Summer 2019

Welcome to the summer 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... 

  • Call for collaborative clusters in 2019-20
  • Exploring Student Surveys event
  • Upcoming events
  • Tweet of the week(s)
  • Resource centre
  • TiP Zone

Expressions of interest open for collaborative clusters

(click the image to see this mind map in all its glory)
We are delighted to announce that we are now seeking expressions of interest for collaborative cluster work in 2019-20. This is a great opportunity to lead on a Theme project, working in a team with staff and students who share a similar interest.

A collaborative cluster is an inter-institutional group who agree to work collectively on a project relating to the current Enhancement Theme. These projects are designed to add value to the sector through investigation of the chosen topic. Groups will be supported by QAA Scotland, allocated an appropriate level of funding, and report progress to the Theme Leaders’ Group throughout the process.
Previous collaborative clusters have focused on the following topics – click to learn more: You may be interested in continuing with existing cluster work, or you may have another topic in mind. The three strands of the current theme are: optimising the use of existing evidence; student engagement; and student demographics, retention and attainment. As long as your proposal fits within these strands, we will be happy to receive your submission.
We will accept expressions of interest from anyone working in our Scottish higher education institutions; if you are intending to make a submission, we encourage you to discuss your thoughts with your institutional Theme lead - you can find a list of these leads here. You can learn more and download your submission form here.

The deadline for submissions is 12 noon on 19 July 2019. All completed expressions of interest should be sent to
The latest Theme event, Exploring Student Surveys, took place in Glasgow on 30 April 2019. A group of 80 delegates and speakers came together to share institutional perspectives and approaches to a range of survey methods, analyses and responses. With specific reference to the NSS, as well as broader discussion on the use (and usefulness) of other external and internal surveys, the event created in-depth discussion and raised useful views which are being taken to other sector groups including the Scottish Higher Education Enhancement Committee (SHEEC).
'I had an amazing time on the 'Exploring Student Surveys' panel today! I'm leaving the event with lots of ideas.'
The participants included strategy and policy shapers, learning and teaching staff, professional services colleagues, students, and student representatives. The common ground was an interest in student surveys, and how the structure, use and outcomes of these surveys can ultimately be used to enhance the student experience.
'...a fascinating day of presentations and discussions - really, really useful and thought provoking.'
As you can see from the photos (and the use of the words 'fascinating' and 'thought provoking', which we swear we didn't have any influence over), discussion and practice sharing were high on the agenda. Professor Ian Dunn prefaced his informal presentation (no death by PowerPoint on Ian's watch) by praising the sense of community that we have all built here in Scottish HE, and it's this community that makes events like this so effective. Sometimes the best way to get to the bottom of a question - or at least to the middle - is to talk it out in real time.
'Some important takeaways from QAA Scotland's day on student surveys today: timing is key, conclusions aren’t always what they seem, and the Radisson does a mean chocolate cake.'
We didn't save any chocolate cake, but all the presentations from the day, as well as outcomes from the discussion session and Twitter chat, can be found on our website

You can also click to view the Wakelet of the day.


Focus On: Graduate Skills - Sharing Practice

Wednesday 5 June 2019 - thestudio, Glasgow

Passionate about graduate skills? Ready to spend a day sharing practice with colleagues? You're in luck: there's still time to register for the above free event, which will celebrate good practice and share current approaches to skills development. Through a mix of workshops and presentations, this event will look at three strands of graduate skills:
  • Readiness for employment - how can we make sure that graduates of all disciplines go forth with the skills that employers are looking for? What part does the curriculum play in this, and how else can skills be developed?
  • Equality and Diversity - every graduate has the same right to develop the skills they need, not only to find employment but to thrive in the workplace. What can we do to ensure this happens for all of our students?
  • Global Perspectives - we want to ensure that we're setting up our graduates to live and work in a global society. What can we learn from national and international practice? How do we start and maintain the conversations we need to have to achieve this?
To close the day, there will be a keynote presentation from Professor Simon Barrie, a leading expert in the development of graduate skills from Western Sydney University, followed by a workshop where we will work together to draw on the content of the day and generate some key messages on the future of graduate skills development.

