Rating universities on academic development: QS Stars | Top Universities

Rating universities on academic development: QS Stars

By Staff Writer

Updated September 23, 2022 Updated September 23, 2022

Academic development provides students with knowledge and skills in the classroom that will help them achieve professional success later in life. Some examples of ways to help students develop academically are by offering tailored services and activities, study sessions, language learning and other diverse learning opportunities.

Below are the indicators for this QS Stars category, and what each involve.

Teaching and research assistantships

Points will be awarded for if the student body participates in teaching or research assistantships.

An assistantship is a form of funding where student works as an assistant in exchange for partial or full tuition and/or a small living expense to spend.

Students who are awarded research assistantships become research assistants and are assigned to work in a faculty member's lab. Duties of research assistants vary by discipline.

Students who are awarded teaching assistantships become a teacher’s assistant and may be assigned to teach a class (often introductory undergraduate classes), hold office hours, run tutorial sessions, lead discussion groups, grade student assignments and exams, supervise lab sections and answer student emails.

Teaching and research assistantships may be offered by the student’s faculty advisor or through the student’s graduate academic department. Research assistantships may be tied to the student’s academic advisor’s research contracts.

Learning development centre

A learning development centre is defined as a professional environment that provides academic assistance for all students in developing the knowledge, skills and strategies that will help them to become confident, independent and active learners. The centre should provide a range of individual consultations, workshops and programmes to help students identify and develop the academic skills they need for success in their studies. Centres devoted to a sub-group of the study body will not be accepted.

Academic consultation hours

This indicator measures how much time a lecturer spends with their students outside the classroom. ‘Academic consultation hours’ refers to the number of hours devoted by the academic faculty to being available to students in order to discuss individual questions or concerns.

Faculty development programmes

Universities will be awarded points if their faculty members participate in faculty development programmes. The programmes should help enrich the teaching and professional development of faculty members. These might include programmes related to the faculty’s area of expertise (such as ongoing practical training for a professor of medicine), development concerning lecturing or working with students, or programmes to learn new university systems and technologies.

Member of university networks

A university network refers to a coalition of universities with the intent of sharing resources, improving finances and educating students. This indicator is a combination of different types of networks at international, national and regional levels.

  • A national network is defined as a consortium where all institutions are in the same country or in two very closely related countries (such as the United Kingdom and Ireland).
  • A regional network has university members from different countries within the same global region; and international network includes members from institutions across at least two regions.

QS Stars does the evaluating for you, so you can easily see where a university’s strengths are in order to find a programme that suits your priorities. Take a look at which universities have achieved a high QS Stars rating for their approach to academic development.

This article was originally published in September 2022 .

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