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Quality Assurance Office

Quality Assurance in Higher Education Sector

Quality Assurance (QA) measures were introduced into the Irish Higher Education Sector by the Universities Act, 1997 and the Qualifications and Quality Assurance (Education and Training) Act, 2012, which are key components of quality reviews.

Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) oversees QA in the Irish Higher Education and Training Sector in line with two sets of guidelines, the European standards and guidelines as set out by the ESG Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area, 2015 and the Irish guidelines set out by the QQI Core Statutory Quality Assurance Guidelines, 2016.

QQI

QQI is a state agency established by the 2012 Act, with a Board appointed by the Minister for Education and Skills.

In the area of qualifications, QQI is responsible for

QQI validates education and training programmes and makes extensive awards in the further education and training sector, including in the Education and Training Boards.

Trinity as a Designated Awarding Body

Marino Institute of Education (hereafter referred to as MIE) has been an associated college of Trinity College Dublin, the University of Dublin (herein referred to as Trinity) since 1976. All academic awards and degree programmes at MIE are accredited by Trinity, and as a Linked Provider of Trinity, MIE has responsibilities under the Quality & Qualifications Act 2012, to “establish procedures in writing, for quality assurance for the purposes of establishing, ascertaining, maintaining and improving the quality of education, training, research and related services the provider provides”. The Act further requires that “a linked provider shall submit a draft of the proposed procedures to the relevant designated awarding body for approval”. Figure 1 outlines the relationship between MIE QA Office and Trinity.

QA Governance and Management
Figure 1: QA Governance and Management

QA Office

The MIE QA Office was established in April 2020 and supports the MIE Quality Working Group and Registrar’s Office in maintaining QA standards.

QA Office Reporting Structure

Figure 2: Reporting Structure for MIE QA Office

Roles and Responsibilities

The main role of the QA Office is to support the implementation of MIE's Strategic Plan while maintaining the high quality standards expected by MIE. The QA Office ensures the QA/quality improvement elements of the strategic plan are completed by:

  1. Continually developing and updating MIE’s policies and procedures in line with best practice; and in order to do this the QA Office must,
  2. Analyse data collected by MIE to continually assure and develop the quality of all aspects of the Institute’s QA.

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Figure 3: Policy Development Process

Related to these two activities, the QA Office is responsible for coordinating quality reviews.

Quality Reviews

Every seven years, according to QQI guidelines, all universities must undergo an institutional review. Trinity, is the designated awarding body of MIE. Therefore, MIE must provide evidence of internal reviews to Trinity. Such evidence is presented in the form of an Annual Institutional Quality Assurance Report (AIQR), which when published is available from the MIE QA Office website and QQI website. This ensures that MIE meets the standards set out above in the ESG and QQI guidelines.

To prepare for the institutional review, MIE performs a continuous cycle of internal quality reviews on its departments, programmes and services. Each review can be broken down into three broad steps:

  1. Pre-review – the selected department/programme/service completes a confidential self-assessment report (SAR). Guidance for this is provided by the QA Office.
  2. Review – a peer review of the SAR and site visit is completed by the by a peer review group (PRG) and finalised by coordinating with the MIE review leader and QA Office.
  3. Post-review – a PRG report is provided to the department/programme/service who must then create a quality improvement plan (QIP). Guidance for this is provided by the QA Office. A QIP is required to detail and implement any improvements necessary as a result of the PRG. The PRG will be made publicly available on the QA Office webpage.

The timetable for internal reviews are set out in MIE Schedule of Reviews. The findings of these reviews are published on the QA Office website.

The Statutory Institutional Review of MIE is conducted periodically by Trinity on behalf of QQI.

Other QA Office Roles

  • Generation of an AIQR
  • Institutional research and data collection (Student Surveys/Staff/Examiner Feedback)
  • Facilitating the activities of key working groups in the areas of assessment, evaluation, curriculum development and programme accreditation/validation.

Contact

Julie O'Donnell

MIE Quality Assurance Officer

E: quality@mie.ie

T: 01 853 5167

MIE QA Office

Marino Institute of Education

Griffith Avenue

Dublin 9

D09 R232