February 2023

Welcome to Quality Enhancement News, a quarterly publication capturing the latest developments in the enhancement-led approach to higher education in Scotland and beyond.

In our first quality enhancement newsletter of 2023, we introduce the latest developments and opportunities to help you get the year off to a great start.  

Our '20 Years of Enhancement' celebrations continue and we have lots to share with you from the campaign, along with a reminder about our International Enhancement Conference on 14-15 June. 

We also have updates on Year 3 of the current Enhancement Theme - Resilient Learning Communities - which includes national projects and activities in universities across Scotland. This is an exciting time for QAA Scotland and the Enhancement Themes, and we look forward to continuing to work with you. 

Enjoy the issue! 

In this issue:


20 Years of Enhancement campaign update

Shaping the Student Experience Together: 20 Years of Enhancement - 14-15 June 2023


Quality enhancement arrangements update


What's new? : 'Resilient Learning Communities'

QAA Scotland Round-up

  • QAA Scotland publishes Annual Report
  • New Lead Policy Officer for Nations and Europe


20 Years of Enhancement campaign update

The 20 Years of Enhancement campaign marks 20 years of Scotland’s enhancement-led approach to quality and draws on sector colleagues’ experience of enhancement to create opportunities for critical reflection, celebration and looking to the future of enhancement in Scotland. 

Since the last update which launched the campaign, the activities have kicked off in full! We summarise some of the main items from the programme .below 

The first of the campaign's virtual panels - ‘Valuing Student Representation in Quality Enhancement’ - was held in November 2022. 
We were delighted to be joined by 91 colleagues from the UK and beyond. The session brought together past student representatives to discuss the impact of student partnership in quality enhancement and the lessons that they learnt that inform their current roles. The voice of contemporary students was also strongly represented by our current Student Theme Lead, Heather Innes (Regional President, Highlands and Islands Students’ Association)
In December, the second in our series of 20 Years of Enhancement blogs, 'Student enhancement needs student engagement', was published by WonkHE. 
Eve Lewis, Director of Student Partnerships in Quality Scotland (sparqs) reflected on the evolution of student engagement since the beginnings of Scotland’s enhancement-led approach to quality in 2003. She also explored the ways in which student voice is supported, encouraged and valued in Scotland’s higher education sector. 
2023 kicked off with a bang with the release of the freshly updated Transitions Skills and Strategies resources in January, which were originally developed as part of the Student Transitions Theme in 2015,
These popular resources are a suite of free, ready-to-use and customisable resources for staff and students, organised by skill, which have been revised and updated to support their use across a tertiary education system. The updated resources will continue to support students and the staff who support them to develop skills to navigate transition points in the learner journey
The second of the campaign’s virtual panels, ‘Where in the world is enhancement? Exploring the international impact of Scotland’s enhancement approach’ took place earlier this month. 
Since its implementation in 2003, Scotland’s enhancement approach to quality has become established as an example of good practice for innovation in the enhancement of the student experience. The session brought together a range of representatives from international institutions to explore how lessons from Scotland’s approach to quality have been used to embed quality enhancement in international higher education sectors and what colleagues in Scotland can learn from their experiences. 
What’s next for the campaign? Go to the 20 Years of Enhancement webpage for the latest information and follow #Enhancement20 on Twitter.

 QAA Enhancement Conference 2023 update 

‘Shaping the Student Experience Together: 20 Years of Enhancement’ offers attendees an exciting opportunity to explore the work of the current Enhancement Theme - Resilient Learning Communities - and critically reflect on the impact of Scotland’s enhancement-led approach to quality. Embracing the lessons learned from the past 20 years, the Conference will also look to the future of enhancement within a tertiary education sector. 

We received a large number of high-quality responses to our call for conference submissions, and even with adding an extra parallel session to the programme we could easily have filled the conference programme several times over. We are currently making the final adjustments to the conference programme and more information will be available very soon. 
If you would like to be notified when registration opens, you can sign up for email notifications here. 

