Who got that job?

October 21, 2005

Selina Kitney

Quality enhancement officer, Bath University

Advertised in The Times Higher, April 8 2005.

Universities stand or fall on the quality of their teaching, yet the staff who enforce these vital standards can sometimes feel like the traffic wardens of the academic world, according to Selina Kitney (pictured).

But Ms Kitney, who recently joined Bath University as a quality enhancement officer, believes that communication is the key to overcoming any unpopularity.

"Right now we're redoing our quality assurance policy, looking at what the 30 statements are achieving and how they are working, picking apart every statement," she said.

"We want to emphasise the regulations that have to be followed, plus add in recommended code of practice and good practice.

"It feels a bit like being a traffic warden sometimes, but it isn't supposed to be like that. So I'm getting out and about to the departments to meet staff and break down the barriers."

Quality assurance is being driven up the higher education agenda because of top-up fees, says Ms Kitney.

"This is an important issue now with regard to student fees and the greater emphasis on meeting students' expectations," she said.

Ms Kitney, who previously worked as a departmental administrator at Bristol University, is under no illusions about the complexity of the world of quality assurance.

"I'm going to go to some conferences on specific issues in the next few months and, when things are quiet, I'm working my way through the tons of reference materials in the office to learn all the aspects of quality assurance."

Martyn Bull

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