Lampeter on notice over management

November 16, 2007

Quality chiefs have ordered "essential" reforms to improve managers' oversight of standards at the University of Wales Lampeter, writes Melanie Newman . The Quality Assurance Agency found during an audit that executive managers at UWL were not aware when a failing deal to deliver the university's degrees through a partner institution was terminated. In another case, "a significant matter" in relation to admissions was never reported to the senate.

The Times Higher reported this year that the QAA had "limited confidence" in Lampeter's ability to manage and safeguard its own academic standards.

The QAA's final published report says it is "essential" for the university to "ensure effective and consistent institutional oversight and management of quality and standards for its programmes and awards".

The document highlights a "fundamentally flawed" reporting system, which would leave senate and senior managers "unsighted for long periods".

The report refers to a link-up with one partner, which ended in 2005: "The department concerned had become aware that the programme was not being managed satisfactorily, and proposed to conclude the arrangement.

"Because departmental committee minutes were not sent to the senate executive board, senate and some senior managers were unaware of this problem and the attendant risks to students," the report says.

The QAA also found:

  • UWL was "not always effective in detecting significant matters in external examiners' reports"
  • A lack of clarity on standards required for successful study
  • External examiners had expressed concern about variations in performance between students studying the same modules at different level
  • External examiners had raised concerns that policy and procedures on plagiarism may not be fully understood and implemented.
  • In its response to the report, UWL accepted that its established reporting lines were "no longer sufficient".

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