Anglia at University Campus Suffolk (UCS).

More than 5,000 students are undertaking higher education programmes at University Campus Suffolk, with over 4,000 students studying for University of Essex awards at the other partner colleges.

The University received a judgement of ‘confidence’ in the management of academic standards and in the management of the quality of learning opportunities available to students across the partner institutions.

The QAA highlighted seven areas of good practice (including two specific to UCS), and

made two advisable and four desirable recommendations, relating to detailed aspects of the arrangements.

Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Academic Standards) Professor Andy Downton said: “This report reflects excellent management practice in relation to our academic partnerships, reinforcing the confidence our students and staff can take in the effectiveness of our partnership arrangements.”

As well as the management of academic standards, good practice included the University’s proactive approach to supporting the professional development of partner institution staff, and the use of external academic experts, practitioners and employers in approving and monitoring academic programmes.

Recommendations, which will be addressed via the University’s Academic Partnerships Board, included a stronger focus on monitoring the learning resources available to students, and enhancing student involvement in the University’s own committee structures for managing its partnerships.

ends

Note to editors

The audit of collaborative provision was undertaken by the QAA in summer 2010. The full report is due to be published on the QAA website (www.qaa.ac.uk) on 3 December 2010. For further information, contact the University’s Communications Office on 01206 872400, e-mail:comms@essex.ac.uk.

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