The Committee system
Formally the Senate is responsible for all the University's academic activities. It devolves responsibility for academic quality and standards to the Academic Quality and Standards Committee (AQSC). AQSC is chaired by the Pro-Vice-Chancellor whose responsibilities include Teaching and Learning, currently Professor Christopher Hughes. Various committees are involved in scrutinising teaching and learning activities, approving and reviewing courses and modules, and making changes to the University's rules and regulations in this area. The organisation and structure of the committees aims to ensure that everyone with a stake has the chance to influence policy, but no more committees are involved than necessary.
These committees are made up of academics and students. It is a vital part of the University's status as an autonomous institution and a community of scholars that decisions are taken by these committees rather than by individuals or bureaucrats. Students are centrally involved, sitting on committees at department, faculty and university level. Informal and formal feedback from students is vital, and is collected in many ways. All students are represented on a student-led Student-Staff Liaison Committee in their department.
All of our processes are designed to combine assurance with opportunities for enhancement, through the identification and sharing of good practice.
Equally, all our staff are responsible for quality and standards of the courses they teach. We recruit excellent staff and we trust them to teach well. Academic staff are expected to have or to develop the skills of excellent teachers. We provide extensive training and professional development opportunities to enable them to teach to the best of their abilities. The Learning and Development Centre supports this process.
Course and module approval
The University operates a standard process for considering proposals for new and revised courses and modules across all Faculties. Proposals are considered by academic faculty committees and by the University-wide Boards of Graduate and Undergraduate Studies. Financial approval for new courses is given by different committees, to ensure that the academic decision can be taken on academic grounds.
The University operates a range of policies and processes designed to ensure that the assessment of students' learning is valid, reliable and fair. This includes rigorous processes for approving assessment tasks and exam papers and the moderation of marking. The involvement of external examiners, who write detailed annual reports, ensures that Warwick's standards are comparable with top institutions in the UK and overseas. There are well established processes for handling academic appeals.
Regular review of courses and departments
We review our courses regularly - departments review their own courses every year, with reports being considered by various committees. The University reviews all departments every five years, including detailed consideration of their courses.
Student input is essential in our quality processes. Departments collect feedback from students concerning individual modules and courses, while the University participates in national and international surveys of student opinion including the National Student Survey, the Postgraduate Research Experience Survey, the Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey, and the International Student Barometer.
The University and Students' Union work closely together on a wide range of issues across the whole student experience. The University is proud of its well established and long standing Student Staff Liaison Committee system, which ensures that every student can have their say on issues that affect them. The system is a joint enterprise, coordinated by the Students' Union and academic staff working together.
There is a well established student academic complaints process. Students who remain dissatisfied with the outcome of a complaint may refer it to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education.
External involvement and national QA bodies
Our external examiners confirm that our standards are high. New course proposals must be accompanied by advice from external experts. Panels for Strategic Departmental Reviews include a majority of academics from other universities in the UK and abroad. Our Faculty Advisory Boards, made up of lay experts, contribute valuable insights as we develop our courses.
We operate within various national and international contexts. Various independent agencies confirm that we run our courses well. We are audited by the national Quality Assurance Agency (QAA), and a number of our courses are accredited, validated or recognised by professional, statutory or regulatory bodies (PSRBs).
Warwick graduates are highly regarded and are well placed to find good jobs or to go on to further study. The Centre for Student Careers and Skills collects information from graduates six months after they complete their course. You can read the results on the Student Careers and Skills website.
The University recognises the increased risks associated with collaborations which deliver Warwick courses. Collaborative courses are therefore subject to an extra level of scrutiny through the committee system, where good practice can be identified and shared and common issues discussed and resolved.
What Teaching Quality does
The Teaching Quality section of the Academic Registrar's Office works to secure threshold standards for the University's academic programmes of study, and ensures that associated systems and procedures are fit for purpose, enabling the University to command a strong reputation in the sector and be sufficiently agile to take advantage of market opportunities. We ensure that Warwick's taught provision and support for students' learning is appropriately responsive to the QAA's UK Quality Code and lead on internal and external teaching and learning review exercises. We offer advice to departments and individuals on a wide range of issues. We support academic departments in the analysis of metrics relating to teaching and learning provision and student feedback. We lead on matters of academic governance and student complaints handling, working collaboratively with academic departments and professional services towards the achievement of a culture of continuous quality enhancement in the student experience.
Teaching Quality's relationship with the Warwick International Higher Education Academy
Teaching Quality works closely with the Warwick International Higher Education Academy towards achievement of the ambitious objectives set out in Goal 1 of the University Strategy relating to teaching and learning. We collaborate on the Academy's mission relating to student engagement through the Academy's ambassadorial and partnership schemes, which are designed to bring together staff and students to work on teaching and learning matters of mutual interest and benefit, placing an emphasis on the scalability of initiatives to ensure that successful schemes may be rolled-out, thus benefitting the widest possible number of students across all levels of study.