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Undergraduate Staff Newsletter - Autumn 2012

This newsletter contains information on the following topics:

1) Transfer of Academic Governance
2) Staffing and structural changes in the Academic Office
3) Committee timetable dates and associated events
4) Directors of Undergraduate Studies
5) Update from Student Finance: news from the Student Loans Company
6) Module Registration
7) Higher Education Achievement Report (HEAR)
8) Key Information Sets (KIS)
9) QAA Institutional Review
10) Joint Degrees convenors meeting
11) Annual Course Review
12) Currency of students’ contact details

1) Transfer of Academic Governance
Many colleagues will be aware that earlier this summer the Registrar announced a number of structural changes that he intended to make to the administration, most of which are now complete or in train. I thought it may be helpful to outline to summarise the main changes affecting the Academic Office.

Firstly, responsibility for the area of academic governance is relocating from the Governance section of the Deputy Registrar’s Office to the Academic Registrar’s Office. This will encompass a number of elements. As Deputy Academic Registrar, I will become Assistant Secretary to the Senate wef 1 January 2013, taking on work incrementally throughout the autumn term. I will be supported in this area by Sophie Black in the Academic Registrar’s Office. I will also work with Dr Peter Hedges in areas relating to Research Centre governance, both in terms of the development of centre constitutions, annual updates and full triennial reviews. Elements of academic governance relating to faculties will pass, in the main, to newly-created posts in the Teaching Quality section of the Academic Office (see below). I will also undertake some work relating to Advisory Boards and in the training and preparation for their roles of secretaries to academic committees.

These changes mean that all elements of academic governance are serviced from within the Academic Office; from Faculty sub-committees, through Faculty Boards, the Boards of Undergraduate and Graduate Studies, Academic Quality & Standards Committee and its sub-committees and the Senate. The role of Secretary to the Board of Graduate Studies transferred to Dan Pearson wef 1st October.

The Teaching Quality section of the Academic Office is being strengthened by the addition of three substantive positions at grade FA7. These Assistant Registrars (Learning and Teaching), will take on project work in conjunction with Katharine Gray and Rory McIntyre and will have 40% of their time dedicated to faculty governance, leading on the servicing of a specific Faculty Board, its sub-committees and First Year Board of Examiners, and working directly to the relevant Faculty Chair. Dr Laura Meadows has been appointed to one post, including support for the Faculty of Arts; Dr Martin Mik has been appointed to another, supporting the Faculty of Social Sciences and Ruth Cooper (currently in WBS) will join the team supporting the Faculty of Science. Whilst Laura and Martin have been able to take up their posts wef 1st October, Ruth will transfer later this term, date tbc. Administrative support for the Faculty of Medicine will remain embedded in that Faculty with Wendy Coy, Lara McCarthy, Helen Wollerton and Carmel Parrott providing support from within WMS. The current distributed model of Faculty Assistant Secretaries will remain in situ. It is welcome news that Faculty Boards and their sub-committees will be serviced by a substantive colleague who is dedicated to this area of work. There will also be dedicated clerical support; this appointment is currently in train. These new Assistant Registrar posts will play a role in implementation of work arising from last year’s Teaching & Learning Review and in supporting QA and QE work within Teaching Quality. We also look forward to them contributing to some student experience projects at UG and PG levels.

Finally, the Space Management & Timetabling team moved from the Academic Office to the Deputy Registrar’s Office, to sit (metaphorically only to date!) alongside colleagues in Management Information & Planning wef 1st September. Both officer posts were being replaced at the time and the colleagues now based in the Deputy Registrar’s Office who will take forward major developments in this area are Emma Melia, as Senior Assistant Registrar and Kirsty Jenkins (nee Pennington) as Assistant Registrar.

2) Staffing and structural changes in the Academic Office
Recognising that some of the staffing changes set out above, together with those that have taken place in the usual course of events have led to some considerable changes to roles and responsibilities, organisation charts for all teams in the Academic Office have been updated and may now be accessed at http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/services/academicoffice/contactus/

3) Committee timetable dates and associated events
Please find below dates for UG academic committees for this term. Please note that paper deadlines will usually be at least 7 days in advance of meeting dates; enquiries to the relevant secretaries.

Undergraduate Studies Committees
Undergraduate Studies Committee, Faculty of Arts, 2-4pm 17.10.12, H042
Undergraduate Studies Committee, Faculty of Social Sciences, 2-4pm 17.10.12, CMR 1.2
Sub-Faculty of Science, 2-4pm 17.10.12, Council Chamber
Undergraduate Studies Committee, Faculty of Medicine, 2-4pm, 22.10.12, Warwick Medical School

Faculty Boards & Faculty Lunches
Board of the Faculty of Arts, 10.30–12.30pm, 08.11.12, Council Chamber, followed by the Arts Faculty Lunch at 12.30-2.00pm in the Postgraduate Space on the fourth floor of the Humanities Extension
Board of the Faculty of Social Sciences, 2-4pm, 08.11.12, Council Chamber (tbc), following lunch 12.30 – 1.45pm (tbc) in WBS Lounge
Board of the Faculty of Science, 2.30-4.30pm Council Chamber, preceded by lunch in the Digilab from 12.30 – 2.00pm
Board of the Faculty of Medicine, 10-12pm, 08.11.12, Warwick Medical School

