RMIT AUQAAQTF AUDIT 2009 –

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					                          RMIT AUQA/AQTF AUDIT 2009 –
                       Audit Approach, Progress and Timelines


1.     BACKGROUND
The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) has met with AUQA and the Victorian
Registration and Qualifications Authority (VRQA) and has agreed in principle to a
combined audit which would cover AUQA’s requirements and RMIT’s re-registration
as an RTO (due by June 2009). The AUQA/AQTF audit visit will be conducted in
March 2009. A key characteristic of AQTF 2007 is the shift away from a compliance
model of auditing to an outcomes and continuous improvement focus; facilitating a
greater alignment with the AUQA audit approach.


2.       SUMMARY: CHANGES BETWEEN AUQA CYCLE 1 AND CYCLE 2
AUDITS
AUQA Audits will continue to be informed by self review and shaped by each
institution’s objectives and focus on quality improvement. Audit reports will continue
to contain commendations, affirmations and recommendations and be written so as
to avoid ranking systems. However, in contrast to Cycle 1, AUQA Cycle 2 audits will
include:

Outcomes from Cycle One
AUQA will seek evidence of implementation of recommendations from Cycle 1 audits
and consider the main changes to institutional quality systems, and their impact,
since then. Assoc Prof Miriam Weisz has been liaising with portfolios to collate
evidence of progress and outcomes of implementation of RMIT’s recommendations
from the 2003 AUQA audit.

Standards, Outcomes and Benchmarking
AUQA will pay more explicit attention to performance standards and outcomes,
including the use of external reference points (eg AVCC Codes of Practice) and
benchmarking to enhance outcomes.

This will include an emphasis on academic standards (e.g. student assessment,
student progress, graduate attributes) and how these are determined, applied,
maintained, monitored and met; and how performance compares nationally and
internationally. An expert reference group was established by AUQA to develop
guidelines on how it might address the issue of ‘academic standards’ and how it
might define and identify ‘academic risk.’ A framework has been developed and
circulated in June. This will be circulated to the Working Group for deliberation later
this year.

Thematic Approach
AUQA will identify two thematic areas for detailed attention, one of which will be
internationalisation. A ‘theme’ is defined by AUQA as “a distinct unifying concept that
is significant for an institution’s strategic plan or academic profile”. This may be an
area of academic outcomes within the core activities of teaching and learning,
research and scholarship (including a broad discipline area); or an ‘enabling’ area
(such as workforce planning and renewal) closely related to the achievement of
academic outcomes. In selecting themes for an audit, AUQA will consider areas of
academic risk identified by an institution; outcomes from Cycle 1 audits; findings from
latest performance data (including IAF report) and ‘mission critical’ areas for an
institution. It will seek advice from each institution on possible themes.


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RMIT has proposed that its second theme (in addition to Internationalisation) be
Industry Engagement. Possible sub themes are approach to industry engagement,
roles and responsibilities, stakeholder involvement, relationship management,
evaluation of effectiveness, scholarship of industry engagement, relationship to
teaching and research.


2.      AQTF 2007 REQUIREMENTS
The relevant aspects of the AQTF 2007 framework (which took effect on 1 July 2007)
for the combined AUQA/AQTF audit are:

    Three essential standards, generally covering training and assessment; access
     and equity and client outcomes; and responsive management systems to the
     needs of clients, staff and stakeholders.
    Three quality indicators – employer satisfaction; learner satisfaction; and
     competency completion rate.

An AQTF 2007 draft implementation plan has been prepared for discussion and input
by the VET Committee at its meeting on 30 August 2007. It is intended that this
inform fuller discussion to identify priorities and relevant evidence required for the
joint AUQA/AQTF audit. It does not include the AQTF 2007 excellence criteria,
details of which are still being finalised.

A suite of ‘excellence criteria’ (based largely on the ABEF) are under development for
introduction in January 2008. These will be managed by Technical and Vocational
Education and Training Australia (TVET) and provide a voluntary opportunity for
RTOs to be registered as “outstanding” or “quality committed”. At the moment, this
process is proposed following re-registration. RMIT needs to confirm whether it
wishes to apply and if so whether this can be conducted by VRQA and incorporated
as part of the joint audit.


3.       SIGNIFICANT EVENTS

January 2008               Meeting/liaison with AUQA and AQTF to advise on possible
                           incorporation of AQTF 2007 excellence criteria within the audit;
                           and formal confirmation of RMIT’s AQTF 2007 risk rating.

December 2008              Performance Portfolio submitted to AUQA

Dec 2008/Jan 2009          Preliminary Visit by Panel Chair and AUQA Audit Director to
                           discuss draft audit schedule, clarify additional information and
                           documentation requests and confirm offshore visit(s)

March 2009                 Audit Visit (4 days)


4.       PERFORMANCE PORTFOLIO – AUQA REQUIREMENTS

This is RMIT’s self review, and will provide the basis for the audit visit. AUQA
requires performance portfolios to be no more than 15,000 words. (We intend to
negotiate an expanded word limit to accommodate AQTF evidence requirements.)
AUQA encourages institutions to build on information already supplied in Cycle 1 and
make use of tables, charts and url links as much as possible so as to reduce the

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amount of documentation required. AUQA requirements are set out below (extracted
from section 9.6 of AUQA’s Audit Manual, v 4).

Chapter 1: Outcomes Since Cycle 1

Progress on AUQA Report Recommendations and Affirmations:

        latest implementation report against affirmations and recommendations from
         AUQA report, Cycle 1 (URL reference if available), including reference to
         evidence of implementation (refer to existing documents, URLs, etc.) and
         effect of changes on institutional outcomes
        brief commentary (up to 5 pages) on recommendations / affirmations not yet
         implemented.

