2. Development and Review
2.1 Introduction to Development and Review
1. Section 2 of the Handbook describes the University’s processes for the design, development and approval of new programmes of study, and its annual and periodic exercises to monitor and review existing provision at scheme and subject level.
2. New schemes and modules should be developed within Institutes, drawing on good practice in curriculum design, and taking account of QAA level descriptors and subject benchmark statements. Consultation with students, and external consultation with external examiners, subject specialists, PSRB bodies or other advisory boards should take place at an early stage of scheme development, and documentary evidence of this process will be considered by scheme approval panels. Institutes should consider the staffing implications of any new developments to safeguard the resilience of the portfolio, and also take account of the two-year planning cycle to ensure that the scheme approval process can be completed in good time to ensure effective marketing.
3. In designing a new study scheme or module, Institutes will need to take account of the criteria as detailed in the Schemapp1 and Module Approval Forms. These will be scrutinised as part of the approval processes which are outlined within Section 2 of the AQH.
Consumer Law and changes to existing provision
4. In March 2015, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) published advice for higher education providers to help them comply with their consumer law obligations. This advice sets out the CMA’s views on compliance in a number of areas, including the provision of information for undergraduate students. QAA have prepared a practical guide that aims to help providers present good quality information to prospective students, including entry requirements, course structure and delivery, module information, assessment and feedback, and course costs. This is available here.
5. In light of CMA advice, Institutes will need to plan carefully before making any changes to existing schemes and their constituent modules. Where changes are proposed as part of annual monitoring or periodic review exercises, or in response to student or external feedback mechanisms, Institutes will need to consult with current students (including those who have accepted an offer but who have not yet commenced their studies) before the changes are considered for approval. The exact nature of this consultation will depend on the extent of the proposed changes but could consist of one of the following. Institutes should consult the AQRO QA team for further guidance: email@example.com
(i) Consultation through the Staff-Student Consultative Committee;
(ii) Consultation with individual students by email, with responses to be sent to Student Academic Representatives for a collective discussion at SSCC;
(iii) Consultation with individual students by email, requiring agreement by all students.
6. In cases where option modules may not be offered due to insufficient interest or staff unavailability, this must be made clear to students in published information, and students must be advised of any changes to available modules as soon as possible so that they can choose an alternative. This will be made clear to students in departmental handbooks, which included a common statement at university level.
7. The UK Quality Code for Higher Education requires degree awarding bodies to provide definitive information about their awards. This is provided in the programme specification, which provides details of the knowledge, understanding, skills and other attributes that students will have developed on successful completion and the teaching and assessment activities that support their learning.
8. Institutes are responsible for maintaining programme specifications online, and will review their accuracy as part of the Annual Monitoring of Taught Schemes. The programme specifications will also be subject to external scrutiny as part of the Periodic Review of Schemes.
9. A template is provided for their initial development and approval as part of scheme approval or Periodic Scheme Review. For schemes with integrated year in industry, a separate template is provided which includes generic learning outcomes. These are published in Section 2.12 of the AQH. Guidelines for writing programme specifications have been prepared by QAA and by HEA. These are available at http://www.qaa.ac.uk/en/Publications/Documents/Guidelines-for-preparing-programme-specifications.pdf and https://www.heacademy.ac.uk/system/files/new_writing_programme_specification.pdf.
Marketing of new schemes
10. The University has adopted the following policy for the marketing and publication of information on new schemes.
11. New schemes will not be advertised on the University’s course search pages or made available to applicants through UCAS until final approval. No exceptions will be made to this policy.
12. All new schemes may be advertised in the printed University prospectus ‘subject to approval’ after initial proposals have been considered by ADPC.
13. In exceptional cases, ADPC may allow other means of marketing ‘subject to approval’. This would allow Institutes to produce printed brochures or display information through departmental webpages or social media. This would not however extend to UCAS or the University’s course pages. To seek ADPC approval for wider marketing ‘subject to approval’, Institutes will need to complete an application as part of the Schemapp1 form. ADPC will make its decision based on the following criteria:
For schemes taught at Aberystwyth:
(i) At least 75% of the new scheme is already being taught through existing modules;
(ii) All resources are in place for the delivery of the new scheme;
(iii) The scheme title has been established and will not be subject to further amendments. ADPC will not approve marketing ‘subject to approval’ if it considers that the scheme title may be subject to further discussion and amendments at the panel stage of the scheme approval process.
For schemes to be delivered through a collaborative partnership:
(i) The partnership arrangement is already approved;
(ii) The scheme is based on established provision at Aberystwyth and will not involve any adaptation of content or change of title.
14. Institutes are responsible for maintaining accurate and current information on their courses. Guidance on how to publish information on courses is available through the Web Team pages. Information on courses is published here with detailed scheme structures by academic year here. Details on individual modules are indexed by academic year and by Department here. Guidance to Institutes on published course information is available through the document Getting your Course Online.
2.2 Module Approval
1. The University’s Module Approval Process is overseen by the Quality Assurance Committee (QAC). Institute Learning & Teaching Committees (LTCs) are responsible for approving new and restructured modules, minor changes to modules and the suspension and withdrawal of modules. Proposals for new and restructured modules should be made on the Module Approval Form (MAF) and submitted to the relevant Institute for consideration. Proposals should be scrutinised by an independent academic member of staff; the assessor should complete the section at the end of the MAF before the module is considered by the LTC. Following approval by the LTC the Institute should upload the final version of the MAF to SharePoint and enter the module details on the Module Database. Proposals for Distance Learning modules based on existing campus-based modules, and Welsh-Medium modules which are direct replicas of an approved module, or vice-versa, should be made on the MAF.
2. All new and restructured modules should be approved by Institutes and information updated on the module and scheme database for the following academic session by the end of the spring term (for 2017/18 this deadline is 23 March 2018) or no later than 31 March where the spring term ends after this date.
3. The Minor Change Form (MCF) should only be used to request minor changes to modules, for example a change of title, small changes in content, changes in assessment weighting where this does not affect learning outcomes, and changes to semester. The MAF must be completed if there are significant changes to module content, learning outcomes or assessment.
Minor Change Form (NCF)
4. Proposals to withdraw and/or suspend modules should be submitted to the Institute LTC for approval. Enquiries regarding withdrawal or suspension of modules should be directed to the person responsible for the LTC in the relevant institute in the first instance. Institutes may wish to use the Module Withdrawal or Suspension Form (MWS) to record modules to be withdrawn or suspended when they are considered by their LTC.
Module Withdrawal or Suspension (MWS)
5. As part of the approval process within Institutes, the Institute responsible for the teaching should ensure that it has the necessary resources available to deliver the module.
6. The AQH does not intend to provide a prescriptive form of words for completing a Module Approval Form (MAF), but aims to clarify some of the frequently asked questions. Changes to a module requiring Institute approval include:
(i) Substantial revision of module content;
(ii) Any change in the designated level;
(iii) Any change in the credit weighting;
(iv) Any change in the learning outcomes and/or methods of assessment.
