Swansea University achieves highest possible rating for learning and teaching

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Swansea University has achieved a gold rating, the highest rating possible, in the national Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework (TEF), cementing its position as a top UK university.

The result puts Swansea in a small group of universities that can claim to be genuinely elite – ranked highly for both research and for teaching excellence.

The result follows Swansea’s recent success in the 2019 Guardian University Guide that saw Swansea become Wales’ highest ranked university, increasing its overall ranking to 31st in the UK.

TEF is a UK Government initiative that aims to recognise, reward and improve excellent learning and teaching at higher education providers across the UK. It also aims to provide students with clear information about where teaching quality is best and where students have achieved the best outcomes.

Professor Peter Dunstan teaching male and female physics students

Universities are assessed by an independent TEF panel of teaching and learning academics, students, employment experts, and widening participation experts on their performance across three broad areas: teaching quality, learning environment, and student outcomes and learning gain – with a gold rating requiring evidence of consistently outstanding provision in all three.

Feedback from the panel said that students from all backgrounds studying at Swansea achieve consistently outstanding outcomes, and that there is clear evidence of personalised high-quality support for student learning, including Welsh-medium opportunities, and pastoral care.

There are also outstanding levels of student satisfaction with academic support for full-time students that are above Swansea’s benchmark. Rates of progression to highly skilled employment or further study are also above Swansea’s benchmark.

Swansea University has also been recognised for:

• a clear employability strategy with very high levels of engagement from employers and professional bodies.

• course design and assessment practices that provide engaging student learning opportunities, resulting in students acquiring knowledge, skills and understanding that are most highly valued by employers.

• the strength and diversity of staff-student partnerships.

• a cross-disciplinary approach to impactful, world-leading research that influences teaching and learning.

• a strong culture of reward and recognition for teaching and integration with research and scholarship.

• outstanding physical and digital resources with very high levels of investment to enhance student learning.

Pro-vice-chancellor, Professor Martin Stringer, welcomed the result: “This gold award reflects the high calibre of teaching and the outstanding student experience that Swansea has to offer, both of which are enhanced by our world-class research and facilities. 

“The recent Guardian University Guide found Swansea to be the top university in Wales and to have one of the best employability prospects for graduates in the UK. Students are at the heart of what we do, and our employability strategy equips our graduates well for their future careers. We work to develop their confidence and character, helping them to prepare for a good life, not just a good career.

“This gold rating is testament to the quality of our teaching, and I am incredibly proud of all the academics who have worked so hard to make this happen”.