Spring 2019

Welcome to the spring 2019 edition of Quality Enhancement News

All the latest developments in the enhancement-led approach to higher education in Scotland and beyond.

In this issue... 

The second year of 'Evidence for Enhancement: Improving the Student Experience' is well underway. It’s an exciting time as we welcome our new Theme leader, Professor Alyson Tobin. We wish our outgoing Theme leader, Professor Karl Leydecker, all the best in his new role at the University of Aberdeen.
'I am delighted to be taking on the leadership of the current Enhancement Theme. It is already producing valuable resources for the Scottish Higher Education sector and I know there is excellent work planned for the year ahead.'

Read about Professor Tobin's experience and plans for the Theme


Navigating the data landscape 

We are delighted to launch a new resource, available on the Enhancement Themes website. The HE Data Landscape resource provides a guide for staff involved in managing academic quality aimed at helping them to understand the data that is available to them. The resource comprises 13 individual data guides on key data sources, collections and applications.

A range of University Planners from across the Scottish sector, with expertise in data and information management, have helped collate data and statistics to create the HE Data Landscape resource, and we hope it will be of value to staff and students at all institutions in Scotland.


Optimising the use of existing evidence

We are running a lunchtime webinar series aimed at helping staff and students develop their data skills. These take place on the third Tuesday of the month and are free to attend. The first four webinars were designed and delivered by the Student Engagement, Evaluation and Research (STEER) team at Sheffield Hallam University.

Download resources from the webinars.
The next two webinars in the series are:

Building an Evidence-Based Approach to Widening Access: Scotland’s Framework for Fair Access 

19 March 2019
Dr Steph Mckendry, Widening Access Manager, University of Strathclyde
The Power of Learning Analytics to Unpack Learning and Teaching: a Critical Perspective 

16 April 2019
Dr Bart Rienties, Professor of Learning Analytics, Institute of Educational Technology, Open University

Student demographics, retention and attainment 

Dawn Martin from Queen Margaret University will soon be undertaking commissioned work under the student demographics, retention and attainment sector strand. This work focuses on retention and progression through the annual monitoring lens. The project will explore approaches to using data in the annual monitoring processes used by Scottish higher education institutes. The intention is to share policy and practice with a particular emphasis on retention and progression data. Outcomes from the work will be available at the end of July 2019.

Student-led project 

The resources from the 2017-18 student-led project, Responding to Student Voice, are available to download from the Enhancement Themes website. The current project is focused on how students use evidence to improve the student experience. Look out for resources, including examples of practice and a guide to using evidence for students, appearing on our website over the coming months.

Collaborative clusters 

Work is progressing on our six Collaborative Clusters. Workshops are taking place, symposiums are being planned, and reports and think pieces are being prepared for publication between now and June. Visit the individual webpage for each cluster for more information:

TiPZone (Themes in Practice)


Building analytical capacity at Robert Gordon University

A key strand of activity at Robert Gordon University in 2017-18 was the development and publication of a range of enhanced business intelligence reports to better support core quality assurance and enhancement processes. This enhancement was undertaken as part of the university-wide introduction of a new business intelligence tool, RGU:Insight, which uses Tableau and Alteryx software. Feedback at all levels has been overwhelmingly positive and, crucially, there is evidence that this new method of succinctly visualising performance indicators has resulted in a higher quality reflection process. This, in turn, has led to the identification of actionable insights into the student experience. The development has empowered those involved as change agents within their own contexts.

Learn more about the roll-out of RGU:Insight 

Submit an article for TiPZone

The TiPZone is your opportunity to share ways in which the Enhancement Themes are used or built upon in your institution. To feature in the next newsletter, please submit an article to We welcome contributions from staff and students, so please help us to spread the word!

Focus On

This year’s Focus On project, Graduate Skills, considers how skills, including digital skills, can be embedded in and out of the curriculum; how we can ensure that skills development opportunities are accessible to all students, regardless of their background and characteristics; and how we can prepare graduates to live and work in a global society.

We have launched two projects to gather and analyse stakeholder views of graduate skills. A team from the University of Glasgow is focusing on student views, while a team from the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services is doing the same with graduate and employer views. We aim to publish outputs of these projects in June 2019. Please visit the website for more details.

Sharing Practice event: Save the date! 
Wednesday 5 June 2019 - The Studio, Glasgow

This event will celebrate good practice and share current approaches to skills development through a variety of presentation and workshop sessions from institutions across Scotland. In addition, the early outcomes from the two commissioned research projects on student, graduate, and employer views on graduate skills will be shared.

Enhancement-led Institutional Review

The fourth cycle of Enhancement-led Institutional Review (ELIR) is in its second year, with reviews of the University of Glasgow and the University of Strathclyde underway. Review visits to the University of Aberdeen and the University of Dundee have concluded, and their Outcome and Technical reports will be published on 15 March 2019.

Keep in touch

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