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Departmental Management and Support (Part 2)

4. Heads of Department in all departments involved in the JCDC that are not designated as the “home” department should appoint a “liaison officer” for each JCDC. Liaison officers are normally the first point of contact with the course director for the course, and will, as far as possible, establish a practical working relationship with him or her in order to resolve issues as they arise quickly and informally. In some cases, the nature of the degree programme and the closeness of the working relationship of the course director and liaison officer may lead to an arrangement whereby the individuals act as de facto “co-directors”. Whilst this arrangement may be entirely appropriate, it is important that the distinction is maintained between the two roles so that students are clear on who to contact with queries. Liaison officers should also ensure that students on JCDCs receive relevant email and other circulated communications from the liaison officer’s department (including information about meetings, and unforeseen events such as cancellations of lectures, changes in the timetable).

5. The Head of each Department involved with the JCDC should also designate a named secretarial or administrative staff member(s) with responsibility for day-to-day oversight for administrative matters.

6. Departments should supply students with a separate, customised version of the departmental handbook for JCDCs. Along with relevant course information, this should include the names and contact details of the course director, departmental secretary/administrator(s) and liaison officer with particular responsibilities for their course. This will act both as a resource for students, and also aid their personal tutors in sustaining adequate support and providing sound advice.

7. SSLC arrangements: revised guidance on SSLC arrangements is included in the SSLC Handbook ( Departments will decide, and discuss with students, whether a separate SSLC should be established for a JCDC, or if the JCDC should be included in a larger SSLC convened by the home department. It is recommended that, unless there are sound reasons for not doing so, that JCDCs should have their own separate SSLC. In the majority of cases, it will also be appropriate to ensure that JCDC student representatives are present at the main SSLC meetings of all partner departments. Guidance on arrangements to ensure appropriate representation of JCDC students is included in the SSLC Handbook. A key part of the guidance is that, when JCDC issues are raised at SSLCs that cannot be addressed by the members of staff present, the Academic Convenor should refer the issue directly to the relevant department (usually to the course director or liaison officer for the course).

8. Exam Boards: Exam Board secretaries for JCDCs should liaise - early in the academic year and again after the publication of the exam timetable - with their counterparts to ensure that the dates of final boards (a) allow enough time for marking and delivery of marks to respective boards; and (b) allow enough time for external examiner scrutiny of scripts, projects, essays etc. in all parts of the course. Each JCDC has a named external examiner (usually one also examining on single honours degrees), and Exam Board Secretaries liaise with them about the examining and classification of JCDCs.

9. Final degree classification conventions should be clearly publicised to all students and staff involved in a JCDC, including relative year weightings, any special conventions approved by AQSC, borderline criteria, the application of the Seymour formula and any variations in the classification of one year of study compared to another.