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Centre for Translation and Comparative Cultural Studies - PG - 2008

The Strategic Departmental Review process

The key aspects of Strategic Departmental Review (SDR) are as follows:

  • The process will ensure that the full range of a Department or Centre’s present and planned future activities is reviewed once every five years.
  • The process will ensure that the standards and quality of teaching and learning of every course in the University are reviewed at least once in a five-year period.
  • The Review will normally be conducted over a three-day period.
  • External peers are involved at all stages of the process and will be in a majority on the Review Group.
  • Senior internal members, external to the Department or Centre, will also be involved on the Review Group.
  • Strategic Departmental Review involves direct engagement with the views of staff and students. At least one meeting with a representative group of students will always form part of the review process.
  • While Strategic Departmental Review performs an important quality assurance function, it is also concerned with the enhancement and development of courses and the future academic vision and strategy of Departments and Centres. The process is intended to encourage a constructive and challenging dialogue between the Review Group and members of the Department or Centre.
  • Dependent research centres will form part of the review.
  • Strategic Departmental Review is overseen by the Steering Committee which initially considers the Review Report and determines what actions should be taken as a result of the recommendations and by whom. Matters specific to the standards and quality of courses will normally be delegated to the quality assurance committee structure culminating in the Academic Quality and Standards Committee (AQSC) and matters relating to management and resources normally to the Academic Resourcing Committee (ARC).
  • A summary of the process and those outcomes relating specifically to courses will be published on the Teaching Quality website.

The main purpose of the Strategic Departmental Review process is to assure the quality of the full range of a Department or Centre’s activities and provide an opportunity for reflection and external advice as to how to enhance these activities and what new opportunities there may be to pursue. The objectives of Strategic Departmental Review which relate to courses are:

  • to assist Departments and Centres in the formulation of medium-term strategies for the development of research, teaching and resourcing and in the development of management capability to deliver those strategies;
  • to evaluate current strengths and weaknesses in the teaching, research and management activities of the Department or Centre with a view to identifying potential enhancements that can be made to the Department or Centre’s activities;
  • to promote the enhancement of the quality of education for students in the Department or Centre and to stimulate new initiatives in teaching;
  • to assure the University and other interested parties (e.g. applicants, students, employers) of the standards and quality of the courses under review.
  • to formulate recommendations to the Vice-Chancellor and the Department or Centre under review;
  • to assess progress in relation to the outcomes and recommendations of the Department or Centre’s previous review(s).
Review Panel

The panel included three senior colleagues from outside the University:

  • from the Department of Department of Literature, Film and Theatre Studies, University of Essex
  • from the Department of English Studies, University of Stirling
  • from the British Centre for Literary Translation, University ofEast Anglia

The panel also included two senior colleagues from Warwick:

  • from the Department of Italian, University of Warwick
  • from the Department of Philosophy, University of Warwick

The secretary for the review was drawn from the University's administrative staff.

The Department provided the written evidence base for the review, including:

  • Self Evaluation Document
  • Report from the previous Peiodic Review of Courses
  • External Examiners' reports and departmental responses
  • Annual Course Review reports
  • Student-Staff Liaison Committee minutes and reports
  • Results of module questionnaires and other student feedback
  • Student handbooks
  • Promotional literature including prospectus entry and brochures
  • A range of evidence relating to the other aspects of the department's work - research, organisation, financial position and management structures
Scope of review

The following courses were included in the scope of the review:

  • MA/PG Diploma/PG Certificate in Transation Studies
  • MA/PG Diploma in Transation, Media and Cultural Transfer
  • MA in Comparative Literary and Cultural Studies
  • MA in Comparative Cultural Studies
  • MA in Colonial and Postcolonial Literatures in English
  • aspects of the MA in Translation, Writing and Cultural Difference (delivered in collaboration with the Departments of Italian, French Studies, German Studies and English and Comparative Literature)
  • aspects of the MA in British Cultural Studies and English Language Teaching (delivered in collaboration with the Centre for English Language Teacher Education)
Conduct of review

The review panel read the written evidence provided by the department and discussed issues with staff and student in a number of meetings over three days:

  • meeting with seven postgraduate students
  • four meetings with academic and administrative staff to discuss curriculum, quality and standards, learning resources, pastoral support and other areas

Key findings

The review panel confirmed that the Centre was one that was recognised internationally for having high quality teaching and research.

The Centre was consistently demonstrating good practice in terms of:

  • the quality of the teaching and the pastoral care provided to students, which appeared to be excellent, with staff and students actively enthused about learning
  • its development of strong MA and PhD programmes and its highly successful recruitment strategy
  • its long-established programme of symposia and conferences, bringing in high profile international figures

There were a number of recommendations for the Centre to consider as it continues to develop and enhance its courses:

  • the Review Group recommended that the Centre consider ways to further develop e-learning tools to further enhance the student experience. The Centre has given considerable thought to the development of e-learning tools and wishes to develop facilities for translation software.
  • the Centre may wish to consider whether students should be further encouraged to take advantage of opportunities to network with other students within the Faculty of Arts. The Centre is working hard to encourage PhD students to integrate more with other departments.
  • the Review Group agreed with the Centre that there was scope for provision of alternative summative assessment methods within the new course that the Centre was developing and encouraged the Centre to incorporate these where possible. The Centre is developing better forms of assessment while bearing in mind workload issues.
Further information
  • CTCCS website

The report of this review was considered by the following committees:

  • University Steering Committee, February 2008
  • AQSC, June 2008
  • Other committees considered the aspects of the report which related to other aspects of the department's work - research, organisation, financial position and management structures