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Quality Assurance Council releases the Audit Report on The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology in the Second Audit Cycle

The Quality Assurance Council (QAC) released the audit report on The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) in the second audit cycle today (October 2).

The audit report on HKUST presents the findings on the quality of the student learning experience at HKUST. The Chairman of the QAC, Mr Lincoln Leong, said, "The QAC is pleased to note that the report concludes that HKUST has advanced to become a leading international university in its distinct areas in its short history. The University has set itself ambitious goals and is energetically pursuing them. The Audit Panel considers that the University has strong grounds for being proud of its achievements to date."

The findings confirm that the regular internal and external monitoring and review of quality assurance and enhancement processes, across all activities and against its stated purposes, provides HKUST with opportunities to reflect on and to improve its practice. The University has also been committed to addressing the concerns of the QAC raised during the first cycle of quality audits in 2010.

The QAC is pleased with the quality of educational provision of HKUST. HKUST's efforts in a range of areas are commended as positive features in the audit report, including the development of effective mechanisms for setting and maintaining academic standards through the establishment of a comprehensive and integrated annual reporting framework on teaching and learning, the successful implementation of a creative approach to implementing the four-year degree programme and measures in enhancing faculty member development and tracking of whole student experience to enrich the undergraduate student learning experience, and the creation of an academic environment that is conducive to the development of graduates who are sought-after employees. HKUST has also shown a growing commitment to critical reflection and to ensuring that the quality loop linking action, implementation and evaluation is closed, and has demonstrated substantial and successful efforts in providing international service learning and exchange opportunities for its students.

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 Jan Thomas and comprised Professor Trudy Banta, Professor Edwin Cheng, Mr Edmund Leung and Professor Wong Wing-shing. The Panel reviewed the Institutional Submission, which was prepared by HKUST following a period of self-review, and visited HKUST from January 27 to 29, 2015, 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.

HKUST welcomes the audit report from the Audit Panel and considers that it has benefited from the audit process and the report in many aspects. The full report (including HKUST's Institutional Response) can be found at www.ugc.edu.hk/eng/qac/about/term/publications/report.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 all first degree level programmes and above, however funded, offered in UGC-funded institutions. The QAC fulfils this task primarily by undertaking periodic quality audits of the institutions.

Auditing is an external quality assurance process that involves independent peer review by senior academics in the higher education sector. Its principal aims are to confirm that existing arrangements for quality assurance are fit for purpose, that the quality of provision is comparable to international best practices, that institutions are committed to continuously improving the quality of their academic programmes and that students are well taught and well supported to ensure that they are able to achieve the expected academic standards.

The first round of QAC quality audits of the UGC-funded institutions was conducted from 2008 to 2011. The second round of the audits is being conducted in 2015 and 2016.

October 2, 2015 (Friday)