ICHAS Quality Assurance strategy is based on the Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area (ENQA, 2009, 3rd Edition) and the Guidelines & Criteria for Quality Assurance Procedures (HETAC, 2011). The College seeks to continuously improve on the quality of programmes delivered to learners, and engages in re-appraisal of the processes and procedures that have been put in place to deliver on quality.
ICHAS recognises that a key part of retaining public confidence in its activities is through providing evidence of the college’s ability to be self critical and to evaluate its progress and activities. This ability is in part demonstrated through the completion of three major reviews of 2011: FETAC Review, Programmatic Review of its NCPII undergraduate programmes (HETAC), and Institutional Review of the activities of the College as a whole.
These reviews have informed the redevelopment of the ICHAS Quality Assurance Manual, which can be downloaded here - ICHAS Quality Assurance Manual (September 2011).
FETAC Review 2011
Following an internal self-study of its FETAC provision between 2005-2011, ICHAS has renewed the agreement of its quality assurance procedures with FETAC. It is expected that this agreement will be ratified at the September council meeting of FETAC, after which the report on findings will be published.
ICHAS Programmatic Review 2011
As part of a five-year review cycle, one programme (BA in Counselling Studies and Psychometric Testing) was scheduled for review in 2011. ICHAS took the opportunity to extend the review to include a further three undergraduate programmes so as to ensure an outcome of consistency within and across the suite of Level 7 programmes and to ensure clear and transparent transfer and progression to the Level 8 add-on programme. The review process comprised two distinct elements, (both of which involved consultations with key internal and external stakeholders):
- Institutional and Programme Evaluation 2006-2009 (intake years)
- Development of programme proposals 2011-2015
A Self Evaluation Report and programme proposals were considered by an external Peer Review Group in March 2011, who recommended the re-validation of the revised programmes for a further period of five years. This recommendation was endorsed by HETAC at the July 2011 meeting of its Academic Committee.
Institutional Review 2011
All providers offering HETAC awards are subject to external quality assurance review of their institutions. HETAC carries out such reviews, which include both public and independent institutions.
The Institutional Review process is intended:
- To enhance public confidence in the quality of education and training provided by the institution and the standards of the awards made.
- To contribute to coherent strategic planning and governance in the institution.
- To assess the effectiveness of the quality assurance arrangements operated by the institution.
- To confirm the extent that the institution has implemented the national framework of qualifications and procedures for access, transfer and progression.
- To provide recommendations for the enhancement of the education and training provided by the institution.
ICHAS conducted its Institutional Review Process throughout 2011 conducting an extensive internal and external consultation process which resulted in the compilation of a Self Evaluation Report. The Self Evaluation Report was considered by an External Panel comprised of national and international experts who visited ICHAS in November 2011 to conduct their review. The process was embraced internally at ICHAS as a significant opportunity to review and evaluate its full range of services and supports as well as its quality assurance policies and procedures.
A final report detailing the expert panel’s findings following their consideration of both the Self Evaluation Report and a comprehensive site visit wherein they met with ICHAS staff, lecturers, learners and external stakeholders, was submitted to ICHAS following their visit to the college and is available below. Following receipt of this report, ICHAS prepared their formal response, which is also among the documents available below:
- Terms of Reference for ICHAS Institutional Review
- ICHAS Self Evaluation Report
- Final Report of the Expert Panel
- ICHAS Response to Final Report
All documentation relating to the Institutional Review process is also available on the HETAC website, accessible by clicking here.