Quality Assurance Unit

What we do

QAU Mandate

Within The UWI’s Quality Management System, the Quality Assurance Unit (QAU) is located structurally and functionally under the Board for Undergraduate Studies (BUS). The BUS has responsibility for general policy for undergraduate programmes, quality assurance evaluations, reviews and quality enhancement, as well as preservation of  the regionality of  The University of the West Indies (The UWI). BUS discharges this responsibility through the Office of the Board of Undergraduate Studies (OBUS) in which the Quality Assurance Unit (QAU), set up in 2001, sits.  The QAU supports the quality mandate on behalf of BUS and the Board for Graduate Studies and Research (BGSR).

The QAU supports The UWI Mission

The mission of The University of the West Indies is:  To advance Learning, Create Knowledge and Foster Innovation for the Positive Transformation of the Caribbean and the Wider World.

The UWI 2017-2022 Strategic Plan maintains a focus on quality and the pursuit of excellence in all aspects of its institutional operations, supported by the implementation of The UWI Quality Policy. The QAU comprises a team of professionals with a broad range of knowledge, skills and experience in the fields of development, higher education, humanities, quality management, and the social sciences. Their areas of specialised skills and training include quality assurance in higher education, curriculum development; assessment; ethics; multiculturalism; policy formulation and implementation; data management; statistical analysis; facility management and foreign language competences. The QAU periodically undertakes special projects/consultancies for external higher education bodies and is able to offer guidance and practical support on request. For the purposes of academic programme evaluation and  review, the QAU’s  approach to quality is one that is developmental and informed chiefly by the concepts  ‘Fitness for Purpose’ and ‘Fitness of Purpose’, while  recognising the multi-dimensional nature of quality as expressed in The UWI Quality Policy (https://www.uwi.edu/quality/).  Other conceptions of quality such as service excellence are key in the evaluation and review of select support services, and the Quality Policy frames the required approach in the context of continuous quality enhancement.

Role and Function of Quality Assurance Officers

Officers of the QAU have responsibility for implementing quality evaluation and review processes   for academic programmes, research entities, and select support services for the Campus to which they are assigned.  These processes constitute key elements of The UWI’s Quality Management System.

Other elements of this System include quality assurance and enhancement policy development; the work of the regional, cross-campus and campus-based undergraduate and postgraduate governance bodies; campus-based programme accreditation and institutional accreditation processes; and course and programme development, all of which are supported by the QAU. 

The Officers of the QAU are at the frontline of many UWI regional initiatives aimed at deepening The UWI culture of quality. This includes advocacy for the relevant representation on Review Teams and use of stakeholder feedback and other institutional data for quality enhancement. QAU Officers also have responsibility for ensuring the currency of The UWI quality assurance documentation and processes in keeping with international trends.

Through the organisation of quality fora, relevant publications and peer reviewed regional and international conference presentations, they ensure that The UWI community is kept abreast of best/wise practice in quality assurance in higher education, while sharing The UWI quality assurance experience with the regional and international higher education community. Other aspects of the role and function of the QAU Officers relate to support for the implementation of The UWI Strategic Plan through quality assurance and enhancement interventions in Faculties, Schools, Departments, Institutes, Centres and Units. The Officers  also design and deliver quality assurance and enhancement  training workshops for UWI staff as well as for national and regional tertiary/higher education partners. QAU Officers consult and collaborate with stakeholders within and outside of The UWI. The continuing effectiveness of the Officers of the QAU is assured by their on-going professional development, participation in externally led reviews of QAU operations by review teams and The UWI Management Audit Department (UMAD), and continued contribution to the community.


QAU Meetings

QAU Officers meet either virtually or  face to face at least three times for the academic year– usually as part of  University meetings - and at other agreed times to work on joint projects such as updating quality assurance and enhancement documentation/resources and planning  and delivering  training. In between meetings, QAU staff work very closely together and communicate electronically.