The Open University Audit Visit

11 February 2016

MRC Unit The Gambia was approved by the Open University (UK) as an Affiliated Research Centre (ARC) in 2006. MRC Unit The Gambia is one of a number (26) of the OU’s Affiliated Research Centres, situated in the UK and worldwide.

Centres are visited once every 3 years to assess compliance with the UK Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) Quality Code for Higher Education as well as compliance with Open University policies and procedures. The first MRC Unit The Gambia OU PhD was awarded to the former Unit Director, Professor Tumani Corrah in 1995 and so far, MRC Unit The Gambia has produced 21 PhDs & 4 MPhils.

Recently, Dr Sara Spencer (OU administrative reviewer) and Dr Robert Saunders (OU Academic Reviewer) made an inspection visit to MRC Unit the Gambia from 26 January to 29 January 2016. The purpose of their visit is to see how the students’ degree process is overseen, talk to the students, academic staff and visit the facilities, and to ensure compliance with the regulations of the QAA Code. The outcome of the visit will determine whether the MRC Unit The Gambia will continue as an ARC, stop registering students or withdraw ARC status.

As a prerequisite of the OU, the MRCG is asked every 3 years to evaluate the operation of its research degree which includes its facilities, support activities, governance, procedures, policies and third party monitoring. MRC Unit The Gambia currently have six students registered for the OU research degree under the able leadership Dr Martin Antonio (ARC Research Degree Coordinator) and Mrs Mariatou Sallah (OU administrator).

The audit started with an introductory session with Unit leadership and senior ARC managers. The audit included a discussion with the Supervisors and an informal discussion with students about their perceptions and knowledge of the programme. The student folders were assessed and the auditors conducted an interview with the OU administrator.

The auditors were accompanied by Dr Martin Antonio for a tour of the student facilities, which includes the library, computing facilities, as well as the office/desk space used by students. The students had the opportunity to showcase the research work in the form of a poster display, followed by a seminar on “Modelling Werner Syndrome in Drosophila” by Dr Robert Saunders.

The audit closed with an initial feedback session attended by the ARC review team, which included senior management and Research Degrees Co-ordinator and the ARC programme administrator. Overall the auditors were satisfied with the current audit and will send the report subsequently.


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