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Quality Assurance Council releases Audit Report on sub-degree operations of Hong Kong Baptist University

The Quality Assurance Council (QAC) today (October 16) released the Audit Report on the sub-degree operations of Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU).

The Audit Report presents the findings on the quality of learning at the sub-degree providing units (SDPUs) of HKBU. The Chairman of the QAC, Mr Lincoln Leong, said, "The QAC is pleased that the Audit Panel concludes that there is effective management of academic quality and standards within the SDPUs of HKBU, which undertake quality assurance in accordance with University expectations. There is also clear evidence of a student-centred culture and a caring attitude towards students. HKBU is in the process of strengthening its arrangements for the oversight of sub-degree provision."

The QAC is pleased with the quality of educational provision at the SDPUs of HKBU. The University's efforts in various areas are commended in the Audit Report. These include the SDPUs' student-centred approach in teaching and learning and student development; the University's strong support for the professional development of staff across SDPUs; and the planning, implementation and monitoring of the adoption of outcomes-based teaching and learning and criterion referenced assessment in the programmes of the College of International Education (one of the four SDPUs of HKBU).

The full report (with HKBU's Institutional Response attached) has been uploaded to the website of the University Grants Committee (UGC) (www.ugc.edu.hk/eng/qac/about/term/publications/report.html).

HKBU has agreed to submit a progress report within 18 months on its follow-up actions.

Background of the quality audit on sub-degree operations of HKBU
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The quality audit on the sub-degree operations of HKBU was undertaken by an Audit Panel appointed by the QAC. The Audit Panel was chaired by Emeritus Professor Joan Cooper, and members included Professor Grahame Bilbow, Emeritus Professor Peter Bush, Emeritus Professor Deborah Clayton and Professor Peter Yuen. The Panel reviewed the Institutional Submission, which was prepared by HKBU following a period of self-study, and visited HKBU from January 16 to 18, 2018, to meet with its staff and students. It also met with a number of external stakeholders, such as local employers and graduates of HKBU sub-degree programmes.

Background of the QAC and its auditing activities
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The QAC was established in April 2007 as a semi-autonomous non-statutory body under the aegis of the UGC. The UGC is committed to safeguarding and promoting the quality of the UGC-funded universities and their activities. In view of the institutional expansion of university activities and a growing public interest in quality issues, the QAC was established to assist the UGC in providing third-party oversight of the quality of the universities' educational provision. The QAC assists the UGC in assuring the quality of all programmes at the levels of sub-degree, first degree and above (however funded) offered in UGC-funded universities. The QAC fulfils this task primarily by undertaking periodic quality audits of the universities.

Auditing is an external quality assurance process that involves independent peer review by senior academics in the higher education sector. Its principal aims are to confirm that existing arrangements for quality assurance are fit for purpose, that the quality of provision is comparable to international best practices, that universities are committed to continuously improving the quality of their academic programmes, and that students are well taught and well supported so that they are able to achieve the expected academic standards.

Prior to 2016, the QAC's audit activities covered only first degree programmes and above. The first and second QAC audit cycles were completed in 2011 and 2016 respectively. In 2016, the UGC assumed the role of the overseeing body of the quality audits on the sub-degree operations of UGC-funded universities, with the involvement of the QAC as the audit operator. The audit visits to universities in this cycle are being conducted up till early 2019.