The positive report from the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) – the independent body that monitors standards and quality in UK higher education – follows hot on the heels of the National Student Survey results that showed student satisfaction at Hartpury has risen again to 84%, up 7% since 2010-11.
QAA highlighted many areas of good practice, with a particular focus on Hartpury’s success in preparing students for the world of work and securing their dream job.
The review team were impressed with the involvement of employers in designing and developing a “highly relevant curriculum that reflects the most up-to-date thinking” and the extensive work placement and volunteering opportunities available to students in the UK and overseas.
The outstanding commercial facilities and the major events held at Hartpury also provide students with unique opportunities to work in real-life settings. The quality of this employability support means that the graduate achievement of Hartpury students is four per cent higher than the national average.
Hartpury College Principal, Russell Marchant, said: “We’re immensely proud of the experience we offer to students at Hartpury and we’re delighted that the quality of that experience has been recognised by QAA, who highlighted so many areas of good practice here.”
Hartpury’s commitment to listening to the student voice was also commended by QAA, who recognised that student feedback is “consistently sought and acted upon” and that this has “enhanced the learning opportunities available to students and has impacted positively on learning and teaching practices”.
Students hold positions on all key decision-making bodies at Hartpury, from course representatives through to membership of the governing body. They are also involved in the design and development of information for current and prospective students, helping ensure that it is “clear, accessible and student-focused”.
Development opportunities offered to Hartpury staff were also highlighted by QAA, particularly the extensive support for research activities and the positive impact this has on the student experience, resulting in “an overall ethos of continuous improvement”.
Grants are made available for research and initiatives such as writing retreats, with students sitting on the group that allocates grants for research and scholarship. Students are also supported to attend and present at conferences with staff.
John Deane, Hartpury’s Vice-Principal for Higher Education, said: “Our focus is always on improving and increasing opportunities for our students; from finding out what they think and acting upon that feedback to the ongoing development of our academic staff, which ensures that teaching is of the highest quality and meets the needs of industry, helping students to succeed in their chosen careers.
“It’s really important to us that we develop our students as people as well as academically to give them the best possible chance of getting a great job and doing well in life.
“The positive feedback they gave to QAA is particularly important to us, like how easily they are able to access their tutors formally and informally and how much they appreciate being able to input into decision-making and into the resources we provide for current and prospective students.”
You can find the full QAA report for Hartpury at http://www.qaa.ac.uk/reviews-and-reports