Under the University Ordinance, the Senate is the “supreme academic body of the University, (that shall) plan, develop and review programmes, (and) direct and regulate the teaching and research conducted at the University”. Senate exercises this authority directly and through Senate committees, and by establishing policies and guidelines under which Schools and Departments operate.
The Committee on Teaching and Learning Quality (CTLQ) advises Senate on policies and regulations relating to quality assurance; promotes excellence in teaching and learning; and provides University-level monitoring and oversight of quality assurance processes.
CTLQ also provides advice on matters relating to the evaluation of teaching, on financial and other support for teaching development, and disseminates good practice.
CTLQ receives and evaluates annual reports from School Boards and the IPO on teaching and learning in the programs of the School/IPO, and from academic support units in their support of teaching and learning, and submits annual reports to the Senate on its findings.
Under the leadership of the Dean/DIPO, Schools/IPO are responsible for the review and oversight of educational programs under the School and for ensuring that the University’s policies and procedures are being implemented by departments/divisions, in particular policies for the assurance and improvement of quality and the maintenance of academic standards.
Schools receive recommendations for new courses and programs and for changes to courses and programs from departments and endorse these recommendations for Senate approval.
Schools have a key role in processes for the recruitment, retention and promotion of faculty. In discharging their responsibilities, Schools are expected to take into account the University’s stress on the performance of faculty as teachers and their contribution to the educational mission of the University.
Schools should therefore establish arrangements to:
Monitor departmental processes for assuring the quality of educational delivery and the maintenance of academic standards and support departments in establishing effective processes
Work with departments to implement arrangements for the periodic review of educational programs, including external peer review, in line with University policy
Allocate resources and provide incentives to encourage faculty and students to maintain and improve educational quality
Promote and share good practice
Schools submit an Annual Report to CTLQ on the quality assurance and improvement of educational programs under the School, based on an approved template.
Academic Departments and Divisions
Academic departments/divisions, under the leadership of the Head, have the principal responsibility for the quality of the courses and programs under departmental management, in particular: the design and delivery of courses, programs and complementary out-of-class educational experiences; the evaluation and progression of students; and academic advice and mentoring.
Departments should ensure that there is adequate peer support for colleagues in their role as teachers, especially for new and inexperienced staff, and opportunities for professional development of faculty in their role as teachers.
In making recommendations for the recruitment, retention and promotion of faculty, departments are expected to take into account the University’s stress on the performance of faculty as teachers and their contribution to the educational mission of the University, and to take account of guidelines for the criteria and evidence to be used by the committees concerned with these decisions.
To ensure that the quality and academic standards of the department's educational provision are being maintained and improved, departments are expected to establish:
Committees and other forums for faculty responsible for courses, programs and other learning activities: (1) to review and monitor admissions and induction, the design of the curriculum and co-curriculum, the delivery of educational programs, the assessment of students, and student advising and mentoring (2) to agree follow-up action and plans for improvement as necessary and (3) to monitor the implementation of changes for improvement
Arrangements for seeking feedback from students and other stakeholders and other evidence of success in achieving intended outcomes, and for taking this feedback into account in decisions
Arrangements for benchmarking programs and students' achievements relative to international standards in line with School and University policy for external peer review
Departments should submit Annual Reports to their School on undergraduate education and taught postgraduate programs, based on an approved template.
As controller of the budget for academic units and academic support units, the EVPP provides funding for programs and grants designed to recognize, reward, and improve educational quality.
The EVPP has overall responsibility for academic appointments, substantiation, and contract renewals. In these decisions, University policy stresses the importance of teaching and sets out the criteria and evidence relating to teaching performance to be used by the relevant committees concerned with these decisions.
The Academic Registry (ARO) provides direct support for the Committee for Teaching and Learning Quality and the Committee on Undergraduate Studies and supports University-wide efforts to assure and enhance educational quality.
The Office of Postgraduate Studies (PGSO) provides direct support to the Committee on Postgraduate Studies (CPS) and coordinates matters related to postgraduate studies.
The Center for Education Innovation (CEI) provides programs and seminars for faculty, other teaching staff and teaching assistants to enhance teaching at the University; implements comprehensive student evaluation questionnaires and facilitates other forms of feedback on students’ educational experience; supports efforts to implement an outcomes-based approach to education and student assessment; and manages teaching development projects.
Academic support units – CEI, the Library, and the Student Affairs Office, design and deliver significant components of students’ educational experience, contributing to the achievement of the overall educational goals of the University, and supporting student learning and the professional development of faculty.
These units have in place processes for evaluating their work and the support provided for teaching and student learning, including opportunities for staff to reflect on the work of the unit, review feedback from students, faculty and others, and consider relevant indicators of performance. These evaluations should provide the basis for plans for improvement.
Academic support units provide an Annual Report on their contributions to teaching and learning and their plans for improvement to the relevant line manager, based on an approved template. The Reports are considered by the CTLQ.
Students are key partners in the University’s effort to maintain and improve the quality of education. Students are included as members of many University, School and Department committees and other forums. Students are encouraged to be active contributors to the University community by expressing their views and suggestions directly to their teachers through course questionnaires and surveys and through the other channels for feedback established by the University, by giving honest, well-considered feedback on the quality of teaching, courses and programs, and by providing suggestions for the improvement of education at HKUST. Student Feedback and the Student Voice are important components of the quality assurance framework.
Faculty and other teaching staff form the core of the University’s system for quality assurance. The University relies on the commitment and professionalism of its teaching staff for the delivery of high quality education and the maintenance of academic standards. They should be aware of the arrangements that have been made by their department and School and by the University to assure and improve educational quality and should contribute to the effectiveness of these arrangements.
In their own courses and programs, teaching staff are expected: to contribute to the development and achievement of appropriate intended learning outcomes; to benchmark their own performance relative to international professional standards; and to seek feedback from students and peers and take this feedback into account in their work.
Alumni and members of the community who wish to help HKUST maintain and improve the quality of education have a very important role to play in providing input to the University based on their own experience of educational programs and their knowledge of community needs and the attributes of HKUST graduates.
The University, Schools and departments have established a wide range of opportunities for such feedback. Alumni, employers, and members of the community are urged to take advantage of these opportunities to express their views.
Periodic review of the University’s arrangements for quality assurance is undertaken by the Quality Assurance Council (QAC) established by the UGC.
The QAC will conduct an Audit of HKUST in 2014-15, with a visit of the Audit Panel in January 2015. Details are available here.
The University is also required to provide for each funding triennium Academic Development Proposals presenting a review of its performance and plans for educational provision, including student intake.