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Tertiary sector enhancement activity

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We know that colleges and universities value a sector-led approach to enhancement. We are taking steps to shape how we can build on this in to Scotland’s Tertiary Quality Enhancement Framework.

Working towards a tertiary approach to enhancement

An example of working towards a tertiary approach commenced in 2021-22 with college sector representation throughout the work of the current national Enhancement Theme, Resilient Learning Communities.

For the period 2022-24, SFC commissioned the Tertiary Enhancement Topic, The future of learning and teaching: defining and delivering an effective and inclusive digital/blended offering to capitalise on existing agency work and expertise and address a priority area for the sector. The purpose of this project is to build on the outcomes of external review work undertaken across institutions in AY 2021-22. This brings together activity across the tertiary sector where a shared approach to enhancement activity could be helpful to reduce duplication, share practice and improve alignment and focus.

Learning from the Tertiary Enhancement Topic project and from previous thematic enhancement work can help to inform thinking about future models of delivery.

This workstream aims to design and establish the overall process, structures, and oversight for a tertiary approach to sector-level enhancement activity. Although we expect the focus to be primarily tertiary, there will remain the option for some Enhancement Theme work to be sector-specific.

Key questions

  • How do we work together within the TQEF to deliver impact for learners and for staff?
  • What structures and processes best support that in a tertiary environment?
  • What should the architecture for connecting quality practitioners and educators across both sectors look like?
  • Would solely tertiary networks enhance or diminish the distinctiveness and diversity of the sectors? Do we need to retain some existing structures?
  • How will the sectors organise and manage co-creation of future processes once the development phase is finished?
  • How can we capitalise on the expertise of our agency partners working together on key priorities?

Lead agency

This work will take a joint agency approach but will be co-ordinated by QAA.

Progress update

The planning phase of the project is complete. During this phase, QAA has:

  • Established a delivery team and undertaken a scoping exercise to develop a detailed project plan.
  • Established a Tertiary Enhancement Activity Advisory Group, to provide strategic advice and guidance. The Group consists of senior colleagues and practitioners with experience of delivering learning, student experience and improvement activities in their sectors. QAA has worked with sparqs to strengthen the student voice in this group too.
  • Developed a set of draft principles for further discussion and consultation, which will convey the ethos and culture of tertiary enhancement activity.

Next steps

During AY 2023-24, the focus will be on co-creating the development of delivery models for tertiary enhancement activity and planning for implementation. The co-creation stage will involve extensive stakeholder engagement and will be allied to the engagement that QAA is undertaking in order to develop the new external peer review methodology.

SFC Strategic Plan 2022-27

Building a connected, agile, sustainable tertiary education and research system for Scotland.

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