BUGS
Board of Undergraduate Studies, 2-5pm, 22.11.12, Council Chamber

Lunches for Directors of Undergraduate Studies
This academic year, the Chair of the Board of Undergraduate Studies will host a termly lunch for DUGS. Dates are as follows; all lunches will be held in the Council Chamber, University House:
12.30-2.30pm Monday, 3rd December 2012
12.00-2.00pm Friday 8th March 2013
12.00-2.00pm Friday 7th June 2013

4) Directors of Undergraduate Studies
Each year the Academic Office tries to ensure we contact departments throughout the summer period to update our records and retain a current listing of all departmental Directors of Undergraduate Studies. A list that we believe to be up-to-date may be found here(PDF Document).

5) Update from Student Finance: news from the Student Loans Company

With the start of the new academic year, the Student Finance and Student Funding Teams are busy ensuring that all home undergraduate students receiving support from the UK Government have received their student maintenance loan and that their tuition fee loans are in place for the Student Loans Company (SLC) to pay the University tuition fees on the students’ behalf. The teams are also making sure that students in receipt of bursaries from the University as part of the Warwick Undergraduate Scholarships and Bursaries Programme have their fee waivers and bursary payments in place. This work all involves liaison with the SLC and the transfer of electronic data between the University and the SLC on a daily basis.

If you are aware of any students within your Departments that may not have had their funding when they expected it, or are having problems accessing the funding they may be entitled to, the teams are here to help. Please direct them to Student Finance or Student Funding. The main contacts within the teams are:

• Jim Sewell and Michael Sherwin (issues regarding receipt of any student loans)
• Viv Sykes and Rebecca Ayres (issues regarding entitlement to Student Funding or receipt of Warwick USB bursaries)

The teams can help students in a variety of ways in the short term until their funding arrives. They can help the student to identify the delay in funding, move the due dates on payments of rent etc. to the University to allow time for their funding to arrive and arrange emergency loans up to £250 to give students access to cash in the event that their funding is delayed.

6) Module Registration
Autumn Term module registration closes to students on Friday 19th October. Departmental module registration representatives are asked to remember that, while the end of the fifth week of the Spring Term (8th February 2013) will be the final deadline in the academic year for departmental checking of student module registration data, the data will also need to be as accurate as possible by the beginning of Week 7 of the current term for the purposes of the University’s HESES return to the Higher Education Funding Council. The data plays a significant part in determining the University’s funding and so please note the importance of this aspect of the process. Departmental module registration approvers should therefore have approved (“confirmed” in the system terminology) students’ module choices by 12th November 2012. Many thanks.

7) Higher Education Achievement Report (HEAR)
This summer all graduating full-time students received a HEAR, an electronic record of both their academic achievement and specific additional achievements, such as academic prizes, Warwick Advantage and volunteering with Warwick Volunteers, instead of a hard copy transcript. Over the coming year the HEAR will be extended to all current students, so that students will have access to their HEAR during the course of their studies and student society activities will also be added. For more information see www.go/hear
The Teaching Quality team has been working with a number of administrative areas and the Student’s Union to achieve the successful implementation of this project. Transcripts will continue to be issued for former students of the University seeking a copy of their historical record of academic achievement from previous years. As currently, these will be issued via the Examinations team.

8) Key Information Sets (KIS)
The Key Information Sets were launched nationally at the end of September and provide a means for prospective students to compare specific features of undergraduate courses, including assessment methods, fees, NSS results and teaching and learning activities. They are available as a ‘widget’ on the course pages in the undergraduate prospectus and in full at www.unistats.ac.uk Management Information and Planning have commenced some initial analysis of data on teaching and learning activities to enable us to benchmark our results against peer institutions.

9) QAA Institutional Review
The QAA Institutional Review will take place in the spring term 2013, with the team’s initial visit taking place on 15th and 16th January 2013, and the full visit occurring during being the week commencing 25th February. Documentation will be submitted in early December and the self-evaluation document will be circulated to committees this term for comment.

10) Joint Degrees Convenors Meeting
The annual Joint Degrees Convenors meeting will be held at 9.30-11.00am on 29th January 2013, venue tbc.

11) Annual Course Review
The Annual Course Review process was suspended last year due to Institutional Review taking place. The process will take place as usual this year and the deadline for submission of undergraduate reports to Faculty Board Secretaries is 30 November 2011.

12) Currency of students’ contact details
A good deal of work has been undertaken within Student Records in recent months to ensure that we adopt a more proactive approach to encouraging students regularly to check and update their contact details. Reminders to students of the importance of maintaining current contact details on the University’s central record are now regularly appearing on plasma screens across campus. It would be much appreciated if staff could also provide encouragement to students to update their details when they become aware of a change of address. Students may update this aspect of their record via the link at my.warwick.

Feedback

Please let me know if this type of regular update is useful to you and, in addition to Heads of Departments and Directors of Undergraduate Studies and others who have specifically requested a copy, if other colleagues ought to be added to the core distribution list.

Kind regards

Roberta Wooldridge Smith
Deputy Academic Registrar