Changes to Quality Systems and Processes:

        provide a brief overview, referring as appropriate to relevant URLs, of the
         current policy and procedures relating to the institution’s planning and Quality
         Assurance system, including its approach to benchmarking, e.g. how
         benchmarking is linked to strategic planning. This overview may concentrate
         on any amendments to major quality assurance and improvement processes
         since the Cycle 1 audit. Example processes may include those relating to:
             o approval, monitoring and review of programs / courses
             o assessment of students and examination regulations
             o linking assessment to learning outcomes
             o quality assurance of teaching staff (including evaluation of teaching)
             o learning resources and student support
             o research training.
        provide a list of external and internal reviews / audits, including professional /
         third party accreditation, undertaken since the last AUQA Audit Visit, including
         entity reviewed, date of review, type of review (e.g. internal, professional
         accreditor), reporting / monitoring processes in place, and any outstanding
         recommendations / issues.
        provide an overview of benchmarking activities and outcomes since the last
         AUQA audit visit, with an emphasis on impact of such benchmarking on the
         institution’s outcomes.


Chapters 2 and 3: Identified Themes (Internationalisation and Industry Engagement)

Information should include (as appropriate to the theme and agreed scope of the
audit):

        relevant strategic objectives relative to the theme. Data presented should
         include:
             o planned targets and outcomes, with precise definitions
             o related measure(s) (qualitative or quantitative)
             o performance outcomes for past three years
             o policy framework, i.e. brief summary (or URLs) of policies, strategies
                and processes in place to support achievement of target outcome
                (including training and development)
             o brief commentary on whether target is on track to be achieved or not.


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        main strategies and processes in place, including processes to achieve
         alignment with relevant external reference points
        how the effectiveness of processes is monitored
        benchmarking results and effect
        review and evaluation mechanisms used, including risk management and the
         outcomes of these
        as appropriate, evidence of how academic standards related to the theme are
         set, monitored and evaluated; or, for enabling areas, evidence of
         effectiveness in supporting academic outcomes and standards.

If one theme is international activities, information should be provided on the matters
listed above and on the following:

        arrangements for the teaching and learning of international students in
         Australia
        arrangements for teaching and learning of international students offshore
         (including partner arrangements)
        internationalisation of the curriculum and overall student experience (e.g.
         including student mobility, staffing arrangements)
        other international activities, such as research collaboration.

In addition to the evidence noted above, details should be provided on processes in
place to assure alignment with relevant external reference points (e.g. ESOS Act and
associated National Code, AVCC Code of Practice for Provision of Education to
International Students).

To provide the audit panel with an overview of the transnational activities in place,
the following information must be submitted for each activity. This information can be
presented in tabular format but the information may be presented in another way if
the auditee considers this would be more helpful to the panel.

Transnational Teaching and Learning Activities

        partner organisation
        country and location
        agreement (date of signing of first agreement, date of most recent review of
         agreement, date of signing of most recent agreement, date of expiry)
        courses / programs covered
        number of students (head count and EFTSL) enrolled in each course in the
         most recent two years
        mode of delivery
        date of host country approval of courses / programs or other host country
         approval (if relevant)
        reviews of course quality
        student feedback processes in place
        main partner responsibilities (e.g. % of teaching, % of assessment)
        main responsibilities of the Australian institution.

Other Partnered International Activities (e.g. Student Exchanges)

        partner organisation, country and location of partner



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        agreement (date of signing of first agreement, date of most recent review of
         agreement, date of signing of most recent agreement, date of expiry)
        areas and activities covered by the agreement
        reviews of effectiveness of agreement provisions and processes
        stakeholder feedback processes in place
        main partner responsibilities (e.g. % of teaching, % of assessment)
        main responsibilities of the Australian institution.

Offshore Campuses

        location and date of commencement
        number of students enrolled (headcount and EFTSL) in two most recent years
        number and type of staff
        programs and courses offered
        language of instruction
        overview of main quality assurance processes.


Appendices and Supporting Materials

The appendices include data and factual information, cross-referenced to the core
document, and should primarily be existing documents. The appendices provide
evidence for the statements in the core document. Supporting material consists of
existing institutional documents. The numbering convention for the supporting
material should be SM01–SM19 etc., together with a brief title, e.g. ‘SM01 Annual
Report’. There should be no space between ‘SM’ and the number and please use
‘01’format for numbers less than 10, i.e. 01–09. Filenames should be less than 30
characters.

Auditees may direct the audit panel to items of supporting material on their public
websites by providing URLs but should take care to identify the specific location of
relevant information, i.e. for documents, include the name of the document and page
or section number as well as the URL. Plans to allow the audit panel to access
intranets should be discussed in advance with AUQA (section 9.6.4).



5.     GOVERNANCE AND MANAGEMENT – ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
Council – receives regular reports on progress against project objectives and
milestones and provides advice and support to Executive as required.

Academic Board – provides advice on academic matters arising from AUQA to
Executive; fosters academic leadership and participation in AUQA process.

VCE – monitors project plan milestones and deliverables; provides leadership,
support and guidance in embedding and enhancing quality assurance and
improvement systems across areas and portfolios; participates in audit process and
champion participation within their portfolios.

Major Projects Committee – monitors progress against agreed project plan,
recommends allocation of resources, monitors communication strategies and
considers risk mitigation.



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Project Team - coordinates and undertakes activities according to agreed Project
plan. Meets more frequently.

Reporting –
 To Council, through Vice-Chancellor’s Report.
 Regular reports to VCE, Academic Board and Major Projects Committee via DVC
   (Academic).
 Additional reports as required




Robyn Adams
23 August 2007




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