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Praise for University's learning and teaching

03 October 2008

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The University has been praised by independent reviewers for its research-led teaching, its student involvement and its educational improvement strategies.

The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education also commended the University for its investment in continuing staff development.

The Agency conducted a thorough institutional review of the University’s academic programmes and standards. Their report concludes "confidence can be placed in the soundness of the institution’s current and likely future management" – the highest endorsement possible.

The reviewers’ report highlights a number of key University policies as examples of good practice. These included the linking of staff research activity to teaching and other student learning opportunities. The reviewers discovered from discussions with students that this is a highly valued part of the Cardiff experience.

The Agency commended the way students are included at all levels of the University decision-making structure. They were struck by the way students are always described as "members" of the University rather than "customers". There was praise too for the continuing partnership between the University and Students’ Union to develop the learning experience.

The reviewers also drew attention to the range of teaching, learning and assessment skills courses available through the Staff Development Programme. The Report noted that: "The review team was particularly impressed with the systematic approach that has been adopted in the context of staff support and professional development at a University level."

Other areas highlighted as best practice included:

• The systematic formulation and implementation of the University’s enhancement strategies

• The integration of programme development with strategic and resource planning

The institutional review followed a series of meetings carried out with staff and students earlier this year. Staff in Registry facilitated the review team’s access to University members and information. The University now intends to build on the highlighted features of good practice as part of its commitment to enhancing the quality of the student experience. The review team also made three recommendations for improvement and steps will be taken to consider these.

The Vice-Chancellor, Dr David Grant, said: "The findings of the institutional review are pleasing for a number of reasons. They commend several examples of good practice which are deeply engrained in all academic schools, including the commitment to excellence in research-led teaching. More fundamentally, the review recognises the systematic way students, academics and administrative staff are continually working together to enhance the quality of learning at Cardiff University."