Academic Quality and Development

Welcome to our Academic Quality and Development (AQD) website, which has been designed to ensure that you can find all the resources, toolkits, advice and guidance that you need, to deliver the next generation courses, student experience and signature pedagogies we are known for at Staffordshire University.

Our AQD teams have been established to support course design, development and delivery, digital pedagogy, education research and evaluation, quality enhancement, student and graduate employability as well as a range of academic projects that enhance student engagement.

AQD supports all staff to ensure that we deliver a high-quality student experience improving outcomes for all students at Staffs.

The services we provide are organised through our five departments:

Academic Development

The Academic Development Team empowers academics, and supports Schools and Institutions to deliver inclusive, and innovative educational opportunities that meet the changing needs of our modern university.

As a team we are able to provide expert advice in the following areas:

  • The Staffordshire Learning and Teaching Induction
  • Facilitating the new Course Design Sprint process (course validation)
  • Our Community of Fellowship (including supporting applications for AFHEA, FHEA, SFHEA, PFHEA, National Teaching Fellowship and Collaborative Awards for Teaching Excellence)
  • Course Directors Forums
  • The training and development offer for Staff
  • Inclusive education and pedagogical work at the institutional level, to drive forward practice which enhances engagement and attainment for our APP students
  • Student Academic Mentoring
  • Providing bespoke and tailored support at School/Institute level

Head of Department: Sam Dent

Academic Projects

The Academic Projects department has two main strands of work. The first focuses on increasing student engagement and improving the student experience through curricula and co-curricular activities. We design and deliver activities that use evidence-based approaches, for Welcome Week, Induction and Learning and Teaching. We co-lead the Student Manifesto Project with the Student Union, lead the Staffordshire E.D.G.E enrichment programme and the deployment of learner analytics to re-engage students through hyper-personalised interventions. The second strand of our work focuses on curriculum management via the New Course Approval Process and through procurement of curriculum management software.

Student Engagement Project and Toolkit

This project is exploring the theory of student engagement in higher education and identifying evidence-based activities to enhance student engagement across the student journey.  the Academic Projects department is working in partnership with schools to develop a toolkit of resources and activities for university staff to use with students before they arrive, during Welcome Week and Induction and beyond.  The Toolkit aims to help staff:

  • Create a psychologically safe environment
  • Foster a sense of belonging
  • Get to know their students, understand student expectations and fulfil their learning needs
  • Co-create learning with students
Access toolkit and evaluation support

Student Manifesto Project

In March 2022 the UPP Foundation released their findings on what students needed from their universities post-pandemic.  The recommendations from the research were that universities work in partnership with their students to co-create a Student Manifesto which outlines how and when they will support students to overcome the challenges they have encountered consequently. Staffordshire University has welcomed this, and the Students’ Union are working with AQD, academic and student support colleagues on six strands of work including transition, lost learning, wellbeing and mental health, teaching and learning strategies, employability and enterprise development and graduate outcomes.

Staffordshire EDGE.

  1. EDGE aims to equip our students with knowledge and skills that help them develop personally, academically, socially and in their future careers. Across the university, we have created a wide range of activities which build:
  •  Work skills and practices
  • Academic skills
  • Digital skills
  • Employability and entrepreneurial skills
  • Wellbeing and life skills
  • Civic engagement experience
  • Knowledge and understanding of sustainability

Activities have clear learning outcomes and wherever possible are embedded into curricula, attracting different points dependent on their level. Activities within and across themes can be stacked together allowing students to be awarded Bronze, Silver or Gold when they accumulate enough points. Some activities earn badges that can be added to CVs (for example Microsoft Digital Badges). Students holding the top five highest number of points at the end of the year are rewarded with vouchers.

