The UK's independent quality body has commended the University of Aberdeen for effectively supporting the needs of an increasingly diverse student population and championing equality and diversity across the University.
The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) appointed a team of five independent experts to review the University earlier this academic year. The team awarded the University commendations in five areas, including:
- developing strong partnership working with its students, including an ambitious Student Partnership Agreement and student engagement development plan
- a strategic focus on widening access to higher education
- the significant development of quality processes to support self-evaluation and enhancement.
The report commends the way students are represented in shaping their own experience, at home and internationally. Aberdeen-based students recently visited the University's new campus in Doha, and Doha students sit on the student association’s education and sports committees.
QAA also reports on the increased investment in mental health support, including training for staff, suicide intervention training for all student resident assistants, and mentoring to help students overcome the barriers they anticipate as a result of their mental health challenges.
QAA makes seven recommendations for the University, including:
- monitoring personal tutor arrangements to ensure they remain fit for purpose in the context of a changing student population
- continuing the work to ensure all research students have an equivalent experience
- reflecting on the arrangements for training external examiners.
Professor Peter McGeorge, Vice-Principal Education, at the University of Aberdeen, said: “We are constantly striving to improve the quality of learning and experience of our students and to improve access to higher education. It is great to see that the hard work of our staff and students has been recognized in the QAA report.
“As a University that is open to all, we have recently pledged to double the number of students coming to the University from Scotland’s most deprived areas. Consequently it is particularly pleasing to see our work on widening participation commended by the QAA.
“The work commended in the report in relation to student support is the result of our strong partnership with our students’ association and the joint approach we have taken on many of the initiatives to enhance wellbeing. We are grateful for their ongoing support and for the continued support of all our staff and students.”