Spotlight on ELIR: Report published

Image credit: unsplash, CC0, @jruscello

This is the twelfth post in the ‘Spotlight on ELIR’ series, charting the Enhancement-led Institutional Review (ELIR) which took place in February and March 2021. In this post, following the publication of the ELIR report, Professor Tina Harrison provides an overview of the outcomes of the review.  


The University’s ELIR report has been published on the Quality Assurance Agency’s website  University of Edinburgh (  There are actually two reports available. A shorter outcome report outlines the formal outcome of the review and provides an overview of the commendations and recommendations resulting from the ELIR. The longer technical report provides further information on the background and outcomes of the review, including the details behind the commendations and recommendations.

Overall, we have been judged to have “effective arrangements for managing academic standards and the student learning experience.” This is a positive judgement and the best possible outcome for an ELIR.


I am delighted to report that the Review Team commended us for:

  • Our commitment to working in close partnership with our students;
  • The work of the Institute for Academic Development (IAD) in supporting staff development and sharing good practice;
  • The promotion and expansion of Peer Support/Peer-Assisted Learning Schemes; and
  • Our support for student involvement in Internal Periodic Reviews.

We need to build on these areas and increase the depth and breadth of engagement of staff and students and the positive impact.


In the spirit of enhancement, the report also makes a number of recommendations that we are required to respond to within one year. These are as follows:

  • Establish effective institutional oversight and evaluation of the implementation of policy and practice, including increasing the range and use of baseline requirements;
  • Develop an effective approach to the strategic leadership and management of change to ensure timely implementation of solutions;
  • Make significant progress in implementing plans to ensure an effective approach to offering personal student support and demonstrable progress within the next academic year on parity of experience for students;
  • Make demonstrable progress within the next academic year in developing our approach to the design and management of assessment and feedback, including progressing proposals for the establishment of a common marking scheme;
  • Provide institutional oversight on the strategic direction underpinning current learning and teaching developments;
  • Implement an approach to facilitate institutional oversight and the effective planning and monitoring of students numbers;
  • Consider how to address attainment gaps in student performance;
  • Ensure effective implementation of the policy for the training and support of postgraduates who teach;
  • Take action to remove barriers that prevent some academic staff from fully engaging with development opportunities for the professionalisation of teaching; and
  • Progress with work to improve the recognition of teaching excellence.

While some of the recommendations focus on strategic approaches to learning, teaching and assessment, many of the recommendations have wide-reaching implications for Schools and Colleges in ensuring consistent and effective implementation of University strategies and policies, and will require broad engagement to achieve success. For two of the recommendations (relating to assessment and feedback and personal tutor/student support), we have been asked to ‘make demonstrable progress within the next academic year’. I urge colleagues to look at the detail within the report to see how Schools and Colleges can contribute.


We are currently developing our approach for responding to the recommendations, including how we join this up with existing areas of work (such as curriculum transformation). These plans will be discussed shortly with Schools and Colleges. Work is already underway to progress the recommendations on assessment and feedback and personal tutor/student support, given the priority placed on these. A University-wide effort is needed, working in partnership with our students, to ensure we address the recommendations effectively and in a coordinated way. We’ll be in touch soon to let you know how you can get involved.

We are required to report on actions taken or in progress to address the outcomes of the review to the Quality Assurance Agency Scotland (who run the ELIR process) one year after the publication of the report.



If you have any comments, queries or ideas about the review, we would love to her 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 plays a key role in the Scottish HE quality landscape as a member of QAA Scotland’s Advisory Board, chair of the sparqs University Advisory Group, and member of the Quality Arrangements for Scottish Higher Education (QASHE) group.

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