|Professor Sheelagh Matear (Executive Director, Academic Quality Agency for New Zealand Universities, New Zealand)|
Quality assurance expectations and methods need to evolve to meet the changing needs of universities (and other institutions), governments and students. Quality assurance also needs to be forward looking to ensure that it addresses future challenges to academic quality. Therefore, the agencies responsible for undertaking quality assurance also need be future focussed and evolve.The Academic Quality Agency for New Zealand universities has been in existence for 25 years this year. In contrast to many quality assurance bodies, it has remained in largely the same form and employing the same overall method of quality assurance. Despite this apparent ‘sameness’, how AQA will undertake its sixth cycle of academic audit constitutes both continuity and evolution in academic quality. It needs to both reflect and respond to changes impacting on universities and continue to support the maintenance of high standards of academic quality that New Zealand universities are known for.