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coordinate all activities relating to our students' academic
life. Over the past year, we have worked to define the
scope, shape and processes for this new function, which
is called SARA. It encompasses activities from within the
Examinations Office and the Student Affairs and Faculty
Centre offices in St Stephen's Green and Beaumont, as well
as the delivery of additional academic and student supports
through the establishment of a dedicated Regulations and
Records team, and the appointments of a Student Career
Development Manager and Clinical Relationships Manager.
The management and staff of SARA, led by Ms Judith Gilroy,
are dedicated to our students and will continually strive to
deliver enhanced services.
The Medicine and Health Sciences Board, Academic Council
and its sub-committees continue to provide leadership and
oversight for Faculty affairs throughout the year. A number
of legislative developments have influenced governance
of our degree-awarding activities, which RCSI has duly
responded to. The recently enacted Qualifications & Quality
Assurance (Education & Training) Act 2012, recognises
RCSI as designating awarding body and, by virtue of this
Act, RCSI is legally obliged to assure the standards of
education and training, both within RCSI and through our
`linked providers' nationally and internationally. RCSI and the
National University of Ireland have established a Working
Group Executive to manage our mutual obligations under
this act.
RCSI was the first Higher Education Institution in
Ireland to undergo institutional review by Quality and
Qualifications Ireland, the new national agency for
quality assurance in higher education. Following a year
of planning and self-assessment, an international expert
panel visited RCSI in October 2013. The process, which
was co-ordinated by Professor David Croke, his team
in the Quality Enhancement Office and the Institutional
Review Working Group (IRWG), was a great success. We
look forward to receiving the recommendations of the
international review panel in 2014 from which our next
round of quality improvement initiatives will derive. The
RCSI Awards & Qualifications Committee (A&QC), chaired
by Professor Paul Gallagher, has made significant progress
in developing new procedures for the accreditation and
periodic review of programmes in collaboration with NUI.
Ensuring good governance of our international and
collaborative education programmes has become
increasingly complex. RCSI has a duty to deliver high
standards of education, training and assessment to our
students participating in programmes in RCSI Bahrain,
RCSI Dubai and Penang Medical College, as well as joint
initiatives with national and international partners, e.g.,
Perdana University PU-RCSI; the School of Postgraduate
Studies PhD Co-Tutelle carried out with University of
Montpellier, France; the RCSI Institute of Leadership;
and the University of Sharjah MSc in Leadership in Health
Professions Education; and our 3U initiatives.
The Irish Higher Education Quality Network launched
guidelines for the Approval, Monitoring and Review of
Collaborative and Transnational Provision in May 2013
and the Qualifications and Quality Assurance (Education
& Training) Act 2012, places additional emphasis on
transnational provision and governance. RCSI is committed
to continuous review and improvement of our international
academic affairs and governance structures.
Recognising the increasingly complex and international
nature of our organisation, we held the second
International Education Forum in July 2013, with an
emphasis on `Enhancing Pedagogy'. Encouragingly, some
of the projects discussed as aspirations in 2012, such
as developing peer enhancement of teaching through
evaluation, have already been advanced with pilot projects
and other forms of evidence.
Our endeavours at renewal and structural reform this year
have included reflection on the role of the Dean of the
Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences. Traditionally, the
Dean has carried out the dual role of Head of the School
of Medicine and Dean of the six schools in the Faculty. The
growth of our Faculty over the past 10 to 15 years, with
a remit now of six schools, coupled with our international
academic developments and models in other higher
education institutions, has led us to separate the two roles.
Professor Arnie Hill, Head of Department of Surgery, was
appointed as Head of the School of Medicine in November
2013. I look forward to working with Professor Hill to
develop the School of Medicine and to continue the pursuit
of excellence for our core medical curriculum.
A new sabbatical policy has enabled staff to embark on
opportunities to upskill, to expand on an area of specialist
interest, to develop new relationships and to complete a
project that would otherwise be difficult to achieve in the
regular work setting.
The Honorary Appointments and Promotions Process, now in
its second year, is working well and bestows honorary titles
on individuals (normally medical consultants or other senior
health professionals) who have a track record of contributing
to RCSI teaching, learning, assessment and development of
our students in clinical and non-clinical settings, as well as
strategic initiatives within the Faculty of Medicine & Health
Professor Kieran Murphy has been appointed Vice-Dean for
Professionalism and will work closely with HPEC to develop
and disseminate professionalism throughout the Schools and
Curricula. Professor Murphy brings a wealth of experience
in this area, having recently completed a five-year term as
President of the Irish Medical Council.