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Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


TEQSA - What and who is it?

Q.  What is TEQSA?

A.   The Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) is Australia's regulatory and quality agency for higher education.  Its primary role is to ensure that students receive a high quality education at any Australian higher education provider.  TEQSA commenced quality assurance activities on 30 July 2011 and will commence its regulatory functions on 30 January 2012.

Q.   Who is TEQSA?

A.    On 16 August 2011, Senator Chris Evans, Minister for Tertiary Education, announced the appointment of the Chief Commissioner and four other commissioners which will now form TEQSA's senior leadership team:

Chief Commissioner

Dr Carol Nicoll, former CEO of the Australian Learning and Teaching Council (ALTC).  Dr Nicoll has also held senior positions in the Commonwealth's Education Department and was the Australian Minister-Counsellor for Education, Science and Training in Europe.

Full-time Commissioners (2)

Mr Michael Beaton-Wells, former Executive Director of Finance and Planning at the University of Melbourne.

Ms Dorte Kristofferson, higher education quality assurance expert with extensive audit experience both internationally and in Australia.  Dorte was also Audit Director for Monash's Cycle 1 AUQA Audit.

Part-time Commissioners (2)

Mr Ian Hawke, currently TEQSA's Interim Chief Executive Officer and formerly Assistant Director-General (Tertiary and non-State Education) for the Department of Education and Training in Queensland.

Mr Eric Mayne, former head of ASX Market Supervision and Chair of the ASX Corporate Governance Council.


TEQSA - The Regulator

Q.   What is TEQSA's regulatory function?

A.    Under the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency Act 2011, higher education providers must be registered by TEQSA in order to operate as a higher education provider in Australia. From January 2012, TEQSA will maintain a list of higher education providers on its  provider register. 

Universities will move to a rolling seven year registration period in future.

TEQSA will ensure that all providers meet the various standards.

The New Standards Framework

Q.    How will TEQSA decide to register/re-register higher education providers?

A.     TEQSA will evaluate and register the performance of higher education providers against a new Higher Education Standards Framework.

Q.   Who Sets the Standards?

A.    The Higher Education Standards Panel is responsible for developing  and monitoring the Higher Education Standards Framework and is appointed by the Minister for Tertiary Education, in consultation with the Minister for Research.  The Panel is independent of the TEQSA Commission and advisory to the Minister for Tertiary Education and Minister for Research.

Membership of the Standards Panel is as follows:

Professor Alan Robson, Vice-Chancellor of The University of Western Australia (Foundation Chair),
Professor Joanne Wright, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice President Academic, University of South Australia,
Professor Richard James, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Participation and Engagement) and Director of the Centre for the Study of Higher Education, University of Melbourne,
Professor David Siddle, former Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), University of Queensland, and
Ms Adrienne Nieuwenhuis, Director - Quality, Tertiary Education, Science and Resarch, South Australian Department of Further Education, Employment, Science and Technology and Member, National Skills Standards Council.

TEQSA's Regulatory Framework

Q.   What is TEQSA's Regulatory Framework?

A.   The Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency Act 2011 includes three basic principles for regulations with which TEQSA must comply:

  1. The principle of regulatory necessity.
  2. The principle of reflecting risk.
  3. The principle of proportionate regulation.

Together, the principles underpin TEQSA's risk-based approach.  The intention is to regulate institutions commensurate with the risk they pose.

Q.   What is the new regulatory environment in Australia?

A.   The regulatory environment for Australian universities now comprises the following:

  • Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) Act
  • Higher Education Support Act (HESA)
  • Education Services for Overseas students (ESOS) Act
  • State Governments establishing Universities (eg. Monash University Act). 

TEQSA - The Quality Assurance Agency

Q.   Will quality audits continue under TEQSA?

A.   TEQSA will undertake both compliance assessments and quality assessments.  TEQSA undertakes quality assessments as part of its quality assurance and quality enhancement responsibilities, to inform regulatory decisions about compliance with the Threshold Standards. They will also be used to identify, validate, and promote the adoption of good practice in meeting the requirements of the TEQSA Act, and in particular the Higher Education Standards Framework, across the higher education sector.The Agency may conduct quality assessments across the whole higher education sector, a sample of providers, or a single provider.

Q.  When is Monash's next quality audit?

A.   In January 2013, TEQSA announced that two quality assessments would be conducted in 2013 focussing on 1) Third Party Arrangements and 2) English Language Proficiency.  The Agency has now published the Terms of Reference for the Quality Assessment on Third Party Arrangements (pdf 138kB) and an Information Sheet to outline the Agency's approach to conducting quality assessments (pdf 103kB).  TEQSA has not yet announced the on the timing of the quality assessments this year.

 Q.   Who is coordinating preparations for Monash's Quality Assessment?

A.   The Monash Quality Unit in the Office of Planning and Quality coordinates the University's application for renewal of registration and annual quality assessments by the Agency.

Q.   Who can I contact for further information on TEQSA or the Cycle 2 Quality Audit?

A.    Contact details for staff from the Monash Quality Unit are as follows:

Monash Quality Unit (MQU)
Room B30, Building 3A, Clayton Campus

  • Ms Judy Duffy, Director, MQU, Extn: 51605
  • Ms Helen Spittle, TEQSA Audit Officer, MQU, Extn: 51410
  • Ms Farrah Vintsarevich, Quality and Standards Officer, MQU, Extn: 59097