7. The need for a new or restructured module is recognised at departmental or subject level, and a Module Co-ordinator is identified to lead on drafting the proposal.
8. Using the MAF and the guidance provided in the Quality Handbook, a draft proposal is prepared; where a module is being restructured this should be indicated in the box in each section where changes are being proposed.
9. The proposal should be submitted for the Institute approval to the Institute Learning & Teaching Committee. This may be to a named person in the first instance (such as the Director of Learning & Teaching or an administrator) in order for a module reviewer to be nominated and the proposal to be passed to them.
10. Institutes should have a process by which module proposals are scrutinised by an independent academic member of staff who has not been involved in writing the module (e.g. a module reviewer might be nominated by the Director of Learning & Teaching or equivalent, or Director of Postgraduate Studies.
11. The assessor should consider the module, provide constructive feedback in the section at the end of the MAF and recommend one of the following actions:
(i) Approval of the proposal;
(ii) Referral to the Institute LTC for further discussion, or approval subject to specified amendments having been made;
(iii) Referral back to the module co-ordinator for further development.
12. The completed MAF, including comments from the independent reviewer, should be approved by the Institute LTC.
13. Once a module has been fully approved the Institute is responsible for uploading the final version of the MAF to SharePoint. AQRO, Information Services and the Timetable Office will automatically be notified via a workflow in SharePoint.
14. Institutes are also responsible for creating or amending the module details on the Module Database on AStRA. New modules will not appear until AQRO has received notification that the MAF has been uploaded onto SharePoint.
15. In cases where a minimum threshold may be applied to an option module, the Institute must inform students that the module cannot be guaranteed to run with low numbers of registered students, and that students may be asked to choose again.
Guidance on Completing the Module Approval Form (MAF)
16. The information in the MAF is used as the basis for all relevant module documentation, including that on the AU module database and in degree scheme handbooks. Careful consideration should be given to the level of detail which will appear on the web in the context of Competition & Markets Authority guidance. Published information should be sufficiently detailed to enable current and prospective students to make informed choices, but not so full that minor changes – not affecting learning outcomes or assessments – would trigger the need for the submission of a module approval form.
17. The final deadline for new Part Two module proposals is in time for provisional registration in the session prior to the one in which it is intended to introduce the module. Only in exceptional circumstances, such as those arising from staff changes, should Institutes consider module proposals submitted after that date.
MAF - Background Information
18. This preliminary section of the MAF provides the background information for the module. Questions are generally administrative and self-explanatory.
- Q5 Module Co-ordinator: Where it is proposed that co-ordination of the module and/or a significant part of its teaching is to be undertaken by someone who is not a member of A.U., a brief C.V. for the person(s) concerned should be submitted with the module approval form to the appropriate Institute committee.
- Q10 Does the proposal have implications for the structure of any study schemes? Please be aware that significant changes to the core of a scheme or a change in level of a module may result in an imbalance in semesters.
- Qs 12-21 are important for the module database and monitoring quality through checks on the module portfolio. Care should be taken with regard to overlap in other departments. A search for identical/similar titles and/or content may be undertaken using the module database. Where this section is used to identify complementary components, please indicate similarities and differences in level of content as well as subject of content. Does the proposed module develop topics introduced in another module, provide a core knowledge for others or dove-tail at the same level?
Module Rationale and Content
19. This should be as objective as possible. The proposer may have a very clear sense of a module's intended value and outcomes but this may be less apparent to an observer from outside the discipline.
- Q22 Academic rationale: This should provide background information, e.g. the intention to fill a gap in the portfolio of modules and/or skills; a goal to improve the employability of students, or to enhance their ability to handle complex issues with a range of academic/technical skills. Some specific objectives may be included e.g. relating to the expectation that the proposed programme will meet professional accreditation requirements or the module will help meet revised requirements; that students will have more up-to-date ICT skills or that they will have wider ICT skills that can be updated regularly in employment or through further study. This information will not appear in the module database.
- Q23 Brief Description: This should be a brief summary, aimed at the student audience, of the content of the module (no more than 150 words). This information will appear in the module database.
- Q24 Content: This information will appear in the module database. The information needs to be reasonably detailed and should include the topics to be covered and provide an indication of the proportion of time and the type of delivery to be expected such as lectures, seminars and or other forms of delivery. If colleagues are overly prescriptive when setting out the course content in the MAF, it may restrict their ability to make amendments to individual lectures or seminars in response to developments in the field or module evaluations. The detailed week by week plan setting out lectures, seminars etc. can be published on Blackboard, in module handbooks or equivalent as aspects of the delivery may change from year to year without change to actual content which would require resubmission of a MAF.
Learning and Teaching
20. In relation to details of any other teaching methods the proposer might wish to draw attention to alternative methods of delivery from the standard lecture, seminar and practical options e.g. ICT\group\external activities.
Learning Outcomes and Assessments
21. The proposed level (0, 1, 2, 3, M, etc.) should be determined in relation to the agreed AU level descriptors; see appendix 1.
- Q29 Learning Outcomes: please use the standard format ‘On completion of this module, students should be able to' followed by a numerical list of learning outcomes. The list need not necessarily be in order of importance; it is helpful for the outcomes to be numbered to facilitate a response to the question on how they are linked to methods of assessment. Normally 3- 8 learning outcomes might be specified for a 10 credit module.
- Q30 Assessment: This information will appear in the module database and links directly to timetable and exams scheduling software. Please give length of examinations, details of course work and percentage weighting of each and explain how each learning outcome is linked to the methods of assessment. Assessment refers to all means by which students' progress through and performance in a module are measured. Both formative and summative assessments are relevant. Please use the tabular format provided.
- Assessment: The types of assessment should be specified, i.e. unseen examination, (essay, short answer, multiple choice, etc.) and coursework (oral, portfolio, performance, essay, etc.), with the length/scale. All components of summative assessment should be included as a proportion of the total assessment. This is vital in monitoring the assessment/credit weighting relationship and student workload. If the learning outcomes describe a student centred learning approach with a group based approach but the assessment is predominantly unseen exams, an incompatibility will be detected.
- Resit Assessment: This refers to re-sit opportunities, please ensure you make it clear both when the re-sit will be available and what sort of assessment it will be. The format of the resit or should be the same as the semester assessment except where it cannot be replicated, e.g. in group or practical work. Any elements which have been passed should normally be carried forward.
22. The development of one or more of the skills listed in this section may be explicit within the module programme. If it is, the nature of the skills to be developed should be indicated. If, in addition, the skills are to be formally assessed, this should be indicated as yes/no. Please see appendix 3 for approved list of skills.
Other General Information
23. Q38 Reading List: Please add the reading list for this module to Aspire Reading Lists as soon as possible. The reading list should normally consist of no more than 12 books; please distinguish between essential and further reading and add to the Aspire Reading Lists as soon as possible.
- Information Services staff will purchase library stock with one copy of every book on the list in the first instance. Purchasing multiple copies for Essential books for modules starting in Semester One will begin in June when expected student numbers are known.
- Information Services staff will publish the Aspire list when they check this form and will link the list to the Aspire hierarchy when the new module code becomes available on Aspire.
- Further resources can be added at any time so that the list can be republished.
- One-to-one training to new Aspire users is available, or if you have any other questions about this process or about using Aspire, please contact your subject librarian or firstname.lastname@example.org
Self-paced training materials are also available here.
24. Q39 Resources: Library and IT requirements should include some indication of the frequency of use of IT, e.g. is a computer laboratory needed every week, intermittently etc.? What software is needed, what printing facilities? Library and IT requirements should be discussed with IS at an early stage in the formulation of proposals.
Evidence of Independent Scrutiny
25. Module proposals should be scrutinised by an independent academic member of staff who has not been involved in writing the module; the reviewer should be nominated by the Institute LTC or equivalent, and not by the person(s) drafting the module. The reviewer should complete this section of the form and liaise with the proposer, who should make any necessary changes to the form and/or give a response in the box below. Where a module is a direct translation of an already approved module it is not necessary for this section to be completed.
26. Modules are subject to approval at institute level, through an Institute LTC or equivalent. On completion of the internal approval process within an institute the member of staff responsible for oversight of the approval of modules should upload the final version of the MAF to the SharePoint site, and also ensure that the information is entered on the module database.
27. In determining the nature of the demand that the module makes on students reference should be made to the level descriptors agreed for use in Aberystwyth University. These are published in Section 3.1 Taught Study Schemes, paragraph 21.
28. Module Learning Outcomes should follow the following guidelines:
- An outcome should be expressed in terms of what students should be able to do on completion of the module.
- The list of outcomes may distinguish between ‘specific', directly assessed, outcomes and ‘general' outcomes which are broader in nature and not assessable directly by the methods of assessment in any one module.
- An outcome should be expressed in wording such that it is possible to envisage a student being able to achieve it on a scale from ‘fully' through ‘partially' to ‘not at all'.
- The demands on students, as indicated by the intended learning outcomes, should be appropriate to the level of the module (see institutional level descriptors for what is understood by ‘level 1', etc.).
- The outcomes should be assessable across the range of the student cohort for which the module is designed.
- A set of outcomes for a module would normally include a range of types of student attainment (knowledge, understanding, skills).
- It is not expected that there would be more than about 8 outcomes identified for a particular module.
29. There is no set vocabulary with regard to learning outcomes. However, it is advisable to keep the following in mind.
- Verbs used to describe outcomes should be active and indicative, if the outcome is to be assessed, of the capacity to measure each outcome through formative or summative assessment. For example, if students are expected to, ‘understand’ a concept, it might be preferable to state that students should be able to, ‘identify’ qualities of the concept, ‘describe’ its value in explaining a phenomenon, ‘illustrate’ application of the concept and, ‘evaluate’ its significance. These outcomes could be seen as measurable manifestations of the understanding that we would expect students to gain.
- Understanding includes the very specific instances, in this example, of identification, description and illustration. However, there is a variety of intermediate levels of definition. This sort of vocabulary might include, ‘critically identify’, ‘demonstrate an ability’, ‘be able to apply/discuss’ and ‘use a range’. These might equally meet the requirements for measurement. Clearly this will vary greatly between and within disciplines.
30. The table below includes some more of the less measurable verbs and alternative terms that could be linked to assessment methods more closely. Clearly, they are context specific and some are interchangeable. This is not a definitive list.
Demonstrate an understanding of
Be aware of
Describe, Illustrate, Discuss
Demonstrate, Identify, List, State, Justify
Analyse, Evaluate, Compare
Define, Discriminate, Distinguish, Evaluate
Skills for personal and professional development
Terminology The learner will be able to Application of Number
- Obtain and interpret mathematical and statistical information
- Tackle problems involving number
Communication and Literacy
- Read in different contexts and for different purposes
- Write for different purposes and audiences
- Speak in different contexts and for different purposes (inc presentation and discussion)
- Listen effectively
Improving Own Learning and Performance
- Show awareness of own learning styles, personal preferences and needs, and barriers to learning
- Devise and apply realistic learning and self-management strategies
- Devise a personal action plan to include short and long-term goals
- Review and monitor progress, revising action plan as appropriate, to improve overall performance
Application of Information Technology
- Use a range of commonly used software packages
- Prepare and input data
- Manage storage systems
- Present information and data
- Use email /internet appropriately and effectively
Personal Development and Career Planning
- Develop awareness of personal skills, beliefs and qualities in relation to course/career progression
- Plan and prepare for future course/career
- Market skills, experience and achievement effectively on paper and in person
- Understand and use a range of job search strategies
- Identify problems
- Identify factors which might influence potential solutions
- Develop creative thinking approaches to problem solving
- Evaluate advantages and disadvantages of potential solutions
- Construct a rational proposal in response to a problem
Research and information literacy Skills
- Understand a range of research methods
- Plan and carry out research
- Produce academically appropriate reports
- Evaluate research methods, design and procedures
- Devised by Departments - as appropriate
- Understand the concept of group dynamics
- Contribute to the setting of group goals
- Contribute effectively to the planning of group activities
- Play an active part in group activities.
- Exercise negotiation and persuasion skills
- Evaluate group activities and own contribution.
2.3 Summary of the Scheme Approval Process
1. This section provides a summary of the scheme approval process, which is described in detail in sections 2.4 – 2.6. Staff may also find it useful to refer to the flow chart for new schemes. All proposals for new and restructured schemes, and proposed suspensions and withdrawals, should be formally discussed at the institute Learning & Teaching Committee or equivalent prior to submission to AQRO.
Stage 1: consideration of initial proposal
2. Institutes should submit the following documents supporting the initial proposal to AQRO. Deadlines for submission of paperwork can be found here.
(i) Schemapp 1 (Section A): Proposal for a New or Restructured Scheme: Section A only is required for ADPC, and additional guidance is provided within the form.
(ii) Business Evaluation and Market Research Report: Institutes should liaise with the Planning Department in good time prior to submission of the proposal. Following this detailed discussion, Planning Department will provide the template for this report; this is only available on request from the Planning Department.
3. ADPC will consider proposals in the context of the overall portfolio and will determine whether they should go forward to a scheme approval panel (and whether this will be an internal or an external panel). ADPC may also decide to refer the proposal back to the institute for further discussion. Institutes will be notified of the decision of ADPC.
Stage 2: approval panel
4. If ADPC determines that a full an external approval panel is required the institute should nominate an External Assessor by submitting the following:
Schemapp 2: Nomination form for External Assessors to participate in the approval of New/Restructured Study Schemes.
5. AQRO will liaise with the External Assessor and the institute to set the date for a scheme approval meeting. For both external and internal panels, institutes must submit the following information:
(i) Section B of Schemapp1 (if not previously completed);
(ii) Programme specification(s) including detailed information on the scheme structure;
(iii) Evidence of external consultation during the development of the proposal, and any other relevant information, e.g. CVs of non-AU staff involved in the delivery assessment criteria for new assessment modes and information on special facilities should be submitted to AQRO.
(iv) New / restructured module approval forms, where appropriate;
(v) Scheme/module learning outcomes mapped against assessment.
6. The External Assessor will be required to complete a written report prior to the event for consideration at an external approval panel: Schemapp4: External Assessor’s Report. This will be requested by AQRO once the External Assessor has accepted the invitation to attend the panel.
Stage 3: Outcome
7. Following the meeting of the panel, a report will be produced by the AQRO panel member in consultation with the Chair: Schemapp5 Report of a Scheme Approval Panel.
8. Section C of the Schemapp1 should be completed by the proposing institute in response to the report, providing details of amendments made to the original proposal as a result of the feedback from the scheme approval panel. No further changes should be made to Sections A and B. Section C of the Schemapp1 form and the Schemapp5 form will be reported to ADPC.
9. The following forms are also available and should be submitted to ADPC for consideration where new combinations of existing Majors, Minors and Joints are proposed, along with changes to a title and requests to withdraw or suspend a scheme:
(i) Schemapp 6: Approval of New Major/Minor Combinations and Joint Honours Schemes
(ii) Schemapp 7: Request to Withdraw/Suspend a Scheme
(iii) Schemapp 8: Request to Change a Scheme Title
2.4 New or Restructured Study Schemes
1. This section describes the process for the approval of taught degree schemes and other schemes of study leading to awards at Aberystwyth University, and applies to new scheme proposals and to existing schemes which are being restructured. Schemes will be approved for a five year period, after which they will need to undergo a process of Periodic Scheme Review (Section 2.7).
2. Scheme provision at the University is overseen by the Academic Development and Planning Committee (ADPC), a sub-committee of Academic Board. ADPC is responsible for maintaining an overview of proposals for new schemes, suspensions and withdrawals. Proposals for new and revised schemes will be considered by scheme approval panels, which report to ADPC.
3. The approval process is designed to address the guidelines of the UK Quality Code, Chapters B1 Programme Design and Approval, A4 Approval and Review and B8 Programme Monitoring and Review. This isto assure the University that, in developing new study schemes, institutes have given proper consideration to the following:
(i) External reference points, including any relevant subject benchmark statements and the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications (FHEQ);
(ii) The advice of external subject specialists (for example a current external examiner or members of an external advisory body) and, where appropriate, the requirements of PSRBs and employers;
(iii) The compatibility of scheme proposals with existing provision and with institutional goals and mission;
(iv) Resource requirements including staff, library, IT and any subject specific resources (e.g. laboratory facilities);
(v) The likely level of demand.
The approval timetable and process
4. Institutes planning to introduce a new study scheme, or significantly modify an existing one, should aim to commence the process well in advance. The earlier the process is put in train, the earlier it will be completed, and the more time will be available for recruitment and advertising to give the best chance of a healthy intake. Staff who are developing proposals must liaise with the Planning Office, who will provide the template for a Business Evaluation and Market Research Report.
5. Proposals for new/restructured schemes should be sent to AQRO for consideration by ADPC. The deadlines for submission and the timescale for marketing and approval are published online and updated on an annual basis. ADPC will decide on the level of the approval panel required and determine the timeframe.
6. Scheme proposals should be submitted to ADPC in line with the two year planning cycle. Deadlines for the submission of papers to ADPC are available online here. In cases where proposals for new / restructured schemes are not in line with the 2 Year cycle, ADPC will determine the feasibility of an earlier introduction.
7. Institutes have the option of completing Section A only of the Schemapp1 for initial consideration by ADPC. This must be accompanied by the Business Evaluation and Market Research Report, but completion of Section B of the form can be delayed until confirmation by the committee that the proposal will be referred to a scheme approval panel.
8. Where it is determined that an External Assessor is required, institutes will be invited to nominate an External Assessor to take part in the approval process. Nominations must be submitted to AQRO by completing the Schemapp2 form.
Scheme approval panels
9. ADPC will consider all proposals for new and restructured schemes and will determine the level of scrutiny required. Where a free-standing Certificate or Diploma is offered, it must be approved as a new study scheme with a programme specification and scheme structure. ADPC will also consider proposals for a change of scheme title (see section 2.5) and the withdrawal/suspension of a scheme (see section 2.6). Following initial consideration, ADPC may convene and External or Internal Approval Panel, or may be assured that the proposal is sufficiently similar to existing provision to warrant approval without referral to an approval panel. If an Internal Panel is convened, ADPC may also decide that an external assessor should be required to contribute a written report. ADPC may convene an internal panel, in cases where:
(i) It is proposed to offer an existing schemes through a new mode of study;
(ii) A major restructure of an existing scheme is proposed;
(iii) A new scheme is based entirely on existing provision.
ADPC may also require the appointment of an external assessor to submit a written report for an internal panel.
10. The membership of an External Approval Panel will be as follows:
(i) The Chair, to be drawn from outside the proposing Institute, e.g. an Institute Director, or an Institute Director of Undergraduate / Postgraduate Studies. The Chair should have suitable independence and critical distance from the proposed scheme, and will be selected by AQRO.
(ii) A minimum of one member of academic staff, with suitable independence and critical distance from the proposal;
(iii) An External Assessor with relevant subject expertise (who will usually participate through video-link);
(iv) A student representative, to be drawn from a pool nominated by the Student’ Union;
(v) A member of staff from the AQRO Quality Assurance team, who will also draft the panel report.
11. An Internal Approval Panel will include the same membership, with the exception that it will not include an External Assessor. It is expected however that comments from the current external examiner(s) of the scheme should be submitted as evidence of external consultation.
12. Institutes will be invited to nominate a representative to present the proposal at the panel meeting. In the case of cross-institute schemes, a representative from each institute involved will be nominated by their respective institutes.
The role of Scheme Approval Panels
13. Scheme Approval Panels are constituted as a standing panel reporting to the Academic Development and Planning Committee (ADPC). Panels are responsible for making final decisions on the approval of scheme proposals, but may refer final decisions to ADPC if there are significant areas of concern or issues of wider consideration for the University. ADPC will retain oversight for the operation of scheme approval panels and will monitor the effectiveness of the QA processes.
14. The following documentation must be presented to scheme approval panels:
(i) Section B of Schemapp1 (if not previously completed), giving details of the rationale for its introduction;
(ii) Programme specification(s) including detailed information on the scheme structure;
(iii) Evidence of external consultation during the development of the proposal, and any other relevant information, e.g. CVs of non-AU staff involved in the delivery assessment criteria for new assessment modes, information on special facilities should be submitted to AQRO;
(iv) New/restructured module approval forms for any new or amended modules;
(v) Scheme/module learning outcomes mapped against assessment.
15. The Panels will ensure that there is evidence of sufficient external consultation during the development of the scheme, for example with current external examiners, departmental external advisors, and representatives of professional or accrediting bodies. External Approval Panels will take full account of the views of the external assessor, who will be required to complete a written report (Schemapp4) prior to the event for consideration by the panel. Internal approval panels may also request a report from an external assessor.
16. Meetings of approval panels will be ordered as follows;
(i) Welcome by the Chair
(ii) Summary of the proposal by the proposing institute
(iii) Opening comments by the External Assessor
(iv) General discussion, which will consider the following questions and take account of the needs of all students:
- Is there evidence of demand for the scheme and are the entry requirements at an appropriate level?
- Are the aims and learning outcomes of the scheme appropriate particularly in relation to relevant subject benchmarks, the Framework of Higher Education Qualifications and the Credit and Qualifications Framework for Wales?
- Is the curriculum content and design appropriate for achieving the intended learning outcomes of the scheme?
- Is the curriculum organised such that the demands made of the learner in terms of intellectual challenge, skills, knowledge, conceptualisation and learning autonomy increase progressively?
- Is the assessment regime suitable to measure achievement of the intended outcomes?
- Are there adequate resources, i.e. staff, library, IT and any specialist requirements, to deliver the scheme effectively?
- Are there any special features of the scheme that have implications for its viability, management or delivery, or for the regulations of the University?
(v) Deliberation by the panel, for which the representative of the proposing institute will not be present;
Decisions of Scheme Approval Panels
17. Approval Panels have the choice of one of the following decisions:
(i) Unconditional approval,
(ii) Approval with minor modifications (to be approved by the Chair of the Panel);
(iii) Conditional approval: approval is subject to specified conditions being met within a given time scale. This will require the proposing department to submit a response to the Chair of the Panel, which will also be ratified by the external assessor;
(iv) Referral back to the institute. In such cases it is anticipated that considerable revision would be required before re-presenting the proposal;
18. The Secretary to the Approval Panel will produce a report of its meeting (Schemapp5), noting its decision,which the Chair will sign. The proposing institute will be invited to complete Section C of Schemapp1, to be reviewed by the Chair of the Panel, and External Assessor if required. If the Chair is satisfied that there are no issues of concern then the decision of the panel shall be considered final and reported to the ADPC. Where there are any issues of concern the final decision shall be referred to ADPC.
19. Where proposals are approved and all recommendations and conditions have been met, the Approval Panel’s Schemapp5 report and the final version of Section C of Schemapp1 will be submitted to ADPC.
Marketing and Introduction
20. Following approval of a scheme, the AQRO QA team will communicate the decision to the proposing Institute and to relevant service departments.
2.5 Minor Modifications to Existing Schemes
1. Institutes should carefully consider the implications of any minor modifications to existing schemes, which may arise as a result of annual monitoring exercises or external feedback, and consult with students as outlined in AQH 2.1. Institutes should also consult the AQRO QA team to ascertain whether the changes will require only internal Institute approval. If so, they may be reported to ADPC by submitting the relevant extract from the minutes of the Institute Learning and Teaching Committee, with a coversheet to provide an outline of the changes. If ADPC is not satisfied with the level of detail provided in the minutes, or is not assured that the proposed changes constitute a minor modification, the committee may require the Institute concerned to submit a proposal for a scheme restructure by completing Schemapp1.
2. In order to ensure that existing schemes do not change as a consequence of cumulative annual revisions, to the extent that they are no longer valid in relation to their original specifications, all minor modifications to existing schemes must be monitored by Institutes after initial reporting to ADPC, and reported to QAC through the Annual Monitoring of Taught Schemes. All schemes are also subject to Period Scheme Review every five years.
3. Minor modifications to schemes may also be approved during the course of a Periodic Scheme Review, as outlined in Section 2.7 of the AQH.
4. To help Institutes to assess the level of changes being proposed and the appropriate approval process, guidance should be sought from the AQRO QA Link. Minor modification will typically involve the following:
(i) No substantive change to the aims of the existing scheme;
(ii) No substantive change to the credit number of core modules and restriction of student choice;
(iii) No substantive change to the scheme learning outcomes, content and assessment methods;
(iv) No changes affecting more than 60 credits at any level in Part Two of an undergraduate scheme;
(v) No changes affecting more than 60 credits of a taught postgraduate scheme.
Changes to scheme titles
5. Changes to scheme titles will be considered by ADPC. Institutes should submit proposals to AQRO by completing Schemapp 8.
2.6 Suspension and Withdrawal of Study Schemes
1. Proposals to suspend schemes will only be considered after full consultation within the relevant institute. The normal expectation is that schemes will be suspended for one year only. Proposals to suspend schemes will be considered by ADPC, and Institutes should submit Schemapp7 form to AQRO.
2. Proposals to withdraw schemes will only be considered after full consultation within the relevant Institute. The normal expectation is that schemes will be phased out over a period to allow the University to meet commitments to registered students. Exceptionally, where urgent restructuring is necessary, the University will make every effort to secure places elsewhere for students already in the University who wish to complete the scheme of study they were admitted to. Where an undergraduate scheme is withdrawn part way through an admissions cycle the normal UCAS conventions will operate for those who have applied for entry to the scheme. Proposals to withdraw study schemes will be considered by ADPC and should be submitted to AQRO by completing Schemapp7.
3. Sections A1 and B of the Schemapp7 form should be completed for all schemes to be withdrawn or suspended. For Welsh Medium schemes, Institutes should also complete Section A2 in consultation with the Institute Director of Welsh Language and Culture, who will be responsible for consulting with the Welsh Medium Development Group before the institute’s proposal is submitted to ADPC.
4. Institutes should bear in mind that ADPC will scrutinise proposals to withdraw or suspend schemes and the implications of these decisions in light of CMA guidance on Consumer Law.
2.7 Periodic Scheme Review
1. All taught schemes (undergraduate and postgraduate, including collaborative and franchised schemes), will be subject to Periodic Scheme Review (PSR) every 5 years. New schemes will be approved for a 5 year period or until the next scheduled PSR. Quality Assurance Committee (QAC) will maintain a register of schemes to be reviewed, and Institutes will be asked to confirm that this list is accurate and current, taking account of schemes that are to be withdrawn or suspended.
2. The timeframe for PSR will be determined by QAC. Where it is feasible to do so, QAC will schedule joint events to coincide with review visits by external Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Bodies (PSRBs), or with the University’s internal IDPA process. If a PSRB review is conducted by a process and panel consistent with PSR, the QAC may approve the re-approval of schemes based on the report of the external body.
