The Higher Education Standards Panel (HESP)

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The Higher Education Standards Panel (HESP) is an expert statutory advisory body, established under the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency Act 2011 (TEQSA Act), with responsibility related to the standards for delivery of higher education in Australia.

Panel membership

HESP Member Role
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

HESP Member profiles.

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.

Comments are welcome on the proposed amendments by close of business Friday 25 September 2020 to HigherEd@dese.gov.au.

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.

Previous work

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.

Resources

The following is a list of all the resources that are associated with The Higher Education Standards Panel (HESP).

Results

  1. Overview of draft legislation to tackle contract cheating

    Created: 7 April 2019

    An overview of the draft legislation which outlines key elements of the Bill

  2. Panel Chair's Presentation- 14 May 2014

    Created: 29 April 2015

    The Higher Education Standards Panel - Panel Chair's Presentation - 14 May 2014

  3. Professional Accreditation: Mapping the territory

    Created: 4 September 2017

    A report that examines the extent and scope of course accreditation practices by professional bodies in Australian higher education

  4. Proposed Higher Education Standards Framework Consultation Draft - April 2014

    Created: 6 May 2015

    Proposed Higher Education Standards Framework Consultation Draft - April 2014

  5. Report on the Independent Review of the Higher Education Standards Framework

    Created: 16 October 2015

    Report on the Independent Review of the Higher Education Standards Framework undertaken by the Higher Education Standards Panel

  6. Review of the Higher Education Provider Category Standards- Discussion Paper

    Created: 30 November 2018

    This Discussion Paper set out a number of considerations to help guide submissions to the PCS Review, including:...

  7. Scoping study to inform the Review of the Higher Education Provider Category Standards

    Created: 30 November 2018

    The University of Melbourne was commissioned in June 2018 to undertake a scoping study on the Higher Education Provider Category Standards (PCS) to help inform the Higher...

  8. Summary of stakeholder feedback on the HESP advice on contract cheating

    Created: 7 April 2019

    A summary of feedback received on the HESP advice from 29 stakeholders

  9. The Higher Education Standards Panel’s advice on the impacts of professional accreditation in higher education

    Created: 27 February 2018

    Advice from the Higher Education Standards Panel to the Minister for Education and Training on the impacts of professional accrediation in higher education and options to reduce...

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