'Failing'? Not us, insists Abertay 1

June 7, 2002

It is nonsense to suggest that Abertay University is "failing", is on a Quality Assurance Agency "critical list" and the Scottish Higher Education Funding Council is poised to "intervene" ("Abertay goes on critical list", THES , May 24).

No official report says this. The QAA audit report says that "broad confidence can be placed in the university's current quality systems" - a finding consistent with judgements made of most British universities. The report includes a "necessary action" point regarding an overseas link (North College in Greece). We have acted on this and addressed the other recommendations for maintaining the academic standards of our awards.

All four subject reviews this year - including the one distorted in your story - expressed confidence in our academic standards and described most of the educational experience as commendable and the rest as approved.

A Shefc press statement issued after your article said: "We would have no reason to consider taking any special action... QAA did not describe the university as 'failing'." In relation to subject reviews, Shefc also said:

"In no sense can (the subject review findings) be described as 'failing'."

The QAA audit report notes our "pervasive sense of self-transformation, of institutional dynamism and market awareness", commends our strategic vision, achievements in local collaborations, social inclusion and wider access, effective implementation of a strategic vision to become a "digital university", our operational management, staff development and internal communications.

Abertay doubled its research assessment exercise average score last year. We are one of the few UK universities with healthy finances. We are climbing steadily up the league tables, our recruitment and applications are rising and our record in meeting the government's social inclusion agenda is formidable. For Abertay and those who know us, this is good news.

Grahame Wright
Deputy principal
University of Abertay Dundee

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