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Quality Assurance Council releases Audit Report on The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

The Quality Assurance Council (QAC) released the Audit Report on The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) today (November 18).

The Audit Report on HKUST presents the findings on the quality of the student learning experience at HKUST. The findings confirm that the University, while embracing significant changes such as the introduction of the four-year curriculum, is achieving its stated purposes in teaching and learning. The report also reflects the Audit Panel's positive views on the quality of HKUST's educational provision.

The Chairman of the QAC, Mr Philip Chen said, "The QAC is pleased to note that HKUST, in its short history, has made significant achievements in providing quality education for its students. Its success has been made possible by committed staff and a strong quality assurance culture underpinned by robust processes. The QAC is confident that the University will continue to enhance the quality of its teaching and learning."

The QAC is pleased with the quality of educational provision of HKUST. The University's articulation of graduate attributes through its statement entitled "ABC LIVE framework" (which stands for Academic Excellence; Broad-based Education; Competencies and Capacity Building; Leadership and Teamwork; International Outlook; Vision and an Orientation to the Future; and Ethical Standards and Compassion), the institutional sense of community that pervades the University, the scale and management of its student international exchange programme, its effective student advising and mentoring system, induction and mentoring system of new academic staff as well as the quality assurance process for research postgraduate programmes are all commended as positive features in the Audit Report.

In the light of the findings of the Audit Report, HKUST has given an Institutional Response which is attached to the Report. The University has agreed to submit a progress report within 18 months on its follow-up actions.

Background of the Quality Audit on HKUST

The quality audit on HKUST was undertaken by an Audit Panel appointed by the QAC. The Audit Panel was chaired by Professor Andrew Lister and comprised Sir Graeme Davies, Mr Ralph Wolff, Professor Joseph Cheng, Professor Carmel McNaught and Mr Wong Kwan-yu. The Panel reviewed the Institutional Submission, which was prepared by HKUST following a period of self-review, and visited HKUST from March 15 to 18, 2010 to meet with staff and students from across the University. It also met with a number of external stakeholders such as local employers and graduates of HKUST.

The Panel's findings confirm that HKUST's education activities are consistent with its mission, and that HKUST has the energy to achieve its objectives. The University is appreciative of the opportunity for self-review presented by the quality audit. The full report (including HKUST's Institutional Response) can be found at http://www.ugc.edu.hk/eng/qac/index.html.

Background of the QAC and its Quality Audits

The QAC was established in April 2007 as a semi-autonomous non-statutory body under the aegis of the University Grants Committee (UGC). The UGC is committed to safeguarding and promoting the quality of UGC-funded institutions and their activities. In view of institutional expansion of their activities and a growing public interest in quality issues, the QAC was established to assist the UGC in providing third-party oversight of the quality of the institutions' educational provision. The QAC aims to assist the UGC in assuring the quality of programmes (however funded) at first-degree level and above offered by UGC-funded institutions. The QAC fulfils this task primarily by undertaking periodic quality audits of the institutions.

The purpose of QAC's quality audit is to encourage quality improvement through institutional self-review, and improvement on areas identified in the Audit Report. The QAC expects the institution to implement the audit recommendations unless there are good reasons not to do so. As such, the Audit Reports are written primarily for providing feedback and guidance to the concerned institutions. The feedback is presented as: Commendations of good practices; Affirmations which recognise improvements the institution is already making; and Recommendations for improvement (CARs). QAC defines quality in terms of "Fitness for Purpose", and its quality audits do not attempt to rank institutions by the number of CARs given. The CARs are to be read with the substance of Audit Reports, which will provide useful information on an institution's endeavors in enhancing quality of its educational provision.

November 18, 2010 (Thursday)