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Visit of South African Deputy Vice-Chancellors, September 2015

On 27 September 2015, a group of 14 Deputy Vice-Chancellors from South African universities arrived in Scotland for a week-long visit, together with the Director: Institutional Audit from the Council on Higher Education, South Africa.

Following the launch of a five-year sector-wide Quality Enhancement project on student success, modelled on the Enhancement Themes in Scotland, our South African colleagues  wanted to learn more about the partnership approach to enhancing the student experience in Scotland. The visiting Deputy Vice-Chancellors were keen to gain insights into how we sustain a partnership approach in the Scottish HE sector, working collaboratively to enhance the student learning experience, how we manage enhancement at sector level and within our institutions, and how individual institutions engage with the Enhancement Themes.

The visit commenced with a special meeting of SHEEC, at which our South African guests heard presentations from a number of Scottish colleagues, on topics including the evolution of the enhancement-led approach and ELIR, as well as presentations from several SHEEC members outlining contrasting institutional approaches to engaging with the Enhancement Themes. A presentation from South African colleagues provided contextual information on the South African HE sector and their CHE Quality Enhancement Project, launched in February 2014.Throughout the rest of the week, the delegation enjoyed a series of visits to HEIs in Glasgow, Inverness, Aberdeen, Dundee and St Andrews.

Our South African colleagues have reported that they found the special meeting with members of SHEEC and QAA Scotland extremely valuable, and that they found the institutional visits hugely informative. These visits allowed them to see a great variety of institutional types with very different missions in diverse settings. In particular the DVCs saw an array of flexible, innovative learning spaces to support student learning, which has proved to be a particularly rich and eye-opening dimension of the visit, to inform future infrastructure development in their own institutions.

Our visitors have expressed how much they gained from the visit as a whole and are grateful to the many people across the Scottish sector who contributed to making it such a worthwhile trip. We look forward to building on the strong links which this visit has helped to establish and trust that the Scottish and South African HEI sectors, QAA Scotland and CHE will enjoy greater collaboration in the future.

Pictures from meeting of South African visitors and SHEEC

SHEEC meeting with South African delegation
SHEEC and South African delegate