Workshop Tertiary Education Quality Standards Agency Conference 2019

Developing a Constructive Framework for Higher Education Third Party Arrangements (#1)

Denise Austin 1 , Glenda Hepplewhite 1 , Elizabeth Beech 2
  1. Research and Standards, Alphacrucis College, Sydney, NSW, Australia
  2. Academic Dean, National Institute for Christian Education, Sydney, NSW, Australia

Increasingly Higher Education Providers (HEPs) in Australia are delivering courses through national and transnational Higher Education Third Party (HETP) arrangements. This reflects Australia's growing maturity on the global higher education scene and demonstrates the attraction for students who want to undertake an accredited degree, while retaining close relational, industry and cultural links. It represents globalising forms of education that impact upon the student body, the perceptions of those involved and the pedagogies adopted. So, what are the most effective ways that a HEP can help HETPs build capacity in quality assurance? How does a HEP encourage a culture of transparency in HETPs, across geographical, cultural and linguistic diversities?

Using surveys and semi-structured interviews, supported by primary and secondary sources, this qualitative case study critically analyses one HEP and its partners, in order to evaluate the quality assurance expectations and perceptions of academic faculty from both the HEP and its HETPs. Alphacrucis College (AC) is a private Australian HEP with self-accrediting authority status up to doctorate level. AC partners with five onshore and offshore HETPs, including those delivering in Languages Other Than English (LOTE). This analysis highlights the complexities around maintaining strong relational partnerships with HETPs, while ensuring the rigors of the Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards). Rather than partnerships driven by top management, this research seeks to develop a constructive HETP framework that more actively engages frontline HEP and HETP faculty members. This framework will encourage quality partnerships which will contribute to Australia’s growing higher education sector.