This chapter begins with definitions of key terms in quality assurance for university teaching. Quality, quality assurance, and, indeed, teaching itself are still open to a range of interpretations. This chapter looks at different ways in which the terms have been used and their implications.

A second aim is to identify some of the key issues in quality assurance for university teaching. These include problems in assuring quality for teaching in the light of two paradoxes. These paradoxes concern knowledge of teaching and its use to evidence practice, and the professional qualification of teachers as teachers. The knowledge paradox is that in universities dedicated to knowledge there is little attention to knowledge about teaching. The qualification paradox is that in universities where much of the work is concerned with professional qualifications, only a minority of lecturers have a professional qualification in teaching. Other issues include outcome measures for teaching and the accreditation of programmes.

A third aim is to make some comparisons between 1993 when Quality Assurance for University Teaching was published and the situation in 2017. These comparisons will cover four topics. The first is quality assurance systems, both in universities and applying to universities. The second is the evidence-based identification of quality in teaching and its use to underpin teaching. The third is teacher training for university lecturers. The fourth is the involvement of students in identifying and developing quality.

The chapter will conclude by summarizing the content of the other 35 chapters in the rest of the book which will, of course, relate to the issues raised in this chapter.