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Quality of Teaching in the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences

As a result of the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) Subject Review visit to the School over the period of 18th to 21st October, 1999, the School was awarded a perfect score of 24 points out of 24. This makes it one of only two Schools of Pharmacy in England so far to have achieved this (the systems in Wales and Scotland differ slightly). The degrees assessed at Manchester were the undergraduate MPharm, the postgraduate Diploma/MSc in Clinical Health Services Pharmacy, and the distance-learning modular PIAT MSc.

In the period 1998 to 2000 the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) has been carrying out subject reviews for the quality of teaching provision across England and Northern Ireland, extending HEFCE Quality Assessments started in 1995.

In practical terms, a trained assessment team visits the Department or School being reviewed and spends approximately 4 days, and evenings, undertaking a very detailed evaluation of the teaching at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. This visit involves review of staff teaching by reviewers attending as wide a range of delivery methods as possible, for example, lectures, small classes, personal tutorials, computer-assisted learning labs, practical sessions, hospital visit training sessions. Facilities and resources are also checked. Students and others are asked about their experience of the course during visits to teaching laboratories by the Reviewers. In addition, current students are interviewed in private about their courses, as are former students, employers of students from the School, postgraduate teaching assistants, technical and other support staff. Student work is sampled and examination marking systems, past papers, scripts etc. are collected for the visiting team to check, as are External Examiners' Reports and other internal and external monitoring evaluations. The structure and robustness of the systems for monitoring and enhancing teaching quality are also reviewed, as are other aspects of the learning experience. The Review is structured to evaluate the course the School provides under the headings of:

  • Curriculum Design, Content and Organisation
  • Teaching, Learning and Assessment
  • Student Progression and Achievement
  • Student Support and Guidance
  • Learning Resources
  • Quality Management and Enhancement

It is an intensive and gruelling experience, but assures the quality of our students' education relative to other Schools of Pharmacy. The visiting team awarded Manchester's School of Pharmacy a perfect score in all of the sections of the review, underscoring the long-established commitment to excellence, which our teaching and support staff have towards their teaching. Taken along with our excellent research basis, a rating of 5A in the last UK Research Assessment Exercise, RAE96, this review provides objective evidence that our students are educated in the best of all possible environments, with first-rate teaching by leading international researchers.

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© 2001 School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Manchester