About The Review Process
The externally led quality reviews of DCU academic and professional support areas at DCU are a core aspect of a broader quality assurance and enhancement structure at DCU. Areas reviews are conducted on a cyclical basis, typically once every seven years. For academic units in particular, cyclical reviews of academic are built upon more regular reviews of academic programmes at DCU, including Annual and Periodic Programme Review. The quality framework, describing how Annual and Periodic Programme Review align to Area level reviews is outlined in Figure below.
1) A period of self-assessment, involving all staff within an Area under review, which aims to critically assess the activities of the Area. The outputs of this self-reflection are summarised in the development of a Self-Assessment Report (SAR), which forms the basis of the evaluation of the Peer Review Group.
2) A visit by an externally led Peer Review Group (PRG), to verify and evaluate the SAR, and meet with staff, students, and other stakeholders to discuss key issues identified. The visit is followed by the completion a PRG Report, which summaries the Group’s findings and makes commendations and recommendations for future quality enhancement within the Area under review.
3) The development of Area led Quality Improvement Plan (QuIP) in light of the PRG recommendations. This involves both an Area, and University level response to the PRG recommendations. The QuIP is discussed and agreed at a follow-up meeting, attended by at least one external member of the PRG
4) The consideration of the PRG Report and QuIP by University Executive and Governing Authority ahead of publication on the DCU website.
In addition to satisfying the statutory requirements (Universities Act, 1997, QQI Act, 2012), the quality process is considered valuable for the following reasons:
- It presents detailed information about the Area and the collective perception of staff and students of its role in the university.
- It presents a succinct and comprehensive statement of the Area’s view of its strategic objectives and for a school, of its teaching, learning and research.
- It provides a reflective and self-critical analysis of the activities of the Area.
- It shows the quality systems and processes which are already in place in the Area and permits an assessment of their effectiveness.
- It helps the Area to identify and analyse its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, and allows it to suggest appropriate remedies where necessary.
- It identifies those weaknesses, if any, in academic, organisational and other matters which are under the control of the Area and which can be remedied by Area-based action.
- It identifies shortfalls in resources and provides an externally validated case for increased resource allocation.
- provides a framework within which the Area can continue to work in the future towards quality improvement.
DCU Quality Review Process- Overview
Phase 1: Self-Assessment
Phase 2: Peer Review Visit
Phase 3: Improvement Planning
Phase 4: Publication