The College's quality assurance framework is administered by the Academic Quality and Policy Office in Registry. The Educational Development team provides guidance on curriculum development and learning technology, and offers professional development activities for academic staff.
Quality assurance framework
Royal Holloway's methods for guaranteeing the standards of its awards stem from three principles:
- external comparability within the University of London, and as measured against standards in similar UK universities and external benchmarks;
- internal consistency in the implementation of best practice and process;
- departmental and individual ownership with accountability to the College and overall responsibility at institutional level.
We seek consistency with external standards through:
- recourse to the professional expertise of our own staff as participants in the national and international development of their discipline and pedagogical developments in general;
- involvement of external specialists in validation and review activities, and the membership and duties of external examiners on boards of examiners;
- reflection on the UK Quality Code for Higher Education, and where relevant through accreditation by professional bodies;
- reflection on external review reports.
The Academic Board has overall responsibility for academic standards and the quality of educational provision, but delegates the operation of some quality assurance mechanisms to the Faculty Boards and LTQC. This arrangement is reinforced by the managerial role of Faculty Deans, whose quality remit extends from entry standards to awards, in accordance with the principle that quality enhancement and the dissemination of best practice must be embedded in the academic community. Each Dean is assisted by an Assistant Registrar, who provides a bank of expertise in relation to the regulatory framework of the College, and knowledge, gathered both formally and informally, of its application in specific departments. Working together they are able to share insights and spread good practice. This provides a means for ensuring that departments adhere to the core of the regulatory framework whilst allowing interpretation in the context of the differing cognate areas.
We wish to embed quality within our routine processes and gain ownership at all levels of the institution. This means that we have a system premised on collegiality and trust. College systems are proactive at particular times where there is a greater likelihood of risk, such as with the validation of new programmes. Otherwise a rigorous collection and close monitoring of quantitative and qualitative information, alongside a periodic audit approach, is used to highlight any exceptions that require closer scrutiny. This is led by the Faculty Deans, who are close to their faculties and aware of the context in which they operate. The overall aims of the quality assurance framework are:
- to provide transparent mechanisms through which the academic community can exercise collective responsibility for standards and the quality of education;
- to nurture an institutional culture of reflection, informed by reliable evidence and external reference points and expertise, in which best practice is shared with a view to enhancement;
- to promote equity for students in the consistency of practice across the College, by ensuring implementation of institutional policy and strategy.