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12th Annual Conference: A Better Quality Future – PLEASE NOTE CONFERENCE IS NOW FULLY BOOKED

September 7, 2017 - 2:00 pm - September 8, 2017 - 2:00 pm

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Event DescriptionDay OneDay TwoWorkshopsFees

The transformation of the quality management landscape is proceeding with great rapidity – Year 2 Teaching Excellence Framework results have been published, the HE Funding Council for England’s HAR and APR reviews have commenced, all signalling a new emphasis on data and metrics in quality assessment. New forms of TNE continue to emerge and familiar features – degree classification methods, external examining and marking calibration – have also been reviewed. The Office for Students is being established and the ‘Designated Quality Body’ will be named shortly.

These changes have radically altered the quality world and our conference will provide sessions that will support us in engaging with all of them. However, our conference will also consider the question that the changes also beg of us, as senior quality professionals: in the midst of this, what initiatives can we take to help ensure there is a better quality future, for our students and our institutions?

To help develop our response to this, QSN has established a partnership with Wonkhe which is producing substantial pieces of work we will receive at our conference, on the new quality world and how we can influence it, and on the evolution of our roles and what we might do to support our development as quality professionals.
To help set the scene and spark discussions, we will be joined by Gordon McKenzie, GuildHE CEO, and Ant Bagshaw and Sue Rivers from Wonkhe. The student perspective has never been more important, and we will welcome Cal Davies, a student TEF reviewer, Ellie Russell from the Student Engagement Partnership, Amy Burge of the University of Edinburgh and Debra Macfarlane from the Quality Assurance Agency Scotland to help ensure we maintain focus on the people our organisations serve. Leading expert on international education Neil Kemp will provide workshops on TNE. We will also benefit from the contributions of colleagues from a range of HE providers and from key agencies which work with us: the Department for Education, Universities UK, QAA UK, the HE Strategic Planners Association, the HE Academy and the Council of University Chairs.

I look forward greatly to welcoming new and returning delegates to our 12th Annual Conference.

Jack Aitken
Chair of QSN


We are delighted to confirm that Electric Paper Ltd will be sponsoring the 2017 conference. We would like to extend our thanks to our sponsors and look forward to welcoming them to the conference.

Day One – Thursday, 7 September

14:00 Arrival & Registration
14:30 – 14:50 QSN Annual General Meeting
15:00 Opening of Conference
Welcome from the Chair of QSN, Jack Aitken
15:05 – 15:35 Keynote Speech:
Gordon McKenzie, CEO, GuildHE
15:35 – 16:00 The Future of Quality Management – Report for QSN:
Ant Bagshaw, Deputy Editor, Wonkhe
16:15 – 17:15 The Future of Quality Management: Panel Discussion –
Gordon McKenzie, CEO, GuildHE
Cal Davies, Student TEF Assessor
Ant Bagshaw, Deputy Editor, Wonkhe
17:20 – 18:20 Workshop: The Future of Quality Management
Delegates will join small groups for the workshop. Group discussions will be facilitated by members of the QSN Executive
19:15 Champagne Reception in Bar
19:45 Conference Dinner
After Dinner Reflections

Day Two – Friday, 8 September

09:10 – 09:45 Quality Professionals: who we are and how our identity is evolving – report for QSN
Ant Bagshaw and Sue Rivers, Wonkhe
09:45 – 09:55 New QSN Website
Lee Jones, Deputy Chair, QSN
10:00 Parallel facilitated workshops
See workshops tab for topics
11:00 Refreshment Break and imteraction with workshop outcomes in the lounge
11:45 Parallel facilitated workshops(repeated)
12:45 Final Conference Plenary, highlighting key issues for QSN.
Closing Remarks
13:15 Lunch and Departure

