National Student Quality Assurance Reviewers Pool
The National Student QA Reviewers Pool was established by Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) and the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) in 2017, and has been supported by NStEP ever since. Below you can find out more about the pool and how to request a student reviewer to join a quality assurance review process in your institution.
About the Student QA Reviewers Pool
The Pool was established in 2017, recognising the need to support students, staff, and institutions to ensure that students are active and engaged participants across quality assurance review processes. Student members of such panels bring a wealth of experience, expertise, and perspective on the learning environment and what constitutes quality in higher education.
Pool members are recruited periodically by NStEP. Recruitment calls aim to ensure that the pool has a diversity of students from across backgrounds and academic disciplines. When such calls are issued we would strongly encourage staff and students’ union representatives to promote these widely. Sign up to our newsletter to ensure you receive notification of recruitment calls to the pool.
Once recruited, NStEP provides bespoke training to student reviewers so that they can fully engage with review processes, ensuring that they are empowered to fully participate, engage with the documentation involved, and build proactive relationships with fellow panellists, as well as students, staff, and stakeholders in the institutions or programmes that they might review.
Student reviewers have participated in CINNTE institutional reviews, engagement and re-engagement with private HEIs, programmatic reviews, validation and revalidation processes, as well as special purpose reviews such as support services or units. These reviews have taken place across the diversity of institution types in Irish higher education.
For a number of years I’ve contributed to the training of student reviewers and I am always struck by their genuine and obvious commitment to paying it forward for future students and giving something back to the sector. They bring and share insight that we might not otherwise capture and, having also worked alongside them on panels that I chair or when I’ve been across the table from them as the provider being reviewed, the value added from their involvement in the process can’t be understated.
As a student reviewer, I have the opportunity to ensure that the student voice is heard, and student needs are met, in one of the most important stages of creating or reviewing programmes and courses across Ireland.
The national Student Quality Assurance Reviewers pool is a fantastic experience for students to get involved in, with high quality training provided every step of the way. It has taught me to look at the planning and execution of courses nationwide in a much broader light, and has strengthened my communication as a student representative in my own institution.
How to request a Student QA Reviewer
Are you working in HE quality assurance? Are you organising a review panel and require a student member?
Simply complete the request form below, providing as much detail as possible, and press submit. Someone from the NStEP team will confirm your request and then begin the process of seeking out a student reviewer for your panel opportunity. Once a reviewer has been secured, NStEP will pass the contact details of that reviewer to the organiser who has made the request.
Some guidance for review panel organisers:
- While it may not be possible to secure a student reviewer very far in advance of a review panel, we do strongly encourage organisers to make the request as soon as practicable – a quick turnaround to secure a student reviewer may not be possible given students’ other time commitments and may put them at a disadvantage to other panel members.
- Please provide as much detail as possible, including discipline and institution, as well as clarity on payment. Students may have to take time off from paid work to participate in reviews.
- NStEP does not seek to be overly prescriptive when securing a reviewer for your panel. We are guided by the principle that all students are experts in the learning environment and all reviewers bring valuable expertise. We will endeavour to match students to review processes of particular relevance to their own disciplinary backgrounds, but we will not seek to be too stringent on exact requirements. Students may also have other interests or prior learning experiences that are relevant to the review you are seeking to organise.
If you have any queries about requesting a QA Review, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
About Quality and Qualifications Ireland
Quality and Qualifications Ireland is a state agency established by the Quality Assurance and Qualifications (Education and Training) Act 2012 with a board appointed by the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science.
Their functions include those previously carried out by the Further Education and Training Awards Council (FETAC); the Higher Education and Training Awards Council (HETAC); the Irish Universities Quality Board (IUQB) and the National Qualifications Authority of Ireland (NQAI).
In the area of qualifications, they are responsible for maintaining the ten-level NFQ (National Framework of Qualifications) are an awarding body, setting standards for awards made in the NFQ. They validate education and training programmes and make extensive awards in the Further Education and Training sector including in the Education and Training Boards as well as in the Higher Education private sector. They also provide advice on recognition of foreign qualifications in Ireland and on the recognition of Irish qualifications abroad.
In the area of quality assurance, QQI is responsible for reviewing the effectiveness of quality assurance in further and higher education providers in Ireland. This includes the universities, institutes of technology, Education and Training Boards and providers in the private further and higher education and training sectors (availing of QQI awards). The outcomes of these external reviews are published on the QQI website.
The National Student Quality Assurance Reviewers Pool is a partnership of: