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Undergraduate Staff Newsletter - Autumn 2013

Academic Office Undergraduate Newsletter, Autumn 2013

This newsletter will be issued on a quarterly basis to provide academic colleagues with an interest in, or responsibility for, undergraduate education in their departments with a regular summary of matters of policy, procedure and issues for forthcoming development in areas overseen by the Academic Office.

It is being sent to all Heads of Department, Directors of Undergraduate Studies and staff who have otherwise expressed an interest in hearing from the Academic Office on matters relating to undergraduate students on a regular basis.

This newsletter contains information on the following topics:

1) Committee Timetable 2013-14

2) Staffing changes in the Academic Office

3) Directors of Undergraduate Studies

4) Directors of Undergraduate Studies’ Lunches

5) Student Funding Enquiries

6) Changes to Assessment Regulations and Examination Conventions

7) Module Registration

8) Currency of students’ contact details


1) Committee Timetable 2013-14

The Committee timetable for the new academic year is available at

Please note that paper submission deadlines will usually be at least 7 days in advance of meeting dates; please direct enquiries to the relevant Committee Secretaries.

2) Staffing changes in the Academic Office

We have once again had some turn-over in staff as a consequence of internal and external moves. We have therefore taken steps to ensure that organisation charts for all teams in the Academic Office have been updated accordingly. They may be accessed at

In short, Gemma Hearnden left the Graduate School for a 12 month secondment to Sociology and has been backfilled by Jeanette Jones. Lucy Inman is undertaking a secondment to WMG and has been backfilled by Sarah Gilbert. Helen Greenwood joined Exams in early September as Admin Officer and Delphine Christie joined Student Records in a similar capacity just last week. We wish them well in their new roles and all have been encouraged to make early contact with academic departments. With effect from 1st October, we also welcome the SITS Application Management Team comprising Roger Allinson-French and Sarah Wood who transfer from Strategic Planning and Analytics to the Academic Office.

3) 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. Amendments to our records may be notified to at any time.

4) Directors of Undergraduate Studies’ Lunches

Termly lunches for Directors of Undergraduate Studies to discuss broad topics relating to the undergraduate experience proved very popular last academic year. The lunches will be held again this year on the following dates. DUGs are strongly encouraged to attend or to invite an appropriate departmental colleague if they are unable to make the date.

Autumn Term: CMR 1.0 from 13.00 – 15.00 on Wednesday 4th December 2013

Spring Term: CMR 1.0 from 12.00 – 14.00 on Friday 14th March 2014

Summer Term: CMR 1.0 from 12.00 – 14.00 on Tuesday 24th June 2014

5) Student Funding Enquiries

Any undergraduate students who are experiencing difficulties or delays in accessing their funding (grants, loans and bursaries) at the start of the academic year should be referred to the Student Funding Office on the ground floor of University House for advice. Similarly, all students who may be considering withdrawing from the University, either temporarily or permanently, should seek advice from the Student Funding Office on possible financial implications before a final decision is made. The Student Funding team can be contacted by telephone on 024 7615 0096 or by email to

6) Changes to Assessment Regulations and Examination Conventions

A number of changes to assessment regulations and examination conventions will be introduced in 2013/14. Directors of Undergraduate Studies will have been notified of these changes and actions arising that will need to be taken within academic departments in a memo from Professor Christina Hughes of 22 July 2013. In summary:

(a) 50% Rule

The “50% rule” (governing the minimum proportion of undergraduate assessment which needed to be by examination) has now been discontinued for all but final year students and the new arrangements have been communicated to Heads of Department, Directors of Undergraduate Studies, Departmental Administrators and Chief Examination Correspondents. Departments are asked to ensure that clear information on the new assessment requirements are given to existing and prospective students.

(b) Institutional and Departmental Assessment Strategies

An over-arching University-wide Assessment Strategy will be produced early in 2013/14 by a working group consisting of representatives from all four Faculties. Once the University’s new Assessment Strategy has been agreed by Senate, departments will be invited to develop their own assessment strategies during the Autumn term, which will be considered by AQSC early in 2014. We are in consultation with LDC and Faculties to discuss support for departments with this process. Should you have any queries, please contact Ruth Cooper.

(c) First Year Boards of Examiners

A working group of the Board of Undergraduate Studies has developed a set of harmonised conventions for the First Year Boards of Examiners. These have been approved by Senate and will be implemented in 2013/14. Departments will need to have identified ‘required core modules’ before the start of the academic year and to indicate these clearly in course handbooks.

(d) Replacement of the Seymour Formula

Following the decision taken by Senate last year to change the way in which ‘overcatting’ contributes to year end marks and degree classification for undergraduate students from 2013/14, discussions have been ongoing on an alternative methodology to be implemented next year, with relevant committees having been consulted during the course of last term. The revised methodology was approved by Senate in July. Departments are asked to ensure that course regulations state on which courses and years of study students are permitted to take credit above the normal load. In addition course handbooks should communicate information about taking additional credit, and explain how students’ marks contributing to degree classification will be calculated.

All new and updated examination conventions are now online at

(e) Penalties for Late Submission

As you will be aware the University operates a penalty for late submission of coursework as set out in Regulation 36.3 at . Please note that this should be applied to working days only and any information provided to students should reflect this.

7) Module Registration

Autumn Term module registration closes to students on Friday 18th October. Departmental module registration representatives are asked to remember that, while the end of the fifth week of the Spring Term (7th February 2014) 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 11th November 2013. Many thanks.

8) Currency of students’ contact details

A good deal of work has been undertaken within Student Records 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


Please let me know if this type of regular update is useful to you and, in addition to Heads of Departments, 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

HRWS 08.10.13

AO UG Newsletter Autumn 2013

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