|Professor Emeritus Ian O'Connor AC||Chair|
|Professor Kerri-Lee Krause||Deputy Chair|
|Professor Steve Chapman||Member|
|Dr Krystal Evans||Member|
|Dr Sadie Heckenberg||Member|
|The Hon Phil Honeywood||Member|
|Ms Adrienne Nieuwenhuis||Member|
|Dr Don Owers||Member|
|Dr David Perry||Member|
|Ms Kadi Taylor||Member|
Role and responsibilities
The Higher Education Standards Panel is an expert advisory body established under the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency Act 2011 (TEQSA Act 2011) which provides independent advice to the Commonwealth Minister(s) responsible for tertiary education and research. The Panel's work is independent of the quality assurance agency, the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA).
The primary functions of the Panel are to advise and make recommendations to the Minister for Education – either at the Minister's request or the Panel's own initiative – on making or varying the Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2015, and other matters relating to the Standards. The Panel is responsible for advice on how to maintain the quality and standards of Australia's higher education system.
The Panel can also advise and make recommendations to TEQSA on matters relating to the Standards – either at TEQSA's request or the Panel's own initiative. The Panel must consult interested parties in carrying out its work. If needed, the Panel can establish advisory committees to assist in performing any of its functions.
Current HESP projects
Academic Credit Recognition
In 2018, the then Minister for Education and Training, Senator the Hon Simon Birmingham, requested the Panel’s advice on whether credit transfer policies and the standards in higher education are adequately meeting the needs of students and institutions, noting the 2019 Review of the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF Review).
The HESP provided its advice and proposed amendments to the Threshold Standards to the Minister for Education, the Hon Dan Tehan on 30 March 2020. To support the Panel’s consideration, PhillipsKPA consultants were commissioned to undertake background research and provided a Academic Credit Recognition report.
Amending the Higher Education Standards Framework - Provider Category Standards
In October 2018 the Minister for Education, the Hon Dan Tehan MP, appointed Emeritus Professor Peter Coaldrake AO to review the Higher Education Provider Category Standards (PCS), which form Part B of the the Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2015.
The Minister released Professor Coaldrake’s final report on 15 October 2019, and on 10 December 2019, released the Australian Government’s response, which accepted the aim of all ten of the Review’s recommendations.
Minister Tehan asked the Panel to provide advice on amendments required to the Threshold Standards to implement the Review recommendations. The Panel undertook a consultation process that closed on 14 April 2020 and has provided its advice to the Minister on this matter.
Improving retention, completion and success in higher education
In June 2018, the Panel’s Final report: Improving retention, completion and success in higher education. All 18 recommendations were agreed in the Government’s Response. The Minister asked higher education providers to implement the Panel’s recommendations, with a particular focus on the development of institutional student retention strategies, taking account of the range of factors and interventions canvassed in the Panel’s report.
Advice on the impact of professional accreditation in higher education
The Panel's advice on the impact of professional accreditation in Australian higher education and opportunities to reduce the regulatory burden on higher education providers was provided in February 2018. The HESP’s advice was informed in part by a report commissioned from PhillipsKPA consultants, Professional Accreditation: Mapping the territory.
The Government has accepted the Panel's advice in principle.
Improving transparency of higher education admissions
The HESPs recommendations on options to improve the transparency of higher education student admissions policies, without significantly increasing regulation was released in its final report on 16 November 2016. The Government accepted the Panel's recommendations and announced its response to the Higher Education Standards Panel's report. More information on admissions transparency implementation can be found on the Admissions Transparency Implementation Working Group page.