Maynooth University Quality Assurance and Enhancement Framework
Quality Process and Guidelines
Quality reviews are carried out in academic, administrative and support units on a 7/8 year cycle. Periodically, reviews will also be undertaken of cross-College structures. From time to time, thematic reviews of University-wide issues are also carried out. Typically the review model comprises five key elements:
- Preparation of a Self-Assessment Report (SAR)
- A site visit by a Review Group that includes external and internal experts, both national and international
- Preparation of a Peer Review Report (PRR)
- Agreement of a Quality Improvement Plan (QIP), an action plan for improvement
- Follow up report on the implementation of the Quality Improvement Plan
Quality Assurance is an ongoing process. It should be continuous and does not end with the first review or with the completion of the formal follow-up procedures. It has to be periodically renewed. Subsequent external reviews should take into account progress that has been made since the previous review.
The University's strategic and holistic approach to academic unit review acknowledges that the various aspects of a unit's operations (strategy and organisation, teaching and learning, assessment strategies, research and resources) are inter-related and ensures that members of the unit come together to reflect upon what they are trying to achieve in all aspects of their work, and how these different areas of activity impact upon one another. All members of the unit, both academic and non-academic, are included in the review and are expected to engage, as appropriate, in discussions and the preparation of all materials, as a collegial activity. The primary focus of the review is on quality improvement.
How are the Review Group members selected?
Typically a review group includes:
Two external reviewers with expertise in the discipline, selected from a list of nominees from the Head of the Unit and forwarded to the Quality Office
Two internal members selected from senior members of staff who are not members of the Faculty under review
The number of reviewers may vary due to the size and diversity of the unit under review. External reviewers should not have had any formal relationship with the Unit under review in the past five years.
The list of proposed external reviewers will be considered by the President for approval. The list of proposed internal reviewers will be considered by the Quality Committee for approval. The final selection will be independent of the unit under review.
What is the role of the Review Group member?
The responsibilities of reviewers include:
- Reading and analysing the Self-Assessment Report prepared by the School/Unit and any other documentation sent in advance of a review (it should be noted that the Self-Assessment Report is confidential to the Review Group)
- Preparing initial points on the advance documentation for circulation to Review Group members prior to the review site visit
- Participating in a review visit to the University in order to gather, share, test and verify evidence, drawing conclusions, making recommendations and judgements on the academic standards achieved and the quality of the learning opportunities provided
- Preparation and completion of the allocated draft sections of the Review Group Report and commenting on the overall draft of the Review Group Report, as agreed with the Chair
- Respecting University protocols on Confidentiality, and Dignity and Respect
- Available for the whole period of the review site visit and committing to complete all processes of the review once they have embarked on it
Reviewers will evaluate the Self-Assessment Report provided by the School/Unit, for example:
- Curricular contents and their suitability for achieving the intended learning outcomes
- The assessment processes designed for the pathways and whether they are suitable to assess the intended learning outcomes
- The overall standards of pathways and the procedures used for their maintenance and enhancement
- The management of research and the quality of the research activity
- Overall student achievement, including progression to employment; the contributions made to student achievement by the quality of teaching; opportunities for learning; the academic support provision; and learning resources and their deployment (including staffing arrangements)
- The teaching delivered by staff and how it contributes to learning by students and helps achieve the intended learning outcomes
- The admission, induction and progression of students in the pathways and the academic support provided
- The available learning resources and their use in supporting the pathways and the achievement of the intended learning outcomesThe procedures used for the maintenance and enhancement of standards and quality
What skills do I need as a reviewer?
Skills include the ability to:
- conduct meetings and interviews with staff, students and external stakeholders
- write succinctly and coherently
- meet tight timescales and deadlines
- work effectively as a member of a team
- work courteously and professionally
- maintain confidentiality
- communicate electronically, including emails, attachments and word processed documents and files
How is the date of the site visit determined?
The site visit date is determined by the unit under review in consultation with the Quality Office. It should be agreed early in the preparatory stages of the review process to facilitate the organisation of review groups and to ensure all staff members and stakeholders are available to meet the review group.
Who will organise my accommodation, flights and transfers?
The Quality Office organises accommodation and discusses flights for the site visit in consultation with the external reviewers. The Quality Office will co-ordinate this following confirmation of the Review Group membership. Transfers to and from the airport and the University will be organized and paid for directly by the University.
To whom do I submit my expenses?
Expenses should be forwarded to Ms Helen Berry, Maynooth University, Strategy and Quality Office, 67 Rhetoric Annex, Maynooth, Co Kildare, Ireland
When will I receive documentation for the review?
Initial information about the quality review process will be forwarded to the Review Group members with the invitation to participate in the unit review. Further information on the process and Self-Assessment Report will be forwarded approximately one month prior to the site visit. Additional information may be provided at the briefing meeting immediately prior to the commencement of the review site visit.
What is the role of the Review Group after the site visit?
The role of the Review Group after the site visit is to complete the Peer Review Group Report. Once all reviewers have agreed on a final draft the Chair should forward the report to the Quality Office. If the Department has any factual corrections, the report will be returned to the Review Group for consideration and update and the final report returned to the Quality Office. Reviewers should also submit their expenses.
Procedures for payments to tax resident and non-tax resident reviewers are below:
Expense Claim Forms for Tax Resident and Non-Tax Resident below: