KILAW’s Quality Assurance Policy
Quality assurance was a core concept from the outset of the school’s inception, therefore it was a key element when establishing the Advisory Committee and in informing School policies and processes relating to curriculum developments, staffing, regulations, recruitment and admission policies, committee structures and students’ skills development and learning outcomes.
Quality assurance policies and processes underpin the culture of continuous improvement at KILAW. These have been approved by the Board of Trustees and implemented across the institution. The policies are reviewed regularly by the Quality Assurance and accreditation Office (QAAO), the School’s Council, the President and the Board of Trustees annually and where appropriate updated to reflect the perspectives of School’s departments, internal and external stakeholders’ opinions, and requirements of the PUC. The Policies are comprehensive and cover aspects of the School functions, in conjunction with the Quality Assurance Handbook.
This section provides an overview of the general QA policies in place and where appropriate further detailed information addressing specific areas of School Activities. An overview of the QA policies are publicly available via the Academic Guide which is published in the School’s Website.
The general policies for quality assurance are as follow:
- KILAW’s vision is to achieve excellence in legal education with a critical thinking approach embedded within its continuous quality assurance policies and processes, that vision should be implemented by all entities and departments within the school structure.
- The Vision, Mission, Objectives and Values guide KILAW in all aspects of its operations, including its quality assurance and enhancement activities. Thus they are kept in mind by all faculty, supporting staff and administrators because they set out the ultimate purpose for KILAW’s existence and maintaining the best practices for quality legal education.
- The school adopted a five years strategic plan to maintain the steady and sound development of the School.
- The School is adhering to the clear statements in the establishing documents which refer to quality standards and benchmarking by reference to PUC, AALS, QAA evaluation and accreditation.
- KILAW’s structures were created to ensure clear governance and management arrangements and permit best practice in the delivery of outstanding legal education.
- The School promotes non-discriminatory principles, as stated in its vision, mission and objectives. School policies support the delivery of programmes, services and resources on the national drive for equality and diversity within a friendly and supportive environment.
- The Board of Trustees is responsible for overseeing adherence with quality policies, regulations and bylaws to ensure it implementation and review via periodic reports. The Board of Trustees is the highest authority in the school, maintaining oversight of Governance and the quality of the School’s activities in teaching and research. It is responsible for overall policy and the monitoring and evaluation of implementation plans. It reviews to School’s activities and confirms continuing alignment with the law, regulations and its founding principles and mission.
- The president maintains oversight of the quality assurance policies and reports on compliance via regular reports to the Board of Trustees.
- The school council has a broad membership and students are represented at its meetings. It monitors compliance across the different departments within the School, to ensure consistency and efficacy. The School Council debates, develops and reviews policies, standards and guidance to improve the level of working in all aspects of academic, administrative and financial functions and in the development and evaluation of quality and standards across its provision.
- KILAW’s academic departments assume executive and coordination roles under the supervision of the Dean and the School Council. Departmental Heads coordinate the teaching schedule, propose the higher studies programmes and research topic, reflecting all aspects of quality standards and follow up on the implementation of the School Council policy.
- KILAW develops quality assurance policies that ensure and maintain the distinguished performance of the institution towards excellence in legal education, therefore the quality assurance policies are comprehensive from top to bottom and in all aspects of KILAW’s activities (See details of each departmental policy.
- KILAW established its Quality Assurance and Accreditation committee in 2012. It was renamed in 2015 and is now the Quality Assurance and Accreditation Office (QAAO). Its main purpose is to oversee the operation of all current and future quality assurance and accreditation processes at KILAW. The QAAO meets regularly to discuss and review quality assurance and accreditation issues.
- Members of the QAAO (most of who are faculty members) have participated in specialized seminars on quality assurance and accreditation, to gain further experience in this area. The school is responsive to accreditation requirements from the PUC. The QAAO prepared the school quality assurance handbook page and policies, which were debated and approved by school council and Board of Trustees.
- KILAW ensures transparency in its approach to quality assurance by making documents and publications available to the public via its website LINK and issuing hard copies of its Academic Guide to all staff and students.
- Although KILAW adopt a transparent policy and consequently published its documents as well as informing the public by different means and publications, confidentiality is an essential part of this policy for classified documents.
- The Planning Office was established at the same time as the QAAO. It provides regular updates to the President and School Council in relation to progress against the School Plan and produces an annual summary of the key priorities for the School.
- The School has a number of agreements with Associate Universities and these Universities are conducting a review every two years.
- KILAW recognizes the importance of maintaining academic relations and academic links with other Arab and international universities and institutions. It has adopted a policy of engaging with others via a range of agreements for academic cooperation with selected international universities and institutions. The purpose of these links is varied and includes academic consultation, assistance and support to enrich and improve the quality of the school’s education according to international academic standards and practices and to provide research and teaching opportunities for staff and students.
