Universal Higher Education Pty Ltd: Initial registration and accreditation 6 September 2019
Report on registration Universal Higher Education Pty Ltd
TEQSA has agreed to orders made by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) under which Universal Higher Education Pty Ltd (UHE) is registered pursuant to section 21 of the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency Act 2011 (the TEQSA Act) for a period of five years until 31 August 2024 in the provider category of Higher Education Provider.
The AAT orders also provide for the accreditation of the Bachelor of Information Technology and the Bachelor of Multinational Film Production courses to be offered by UHE, pursuant to section 49 of the TEQSA Act, and for two conditions to be imposed on UHE's registration pursuant to section 32 of the TEQSA Act. A copy of the conditions is available at Attachment 1.
UHE applied to TEQSA for registration in the category of Higher Education Provider under Part 3 of the TEQSA Act.
TEQSA considered UHE's application and provided two draft assessment reports with details of the assessment of UHE's applications by the responsible assessment team. TEQSA's Commission considered UHE's response to the draft reports and made a decision to reject UHE's application for registration on 20 December 2018 on the basis that it was not satisfied that UHE met the Threshold Standards.
UHE applied for review of TEQSA's decision in the AAT. In the course of the proceedings, UHE made submissions and provided further information and evidence about the matters raised in TEQSA's decisions.
It is well established that absent a specific legislative provision to the contrary, the AAT is generally required to make a decision on review based on the evidence available at the time of the AAT's decision on review, and that the AAT is not confined to the evidence available at the time of the primary decision. Accordingly, TEQSA accepted that the AAT was required to take account of the further material submitted to TEQSA after TEQSA had rejected UHE's applications.
Main reasons for the decision
After reviewing the further material submitted by UHE, TEQSA was satisfied that UHE meets the Threshold Standards. However, TEQSA considered that there remained a number of risks related to UHE's capacity to meet the Threshold Standards in the future.
On this basis, TEQSA agreed that it was appropriate to substitute TEQSA's initial rejection of the applications with decisions to register UHE for a period until 31 August 2024, to accredit UHE's Bachelor of Information Technology and Bachelor of Multinational Film Development courses for the same period, and to impose two conditions on UHE's registration.
The conditions are designed to address the need for UHE to:
- Ensure the academic staffing profile for each course of study provides the level and extent of academic oversight and teaching capacity needed to lead students in intellectual inquiry suited to the nature and level of expected learning outcomes. (Standard 3.2.2)
TEQSA is satisfied that these conditions will provide an appropriate framework for TEQSA to oversee UHE's approach to dealing with this issue.
Application to withdraw conditions
In accordance with section 32 of the TEQSA Act, TEQSA may vary or revoke a condition imposed on the registration of a higher education provider, either on its own initiative or upon application by the provider for variation or revocation.
Pursuant to section 32 of the TEQSA Act, the following conditions are imposed on the registration of UHE as a higher education provider under the TEQSA Act:
Condition 1: Dean, Information Technology
UHE must not enrol students in, or commence delivery of, the Bachelor of Information Technology until TEQSA notifies the provider that TEQSA is satisfied a suitably qualified person has been appointed to the position of Dean, Information Technology. The appointment must be made in accordance with UHE's Workforce Plan and the following evidence must be supplied to TEQSA for its review:
- Curriculum vitae; and
- Signed employment agreement (once TEQSA has confirmed the candidate is suitably qualified)
Condition 2: Staffing
UHE must provide TEQSA, not later than four weeks prior to delivery, with a report which, for every unit which it plans to offer in one of its higher education courses, sets out:
- The title of the unit;
- The staff member(s) proposed to teach the unit and, for each staff member:
- the highest qualification in the discipline of the course being taught;
- the professional experience held;
- to the extent that the staff member does not have a qualification in a relevant discipline at least one Australian Qualifications Framework level above the course in which they are proposed to teach, a summary of the basis on which UHE has assessed that individual as having knowledge, skills and the capacity to apply knowledge and skills equivalent to such a qualification; and
- whether the staff member is employed on a full-time, part-time or casual basis and, if the staff member is employed on a part-time or casual basis, the staff member's expected fraction of full-time employment.