Book your place and be part of the day. 


Webinar: Students Using Students' Data

18 June 2019 

This is the last in our popular - and, incidentally, free - webinar series. We like to think that the price point is not the main driver for the popularity. This session marks the culmination of a year-long, student-led project, which focused on how students are (or could be) generating, using and sharing students’ data to improve the student experience. The project itself was conceived to provide a support forum to students and staff invested in enhancing student engagement in Scotland, and has developed new perspective. 

During the webinar we will look at what institutions have learned and what they might do to better support this activity. Whether you've attended every webinar in the series, or this will be your first foray into the medium, you can register here
As an extra bonus... if you scroll just a little further down the newsletter, you'll find a link to all of the webinar resources we've amassed so far, so even if you weren't able to register at the time, you don't have to miss out.

Tweet of the Week(s)

It's somewhere between a fortune-teller, an HE quiz, a repository of top tips, a conversation starter, and an origami project. Now there's a Venn diagram none of us ever expected.  

No matter how you define it, our Paku Paku made another outing at the QAA Annual Conference in May 2019, and it was as big a hit as ever. Just goes to show that a) there's always something to learn and b) learning can be fun. Unless you don't like folding paper, in which case c) delegation and team work are crucial skills for us all. 

Resource centre

Our latest resources:

Click to read five student practice case studies, which we published recently as part of the students using evidence project.

New retention and progression resources: two outcomes of the current Theme, which provide discussion points and a full report on a study commissioned by QAA Scotland and completed by Dr Alison Gilmour and Dr Pete Cannell. 

Our webinar series is coming in for its final landing, and we've been keeping our webinar recordings and related resources page up to date. You'll find materials on data, evidence and learning analytics ready to view, read or listen to as appropriate.

Popular resources:

We know that visitors come to the website looking for our insights into international practice report - click the link to see it, along with our other work on responding to student voice.

Our Mastersness Toolkit continues to prove its worth by aiding and provoking discussion in workshops throughout the HE sector. It's now held on the QAA Scotland website.

We produced a 'what I wish I'd known when I started teaching' video in 2017, and it was recently flagged during a #LTHEchat as a resource that's still referred back to by our colleagues. Delighted to hear that it's still making an impact, and you can click above to watch it for yourself. 
We love to hear about our resources in action. If there's something you find useful, or find yourself revisiting time and time again, you can let us know using the contact details below.

TiP Zone

This is the point at which we'd usually have a feature on Themes in Practice - and as you can see by the absence of said TiP, we need your help.

We know that there is a barrage of demands on your time, but perhaps in the coming weeks and months you could spare a thought to whether there's something you've been working on that you want to share with the community. Not to be excessively Hallmark about it, but it's always inspiring to see how institutions are using or building on the Enhancement Themes, and how this work is benefiting students across the country. We all understand the theory behind the Theme, but nothing beats seeing the real life results.

Drop us a line at with an overview of what you'd like to share, and we can work together to create a feature for the next newsletter, which we plan on sending in September.

Keep in touch

Enhancement Themes Tweets
Enhancement Themes website
QAA Scotland Tweets
QAA Scotland website
QAA Scotland LinkedIn
Copyright © 2019 Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you have subscribed to receive Quality Enhancement News.

Our mailing address is:
Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education
18 Bothwell Street
Glasgow, G2 6NU
United Kingdom

Add us to your address book

When you sign up to Quality Enhancement News you are giving your contact information to QAA and MailChimp for the purpose of receiving this newsletter. For more information about how QAA deals with your data, please see If you have any questions, please email MailChimp states that your data will not be sold or re-used by them. Please review their privacy policy for more information

unsubscribe from this list      update subscription preferences