Nominated By: Aurelija Valeikiene
Nominee Application Form: Part A
Title: Doctor
Family Names(s): Cairns
Mailing Address: 1 Vine Way
GL20 5FJ
Country: United Kingdom
Office Telephone: 44 1684 292196
Office Fax: 44 1684 292197 (call first)
Residence Telephone: 44 1684 292197
Email: david.cairns@qaresearch.net
Nationality/Citizenship: UK Citizen
Gender: Male
Date of Birth: 05-08-1948
Current Position: Director
Current Employer: Quality Assurance Research for Higher Education Ltd
Please indicate your fluency levels in various languages (Comma Separated)
Fluent in Reading: ENGLISH, FRENCH, GERMAN
Fluent in Writing: ENGLISH
Fluent in Speaking: ENGLISH
Academic Qualifications and Training
1. Degree, Institution, Year Completed: BA (Hons) Mediaeval and Modern History, University of Hull, 1969
2. Degree, Institution, Year Completed: PhD, University of Keele, 1978
3. Degree, Institution, Year Completed: LLB, Council for National Academic Awards, 1986
Nominee Application Form: Part B
  • Institutional quality assurance reviews / audits
  • Program reviews / accreditations
  • General QA consultancy
  • Setting up of new QA agency
  • Training of experts/external reviewers
  • Internal QA of institutions
  • Self study guidance to institutions
  • External review of institutions
  • Quality Indicators and benchmarks
  • External Review of QAAs
  • Institutional assessment
  • Institutional quality audits
  • Institutional accreditation
  • QA of cross border offerings
Other (please specify): Information Systems to support learning, teaching and quality management
Examples of Experience: National & International Consultations / Audit / Review
1. Brief Description: External review of tertiary institutions regulations and quality assurance arrangements for the government of Mauritius
Institution/City/Country: Mauritius
Date: 2015
Type of Experience:
  • Consultancy
  • Institutional Audit / Assessment
2. Brief Description: External review of Galician quality assurance agency ACSUG for ENQA; external review of Romanian Quality Assurance Agency ARACIS for ENQA
Institution/City/Country: Galicia/Spain; Romania
Date: 2013-14
Type of Experience:
  • Institutional Audit / Assessment
3. Brief Description: External expert in validation of quality assurance arrangements for collaborative programme in sound engineering
Institution/City/Country: Ireland
Date: 2014
Type of Experience:
  • Institutional Audit / Assessment
  • Programme Review / Accreditation
4. Brief Description: 2009-
Independent HE consultant on institutional development, enhancement and governance
Institution/City/Country: More than 12 individual contracts with more than five individual institutions
Date: Ongoing
Type of Experience:
  • Consultancy
  • Institutional Audit / Assessment
Nominee Application Form: Part C
Please write a professional profile of 500 words.
Professional Summary Description: In the 1970s I researched the recent history and politics of cooperation in science and technology in Europe and as a Research Fellow advised on science policy in Ireland.

From the late 1970s I began to research write and teach in Irish cultural politics. I was the founding Honorary Secretary of the British Association for Irish studies from 1984-89 in which capacity I established its governance arrangements. I completed my law degree as a part-time evening student in 1986.

In the 1990s I joined the Council for National Academic Awards (CNAA) and moved from lecturing to developing and safeguarding quality and academic standards. When CNAA closed in 1992 I was part of the small team that established its successor, the Higher Education Quality Council in the UK and, in turn, its successor the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education. For both HEQC and QAA I designed and managed the information systems infrastructure while at the same time undertaking institutional audits and audits of transnational higher education arrangements. From 2004 I designed managed and led a team using computer-aided qualitative analysis to make thematic reports on institutional performance in higher education. At QAA I led the development of parts of what are now the UK Quality Code For Higher Education and with QAA's support participated in several "capacity building" projects as a British Council resource (expert) in southern Africa, Turkey, and West Africa.

Since leaving QAA in 2009 I have provided higher education consultancy services for public and private higher education institutions, national quality assurance agencies and entrepreneurs, specialising in academic governance; the support and development of regulatory systems for institutions and agencies; forensic academic audits of institutional arrangements, and capacity building. My consultancy routinely uses computer-aided qualitative analysis in aspects of this work.

David Cairns

Since leaving QAA I have served as a review coordinator and review chair for ENQA (three reviews) and for two of the predecessors of Quality and Qualifications Ireland; for SKVC, the Lithuanian quality agency, and most recently for EKKA the Estonian quality agency.
I am a QAA Associate, in which capacity I am currently serving as a consultant on a project for the Government of Mauritius.

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