External Review of Academic Units and Disciplinary Areas 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.


The institutional framework for quality assurance of academic units 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.

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 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 site visit (two days) 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 Vice-Chancellor
  • review report findings are to reflect a consideration of performance in the context of 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, disciplinary area within a department, a broader disciplinary area across a number of departments, or a large scale research unit (LSRU).

University means the University of Auckland and includes all subsidiaries.

Key relevant documents

Document management and control

Owner: Pro Vice-Chancellor Education
Content manager: Academic Reviews Manager
Approved by: Council
Date approved: 27 July 2020
Review date: 27 July 2023