Enhancement-led Institutional Review (ELIR)


What is ELIR?
ELIR is an external review of the University, conducted by Quality Assurance Agency Scotland (QAA Scotland).  All higher education institutions in Scotland are reviewed through this method on a four year cycle. It is an ongoing cycle of activity, with key stages including: preparation and submission of documentation; visits; published report; and formal follow-up.

ELIR is a peer review process; the panel includes staff from other universities and a student member, who will visit the University to meet with staff and student groups.

When was the ELIR visit?
UHI’s review visits took place in April and May 2016 at Executive Office in Inverness.

Outcomes and reports

On Thursday 2nd June 2016, UHI received the early outcomes from May’s ELIR review visit. We achieved the best possible overall judgement, confirming that we have effective and robust arrangements for managing academic standards and for enhancing the student experience. Many areas of good practice were highlighted, as well as affirming plans on a number of areas for further development. This is a tremendous outcome, which recognizes the university’s strengths, working in partnership with the student body, and what we have collectively built and developed in recent years.

Two reports will be published on September 16th:

1)     Outcome report: a short document detailing the judgement, areas of positive practice, and areas for development.

2)     Technical report: a longer document setting out the evidence underpinning the outcome report and including information about UHI, the judgement, and commentary on areas of positive practice and for development.


Why is ELIR important?
ELIR is seen as a judgement on the quality of the University’s provision, and the reports are published on the QAA website. ELIR has a direct impact on the reputation of the University – regional, national and international.
ELIR will therefore impact our attractiveness to students, our ranking in ‘league tables’, our relationship with funding bodies and other stakeholders, our ability to attract funding…
Outcomes from ELIR will identify areas of good practice, as well as recommending areas for further development, which will inform university priorities and future activities.

What does ‘enhancement-led’ mean?
The Scottish higher education sector has defined enhancement as taking deliberate steps to bring about improvement in the effectiveness of the learning experiences of students.
ELIR therefore considers an institution's strategic approach to enhancement, its capacity for effective self-evaluation, as well as its ability to secure the academic standards of its awards.

ELIR focuses on two main aspects of the student learning experience:

  • The learning opportunities we provide for our students
  • How our students are engaged with the management of quality.


Documents prepared for ELIR (submitted to QAA February 2016)

The Reflective Analysis (RA) is a key self-evaluation document in which the university sets out its strengths and challenges across the full scope of the review.  This includes topics relating to the strategic management of enhancement, the student learning experience, and internal monitoring and review.
This is supported by two case studies (one on HISA, and the other on the Learning and Teaching Academy) to illustrate strategic approaches to enhancement, and an advance information set (AIS): documents which demonstrate the operation and outcomes of quality processes.

Where can I find out more about ELIR?
Further information on the ELIR process can be found on the QAA Scotland website.

Rhiannon Tinsley, Academic Registrar
rhiannon.tinsley@uhi.ac.uk ext 79224

Jacki Graham, Quality Monitoring Officer
jacki.graham@uhi.ac.uk  ext 79288