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Torrens University Australia Ltd: Re-registration 25 September 2019

Renewal of registration

Report on renewal of registration of Torrens University Australia Ltd

On 25 September 2019 TEQSA:

  • renewed, under section 36 of the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency Act 2011 (TEQSA Act), the registration of Torrens University Australia Ltd in the category of Australian University, for a period of five years until 25 September 2024.
  • imposed, under section 32 of the TEQSA Act, four conditions on the registration of Torrens University Australia Ltd.

Condition 1. Student Performance Reporting

By 28 February of each year of registration, Torrens must provide TEQSA with a copy of the approved minutes of each meeting of the Academic Board for the previous 12 months. The meeting minutes must demonstrate that the Academic Board:

  1. receives and considers a comprehensive diagnostic analysis of rates and trends in student performance including attrition, progression, course completion times, and variations in the attainment of course learning outcomes and grade distributions. The diagnostic analysis must include (but not be limited to) calculations for attrition and progression rates as defined in the TEQSA Risk Assessment Framework, and include analysis of student performance by:
    1. course of study
    2. study periods
    3. entry pathway, including the means by which English language proficiency is assessed
    4. study mode
    5. location of study
    6. education agent
    7. country of origin
    8. student achievement in similar courses at other Australian universities
  2. ensures the development of comprehensive action plans, including any necessary investment in infrastructure and learning resources to address the needs of a growing student body and any issues identified through the diagnostic analysis carried out in accordance with Condition 1a, and undertakes periodic monitoring of the effectiveness of any interventions undertaken in accordance with the action plans
  3. reports outcomes of Condition 1a and 1b to the Council for consideration and action.

Condition 2. Growth and Quality

By 28 February of each year of registration, Torrens must submit a report providing forecasts of student recruitment and growth and the rationale and basis for this forecast, with evidence of review and approval by the Academic and Governing Boards. The report must show evidence of how academic quality is to be ensured in line with the forecast growth and must address:

  1. monitoring of admission decisions to ensure that all admitted students have the academic preparation and proficiency in English needed to participate in their intended study
  2. building the staff complement to meet the educational, research, academic support and administrative needs of students
  3. maintenance of academic and research integrity, and
  4. assurance of the quality of teaching, learning, research and research training.

Condition 3. Monitoring, Review and Improvement

By 28 February of each year of registration, Torrens must submit to TEQSA reports on all comprehensive course reviews, showing that the courses have been reviewed in accordance with the five-year schedule and with evidence of review by the Academic Board. The reviews must:

  1. show evidence of significant input from qualified internal and external academic experts in the field of the course being reviewed
  2. show evidence of external benchmarking
  3. confirm the basis on which the courses (as amended in accordance with the reviews) engage with advanced knowledge and inquiry consistent with the level of study and the expected learning outcomes.

Condition 4. Research and Scholarship

By 28 February of each year of registration, Torrens must submit annual reports on research and scholarly outputs, showing progress against the Research Strategic Plan and each of the recommendations of the external review report A Review of Research at Torrens, and showing progressive increases towards achieving proposed targets in the Research Strategic Plan.

Main reasons for the decision

TEQSA has found that Torrens University Australia Ltd has demonstrated:

  1. an emphasis on student retention which includes plans for targeted support appropriate to the varying needs of its students
  2. an emergent commitment to and investment in increasing research performance, and
  3. a focus on engagement with industry and other stakeholder groups in course development.

However, TEQSA made the decision to impose four conditions in light of risks that Torrens University Australia Ltd may not meet, or continue to meet, the following provisions of the Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2015:

  1. Section 3.2 of Part A, in relation to the academic staffing profile
  2. Sections 5.1 and 5.3 of Part A, in relation to:
    1. consistent and mature course approval processes
    2. course monitoring, review and improvement
  3. Sections 6.1, 6.2 and 6.3 of Part A, in relation to
    1. corporate governance
    2. corporate monitoring and accountability
    3. academic governance
  4. Section 6.2.1b in conjunction with Section 1.2 of Part B, in relation to
    1. the ability to set realistic targets to achieve the volume of research expected of an Australian University
    2. the volume of sustained scholarship which informs teaching and learning in all fields in which courses of study are offered
    3. the maturity of internal processes for quality assurance and the maintenance of academic standards and academic integrity.

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.