3. The membership of the PSR Approval Panel will be determined by QAC in discussions with the Institute, but will include the following:
(i) Chair, an experienced member of academic staff;
(ii) One academic member of staff, normally the Institute’s Director of Learning and Teaching;
(iii) An external assessor, normally a serving external examiner (normally a maximum of two externals);
(iv) A member of AQRO staff, normally the Institute QA link;
(v) A student representative from within the Institute, or from a cognate discipline.
Once the membership has been agreed by QAC, AQRO will convene the PSR panel in accordance with the published timeframe. The Institute will be invited to nominate scheme coordinators or theme leaders to attend the meeting to summarise the main aims of the scheme and to answer the panel’s questions.
4. Institutes will be required to provide the following documentation for PSR, following initial discussions at institute level committees:
(i) PSR Evaluation template, which will provide reflection on the development of the schemes since the previous PSR or initial approval, a summary of cumulative changes, and an outline of steps taken to address the inclusive curriculum;
(ii) A revised Programme Specification for all schemes under review.
The panel chair may also request copies of the following documentation in advance of the meeting: AMTS1/2 forms, external examiner reports, NSS data sets and /or any relevant PSRB reports for the previous five years. The documentation will be uploaded by institutes onto a designated PSR SharePoint site which will be hosted by AQRO.
5. AQRO will invite the Institute to nominate an external assessor(s), drawn from its currently serving external examiners. A PSR panel will normally include no more than two external assessors. AQRO will invite the external assessor(s) to submit a written PSR External Report for consideration by the panel.
6. The panel will be required to consider the following areas, in accordance with the expectation and indicators of Chapter B8 of the QAA Quality Code:
(i) Ensure the currency and validity of the schemes under review, in light of developing knowledge in the discipline area and any cumulative changes during the period since initial approval / previous PSR;
(ii) Evaluate the attainment of scheme learning outcomes by students, referring as appropriate to previous AMTS reports and data sets, and reports of external examiners;
(iii) Evaluate the continuing effectiveness of the curriculum and the assessment regime in relation to scheme learning outcomes;
(iv) Identify any areas of weakness, and make recommendations for appropriate actions.
7. The AQRO panel member will prepare a report of the PSR meeting, which will provide an outline of the discussion and a record of the panel’s decisions and recommendations. The panel will arrive at one of the following recommendations for each scheme or groups of schemes under review:
(i) Unconditional re-approval;
(ii) Conditional re-approval, subject to minor modifications being fulfilled within a given time limit;
(iii) Major restructure, which may require a Schemapp1 proposal to be submitted to ADPC;
(iv) Withdrawal or suspension.
The panel may also make University level recommendations for consideration by Quality Assurance Committee.
8. In the case of a decision of withdrawal or suspension, the Institute will be asked to submit the Schemapp7 form to the Academic Development and Planning Committee (ADPC), making appropriate arrangements to ensure that all candidates who have already embarked on a scheme may complete their studies.
9. The Institute will be invited to respond to the report by completing Section B of the PSR Evaluation, which will be reviewed by the Chair of the Panel. If the Chair is satisfied that there are no issues of concern then the decision of the panel in respect of the schemes under review shall be considered final and reported to QAC. Where there are any issues of concern the final decisions shall be referred to QAC.
2.8 Accreditation by Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Bodies
1. Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Bodies (PSRBs) set standards for, and regulate standards of entry into particular professions. The University engages with a number of PSRBs through formal accreditation of taught study schemes at undergraduate and postgraduate level. As part of its responsibility for Part B of the UK Quality Code for Higher Education, Academic Board retains overall responsibility for managing all external review, validation and accreditation exercises relating to teaching activities within the University (Chapter B1).
2. Institutes retain responsibility for liaising with PSRBs for initial accreditation and for the management of accredited schemes within their subject areas. PSRB reports provide valuable external feedback on the quality and standards of schemes and Institutes are expected to take them fully into account as part of the Annual Monitoring of Taught Schemes (see section 6 of the AMTS1 form).
3. Institutes are required to confirm whether it is intended to seek accreditation for new schemes as part of the Scheme Approval Process. Initial accreditation of new schemes should normally take place as soon as possible after final approval, and Academic Board should be informed of the outcome of the accreditation exercise.
4. Institutes should ensure that copies of the following are submitted to the Academic Quality and Records Office (AQRO) for consideration by Academic Board: all correspondence and documents submitted to PSRBs for accreditation exercises; correspondence and reports arising from accreditation exercises, and Institute responses or action plans. These should be sent to email@example.com
5. All reports arising from PSRB reviews will be considered by Academic Board. This is to ensure that any weaknesses identified in university procedures can be addressed, that Institutes have responded to any issues by PSRBs, and that any good practice is disseminated more widely within the University. Academic Board will follow up and monitor action arising from PSRB reports, and may require Institutes to prepare internal action plans in response to PSRB reports.
6. Academic Board will maintain a register of all schemes which are accredited by PSRBs. Institute Directors will be invited to review and confirm the accuracy of the register on an annual basis. Institutes are also expected to inform Academic Board of any changes to the status of scheme accreditations.
7. Institutes are responsible for publishing full details of scheme accreditations to students, and must always keep applicants and current students informed of the status of the study scheme with regards to PSRB accreditation.
8. If changes occur to the mode of study, or if a new collaborative arrangement for a study scheme is put in place, the relevant Institute should liaise with the PSRB to check whether the amended provision falls under current accreditation arrangements. Students must be informed of the status of the new or amended provision.
2.9 Annual Monitoring of Taught Schemes (AMTS)
1.The University is committed to the annual monitoring of all its taught schemes within the context set by the UK Quality Code Chapter B8, Programme Monitoring and Review. This process is overseen by the Academic Board.
2.The aim of the Annual Monitoring of Taught Schemes (AMTS) exercise is to provide a secure mechanism whereby the University is assured that schemes are meeting their aims, and to identify areas of good practice and disseminate this information in order to enhance the provision.
3. Responsibility for annual monitoring of each undergraduate and taught postgraduate scheme lies primarily with the academic department, reporting to the appropriate faculty. It is important to identify concerns which are specific to a particular scheme or common to a number of them, reflect and report upon them and take appropriate action. This applies equally whether those concerns relate to a department’s own modules or those of another department or partner provider which are integral to the scheme in question.
4. The AMTS1 form should be completed by a scheme co-ordinator or equivalent, depending on how schemes are grouped. All taught schemes are subject to annual monitoring. To assist with this process AM data packs will be provided for schemes where numbers are statistically significant.
5. As part of its consideration of AMTS2 reports, faculties may seek further clarification from departments on issues raised or require detail of action to be undertaken. Matters for consideration at university level will be referred to the Academic Board. In addition, the International and Collaborative Provision may seek further clarification from faculties on issues relating to collaborative partnerships.
6. Scheme co-ordinators are requested to submit their AMTS1 reports to the Faculty as formal evidence. AMTS1 forms for previous academic years will be available for Periodic Scheme Review and any future revalidation event for an individual scheme. The AMTS2 report is a consolidated report at faculty level. Reporting is by exception and comments should be made on matters that are of particular significance. These should include successes, good practice and innovation, risks to quality and challenges and should pick out matters for university attention.
7. Additional notes of guidance are provided in the the following AMTS templates:
(i) Annual Monitoring of Taught Schemes (AMTS) - Data Support
(ii) Flow Chart for AMTS and EE Reports
(iii) AMTS 1
(iv) AMTS1 Appendix 1: Monitoring of Collaborative Provision
(vi) AMTS 2
2.10 Institute and Department Performance Audit (IDPA)
1. The IDPA provides an opportunity for the Department, Institute and University to evaluate the effectiveness of an Institute/Department’s management, learning, teaching and enhancement and quality assurance procedures and monitoring of performance against relevant KPIs and for the University to assure itself and be able to demonstrate to external bodies (QAA) that management of quality and standards which are the responsibility of the University as a whole are being delivered successfully.
2. An Audit Team, reporting to the Quality Assurance Committee will, on behalf of the University, audit departments on a 5-6 year rotating basis, to examine that all relevant processes and mechanisms for quality and standards are in place, operating effectively and efficiently, and that recommended enhancements to teaching and learning are being implemented. Any collaborative provision will be included as part of the quality audit.
3. Although the audit will focus on activities at a department level, links to and the activities of relevant institute level committees and management structures will also be explored.
4. If deemed appropriate an Institute Audit may also be conducted in place of, or in addition to, individual academic department audits. An Institute Audit will be conducted on the same basis as a departmental audit, though the Audit Team may focus on the operation of institute processes, systems, compliance and training and management structure and the overall portfolio as opposed to more detailed investigation of undergraduate and postgraduate taught modules and schemes.
5. Student representatives from the department should be encouraged to participate fully in the department’s preparations for the audit and in completing the self-evaluation document (SED). Alternatively, student representatives may submit their own self-evaluation document, or alternatively attach an appendix to the department submission.
Details of the IDPA process
6. The focus of a visit will be clearly specified to a Department in advance but will relate to the delivery of all of the Department’s provision. When an Audit Team visits the following areas will be considered in the review:
(i) Undergraduate and postgraduate schemes and modules; postgraduate research provision; collaborative provision;
(ii) Feedback Systems;
(iv) Staff Development and Training.
7. An audit visit will typically last one or two days and involve the following aspects:
(i) Inspection of a self-evaluation document, relevant committee minutes and all other documentation concerned with teaching and learning in a Department;
(ii) Meeting(s) with Head of Department and staff with responsibility for different aspects of teaching and learning (e.g. examinations, student support, admissions);
(iii) Meeting(s) with student representatives, undergraduate, taught postgraduate and research postgraduates;
(iv) Meeting(s) with other staff involved in quality assurance and/or teaching and learning (e.g. new staff members / administrators);
(v) Meetings with any relevant Institute level staff e.g. Institute Directors of Undergraduate Studies, Postgraduate Studies or Learning and Teaching, Research, Director of Graduate School; these meetings may occur at subsequent Institute audit if not at the departmental audit.
Audit Team Membership and Indicative Schedule
8. Membership of the Audit Team will be discussed with the Chair of QAC and/or Director of AQRO. Normally an Audit Team will include the following members:
(i) Chair (senior member of AU academic staff e.g. PVC, ID, HoD or other academic member of staff with a senior institute role);
(ii) A member of QAC, a previous Audit Team member or another ID;
(iii) Head of Department from a department scheduled for audit in the near future;
(iv) External Academic Assessor (Academic Subject expert and if appropriate an industry expert);
(v) Director of AQRO or their representative;
(vi) Student representative;
(vi) A member of AQRO staff will serve as Secretary to the Audit Team, overseeing the exercise and drafting the report.
An observer (a member of AQRO staff or an internal member of academic staff may also sit as an observer in order to gain experience before becoming a full Audit Team member);
9. No more than two members of the University Executive should normally be members of a Departmental Audit Team. Audits will normally be chaired by the Pro Vice-Chancellor, Chair of QAC or by another Institute Director. The internal auditors for each visit will be identified by AQRO. All members of staff appointed to serve as members of Audit Teams will be given appropriate training and guidance, and the External Assessor will be issued with formal notes of guidance.
10. Departments will be invited to nominate three professional colleagues from the United Kingdom who could act as an External Assessor for which a fee and expenses are paid. An External Assessor should not be a current External Examiner from within the Department and should preferably have knowledge of quality assurance processes and procedures. The choice of external assessor will be made by the Chair and the Secretary of the Audit Team in consultation with the Department.
11. The following is an indicative schedule for a one-day audit (Departmental or Institute). The Chair and Secretary may meet with students ahead of the main event, and submit a written summary of the discussion for consideration by the full audit team:
Private meeting of Audit Team members
Meeting with the Head of Department/Institute Director
Private meeting of Audit Team members
Meeting with senior academic staff with key roles in the Department/Institute (It may be appropriate to see two separate groups)
Private Meeting of Audit Team
Meeting with students*
Private meeting of Audit Team members
Meetingwith other staff including administrative and part time staff involved with quality assurance and/or teaching and learning
Private meeting of Audit Team members
Feedback to Head of Department
*Where appropriate the Chair and Audit Secretary may meet with students ahead of the Panel.
Details of the process
12. The focus of a visit will relate to all schemes (from Foundation and undergraduate degrees to taught postgraduate Master’s schemes, and Postgraduate Research). The following items will be included in the review:
Undergraduate and Postgraduate Schemes and Modules
(i) the standards of teaching and learning in modules.
(ii) Methods of assessment in their relationship to:
- learning outcomes
- course content
- learning strategies
- transferable skills
(iii) Student Progression and Achievement
(iv) Student Support and Guidelines
(v) Student representation
(vi) Teaching and Learning Resources
(vii) Progression between different levels of undergraduate courses (Level 0 through to level M in the case of Integrated Masters schemes), and the relationship between undergraduate and postgraduate modules.
(viii) Holistic nature of the course (including Joint Honours).
(ix) Teaching and learning innovations e.g. VLE
(x) Student Handbooks and other information provided to students
(xi) Any Franchising, collaborative or Distance Learning schemes
(xii) Welsh Medium teaching (if applicable)
(xiii) Placements or work experience (if applicable)
(xiv) Exchange and Erasmus
(xv) Support, training, supervision and monitoring of research students.
(i) External Examiners’ Reports
(ii) Feedback from Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Bodies (if applicable)
(iii) Student Module and Scheme Evaluations, reports on MEQs, Tell us Now
(iv) Annual Monitoring of Taught Schemes
(v) KPIs including National Student Survey Results
Compliance: The Audit Team will also ensure that Departments are complying with the University’s Regulations and the Academic Quality Handbook, and engaging with and implementing University policy, including, for example, the University’s Learning and Teaching Strategy.
