'Quality assurance (QA) is a term generally used to describe the processes that seek to ensure that the learning environment (including teaching and research) reaches an acceptable threshold of quality. QA is also used to describe the enhancement of education and training provision and the standards attained by learners.' - QQI Core Statutory Quality Assurance Guidelines
A Quality Policy Statement for Trinty was approved in December 2018 in response to Standard 1.1 of the Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area (ESG) which states that Institutions should have a policy for quality assurance that is made public and forms part of their strategic management. The Quality Policy Statement takes account of the national context, the institutional context, Trinity strategic initiatives and governance of quality. It is supported by the suite of academic policies and procedures, academic regulations as set out in the College Calender, research, corporate, administrative and quality policies and procedures and acts as a signpost to these for those seeking further information.
A Framework for Quality at Trinity was approved in January 2016 and brings together the elements that form the current focus of quality assurance and enhancement.
These include a seven-year cycle of quality reviews of academic and administrative/support areas, along with strategic or thematic reviews which are undertaken as required. Reviews of transnational provision will commence in 2018/19. A schedule of quality reviews to 2021/22 is available, which outlines upcoming internal quality reviews along with the timing for the next Institutional Review.
The External Examiner process at both undergraduate and postgraduate level assures the quality of the curriculum, and regular accreditation of professional courses by the associated external regulatory body dovetails with internal mechanisms for assuring the quality of our educational provision. Teaching and Learning is evaluated annually by students through mandatory undergraduate module evaluations and postgraduate taught programme evaluations, and by participation in the Irish Survey of Student Engagement (ISSE) and the International Student Barometer (ISB).
Trinity Qualifications and Awards are quality assured by their admission to the National Framework for Qualifications (NFQ) and can be compared with the European Qualifications Framework (EQF) and the Qualifications Framework for the European Higher Education Area (QF-EHEA), the cycles of which are referenced in Diploma Supplements for Irish Higher Education and Training Awards. Alignment to national and international frameworks is a benchmark for quality, and links qualifications frameworks with quality assurance processes. It also facilitates the movement of students within the European Higher Education Area in accordance with the Bologna Process
All new programme proposals are subject to external review prior to formal and final approval by the University Council. The Undergraduate programme proposal process map (August 2017) details the level of internal and external consultation involved in the programme design and approval process, the engagement by different units across the University and the link to the Interim International Register within the Department of Justice & Equality. Programme proposals by Trinity's Linked Providers are reviewed by the Associated College(s) Degree(s) Committee (ACDC) or the equivalent Management Committee prior to consideration by Undergraduate Studies Committee (USC) and Graduate Studies Committee (GSC), and by the University Council .
Policies on Dual and Joint Awards and on Non-EU Collaborative and Transnational Education Partnerships provide further information and guidance to staff on the development of academic programmes with other institutions nationally and internationally. In January 2017, the Global Relations Partnership Team in association with Trinity Teaching and Learning published an online resource Partnership Toolkit to assist academics conduct the necessary due diligence and navigate the approval process for new collaborative and transnational programmes.