Higher education institutions are expected to engage in practices to improve the quality of students’ learning experience and their learning outcomes. Well-designed benchmarking with robust self-review, informed by a critical framework including external perspectives, identifies unseen gaps in provision and provides ideas for improvements in practice, thus contributing significantly as a catalyst for change.
Independent HE providers, typically those with small student cohorts and course offerings, find themselves in a different benchmarking landscape to universities. The lack of, maturity of learning and teaching traditions and history of collaboration enjoyed amongst universities has impeded universities to view Independent HE providers as potential benchmarking partners. Yet, the Higher Education Standard Framework requires all Higher Education providers to engage in benchmarking. This creates an urgency for benchmarking among Independent HE providers.
This paper evaluates a model to form collaborative benchmarking partnerships to engage in robust quality self-review and promote a networked culture amongst independent HE providers enabling quality conversations and engagement in higher education development.
It is anticipated this model will contribute to giving non-university providers and others greater confidence in the value of benchmarking amongst like institutions, as well as, making non-university providers more attractive benchmarking partners within the sector.