The University is committed to continual improvement of the quality of its activities and achievements in order that it can effectively achieve its purposes and goals, be productively responsive to the University and wider communities, and transparently meet its obligations to those communities.
Quality improvement is thus both the foundation for, and the intended result of, the University's quality system.
'Quality system' is the term used to describe the overall framework and the various elements and processes involved in quality improvement at the University.
In simple form, the system is represented by the adjacent diagram.
The system operates within the context of the University's planning and policy framework, and legal and other external obligations.
All staff have responsibility for implementing the quality system consistent with the University's policies on quality, planning, policy, risk management and governance. Overall responsibilities for quality are identified in the Quality policy.
Quality and performance improvement are advanced through the University’s formal planning framework and through planning for a range of activities and undertakings that are supplementary to these formal plans.
There is a four-tier framework for formal planning within the University.
At the top tier is the Strategic Plan, developed by senior management and the Council of the University in consultation with the University community. This sets broad goals, priorities and planned developments for the University over a five-year period.
The second tier comprises more detailed plans that address each of the major priorities of the Strategic Plan.
Tier three comprises broad operational plans for each faculty and each portfolio of responsibilities of the Vice-Chancellor and President, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and the Pro Vice-Chancellors. These plans, developed within the faculties and portfolio areas, are derived from and relate to the Strategic and second tier plans.
Individual staff plans constitute the fourth tier. These plans are developed annually by individual staff in consultation with their supervisors as part of performance planning and review and within the context of plans at tiers one to three.
The Strategic Plan articulates the University's strategic priorities key strategies for their realisation. Plans at each of tiers two to four include specific objectives/goals, associated strategies, planned actions, and performance targets, indicators or benchmarks for identifying or measuring achievement.
Plans for developing new programs and courses and making changes to current offerings are progressed through the University’s program accreditation and course approval processes.
In addition to putting into practice various plans, policies, structures, new developments and the like, the implementation phase of the quality system involves regular monitoring and reporting on that implementation.
Systematic monitoring and reporting is a major means by which the University can assure that its own purposes and internal standards are being met and that there is equitable and consistent application of policy and procedure across all areas of University activity.
Monitoring of implementation may lead to revision, amendment or adjustment of a program, course, policy, procedure, organisational approach or a plan from time to time, complementing major evaluative and other reviews within the quality system.
For each program, course, plan, policy or procedure, one member of the University staff is identified as having overall responsibility and being accountable for its implementation and for monitoring and reporting on progress.
The Vice-Chancellor and President overviews implementation of the Strategic Plan while specified senior staff overview implementation of second tier and operational plans.
The Council and committees within the University also monitor progress in implementation of plans at tiers one and two. Corporate performance reports are provided regularly to Council and these are also available to the University community.
Responsibility is assigned to specific senior staff for implementation, monitoring and reporting in relation to objectives and actions within each plan at tiers one to three.
For policies and procedures, specific senior staff are assigned responsibility for implementation, monitoring and reporting.
Program leaders and course coordinators have responsibility for overviewing the implementation of specific programs and courses consistent with the current accreditation and approval specifications.
Within the quality system, evaluative reviews are systematised and evidence-based formal reviews of the quality, standards and effectiveness of University performance in a specified area or range of areas. Program reviews are conducted in line with the Program Review - Academic Policy.
Usually, formal evaluative reviews are initiated within the University on a regular basis. A range of other reviews such as ad hoc reviews, self-reviews and ongoing-reviews is also undertaken.
Reviews differ from monitoring and reporting processes and revisions of plans or policies or procedures. They are comprehensive assessments of performance or suitability at a given time or over a particular time span and include the identification and implementation of significant recommendations for improvement.
Reviews are a major means by which the University assesses and reflects on its own performance, policy, plans and processes (based on evidence), demonstrates accountability, and identifies its strengths and any needed or desirable improvements.
Review reports, with recommendations, form the basis for improvement plans and actions designed to address findings from the reviews. Regular reports on progress with implementing these plans are provided to and monitored by relevant senior staff and committees.
Regular and frequent feedback on University services and activities is systematically sought and obtained from stakeholder groups as part of the University's quality processes; for example, feedback is sought from students, staff, graduates, partners in University undertakings and external members of University committees.
Feedback is usually subject to systematic analysis not only to assist in evaluating quality and satisfaction levels but also to identify needed or desirable improvements.
The robustness of the quality system is demonstrated through providing students and other stakeholders with information concerning the use made of their feedback in contributing to changes and improvements.
The quality system encompasses the need for regular and frequent discussion and analysis of findings from feedback, monitoring reports and reviews in order to identify desirable or necessary improvements in University operations or performance.
Proposed improvements are usually included within current plans or scheduled for consideration as part of the next planning cycle. Proposed improvements to programs and courses are considered in line with the Program Accreditation and Course Approval - Governing Policy.
The implementation of planned improvements is monitored and reported in order to gauge whether those improvements are having their intended effect.
All committees of the University play a role in quality improvement but the following committees have a significant role in overseeing implementation of the quality system:
- Academic Board
- Planning and Resources Committee
- Audit and Risk Management Committee
- Research Degrees Committee
- Research Management Committee
- Learning and Teaching Committee
Office of Pro Vice-Chancellor (International and Quality)
The Pro Vice-Chancellor (International and Quality) guides the overall development and implementation of the University's quality system, assisted by staff in the Office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor (International and Quality).
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