Meeting the APP targets: Getting to Know your Students and equality of outcomes for all

Working closely with the Education Research and Evaluation (EREV) team, we are building a learner analytic which uses multiple measures of attendance and engagement to enable us to identify students who are at risk of dis-engaging and not achieving as well as they might. Over time this will be built into a predictive analytic which uses multiple data streams to predict engagement and attainment allowing the university to intervene and drastically improve student outcomes. In tandem with this the EREV team are building a measure of education gain. All of these measures will be available in dashboards to academic mentors and course teams, helping them to recognise when, where and how to intervene. These measures will help the Academic Projects department evaluate the efficacy of its own projects, building a resource base of ‘what works’ at Staffordshire.

Curriculum Management: From Conceptualisation through to publication

We are regenerating the complete course conceptualisation through to publication process to improve the universities course portfolio and enable courses to be created, validated and published in an efficient and effective manner. It is overseen by a team of key staff to ensure that at any given point we can identify where a course is and how to move it forward. Initial phases of conceptualisation (owned by schools) and executive approval precede design sprints and validation (supported by our Quality team). Courses then move through a series of steps which Academic Projects oversee, managing the workflow from team to team: curriculum build, web structure building, admissions and marketing, before students are able to apply.

The above NCP process is a temporary measure to improve the efficiency of course design and publication until a Curriculum Management System is procured and set up. Academic Projects is currently reviewing provision from three providers before writing a business case and beginning the processes of refining university wide requirements for the system and initiating implementation. If you wish to contribute to this process and ensure the system will meet your department’s requirements, please get in touch with Jill.

Head of Department: Dr Jill Hanson

Micro-credentials in partnership with TILE and Digital Pedagogies

Staffordshire University has developed a framework for the delivery of micro-credentials from Summer 2023. Micro-credentials will be offered online and as blended/face-to-face courses, each worth 10 credits, that can be stacked with up to three other micro-credentials into units of 40 credits. Our new TDI platform will be used for the delivery and assessment of all micro-credentials.

The development and delivery of these new short courses will be homed within two new units at Staffordshire: Staffs Online which will house all our Distance Learning courses and Staffs Professional which will house all short courses and MCs that are blended or face to face.

Academic Quality Service

Through our key functional areas, the Academic Quality Service enables and facilitates the delivery of high-quality, innovative learning and teaching experiences, supporting the success of all our students.

The Academic Quality Service is responsible for 8 core functional areas, which include:

Quality & Standards Enhancement

This function is owned by the Head of Academic Quality and includes key external reporting and strategic projects. This is a dynamic function which will respond to both institutional and sector change.

Quality Training, Advice and Guidance

AQS provide Training, Advice and Guidance for all Quality Service functions, processes, and requirements. This functional area also includes the coordination and delivery of AQS communications.

Course Design & Validation

AQS oversee and manage the Course Design process from idea inception to final approval. Activities include Design Sprints/Validations, training and briefing sessions on all aspects of course approval, and the implementation of systems and processes to support the New Course Pathway.

Monitoring & Reviews  

This covers the on-going monitoring of taught provision via the Continuous Monitoring process which operates at all levels and the Periodic Review of taught provision (which is undertaken by Department every 6 years). AQS also have oversight of all Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Bodies (PSRB) Engagement.

External Examiners

AQS is responsible for all aspects of the development and management of the external examiner role at Staffordshire University. This includes appointments, allocations, payment, reporting and training.

Apprenticeships Quality Assurance  

We work closely in conjunction with the Central Apprenticeships team, to ensure the quality assurance of apprenticeships is in alignment with AQS policy and procedure and that the specific needs of the University’s Apprenticeship provision are addressed.  

Partnership Quality Assurance

This function focuses on the oversight and enhancement of academic standards and the quality of the learner experience in Staffordshire University’s collaborative provision with diverse UK and international partners.

University Committee Support  

AQS support and service various University Committees including; Academic Board, Quality and Enhancement Committee, Academic Strategy Committee and University Partnerships Committee. The University Committee Calendar is managed and maintained within this function.

