Spotlight on ELIR: Enhancing the student experience – Reflection and review

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This is the first post in the ‘Spotlight on ELIR’ series, which will chart the Enhancement-led Institutional Review (ELIR) that will be taking place in autumn 2020. In this post, Professor Tina Harrison, introduces ELIR, and explains how staff and students can get involved in the review process… 

ELIR is an external review of the quality of the student learning experience that we provide. Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) Scotland conducts the review every five years; our last review was in 2015.

It is an important process because it provides an opportunity for us to reflect on our approach to learning and teaching and the student learning experience. The outcome of the review is a judgement of the effectiveness of our approach; a positive outcome is therefore critical.

How will we be reviewed?

A review panel, comprising a team of academic and student reviewers, will consider documentary evidence and visit the University to meet with students and staff. Our review visit dates are:

  • Planning visit: Thursday 1 October 2020
  • Review Visit: Week beginning 16 November 2020 (visit likely to last 5 days)

In preparation for the review we are asked to develop a Reflective Analysis (RA) covering: contextual information; enhancing the student learning experience; strategy and practice for enhancing learning and teaching; academic standards and quality processes; and collaborative provision. The RA will be supported by an Advanced Information Set (AIS) that comprises a set of supporting evidence (including a sample of key reports and an analysis of student feedback).

What will the review focus on?

To ensure that we get maximum value from the review, we are asked to identify areas of focus specific to our context. Following consultation with students and staff during semester 2 last academic year, the following areas were agreed:

  • Teaching and academic careers
  • Student community and student voices
  • Student support
  • Widening Participation
  • Student skills and employability

We will reflect on and discuss these areas of focus throughout the RA and the review visits.

How can I get involved?

Involvement from students and staff in the review is extremely important. There will be opportunities to get involved in the drafting of the RA. The review team will also want to meet with some students and staff.

We are currently gathering content for the RA from across the University and the Students’ Association. We will be seeking feedback from students and staff as the RA develops to ensure that it reflects the strategies, practices and intentions across the whole University. We will be releasing the draft RA chapter by chapter between now and the end of the year:

  • In October, we will share a draft of Chapter 4, which covers the processes we use to manage the quality of our courses and programmes.
  • In early November, we will share a draft of Chapter 2, which covers the student learning experience.
  • Later in November, we will share a draft of Chapter 3, which covers strategy for enhancing learning and teaching, including developing and supporting staff.
  • In December, we will share a draft of Chapter 5, which covers how we manage our collaborative provision (where we work in partnership with other organisations to deliver courses and programmes).

As draft chapters are released, we will communicate with students and staff through emails, websites (including Teaching Matters), newsletters, and social media.

Further information

Academic Services 
QAA Scotland
Student Partnership in Quality Scotland


If you have any comments, queries or ideas about the review, we would love to hear from you:

Tina Harrison

Tina is Assistant Principal Academic Standards and Quality Assurance and Professor of Financial Services Marketing and Consumption. Tina joined the University in 1993 and continues to maintain an active academic role in the Business School. She has had overall responsibility for the University’s quality assurance framework as Assistant Principal since 2009. She is a member of the QAA Scotland ELIR 3 Committee, a member of the sparqs University Advisory Group, and represents the University sector on the SCQF Quality Committee. She is also a member of the Steering Committee of the European Quality Assurance Forum.

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