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Notes on the Briefing Visit, 7-9 October '08

Practical arrangements

Audit team were in CMR 1.2

We supplied

  • one PC each
  • photocopier
  • phone
  • stationery

All meetings were in CMR 1.1

Audit team had use of CMR 1.1 for private meetings

Regular provision of tea, coffee, water, fruit, food, biscuits and cakes

Meetings and issues

Business meeting

Staff: Julian Moss; Louise Walmsley (Audit sec)

Discussion areas:

  • arranging access to samples of SSLC minutes
  • clarification on student representation/voice in SDR (clarified that there are no student panellists)
  • clarified Steering Committee status and role
  • discussed joint honours courses and which potential audit trail departments have joint/cross-departmental courses
Credit: clarification meeting

Staff: Julian Moss; whole audit team, audit sec, QAA AD

Discussion areas:

  • credit tariffs, and the fact that we have more than one (multiples of 6, multiples of 7.5, multiples of 10)
  • use of Seymour formula - who does it affect
Meeting with VC

Staff: Nigel Thrift; whole audit team, audit sec, QAA AD

Question/discussion areas:

  • University Strategy, including challenges in implementation, reasons for seeking to double PGR numbers
  • Collaborations
  • Internationalisation
  • Resourcing - including how money is allocated to departments [in effect, mirroring HEFCE allocation model], where decisions are taken [incl Building Committee, ARC etc]
  • student representation, including committee membership of SU President, SU Education Officer
  • role of "Deans" of Faculty [ie Faculty Chairs]: stressed that these are non-executive positions without budgets
  • little on QA and QE, but did discuss QE by example rather than QE by committee
  • examples of good practice/things we're proud of, including Skills, Warwick Advantage, WATE, CETLs, URSS, WMS, EIF, VC breakfasts, Library remodelling, Warwick Volunteers, WP commitment
Meeting with eight staff

Staff: Michael Whitby, Karen O'Brien, Lee Bridges, Russell Moseley, Stephen Lamb, Nicola Owen, Ken Sloan, Julian Moss; whole audit team, audit sec, QAA AD

Question/discussion areas:

  • Following up on last Audit: assessment conventions
  • credit tariffs, leading into overloading/stretch
  • short lines of communication (dept-centre), also role of faculties and Faculty Chairs; touched on Effectiveness Review of Council
  • First Year Boards of Examiners
  • Open Studies - student numbers, progression routes; also Warwick Learning Account
  • WP
  • Admissions, including Achievement in Context, AWARDS, admissions to post-experience courses
  • BGS's thinking on annual course review and course approval timings/mechanisms
  • Graduate School ASDAR
  • training for PGRs who teach
  • Senior Tutor role ad revised guidelines
  • Joint Honours students: what evidence speaks of their experience, how many students
  • Collaborative provision, incl. taxonomy, light-touch approval routes
  • Approval of external examiners
  • Upcoming curriculum review
Meeting with eight students

Students: Mohammed Surve (SU sabbatical Education Officer), Tim Sansom (SU Academic Representation Coordinator), Stephanie Liggins (PhD Physics), David Metcalfe (MBChB), David Steele (p/t BA Historical Studies), Rebecca Putz (Master of Public Health); Sumaiya Khaku (BA Politics and International Studies), Daniel Wood (MMath)

Question areas:

  • the Student Written Submission - how it was drafted, how representative it is; University progress on the five areas identified for development;
  • student representation/SU relationship with the University;
  • Tim Sansom's role [SU Academic Representation Coordinator];
  • SSLC system, how issues feed back down, as well as up;
  • specific questions about joint degree students, including representation, how issues are raised outside of the department/what the SSLC arrangements are;
  • broad discussion on the general student experience;
  • assessment changes/new marking scale; were students consulted;
  • credit system;
  • Warwick Advantage;
  • Careers;
  • Capital and Reinvention;
  • a couple of PGR-specific questions;
  • support for mature students;
  • role of resident tutors;
  • role of Senior Tutor;
  • knowledge of Insite; use departments make of e-learning, including online assessment. 
Final business meeting

Staff: Julian Moss; Louise Walmsley (audit sec), Gillian King (QAA AD)

Discussion areas:

  • meetings in main Audit visit
  • extra evidence ahead of or for main Audit visit