Quality enhancement arrangements update 

Phase 1 of the Scottish Quality Enhancement Arrangements, covering academic sessions 2022-23 and 2023-24, is now well underway. This phase comprises two complementary engagements: Quality Enhancement and Standards Review (QESR), which is the peer-review element, and Institutional Liaison Meetings (ILM), which take place between key representatives of the higher education institution and a QAA Scotland officer. The first two reports from QESR - those for Queen Margaret University and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland - have now been published and are available on the QAA website. 

What's new: 'Resilient Learning Communities'

Year 3 plans published for Resilient Learning Communities Enhancement Theme

An overview of how Scotland’s 19 higher education institutions are engaging with the Enhancement Themes in 2023 has been published. 

This is the third and final year of the Resilient Learning Communities Enhancement Theme and institutions’ work is focusing on completing projects. Evaluation and impact are also a key focus along with promoting and disseminating the outcomes of activity. The overview draws out the commonalities and distinctiveness in projects and links through to each institution’s Year 3 plan for further details. 

QAA Scotland round-up

QAA Scotland publishes 2021-22 Annual Report

QAA Scotland has published its Annual Report for the 2021-22 academic year. The report summarises the breadth of work QAA Scotland carried out across the year in providing a platform for open, collaborative and enhancement-focused discussion across the Scottish higher education sector. Highlights from the year include: 

  • Completion of the ELIR 4 cycle and planning for the delivery of Phase 1 of a new external institutional quality review method, beginning in 2022-23. 

  • Delivery of the second year of the Resilient Learning Communities Enhancement Themes and planning for the launch of the ‘20 Years of Enhancement’ campaign for 2022-23. 

  • Hosting a hybrid International Enhancement Conference, engaging more than 400 representatives from universities and colleges in Scotland. 

  • Continued engagement with the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) and the tertiary education sector (universities and colleges) including sector agency partners to explore how a Tertiary Quality Framework can support all key stakeholders in the enhancement of the student learning experience. 

With 2023-23 marking the 20th year of Scotland's enhancement-led approach to quality, as articulated by the Quality Enhancement Framework, we look forward to celebrating the transformative impact of this sector-wide commitment to quality enhancement and to working with stakeholders across the tertiary sector in the implementation of a tertiary-wide vision for quality. 

New Lead Policy Officer for Nations and Europe 
Kevin McStravock has joined the QAA SWNI team as Lead Policy Officer for Nations and Europe, taking over from James Harrison. Kevin previously served as QAA’s PR, Press and Communications Officer, joining in June 2021, and has significant experience working across the UK and Irish higher education sectors. As Deputy President of the Union of Students in Ireland, he represented more than 375,000 third-level students across Ireland.

In this role, Kevin worked closely with ministers, government officials and sector bodies to lobby for enhanced support for students during the COVID-19 pandemic, and support national research on digital education, student experiences during the pandemic and embedding wellbeing within the curriculum. Kevin is an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and serves as the Communications Officer for the Researching Advance and Inspiring Student Engagement (RAISE) network. 



  • 28 February, RPL @ MTU - a twenty-year organisational journey 
  • 02 March, Student Quality Network 
  • 20 April 2023, Member Network Conference - let’s get together!  

    Our Member Network Conference in Birmingham provides an opportunity for colleagues to explore current sector challenges and share ideas with like-minded colleagues. We look forward to being back in person this year for networking in 3D! This event will have a firm focus on the future structure and scope of the UK Quality Code for Higher Education. Drawing on our work in the current year, it will invite you to identify the format and content that will add most value to quality and standards in your institution - to do that we will devote the morning to an interactive workshop. In the afternoon, there will be shorter sessions and prompts for discussion on a range of hot topics including awarding gaps, continuous and annual monitoring, and data and evaluation. 
  • 09 May, Student Quality Network 
  • TBC May, 20 Years of Enhancement Virtual Panel 3. Building Connection  **SAVE THE DATE**  
  • 14-15 June, QAA Scotland’s 5th International Enhancement Conference - Shaping the Student Experience Together: 20 Years of Enhancement 

Keep in touch

To keep up to date with the latest developments in the enhancement-led approach to higher education quality in Scotland and beyond, subscribe to Quality Enhancement News.
Sign up to other QAA newsletters to find out more about our work across the Agency. 
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