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Universities Wales Weekly Wrap Up – 12 May 2017

Universities Wales commissions QAA as independent quality expert

The new Wales review has been designed in response to the needs of Welsh universities and colleges, students and the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales. It will, says QAA, be future-focused and effective.

‘We’ve listened to what Wales wants, and will be supporting higher education providers in continuously improving the learning experience they offer students,’ said QAA Chief Executive Douglas Blackstock.

‘The new review will be carried out by academics and students who are experts in UK higher education, and will fully meet European standards.’

Professor Colin Riordan, Chair of Universities Wales and Vice-Chancellor of Cardiff University said ‘As an organisation, QAA not only understands the context of Wales within the UK and has appropriate Welsh language capacity, but also has the reputation and international reach that we feel are important for us as we move into a transformed quality environment across the UK.’

The new institutional review method for Wales will be piloted in the academic year 2017/18.

Welsh Brexit Blog 

Cardiff University has a new blog –Welsh Brexit Blog – launched at the end of March with the aim of providing a platform for constructive debate, latest thinking and analysis on issues relating to Wales and the UK’s exit of the European Union.  This aims to be a useful resource for those developing and influencing policy in Wales and further afield, academic colleagues and the media.

All of the content is published under Creative Commons, so if any of the blogs are of interest to your organisation / your stakeholders, you are free to republish the articles online or in print. However, Cardiff University would be grateful if you could credit the Welsh Brexit Blog, ideally at the top of the article and with a link to the Blog home pages.

They are also keen to welcome guest blogs from organisations who wish to contribute to the debate. If you have an idea for a blog post, please do get in touch to discuss further. 

The Blog can be found here and you can also follow on Twitter (@WelshBrexitCU).

SPA – Care leavers case study review

As part of SPAs ongoing commitment to the care leaver agenda, the SPA team are in the process of updating the bridging the gap’ guide on supporting care leavers through admissions.

Several HE providers have provided SPA with case studies, demonstrating how HE providers are using admissions as part of a joined-up approach to supporting care leavers. These fascinating examples have been invaluable in illustrating good practice and supporting SPAs recommendations, and they are pleased to be able to showcase these on their website.

To better inform our review, SPA would like to invite any HE providers who have not already done so to provide them with case studies indicating how applicants in and from care are supported through the admissions process at your institution. SPA would very much welcome any contributions. If you would like to provide a case study, please complete the call to evidence form and return it to enquiries@spa.ac.uk at your earliest convenience.

International higher education events 

  • Enhancing the international student experience will take place on 15 June in London. Delegates will discuss what UK higher education currently looks like for international students; explore what institutions can do to allay any student fears and improve social cohesion post-Brexit; and examine case studies of successful institutional approaches to the international student experience.
  • Navigating TNE finances takes places in London on 16 June as part of the HEGlobal programme. This event looks at how to budget for transnational education and work through ways to more realistically cost TNE activity from scoping the idea through to operation.

Political update 

  • The National Assembly for Wales Research Service has published its latest Brexit Briefing. It has also issued an overview of the recent local government election results.
  • In the media, Philip Dixon takes a look at the education debate in the UK General Election campaign, and examines what it means for Wales in a guest blog for the Institute of Welsh Affairs.
  • First Minister Carwyn Jones has welcomed plans to create a world-leading technology cluster in Newport that is expected to create more than 2000 jobs and is backed by £12m of Welsh Government funding.
  • The Welsh Government is investing more than £660,000 in research and development to help safeguard the long-term future of steel production in Wales.