CHE institutional audit of UCT

21 September 2021 | VC Prof Mamokgethi Phakeng

Dear colleagues

I am writing to you regarding the preparation of the self-evaluation report (SER) for the Council on Higher Education (CHE) institutional audit of the University of Cape Town (UCT). The last time I wrote to you about this the university was in the process of constituting an Institutional Audit Steering Committee responsible for the development of the SER and oversight of the audit preparation. The Steering Committee, chaired by Deputy Vice-Chancellors Associate Professor Lis Lange and Professor Sue Harrison, concluded the establishment of workstreams at the end of July.

The workstreams have now met and are starting to collect information on UCT’s quality management practices. The workstreams will use this to reflect on the effectiveness and coherence of our quality assurance system in enabling student success and on the core functions of teaching and learning, research and social responsiveness. It is important for this self-review process to gather a range of examples of practices that both speak to the nuances of how the individual faculties and support departments integrate quality at UCT, but also understand where there are areas for improvement. The workstreams are thus required to be comprehensive in their approach to collating information.

I am alerting you that workstream members will be identifying contacts in faculties and support departments for the provision of information on quality management practices and will shortly be approaching those contacts for information on UCT’s practices.

What types of information may be sought by the workstreams?

The workstreams will seek to respond and provide documentary evidence to questions about the functioning of quality assurance at UCT in relation to the four audit focus areas. These can for example, be as follows:

Practices that attest to policy implementation broadly in relation to teaching and learning:

  • Which faculty governance structures are responsible for teaching and learning matters and what mechanisms are available for these governance structures to report on matters related to enhancing student success, to wider university structures (for example via constitution of a committee; reporting line of the governance structure)?

Practices that relate to procedures for course and programme review:

  • Describe departmental and faculty level procedures for soliciting student and course feedback and how student feedback is used.
  • Provide examples of how the department’s moderation and external examining procedures align to the university’s policy.

Practices that identify alignment to UCT’s research strategy:

  • What mechanisms are used by the department to encourage academic staff to be research active?
  • What mechanisms are used by the department for researcher development?

Practices that identify alignment to UCT’s social responsiveness strategy:

  • Provide examples of engaged scholarship in the department.
  • Provide examples of formal programmes with in-service learning or community-based education programmes.

The timeline for the approval of the SER is as follows:



Collation of information for workstream reports


Workstreams to submit draft respective workstream reports as per their data and information collection


Cross-functional writing team completes draft SER


Special Senate approval*


Final Senate Approval




*A special Senate will be convened in January 2022 to approve the draft SER and make recommendations for revisions. Final Senate approval will be in early March 2022.

It is important that we all support the effort of putting together this self-evaluation. This exercise is not just a matter of compliance. It has the potential to help UCT improve its internal processes for quality assurance. I encourage you to provide any responses or documents timeously in order to support the development of UCT’s SER.


Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng

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