- On a macro scale, all programmes at KILAW are subject to external quality review via Associate Universities, the AAB, the PUC and the UK’s Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) to ensure the adherence to international standards.
- KILAW is participating and supporting regional and international organisations to enhance quality legal education. For examples KILAW is leading an initiative with a number of GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) law Schools to establish an association to strengthen the academic standards and cooperation and provide solutions for the challenges that face the GCC Law Schools.
- KILAW has put in place an external examiner system, their reports are considered by the School Council. External peer review is an important aspect of the production of law journal articles, master’s thesis and the QAA international quality review.
- The school maintains a very strict faculty/student ratio (1:20) which is in line with best practice nationally and internationally.
- The Registrar ensures the success of the processes related to recruitment, admission and registration/enrolment and provides regular updates to the School Council.
- The School has rigorous entry requirements in place and ensures the recruitment of capable students who, in addition to academic achievement have demonstrated aptitude in English and Arabic languages.
- The School periodically reviews its Admissions Policy and has introduced a number of amendments, that included:
- Transparent admissions that align with the school’s capacity (that is set annually by the Board of Trustees), in accordance with the School’s capability and facilities and market demands.
- Promoting widening access to KILAW’s programmes of study by targeting quality students from under-representative groups and supporting them in their application to the School.
- The Admissions and Registration Departments liaise regularly with prospective and existing students to ensure they are clear about the systems in place to support them prior to and during their studies at KILAW.
- Students at KILAW have access to high quality academic services and support to ensure they are able to achieve their potential. Services include the admission office, registration office, students’ guidance office, students’ development and competitions department and student’s activities office, the Library and computing. The Deanship Committee provides a useful forum for further advice and guidance to the President and School Council in relation to staff and student experience at KILAW.
- Student admission criteria is pre-defined and based on policy that has been reviewed by the Student Affairs’ Deanship and School Council and approved by the Board of Trustees.
- The learning outcomes of the school’s programmes and curricula have been designed and developed to align with the School’s mission to achieve excellence in legal education based on critical thinking and internationalisation.
- KILAW’s vision and mission statements clearly articulate the importance of faculty and post-graduate students engaging in high quality research that in turn provides research informed teaching within the School’s taught provision.
- Three committees oversee assessment processes within the School. The Examinations Committee, the High Examiners Committee and the External Examiners Committee. They oversee and check the process of midterm and final exams and confirm compliance with the assessment polices.
- KILAW applies strict policies with regard to cheating to eliminate the dishonesty, and maintain quality standards. The Student Affairs committee reviews all cases of cheating and where appropriate proposes changes to the policies and guidance issued to staff and students.
- KILAW supports academic freedom in principle and in practice. Faculty and students are encouraged to write academic research papers that accurately represent legal and social issues. Papers may be reviewed before publication but the purpose is to ensure academic integrity and quality.
- All programmes are subject to annual monitoring and periodic review processes and procedures.
- Students automatically become members of the Student Association when they enroll at KILAW. KILAW provides financial and ethical support and oversees arrangements for the Student Assembly meetings that take place at least once a year.
- The School has adopted a clear policy for supporting the library, which is based on an open budget for the library’s books and resources. Staff and students are able to request books and other resources and these are considered favorably by the School Council.
- KILAW facilitates exposure of its students to a special development programmes as well as opportunities to participate in internal and external annual competitions.
- Student feedback is a central part of Faculty review. At the end of each course two questionnaires are completed by the students – one focusing on the course and the other on the member(s) of staff that delivered the programme. Peer observation of teaching is undertaken and international expert regularly visit the School and undertake class observations and deliver lectures on specific topics of relevance. Performance management of faculty that do not meet expectations is undertaken and where appropriate support to improve performance is put in place and kept under review by the Head of Department.
- Promotion of faculty is based on a transparent processes with faculty required to provide evidence of quality contributions in teaching, research and community activities. Feedback is provided to unsuccessful candidates.
- Teaching assistants are a unique feature of KILAW’s support for learning, teaching and assessment. Their role provides crucial guidance for all students, but is focused on students where their attendance/grades are of concern. The majorities of TA are fluent in English and Arabic, attend courses and are able to help students to deepen their understanding of the taught courses. They support staff in the prepare and use of Power point and other technologies and engage in research support.
- Providing opportunities for faculty to gain international experience in research is a driving element of the School. They encourage staff to participate in external conferences and seminars and provide generous financial support. The School also hosts an annual international conference which is a platform to quality research and research exchange experiences for staff and students.
- The overall purpose of the School’s policies and processes is to achieve continuous quality improvement in all areas of KILAW’s activities. KILAW aims to build a global reputation as a leading law institution. Thus, we believe that these policies and procedures will help us to achieve that goal. This document began with the Vision and Mission of KILAW. The ultimate purpose of this document, and the purposes of all the policies and procedures mentioned herein, is to realise the Vision and Mission of KILAW.