Academic audit

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington undergoes a regular audit that involves a self-review and external evaluation of our academic quality.

Cycle 6 (2016-2022)

All New Zealand universities participate in an externally-led quality assurance process called an ‘academic audit’. The audit is intended to assure students, staff, and other members of a university’s community of the quality of the university’s learning and teaching programmes and its support for wellbeing and other aspects of student life.

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington is currently undergoing its sixth audit, the start of which was delayed from 2020 because of COVID-19. The audit will take place in September, with an audit panel interacting with staff and students over 4 days. A final report of the audit will be publicly available in late 2022.

Self-review

The audit process involves two broad stages, with the first one focused on a self-review that is followed by an audit panel visit.

Over the past year, a working group has engaged with a diverse range of stakeholders, including student groups, faculties, schools and central service units to gather responses and evidence for the development of the self-review report that the audit panel will use as background for their visit. A steering group has overseen the process and provided strategic guidance.

As part of the report, the University is expected to consider the whole of institution, including all students, all delivery, and all staff who teach, supervise, or support teaching or supervision.

This report responds to 30 guideline statements outlined in the audit framework. These reflect good practice expectations of academic quality covering:

  • leadership and management of learning and teaching and academic quality
  • student lifecycle, support, and wellbeing
  • curriculum, assessment, and delivery
  • teaching quality
  • supervision of postgraduate research students.

The report must be focused on outcomes backed up by evidence of effectiveness that shows quality practices are embedded. The University has also been asked to reflect on our obligations under Te Tiriti o Waitangi, the interdependence of research and teaching, and our role as the critic and conscience of society.

The draft self-review report has been through various iterations following the incorporation of feedback from Central Service Units and Faculty Boards. An independent reviewer has evaluated the report and also provided feedback and the Senior Leadership team have endorsed the enhancements.

Next steps

The draft self-review report will next be circulated to the 12 April Academic Board for feedback. The final report will be submitted to the Academic Quality Agency (AQA) in May.

Once the report is submitted, a panel of five members will visit the University later this year and interact (virtually, if appropriate) with various staff and students to validate the self-review. The panel’s report will be made public in late 2022.

Theme for Cycle 6

Each audit cycle includes an ‘enhancement theme’ in which all universities address an issue of national significance.

For Cycle 6, from September 2017 to March 2020 universities engaged in the theme “Access, outcomes and opportunities for Māori students and for Pasifika students”.

Each university developed its own objectives and plan at the start of 2018 and then reported on both progress and challenges. Further progress on the theme will be included in the University’s academic audit self-review.

You can find more information about enhancement themes on Universities New Zealand’s theme website and can read about the final reports of the Cycle 6 theme.

Find out more

If you would like more information about how the process is being implemented at Victoria University of Wellington, contact senior academic quality adviser Claire Williams.

Process and responsibilities

The process of drafting the self-review document for the audit has been undertaken by a Working Group at the University, with oversight from the Steering Group.

The Working Group has gathered and synthesized evidence to address the guideline statements. Staff and students from across the University have been approached for information on occasion from various working group members to ensure that responses are well informed. The Academic Office has been providing administrative support to the working group and compiling the final self-review report.

The Steering Group for the audit, chaired by Vice-Provost (Academic) Professor Stuart Brock, aims to ensure the validity of the self-review and provides advice to the Working Group. Two members on the Steering Group represent student interests.

Academic audits are conducted by the Academic Quality Agency (AQA) for New Zealand Universities.

General information about the academic audit process is available on the AQA website.