Parallel Elective Workshops – Regulation and a risk-based approach

Friday, 8 September – 10:00 and 11:45

No. Workshop Title Indicative Content
1 Degree standards: external examining developments and calibration initiative HEA are leading on two related pieces of work concerning degree standards: the development of the external examining system and on the calibration of standards. QSN’s symposium in March received an update on work to develop the external examining system, and this session will follow up on that, with contributions from Trish Barker, Head of Academic Quality and Standards at the University of Liverpool (one of the pilot providers), and from Erica Morris, who is leading on the calibration work for HEA. The sessions will be led by Katie Akerman, University of Chichester, and Sue Gregory, University of Plymouth, both of whom are QSN Executive members.
2 Data in quality management – TEF, APR, ELIR and beyond The use of data and metrics to aid quality assessment and institutional enhancement increases steadily. There is a correspondingly increased need for quality managers to collaborate with colleagues in planning departments and to understand how data interfaces with other quality assurance processes. This session will be led by Dr Helen Galbraith, Academic Registrar and Director of Planning and Academic Administration, Keele University, and member of the HESPA Executive.
3 HEFCE Annual Provider & Assurance Reviews This session combines inputs from three perspectives: students, governing bodies and an institution which recently underwent HAR. Contributors are Ellie Russell, The Student Engagement Partnership, and John Rushforth, Executive Secretary, Council of University Chairs.
4 Present and future TEF: TEF 2 implementation; subject-level update Year 2 results have been published and subject-level TEF is under development. This workshop will provide the opportunity to discuss the TEF process as it has developed and where it may go in future and will be led by Kiera Newmark, Department for Education, Cal Davies, student TEF reviewer, and Angela Taylor, Head of Quality at Rose Bruford College and QSN Executive member.
5 Algorithms review outcomes Sam Roseveare, UUK, will present the findings of the HEFCE-commissioned project on classification algorithms.
6 Quality and the PGR Experience There is increasing interest in and concern for how quality management helps support research students. This session will give an overview of the QAA Scotland project and its outcomes and also give delegates a chance to focus specifically on postgraduates who teach (PGWT), presenting the findings of a research project commissioned by QAA Scotland. Incorporating a national and international scan of policy and practice, an overview of key issues, and the production of a Statement of Expectations, the project identified a number of deliberate steps institutions, schools/departments, and postgraduates themselves can undertake to best support PGWT. This session will focus on the Statement of Expectations, inviting you to engage with its recommendations and consider their relevance and applicability in your own context. There will be an opportunity to discuss the project with two project members, Amy Burge (University of Edinburgh) and Debra Macfarlane (QAA Scotland).
7 The Quality Code and the future of academic standards This workshop provides the opportunity to hear about the consultation QAA have been undertaking on the future direction of the Quality Code. The session will be provided by Cathy Kerfoot, QAA.
8 The role of the quality professional This workshop, led by Ant Bagshaw and Sue Rivers, will build on the findings of the report commissioned by QSN and presented at the plenary given earlier on 8th September.
9 TNE: Exploring the opportunities, understanding the challenges This session will be led by Neil Kemp and will review areas of engagement for transnational delivery and explore the complex mix of inter-relationships that underpin success and assess possible future directions.

Conference Fee

— Colleagues at the AUA are currently processing your conference booking forms and invoices will be sent out shortly. Once you have received your invoice, you will then be able to make payment. If you wish to pay with a purchase order, please send this to, alternatively if you wish to pay with a credit/debit card, please call 0161 275 2156 when you have received your invoice. We apologise for the delay, and thank you for your patience.—

  • Free to holders of QSN Season Ticket 2016/2017* (one member per institution, see below)
  • £240 for delegates from member institutions
  • Unsubsidised fee of £350 for representatives that have not subscribed as members of QSN

The fee includes the Conference dinner, and overnight accommodation at the conference centre for the night of Thursday, 7 September. Places are limited so early booking is advised to avoid disappointment. Booking is not restricted to the institutional representative – a nominee can attend in his/her place.

QSN Season Ticket 2016/2017

The Network offers a QSN Season Ticket.
For an annual fee of £495, you receive:

  • Institutional membership of QSN
  • One free QSN Conference Place
  • Subsequent Conference places at Member rates
  • A free place a (a minimum of) two Symposium events during the year, and member rates for subsequent Symposium delegates

Any additional events during the year (such as extraordinary meetings to consider specific developments) will also be available at a preferential rate. The place is allocated to the institution, and is not tied to a named individual.

* Where institutions joined with a Season Ticket during 2017/17 but after the 2016 Conference, the Executive has agreed that these institutions can use the free place with this Season Ticket generated for the 2017 Conference.

Please note that the QSN conference is now fully booked and we will not be able to accept any further bookings. Our apologies if you have been unable to secure a place this year. The Executive Committee will review the location for next year’s conference.


September 7, 2017 - 2:00 pm
September 8, 2017 - 2:00 pm
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Aston Business School Conference Centre
Aston University, Aston St
Birmingham, B4 7ET United Kingdom
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