The UK Quality Code for Higher Education (the Quality Code) acts as the definitive reference point for all UK higher education providers. The Quality Code outlines what higher education providers are required to do, and what they can expect of each other, and what the general public can expect of them. Chapter B10 of the Quality Code deals with collaborative provision and has the following expectation:
Degree awarding bodies take ultimate responsibility for academic standards and the quality of learning opportunities, irrespective of where these are delivered or who provides them. Arrangements for delivering learning opportunities with organisations other than the degree-awarding body are implemented securely and managed effectively.
The University’s approach to Collaborative Provision is informed by QAA requirements as set out in the following policy and key principles.
The University is responsible for the academic standards of all awards granted in its name, including those awarded under collaborative arrangements. The University has procedures for approving and monitoring the quality and standards of all Queen’s awards, including those at partner organisations. In such cases, the University’s principles are:
- That the academic standards of awards must be equivalent to those of comparable awards delivered at the University.
- That the academic standards of awards must comply with the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and any relevant Subject Benchmark Statements.
- That the quality of student learning opportunities and experiences should be comparable to those in the University and adequate to enable students to achieve the appropriate academic standards.
- That each collaboration is in support of the University’s Corporate Plan.
University Policy for Collaborative Arrangements
These key principles underpin the University Policy for Collaborative Arrangements:
- That it will only consider collaboration with organisations which have the ability to successfully deliver programmes to appropriate academic standards, the financial standing to sustain them, and the legal standing to contract to their delivery.
- That it will only approve programmes delivered in whole or part in collaborative organisations which can meet appropriate academic standards, which offer the learning opportunities and experiences necessary for students to attain those standards and tht appropriate levels of resources (including staff) are committed to the activities to ensure that the necessary oversight is sustained.
- That it will only negotiate arrangements for collaboration with organisations which will enable it to effectively discharge its responsibilities for the academic standards of awards.
- That it requires that these arrangements should be set out in the form of a legally binding agreement or contract.
- That only collaborations which have met (i) to (iv) above will be approved for entry onto its Register of Collaborative Provision, normally for a five year period.
- That, during the five year period, it will monitor the provision and, if it perceives that standards are at risk, it reserves the right to suspend or terminate the collaboration subject to safeguards for students.
- That, at the expiry of the agreement, there will be a full review of the standards and quality of the collaborative provision leading to a recommendation as to whether it should be re-approved and continued on the Register, or terminated and discontinued, subject to safeguards for students.