External Review of Academic Units and Disciplines Policy


This document applies to academic units that have responsibilities for teaching and research.

This policy and the related procedures do not apply to faculties (other than Law), programmes, research units, centres and institutes, and administrative units.


To clarify the policy that relates to the external review of academic units at the University.


In 2012, the institutional framework for quality assurance of academic units was revised. The new framework has two components:

  • ongoing, systematic quality assurance through established processes of monitoring and reporting within departments and faculties, and
  • periodic external reviews having a tight focus on teaching and learning and research performance evaluated against national and international benchmarks.


1. The primary purpose of periodic external reviews is to evaluate performance against key strategic objectives, and to provide information that will inform strategic planning and resource allocation at faculty and university level.

2. The unit to be reviewed is to be determined by the Provost or Delegate and faculty deans.

3. The academic unit review process is to be based upon the following guiding principles:

  • reviews are to be sharply focused, and are intended to allow internal and external perspectives to be brought to bear that are not available through routine reporting
  • reviews are to focus on curricula, teaching delivery and research performance in a comparative context by reference to internationally benchmarked universities
  • external academic reviews are to be conducted on a 7-10 year cycle
  • the Provost or delegate is to maintain a 3 year rolling plan for reviews to facilitate review planning
  • the starting point for the review is the preparation of a reflective and analytical portfolio
  • reviews are an objective peer assessment by a panel of internal and external colleagues
  • a senior University of Auckland academic must chair the review
  • a short review event is to be conducted to facilitate discussion among panel members and enable them to secure additional information and conduct any interviews required to clarify issues under consideration
  • the panel is to submit a written report to the Provost or delegate
  • review report findings are to reflect a consideration of performance in the context of the Taumata Teitei | Vision 2030 and Strategic Plan 2025, international standards and New Zealand conditions 
  • implementation of key action areas must be monitored by Education Committee and Research Committee through a series of progress reports


The following definitions apply to this document:

Academic unit may be a school, department, disciplines within a department, a broader disciplinary area across a number of departments, or a large scale research unit (LSRU).

Review event is when the review panel convenes to conduct its assessment. It is typically held over three days in an online format, and over two days in a face-to-face format.

University means the Waipapa Taumata Rau | University of Auckland and includes all subsidiaries. 

Key relevant documents

Document management and control

Owner: Provost
Content manager: Academic Reviews Manager
Approved by: Council
Date approved: 13 October 2022
Review date: 13 October 2027