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Academic Development Directorate

Quality Assurance Handbook

Introduction

An institution’s quality assurance procedures enable it to assure the standard of its awards and the quality of the learning opportunities it offers to students. The procedures cover the design, approval, monitoring and review of courses and programmes; consultation with and feedback to students; and staff management insofar as it relates to teaching. Some such procedures are long-established, such as the appointment of external examiners, but others are newer, and most have been revised or amended in recent years in light of national requirements, changing student needs and expectations, or specific recommendations such as those following the School’s 2007 Institutional Audit.

Quality Assurance will not by itself create excellence in teaching and learning, but it can be a creative influence for staff and students as well as a necessary guarantee against poor practice. It is also a primary condition of the funding which allows us to continue teaching and research. We must comply with certain requirements, but will in any event wish to improve the quality of the programmes and academic support we offer.

This handbook provides a comprehensive guide to current procedures and systems. These are developed and reviewed through both internal and external consultation. Academic staff are repeatedly involved in shaping the systems, in departments, faculties, committees and working parties, and professional service providers also participate fully.

The primary intention of the Handbook is to help colleagues to comply with what has been agreed, to understand the formal aspects of our systems, and to appreciate what is and what is not discretionary. I hope that, with the assistance of this Handbook, colleagues will be able to realise the aims we share in regard to teaching quality.

Professor Nirmala Rao
Pro- Director (Learning & Teaching)


This handbook has been compiled to provide a clear and comprehensive description of the School’s Quality Assurance [QA] systems. For each procedure, it lists those who can provide advice and support, and sets out the policy, process and timescale. A calendar of approximate dates when Heads of Department are involved in various QA processes is available at the link on the right hand side. It is hoped that the calendar, and the Handbook as a whole, will prove useful to academic and non-academic staff as they go through the year – any questions or suggestions for future editions of the handbook should be directed to the Quality Assurance Manager.

Quality Assurance Manager
Jenni Rhodes jr45@soas.ac.uk

Quality Assurance Officer
Chloe Weanie cw19@soas.ac.uk