Published Friday, 6th September 2019 in Study at SRUC news
The UK's independent higher education quality body has commended Scotland's Rural College for its work to raise awareness of mental health issues, and the support it offers its students in this area.
The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) appointed a team of five independent experts to review SRUC. The team visited SRUC in March and May this year, and awarded commendations in four areas, including its:
- effective mechanisms for identifying and supporting students' individual needs, enabling them to be successful in their student journey
- communication with members of staff, and its approach to academic staff development
- development of a Health and Wellbeing Strategy which is successfully delivered through a range of initiatives involving both staff and students.
SRUC specialises in subjects supporting land-based industries and operates from six sites across Scotland: Edinburgh, Oatridge, Barony, Ayr, Elmwood and Aberdeen. Students told QAA reviewers that they are well supported and that the help on offer, especially from academic staff, is delivered effectively.
QAA's report also makes a number of recommendations, including asking SRUC to:
- review the needs and experience of students studying by distance learning to ensure they are effectively supported
- enhance the ways in which data sets are used to support decision making around students' learning experiences
- review the balance of responsibilities and accountability between the academic committees and operational structures, ensuring there can be informed debate on learning and teaching and the wider student experience
- conclude work aimed at ensuring there is greater consistency in the timeliness of assessment feedback provided to students.
Jamie Newbold, Academic Director at SRUC, said: 'We're immensely pleased to have been commended for our work to support our students, particularly around mental health. It is a real demonstration of the positive relationships between our students, the Students Association (SRUCSA), lecturers and our support teams. There is a lot more we want to do in the space and we continually work with students to find ways to better support their needs.
'We'd like to thank the review team for their approach to the ELIR and for their recommendations on areas where we can improve, which are ongoing areas of activity. As part of our transformation into a 21st Century Rural Enterprise University at the heart of the rural economy, this feedback is invaluable. We are already taking steps through appointing new people, ongoing projects and new support structures that will help us meet the recommendations and use them as platform for constant enhancement and improvement.'
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