Universities Wales Weekly Wrap Up 12 December 2014

News – Welsh Secretary named Welsh Politician of the Year

Welsh Secretary Stephen Crabb MP (Preseli Pembrokeshire) was named Welsh Politician of the Year on 9 December 2014, after six months in the Cabinet. Chair of the judges Dr Denis Balsom said Mr Crabb had “revitalised the political debate in Wales”. Other winners included:

  • Welsh MP of the Year – Elfyn Llwyd MP
  • AM of the Year – Kirsty Williams AM
  • Campaigner of the Year – Mick Antoniw AW
  • Member to Watch – Ken Skates AM
  • Lifetime Achievement Award – Lord Morgan of Aberdyfi (historian Kenneth O Morgan)

The awards were organised by the Wales Yearbook Online.

News – Quality Assessment Review

The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and the higher education funding bodies in Wales and Northern Ireland are seeking views on future approaches to quality assessment. The existing quality arrangements will continue in 2015-16, and any new arrangements will operate from September 2017. The review will take place in two phases:

  1. Phase 1 – January to March 2015 – a listening exercise, seeking views on a range of high-level principles and issues. A discussion document will be published in the new year.
  2. Phase 2 – from May 2015 – a consultation on specific issues and options.

Further details are available on HEFCE’s website.

Consultation – Erasmus Plus Survey

In the context of increased pressure on the UK’s budget for Erasmus mobility, the British Council supported by the UK HE International Unit is currently surveying Erasmus institutional coordinators on levels of anticipated demand as well as their preferences regarding the setting of a fixed grant rate versus a grant rate range. In order to help the National Agency determine an efficient grant rate and minimise any risk of unexpected volatility in demand (and on the understanding that institutions will not be committed to these figures) institutions are asked to provide a rough estimate of anticipated levels of demand for Erasmus grants in 2015/16. The IU has now written to PVC Research and PVC International/Europe as well as Directors of International/Europe to inform them about the on-going survey. For more information click here.

Publications – OIA – Good Practice Framework for Handling Complaints and Academic Appeals

On 12 December 2014, the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA) published a framework guide to handling complaints and academic appeals in higher education in England and Wales. The framework sets out principles and operational good practice, but does not include prescriptive detail. The framework complements the principles based Chapter B9 of the UK Quality Code.