The QT – News and Views from QQI (November 2020)

With an opening address delivered by Simon Harris TD, Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, this conference will feature a series of keynote speakers including:

  • Dr. Lucy Mercer-Mapstone (Lecturer in Curriculum at University of Sydney)
  • Ms. Sophia Abbot (PhD in Education at George Mason University, USA)
  • Dr. Cathy Bovill (Senior Lecturer in Student Engagement in the University of Edinburgh),
  • Ms. Hillary Gyebi-Ababio (Vice-President of Higher Education for the National Union of Students UK),
  • Ms. Gohar Hovhannisyan (Vice-President of the European Students’ Union),
  • Mr. Sjur Bergan (Head of the Council of Europe’s Education Department)
  • Ms. Lorna Fitzpatrick, President of the Union of Students in Ireland

Co-chairs for the sessions include Professor John O’Halloran, Interim President of UCC and Mr Kevin McStravock, Vice President for Academic Affairs, Ms Frances O’Connell, Vice President of Academic Affairs and Registrar at AIT and Dylan Scanlan, PhD candidate at UL.

From empowering students and staff to collaborate and to co-create impact in enhancement, to embedding partnership in quality assurance and enhancement processes, this event will be a day of active engagement with – and considered reflection on – the effectiveness of our endeavours.

Against a background of pandemic restrictions impacting on traditional programme delivery and the student experience, a focus on the topic of student empowerment and partnership has never been more timely.

Register your place at the conference here[12].

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Looking Back – National Academic Integrity Week 2020

In October, QQI in support of the work of the National Academic Integrity Network (NAIN) assisted the network in hosting the first National Academic Integrity Week involving both national and international workshops and webinars.

There were a total of 14 talks, panel discussions and webinars throughout the week, hosted by NAIN HEIs, the Irish Universities Association, ENAI[13][1] and ICAI[14].

From the feedback coming in during the week as well as immediately after it, it is clear that the week’s events really struck a chord and stimulated a lot of reflection and thinking on what academic integrity is, how it can be fostered within and across institutions, how students can be supported and protected from the lure of academic misconduct, and how managing any sanctioning of misconduct needs to be carried out following open and accessible policies and procedures.

There were such a range of sessions – exploring ethical behaviour and how to instil and nurture this, student viewpoints on how they can support each other and be supported by institutional approaches, robust assessment approaches which mitigate the risk of misconduct, information on supporting students, especially from the clutches of contract cheating companies, ideas on how to integrate academic integrity considerations into all the decision-making within an institution. We discussed the era of fake news and its impact on upholding academic integrity, the importance of open and repeated discussion of academic integrity issues and the far-reaching negative consequences to students of any engagement with this type of activity, most seriously with these companies.

One thing that was clear throughout the week was the real interest from participants in knowing more, of learning and understanding academic integrity better and how to implement and embed good practice within institutions.

As part of the week’s activities, the second NAIN webinar, Fostering Academic Integrity in the Classroom[15], was delivered by Dr Tricia Bertram Gallant, (University of California San Diego) an internationally reknowned expert in this field. The suggestions she made, the challenges she posed, the pedagogical approaches she advocated in terms of opportunities for learning and assessment of this learning, were at once illuminating and thought-provoking.

The week also saw the launch by NAIN of the national student academic integrity campaign, which was designed to provide information and support for students nationwide. We think it looks great and delivers its message with impact, so please take a look, watch the video and share with your students, collleagues, and anyone else you can think of. You can find more about this here.

Finally, if you somehow missed any or all of the events, fear not: we are busily collecting recordings and slides from the events – once ready, we will make these available on the NAIN webpage[16] for you to watch in your own time.

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QQI Quality Assurance Re-engagement Process: Thematic Analysis Published
QQI’s re-engagement process has been developed to enable existing private and independent providers to have their QA (previously agreed with legacy awarding bodies) approved by QQI under the QQI quality assurance arrangements.

QQI has now published a document outlining a thematic analysis of the re-engagement process, and providing a summary overview and evaluation of 32 re-engagement panel reports for the period September 2018 to February 2020.

The report takes into account both the experience of providers that have successfully completed the process and those currently taking part in the process. The views of panel members have also been collected through questionnaires and interviews and are also reflected in this report.

The panels used in this QA process have comprised HE and FET experts working together, so in the context of a unified, tertiary education system, the re-engagement process is serving to support learning and understanding between and across the sectors. The approach adopted by QQI supports a peer learning approach and a general raising of the knowledge and expertise base across FET and HE. The process is further supported by peer learning events, publication of reports, and the inclusion of staff from different colleges across the system. The thematic analysis report is in itself a good source of feedback for all providers interested in quality enhancement.

Summary Findings
This analysis finds the QQI re-engagement process to be fit for purpose and a positive experience
leading to improvements in quality assurance. Furthermore, it concludes that most providers in
Ireland participating in the re-engagement process require some improvements to meet the QQI
criteria. These improvements most commonly concern governance and management of QA and the
QA documentation.

Ninety-five people (panel members and providers) took part in the online survey which supported feedback on the process. 100% of providers agreed that the re-engagement process was helpful in improving QA. 77% of providers agreed that there was adequate and clear documentation available from QQI to complete the process. 91% of respondents agreed that having informal and formal access to QQI staff for advice and clarifications was an invaluable aspect of the process.

96% of panel members had a positive experience with reengagement, while 89% agreed that the preparation phase of the process was fit for purpose. All panel members who have been involved in more than one re-engagement found the re-engagement process to have been consistent across all providers.

You can access the full report[17] here.


  1. ^ here (
  2. ^ this form (
  3. ^ Covid-19 mitigatory measures  (
  4. ^ here (
  5. ^ 5M2102 Business Studies (
  6. ^ Overview of Assessment in a Blended Learning Environment (
  7. ^ ‘Online Assessment Quality Assurance – a case study’ (
  8. ^ here (
  9. ^ here (
  10. ^ (
  11. ^ CIMEA Italy (
  12. ^ here (
  13. ^ ENAI (
  14. ^ ICAI (
  15. ^ Fostering Academic Integrity in the Classroom (
  16. ^ NAIN webpage (
  17. ^ full report (

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