The full story, without misrepresentation

January 19, 2012

Your extensive article on University of Wales validation ("Boom and bust", 5 January) was a welcome piece of journalism that demonstrated unbiased reporting - something that has been sadly missing in coverage by the media in Wales. In light of the article, I would like to raise the following points:

• The University of Wales receives little public funding. Monies received from the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales are used to support the Centre for Advanced Welsh Studies and partly to fund the University of Wales Press

• Only one agent (in China) is employed by the university - all our centres have sought validation on the basis of the university's reputation (which has been subject to the media attacks)

• The institutional audit conducted by the Quality Assurance Agency in 2010-11 gave the university confidence in its judgements

• In all of the audits conducted of overseas provision, the university has always been awarded confidence judgements. However, as with the audits of every higher education institution conducted by the QAA, recommendations have been made

• All the major problems with our validation have occurred with partners that were validated prior to 2007 when the university had no academic staff of its own and relied on the other universities in Wales, which, as "Boom and bust" pointed out, were paid for their involvement. The university has been moving towards using only its own staff to manage validation activity for some time

• The university appointed its own experienced academic faculty in 2010 (comprising three deans, nine senior lecturers plus four student liaison officers) who have been conducting an in-depth audit of all the institution's partners. As a result of this audit, a number of partners would have been shown the door irrespective of the recent media storm. Next year's accounts will show a significant reduction in profit as a result of these key appointments.

There are many other points I could raise, but I hope that this relatively short letter will be published in full and not suffer from the out-of-context quotes that we have experienced recently in the media.

Nigel Palastanga, Pro vice-chancellor, learning, teaching and enhancement, University of Wales

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