Staff Development and Training: The Audit Team will discuss the following issues with Departments:
(i) University and Departmental induction and training, and the development of staff.
(ii) Peer Observation process.
13. Departments will be expected to evaluate themselves against a set of statements in relation to quality and standards of teaching and learning, using the SED template which will include KPIs. The statements cover the following areas: academic schemes, teaching and learning, assessment and feedback, research students, student participation and experience, academic staff development, collaborative provision and external examiners.
14. The comments section should be used to reference supporting evidence and identify action points for quality enhancement and indicate the steps the department has identified that it needs to take to enhance quality and/or improve performance.
15. In addition, the Department is asked to write a commentary (no more than two sides of A4) reflecting on the major strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats it has identified (SWOT analysis). The scores and comments will be used as a basis for discussion during the audit.
16. The Department should provide the following documentation which should be uploaded onto the AQRO SharePoint site no later than three weeks before the audit visit:
(i) Departmental Structure Roles and Responsibilities: Details of the composition and responsibilities of department and, where relevant, Institute level Committees involved in teaching and research and an explanation of the reporting lines of these groups within the department and Institute identifying key staff roles and responsibilities.
(ii) Committee Minutes for the previous twelve months of the following:
Department or Institute executive committee
Department (and/or Institute) Learning and Teaching Committees
Staff-Student Consultative Committees
Committees dealing with collaborative provision or other distributed learning.
(iii) Strategy Documents (Institute level documents) for example:
Teaching & Learning Strategy
NSS Action Plan
TELG Action Plan
(iv) Reports on Periodic Quality Assurance Processes:
Period Scheme Review report(s)– report of most recent review
Annual Monitoring of Taught Schemes (AMTS1 forms) documentation for the previous year.
The most recent report of a professional body or external organisation (where relevant) on schemes offered by the department.
Evidence of student feedback on modules and any actions taken from the previous and current (if applicable) academic year.
(v) Departmental Publications:
Department or Institute Welcome Week or induction programme.
Department student handbooks for the current academic year
(vi)Any other documentation which may be relevant.
AQRO and the Planning Department will also provide the following on the SharePoint site:
(i) External Examiners’ Reports for the previous three academic sessions.
(ii) Previous IDPA Report and Progress Report.
(iii) Annual Departmental Review Report prepared by the Planning Department including statistical data relating to applicants, students and staff.
(iv) Key Information Sets.
The audit team may request additional evidence after the meeting if specific issues need to be explored further.
Outcome of the Departmental Performance Audit visit
17. The Chair and Secretary may invite the External Assessor to submit a written report for consideration by the Audit Team during the IDPA event. AQRO will also liaise with the External Assessor and provide information on University level QA processes as appropriate.
18. Following the audit, a report will be produced which will highlight areas of good practice and identify recommendations for the Department, for the Institute and for the University. This report will be considered by QAC. The Head of Department will be given an opportunity to comment on factual accuracy prior to the draft report being circulated to the Institute Director and the Institute Audit Team members. The Department will not be expected to respond in full with an Action Plan until a later date.
19. The Department will be asked to submit an Action Plan within three months of the publication of the report, indicating how it intends to implement the recommendations of the Audit Team. A template for the Action Plan will be provided with the report.
20. The Department and, if appropriate, the Institute will be required to provide a written follow up to the report within 12 months of the audit, indicating how it is implementing the recommendations identified in the Action Plan. Where a specific issue gives cause for concern the Department and/or Institute may be required to respond to this within a shorter period. The written response will be considered by QAC.
21. If, as a consequence of the written response, QAC is not satisfied with the progress or implementation of the action points, it can request the following:
(i) A visit to the Department to discuss the action points in more detail by the Chair and Secretary of the Audit Team.
(ii) That a follow up internal audit be conducted within the Department between 12 and 36 months.
22. This section provides guidance on operating a two stage audit, with the Preliminary Departmental Audit being followed by an Institute Audit. Stage 1:Preliminary Departmental Audits will be conducted as separate one day events prior to a panel being convened to review the operation of the Institute. The Audit Team may or may not meet with Institute staff at the departmental audit, some or all may be present in their capacity as members of the academic department being reviewed. Stage 2:The Institute Audit should ideally be held within a reasonable timescale following the last of the departmental audits.
23. The Institute Director will be invited to provide a written commentary on the departmental audit reports, SEDs, KPIs and Planning Departmental Performance Review document.
24. A Pro Vice-Chancellor or Chair of QAC will chair the Institute Audit Panel and its membership will include the chairs of the department panels, and an external assessor with senior university level management experience (who will not be expected to be a subject expert), student representation and representation from AQRO. The indicative schedule for a one day Institute Audit will follow the format outlined in paragraph 11.
25. The Panel will meet with the Institute Director, senior institute staff, and any other staff with institute roles, e.g. administrative staff, admissions tutors etc and the institute student representatives. The indicative schedule for a one day Institute Audit will follow the format outlined in paragraph 11.
26. A separate report will be prepared on the Institute Audit Panel meetings, drawing out recommendations for the institute and for the university; this report together with the individual departmental reports will constitute the full report for the institute and be reported to QAC and beyond.
2.11 Departmental Quality Audit
1. Quality assurance processes are subject to periodic audit by the Quality Assurance Committee (QAC) which invites Institutes/Departments to complete a Departmental Quality Audit (DQA) questionnaire, usually on an annual basis. This questionnaire serves as a checklist to remind departments about current policies, guidelines and procedures which are good practice. It is especially useful as a point of reference for staff within academic departments who may take on new roles and also as a means of highlighting changes to policies as they are refined and updated. It covers key areas of the AQH including assessment and feedback, monitoring of schemes and modules, personal tutoring arrangements, and student representation. The DQA asks Institutes/Departments to confirm that University policy and guidelines are being implemented, and issues arising out of the responses to the questionnaire are considered at a meeting of QAC. The DQA questionnaire serves as an important supplement to the IDPA process at which Institute/Departments are required to submit fully documentary evidence of their QA processes.
2.12 Template Forms
- Programme Specification Template
- Programme Specification for Sandwich Year Schemes [IY]
- Flow chart for Scheme Approval and Review
- Flow Chart for New Schemes
- Schemapp 1
- Schemapp 2
- Schemapp 4
- Schemapp 5
- Schemapp 6
- Schemapp 7
- Schemapp 8
- Table of Learning Outcomes
Periodic Scheme Review
Annual Monitoring of Taught Schemes
- Flow Chart for AMTS and EE Reports
- AMTS1 Appendix 1 Collaborative Provison
- AMTS1 Appendix 2 AUM
- AMTS 2
Institute/Departmental Performance Audits
Institute/Departmental Quality Audit