Audit cultures and quality assurance mechanisms in England: a study of their perceived impact on the work of academics

Ming Cheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


Proponents of the concept of the audit culture in UK higher education argue that from the late 1990s onward audit functioned as a form of power control and had a profound effect on academics and their work. Such arguments continued to be made into the early 2000s. Since then, however, the level of external scrutiny surrounding UK academics' teaching has decreased. This paper presents a case study of academics at a pre-1992 university to examine how they perceived the audit culture and audit-related quality assurance mechanisms. This paper reveals that nearly two-thirds of those interviewed considered audit and quality assurance mechanisms as a bureaucratic practice that had little impact on their work. Only about one-third found the audit useful for improving undergraduate classroom teaching practice, particularly increasing academics' awareness of the importance of good teaching.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)259-271
Number of pages13
JournalTeaching in Higher Education
Issue number3
Early online date14 Jun 2010
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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