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Undergraduate Staff Newsletter - Spring 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) QAA Institutional Review
2) Summer Term Examination Period
3) Boards of Examiners’ training
4) Student Funding 2013-14 application deadline
5) Graduation July 2013: Student Finance requirements
6) Committee meeting dates
7) Directors of Undergraduate Studies’ Lunch
8) Currency of students’ contact details

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1) QAA Institutional Review

In mid-March, the University received the ‘Key Findings’ letter, summarising the outcomes of the QAA Review. It confirmed: that the academic standards of the University’s awards meet UK expectations for threshold standards; that the quality of student learning opportunities meets UK expectations; that the quality of the institution’s information about learning opportunities meets UK expectations and that the enhancement of student learning opportunities is commended.

The draft Review Report and associated Evidence Base was received on 12 April. The University is invited to comment on factual inaccuracies, omissions and misapprehensions. The University’s draft response, together with the draft report, will be considered by the Steering Committee on 29 April 2013 ahead of the deadline for receipt by the QAA of 3 May 2013. The report will be published on the QAA website on 25 May 2013.

The draft report highlighted three areas requiring further work, namely: making external examiner reports fully accessible to all students; making course handbooks easily accessible and providing a mechanism to ensure that all information produced for students was fit for purpose.

Particular thanks are extended to all staff who supported colleagues in the Teaching Quality team prepare so thoroughly, for meeting with reviewers and for supporting students who played a part in enabling reviewers to get a feel for the student experience at Warwick. A celebration to mark contributions towards the review more formally will be held in May.

2) Summer Term Examination Period

The final timetable for examinations weeks 5-9 of the Summer Term has now been published online at http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/services/academicoffice/examinations

Invigilation nominations will be requested from Heads of Departments this week. Memberships of Boards of Examiners will be requested from Heads of Departments by week 5 of term (w/c 20th May), for submission to the Senate Steering Committee. Module diets will be available for amendment online for 2013/14 from early in the Summer Term.

3) Boards of Examiners’ Training
During the hearing of a recent academic student complaint, it transpired that some Boards of Examiners may not be aware of legal requirements under the Equality Act, including basic information such as conditions falling under one of the protected characteristics.

In order to ensure appropriate procedures are observed and that decisions are taken in line with relevant legislation, the Teaching Quality team has been working with colleagues in HR, Mental Services & Disability Services to develop a PowerPoint presentation which will be circulated to all members of Boards of Examiners. This will summarise the legal and formal institutional requirements and remind Board members of their responsibilities.

A bespoke workshop is also being developed for Board members to ensure that as they take up their roles this term, they are appropriately briefed about the legislative position and ensure it is taken into account when making their decisions. The workshop will run for 2 hours and will be made available daily as follows: 9.00 - 11.00am, 12.00 noon - 2.00pm, 3.00 - 5.00pm on Thursday 28th & Wednesday 29th May. All sessions will be held in room SMR 1.7a, first floor, senate house. Booking information will be confirmed week commencing 6th May. We very much hope that this scheduling will accommodate differing teaching timetables and ensure, particularly, that Chairs and Secretaries to Board of Examiners, along with the relevant administrators at the very least will be able to attend.

The objectives of the workshop will include:
• Identifying where Boards of Examiners may not be working within the legal framework.
• Identifying how to avoid breaking the requirements of the law by effectively utilising existing policies and procedures.
• Identifying individual responsibilities under equalities legislation
• Defining offences under the Equality Act 2010
• Recognising the nine protected characteristics
• Understanding the three Public Duties
An invitation to attend the workshop will be extended to all members of Board of Examiners within a circular of guidance documentation in early May.

4) Student Funding 2013-14 application deadline
Home undergraduate students who will be returning to their studies in 2013-14 should apply online now for student finance www.gov.uk/studentfinance The application deadline to ensure that funding is in place for the start of the academic year is 28th June.

5) Graduation July 2013: Student Finance requirements
In order to be eligible to attend the July graduation ceremonies, students must ensure that they clear their account with the University by 7 June 2013. Any student who feels they may have difficulties complying with this requirement should contact Student Finance (by telephone on 024 765 72636 or 024 765 23636 or by email at studentfinance@warwick.ac.uk

6) Committee meeting dates, Summer Term 2013
Please find below dates for UG academic committees for next term. Please note that paper deadlines will usually be at least 7 days in advance of meeting dates; enquiries to the relevant secretaries.
*Please note that the Council Chamber in University House has now been designated room CMR 1.0; references to the Council Chamber relate to Senate House.

Undergraduate Studies Committees

Undergraduate Studies Committee, Faculty of Arts, 2-4pm, 8 May, H042, Humanities Building
Undergraduate Studies Committee, Faculty of Social Sciences, 2-4pm, 8 May, Room S2.77 Cowling Room, Social Sciences Building
Sub-Faculty of Science, 2-4pm, 8 May, CMR 1.0, University House
Undergraduate Studies Committee, Faculty of Medicine, 2-4pm, 8 May, WMS

Faculty Boards

Board of the Faculty of Arts: 2-4pm 20 May, R0.03/4, following the Faculty lunch 12.30-2.00pm in the PG space, 4th floor Humanities Building
Board of the Faculty of Social Sciences: 9.30-11am, 23 May, CMR 1.0, University House, followed by the Faculty lunch 12.30-2.00pm in the WBS Lounge
Board of the Faculty of Science: 9.30-11.30pm, 22 May, CMR 1.0, University House, followed by the Faculty Lunch 12-1.30pm, Digilab
Board of the Faculty of Medicine: 2-4pm, 21 May, WMS

Board of Undergraduate Studies

2-5pm, Wednesday 5 June, CMR 1.0, University House

DUGS Lunch

12.00-2.00pm Friday 7th June, CMR 1.0, University House

7) Directors of Undergraduate Studies’ Lunch
This term’s lunch will take place at 12.00-2.00pm on Friday 7th June, in room CMR 1.0, University House. Items for the agenda should be sent to Joe Taylor, Academic Office on J.A.Taylor@warwick.ac.uk

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

Feedback
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 30.04.12
K:/DAR/AO UG newsletter Summer 2013