Approval of educational collaborative provision is for a specified period, normally five years. Towards the end of that period (6-9 months) the University carries out a formal review of the collaboration in order to make recommendations in respect of the nature and length of any future approval. Where a validated or franchised programme is also subject to validation by a professional body the review may be carried out conjointly.
The University’s system of reviews is one of its main instruments in the continuing process of quality assurance and enhancement for collaborative provision. The review process is part of a wider scheme of procedures for monitoring programmes which includes the appointment of University Coordinators and external examiners who report to the University on an annual basis, and the requirement that there is an annual report on each collaborative arrangement/programme following the procedure specified for the University’s own internal programmes.
One of the aims of the periodic review is to make recommendations in respect of the nature and length of any future approval of the collaborative arrangement concerned. The recommendations will take into account the institutional context in which the programme is delivered.
Periodic reviews are not concerned solely with passing judgement on past activity. The review process itself is intended to be positive and forward-looking. Key elements are:
- The opportunity for self-assessment by staff involved in delivering the programme as they prepare for review.
- The opportunity for relevant staff to consider and establish their future aims, objectives and priorities and to contribute to the planning process in respect of the collaboration.
- The opportunity to identify areas which could be improved.
Reviews are not the occasion for the evaluation of the performance of individuals. Matters relating to the personal development of members of staff are the business of the collaborative organisation’s own staff appraisal systems. However, as part of the review process, the University may seek evidence that arrangements relating to, e.g., continuing professional development and appraisal, are working effectively to ensure and enhance the quality of the student experience.
The University is mindful of the fact that its collaborative organisations are subject to a variety of forms of external audit and will, wherever possible, attempt to minimise the administrative burden of reviews by drawing upon existing documentation and reports by external agencies.
Appointment and Composition of Review Panel for Validated and Franchised Programmes
Review Panels will normally be set up by the Collaborative Provision Group (CPG) during the term before the review is scheduled to take place.
The composition of the Review Panel will normally be:
- Chair of the CPG, or nominee (Chair).
- One other member of the CPG (if appropriate previous Group members or staff trained as Educational Enhancement Process reviewers).
- One member of University academic staff to act as subject specialist (not previously involved with the programme to be reviewed).
- One external adviser (academic/business/professional) for validation arrangements (in a franchise arrangement there will be no need for an external adviser).
- Secretary of the CPG or nominee (Secretary) (in attendance).
No one involved in the delivery of the collaborative arrangement/programme under review may be a member of the Review Panel. Review Panel members will receive a copy of the Guidelines for Validation and Review Panels and other relevant information.
The University requires four/five copies of all documents to be provided to Academic Affairs at least four weeks in advance of a visit.
The documentation must be prefaced by a reflective statement in relation to the programme(s) and the collaboration. Its purpose is to provide an insight into the past (over the period of approval), and include details of any modifications which are to be made to the programme(s) and the rationale for those changes, as well as looking forward and highlighting plans that are in place to improve the provision and the student experience. The reflective statement should show the effectiveness of quality assurance and enhancement mechanisms in reviewing and enhancing provision. Examples of good practice should also be included. The Programme Team should ensure that the documentation complies with the relevant sections of the QAA Quality Code.
The Programme Team, in consultation with the University Coordinator will be asked to provide supporting documentation as follows (by agreement, the documentation may be in the format requested by, and provided for, another external agency, e.g. DARD, ETI, provided that the relevant information is obtained):
Enhancing the Quality of Education Provision
- Programme specification (including regulations).
- Module descriptions, including learning outcomes, level and credit values and assessment methods.
- Current advertising material.
- Copies of information given to students, including handbooks, reading lists, assessment guides and assessment requirements.
- Arrangements for academic appeals and student discipline.
Statistical Information, Covering the Last Three Years
- Number of applications and admissions per year.
- Entry qualifications of students.
- Students with disabilities.
- International students.
- Student attainment including progression and completion.
- Staff/student ratios for the period covered by the review.
Quality Assurance and Enhancement
- Module and programme reviews.
- External examiners reports for the period covered by the review.
- University Coordinator(s) reports for the period covered by the review.
- Minutes of SSCC meetings plus follow up actions.
- Arrangements for programme monitoring and enhancement.
- The method used for securing and responding to student feedback (National Student Survey, SSCC).
- Procedures for the internal management of the programme.
- Use made of Management Information Statistics.
- Engagement with University strategies.
- Engagement with employers.
- Any external audit and assessment reports relating to the programme(s).
- Comment on how the relevant sections of the QAA Quality Code, the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications (FHEQ) and subject benchmark statements are referenced as part of the quality assurance procedures.
Enhancing the Quality of Student Experience
- Academic and other staff (summary CVs for each member of academic staff contributing to programme delivery are required. CVs should normally be no more than 1-2 pages).
- Details of current library and information technology resources.
- Details of other institutional facilities available to students.
- Details of pastoral care arrangements.
- Advice and guidance.
- Careers information.
The Programme Team should also provide a copy of the existing MOA and any proposed revisions to the MOA.
The Chair of the CPG, in consultation with the Director of Academic and Student Affairs, will consider any request from a School to vary the level of documentation required.
The Review Visit
Review meetings will normally take place on a single day at the collaborative organisation. The Review Panel will meet in advance to consider the documentation and to identify any areas of concern and particular issues to be raised with the collaborative organisation. A tour of relevant facilities may also be undertaken, as appropriate, by the Review Panel. The Panel will then meet the Programme Director and other relevant staff, and separately, a group of students.
After the Review
The Secretary of the Review Panel will prepare a report on the periodic review on behalf of the Panel. The report will include one of the following recommendations in respect of future approval of the collaboration:
- Approval to continue for a specified period, future reviews to take place periodically.
- Approval to continue (subject to any conditions or recommendations).
- Approval to be withdrawn (candidates who have already embarked on the programme to remain eligible for a University award).
When the report is agreed by the Review Panel it will be sent to the Principal/Director of the collaborative organisation, the Programme Director at the collaborative organisation and the relevant Head of School and University Coordinator for the programme. The University believes that it is important that the report is considered not only at the level of the delivery of the programme, but at the level of senior management and within the governance structure of the collaborative organisation.
In the case of recommendation (ii) above, if the Programme Committee has difficulty in meeting the conditions or recommendations specified by the Panel, they are expected to report accordingly to the CPG, giving reasons, within four weeks of receiving the report. Otherwise the University Coordinator, on behalf of the Programme Team, will be required to provide a response to the recommendations made by the Review Panel within eight weeks of receipt of the report.
The response will be considered by the Review Panel to ensure that all recommendations have been addressed.
A new MOA will be finalised and agreed with the partner institution.
The final report and the Programme Team’s response and the new MOA will be considered by the CPG, who will forward the report and MOA, together with its own recommendations to the Education Committee for final approval, which, in turn, reports the outcome to Academic Council.
Details of the new MOA will be circulated to the Admissions and Access Service, Information Services, Finance, Student Records and Examinations and, if appropriate, the International Office and the International Student Support Office. The new MOA will be recorded on the Collaborative Provision Register and Recognised Teachers approved by the CPG.
Validation (Collaborative) fees are reviewed annually. Details can be found in the Student Finance Framework.