Head of Department: Rebecca Penny

 Digital Pedagogies and the Teaching Innovation and Learning Enhancement Hub (TILE)

TILE Hub, which is delivered by Digital Pedagogies, supports the complementary activities of both SCoLPP, and AQD.  The Hub concentrates on driving new digital pedagogical innovation and embedding digital innovation in academic development.  We deliver bespoke in-house staff development equipping colleagues with the skills to deliver our 2030 vision.  We are creating an academic community of practice and will provide, facilitate and encourage interdisciplinary collaboration between departments to develop collision pedagogy and synergies to advance and accelerate digital learning and teaching.

The TILE Hub has four primary objectives:

  • Delivery of Digital Pedagogical Training – Masterclasses in digital pedagogy
  • Staff Digital Diagnostic and Development  
  • Student Digital Diagnostic and Development 

From the TILE Hub you can access sessions such as:

  • Digital Activation Day
  • Collision Coffee
  • Digital Pedagogy Masterclasses
  • Ultra Training and Masterclasses
  • DigiFest Morning
  • Breakfast Pedagogy
  • Catalyst Digital Events

Head of Department: John Hendy

Careers and Employability

Career Connect
Explore. Experience. Connect.

Career Connect

Career Connect offer a variety of online and on-campus services to students, graduates, employers and the community. Working closer with academic colleagues we recognise the University’s diverse student and graduate body and diverse employer needs.

Career Connect consists of three teams that work together to support and empower our stakeholders’ to achieve success.

We also have a dedicate a Career Manager based in our London Campus.

The Career Hub can be contacted via 294991, or 01782 353804

Career Readiness team

The Career Readiness team supports students and works with academics by providing essential employability skills insights and expertise to support embedding employability in the curriculum, through course design and approval processes. We offer:

  • Career Coaching via one-to-one and group sessions tailored to your course, to explore career options, traditional and alternative career paths
  • Recruitment Coaching via supporting students to prepare CVs, portfolios, applications for interviews and more
  • Online Support through the Career Connect jobs portal
  • Employer events throughout the year, to inspire students and academics, build professional networks, and give them access to employers and industry leaders

Experience team

  • For students – we offer multiple opportunities to enrich learning, build work experience and develop networks for Career progression including:
    • Our buddy up mentoring scheme to support transition into university
    • Our Professional mentoring scheme to support for transition into careers of choice 
    • Access to placements, internships, study and volunteering abroad opportunities, with funding available to support student global experience
    • Support with enterprise activity for those interested in Self-Employment, freelancing, and launching a Start-Up 
    • For Employers - a dedicated Consultant supports employers with recruitment needs, events, brand positioning on campus and to deliver activities within the curriculum and academic timetable, also with research and to access other employer networks. Employers can also sponsor our flagship events including Connected Futures in October, Employability Weeks throughout the year and GradEx in June where they can access graduate talent across all subjects.  Employers are encouraged to deliver activities within the academic timetable to position their brand and attract the best talent through live briefs, hackathons, civic challenges, simulations, problem solving and community engagement activities.

Graduate team

Our Graduate Hub is an exclusive membership service for Staffs Uni graduates, available for two years after graduating. This new service, adds to our lifetime support offer and will maximise graduate success and transition into graduate employment. This includes access to:

  • Individual Graduate Employability Consultant, who will Coach each graduate through our Graduate Success Programme
  • Online and on-campus resources, workshops and video content
  • Graduate mentoring
  • Career Coaching
  • Newsletters
  • Jobs, graduate internships and discounted / fully funded postgraduate study opportunities

The Graduate Hub can be contacted via

Career Connect Portal

The Career Connect portal is available to all students, graduates and employers on the Staffordshire University website. Services for all three teams and multiple resources are accessed through the website.

Head of Department: Carolina Salinas


in the UK for Quality Education

Sustainable Development Goal 4, Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2023

for Career Prospects

Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2023

for Facilities

Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2023

for Social Inclusion

The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023

of Research Impact is ‘Outstanding’ or ‘Very Considerable’

Research Excellence Framework 2021

of Research is “Internationally Excellent” or “World Leading”

Research Excellence Framework 2021

Four Star Rating

QS Star Ratings 2021