Quality Assurance, Standards and Accreditation University Courses in Exercise and Sport Science in Australia: Processes and Outcomes

Ian Heazlewood

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Paper published in Proceedingspeer-review


    Australian higher education ‘industry’ is a highly regulated environment and represents the fourth largest export income contributing 14.385 billion dollars in 2012/2013 and why the Australian Government has placed itself in a significant role in regulating and protecting the industry. The current regulatory model is a top down approach where Australian Government legislation controls the criteria for quality assurance, standards and accreditation. Specifically via TEQSA (Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency Act 2011), which sets the higher education standards framework, risk assessment framework, register of experts, engagement with professional bodies, TEQSA quality assurance, TEQSA public reporting and compliance with other standards such as the AQF (Australian Qualifications Framework). The AQF “is the national policy for regulated qualifications in Australian education and training. It incorporates the qualifications from each education and training sector into a single comprehensive national qualifications framework,” and sets the criteria for each level of qualification from Level 1 - Certificate 1 to Level 10 - doctoral degree. In this context Australian universities and qualifications are, especially in exercise and sport science undergraduate degrees, converging to become homogeneous entities. In one context promoting comparability and transferability of graduates between states and in another context the construct of promoting diversity while compelling conformity or education convergence in the name of quality assurance, standards and accreditation. At the intra university level each university must comply with the national guidelines in term of mapping criteria with actual course. Universities within Australia can gain self-accrediting status, which essentially means they can accredit their own degrees. This concept is somewhat a misnomer as it is driven by national government compliance. This is a challenge as first, second and third year units/subjects have to be mapped with competencies consistent with the level of academic year re compliance standards. The quality assurance, standards and accreditation at this step in the process is driven by processes within the university and are dependent on such constructs as course advisory groups, school, faculty and university learning and teaching committees and associated with jumping of administrative hurdles. In addition to these Australian Government drivers in higher education the internal university drivers’ professional societies/associations in exercise and sport science are playing a significant role to influence exercise and sport science curricula at the national level. The level of influence extends to micromanagement of the total curriculum and to the content and skills expected at the level of individual unit/subject. Such compliance may involve responding to multiple criteria as staff numbers, qualifications, staff publication outputs, professional associations staff are expected to belong to, dictating library holdings, size and diversity of teaching and research infrastructure and exact content areas to be covered in units and courses. The result developing higher education/university courses in Australia today is satisfying criteria of external stakeholders, the economic rationalists (government) and the self-perceived knowledge controllers (professional associations) and not necessarily the universities, “the self-accrediting entity.”
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationEDULEARN15 Proceedings
    EditorsL Gomez Chova, A Lopez Martinez, I Candel Torres
    Place of Publicationonline
    PublisherIATED Academy
    Number of pages7
    ISBN (Print)978-84-606-8243-1
    Publication statusPublished - 2015
    EventInternational Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies (EDULEARN 2015 7th) - Barcelona, Spain, Barcelona, Spain
    Duration: 6 Jul 20158 Jul 2015
    Conference number: 2015 (7th)


    ConferenceInternational Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies (EDULEARN 2015 7th)
    Abbreviated titleEDULEARN


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