Communicating Quality Part 13: Introducing… Course Quality Advisory Groups

With the introduction of the Educational Quality Framework, a unified approach to academic governance has emerged which provides clarity and cohesion to what has historically been an irregular topography. The Award Courses Policy within the Framework and associated Award Course Improvement and Accreditation Procedures codify how courses are monitored and improved at Flinders. Integral to this is the work of Course Quality Advisory Groups (CQAGs).

CQAGs comprise a group of suitably qualified and interested academic staff, students and external stakeholders prepared to take a ‘deep dive’ at least once a year into the quality of the courses in their remit and make recommendations based on data that will contribute to the continuous improvement of the course/s and the topics within them. CQAG discussions and recommendations are a key component in the award course improvement and accreditation cycle and a valuable contributor to internal course accreditations.

CQAGs are established and coordinated by and within the Colleges. They are chaired by the Teaching Program Directors (TPDs) (or their nominees) and overseen by the Dean (Education) and TPDs. Course groupings for CQAGs are drawn from the internal course accreditation review groups and must convene at least once per year to discuss relevant courses in the context of quality indicators (eg KAMs, OPMs and topic quality indicators). CQAGs report to College Education Committees and work arising from and associated with CQAG recommendations is included in internal course accreditation submissions.

CQAGs are not to be feared. They are intended to be a consistent, relevant and informed body that can discuss, review and recommend improvements to courses in their remit and contribute to academic governance and quality improvement at Flinders. Every College must have CQAGs set up for their course groupings and the Educational Quality Team have designed an informative, dedicated website to help in their establishment and function.

Effective governance and oversight of course quality is legislatively enshrined in the Higher Education Standards Framework, and Flinders has always had mechanisms to monitor and assure the quality of its course offerings. Learning and Teaching Committees, Course Advisory Committees, Course Reference Groups, Advisory Boards and Governance Committees have variously existed to oversee the development, delivery and monitoring of courses. Historically, these groups differed between faculty, operating in disciplinarily idiosyncratic and siloed ways with little coherence in form or precise function.

Now, with CQAGs, we have consistent oversight of course quality and a sensible and informed approach to ongoing curriculum improvement.

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