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Warwick Medical School - UG & PG - 2007

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’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, 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 undergraduate and postgraduate 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. The process is intended to encourage a constructive and challenging dialogue between the Review Group and members of the Department.
  • 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’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 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 with a view to identifying potential enhancements that can be made to the Department’s activities;
  • to promote the enhancement of the quality of education for students in the Department 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 under review;
  • to assess progress in relation to the outcomes and recommendations of the Department’s previous review(s).

The Strategic Departmental Review of Warwick Medical School took place in December 2006. It was the first review to take place under the new SDR process, and, given the range of courses under review, the initial Review Panel recommended that a subsequent review be carried out, to ensure that full attention was devoted to all the courses under review. This second review, covering taught postgraduate and CPD (continuing professional development) courses, took place in July 2007.

Review Panel

The panel in December 2006 included two senior professors from outside the University:

  • from the Postgraduate School of Dental and Medical Education, Cardiff University
  • from the Department of Primary Care and Population Health, University College London

The panel in July 2007 included two senior colleagues from outside the University:

  • from the Faculty of Health, University of Central Lancashire
  • from the Institute of Health Sciences Education, Queen Mary's School of Medicine and Dentistry

The panel for both reviews also included a senior professor from Warwick:

  • from the Department of Physics, University of Warwick
The secretary for the reviews was drawn from the University's administrative staff.

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

  • Self Evaluation Document
  • Report(s) from previous Strategic Departmental Review or Periodic Review of Courses
  • Reports from the General Medical Council and the General Dental Council 
  • 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:

Taught postgraduate courses

    • MSc in Child Health
    • MSc in Health Sciences (Child Health)
    • MSc in Diabetes
    • MSc in Diabetes (Paediatrics)
    • MSc in Health Sciences (Diabetes)
    • MSc in Health Services Management
    • MSc in Health Sciences (Health Services Management)
    • MSc in Implant Dentistry
    • MSc in Orthodontic Dentistry
    • MPH Master’s in Public Health
    • MSc in Health Sciences (Public Health)
    • MSc in Sexual and Reproductive Health (Community Gynaecology)
    • MSc in Health Sciences (Sexual and Reproductive Health (Community Gynaecology))
    • MMedEd Master’s in Medical Education
    • MSc in Health Sciences (Medical Education)
    • MA/MSc in Philosophy and Ethics of Mental Health
    • MSc in Research Methods in Health Sciences
    • MSc in Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgery
    • MSc in Health Sciences (Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgery)
    • MSc in Health Sciences
    • MSc in Health Sciences (Palliative Care)
    • MSc in Health Sciences (Emergency Care)
    • MSc in Health Sciences (Musculoskeletal Care)

    Postgraduate Certificates and Diplomas are offered in the subjects that are taught at Master’s level.

    Provision at level I (undergraduate level 2, FHEQ level 5)

    • Certificate and Diploma in Occupational Health
    • Certificate in Diabetes Care
    • Diabetes Management in Hospital Clinical Areas
    Non-accredited provision
    • Intensive Management of Type 2 Diabetes Programme
    • Warwick Kidney Care Programme
    Research courses
    • MSc by Research, MPhil, PhD, MD Medicine

    The Review Panel (July 2007) considered the recent report from the General Medical Council on the MBChB course, and follow-up action taken by the Medical School in response. Given the level of scrutiny from the GMC, and the thorough follow-up by the Medical School, the Review Panel did not scrutinise the MBChB course in any further detail.

    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 in December 2006 and July 2007:

    • meetings with a wide range of students
    • a number of meetings with academic and administrative staff to discuss curriculum, quality and standards, learning resources, pastoral support and other areas

    Key findings

    The review panels concluded that the quality and standards of courses under review was high, with evidence of significant enhancement activity across the range of courses. The curriculum was up-to-date and regularly updated to ensure it retains currency.

    The department was consistently demonstrating good practice in terms of its:

    • quality assurance processes, including those for canvassing and acting on student feedback
    • balance of staff, appropriate for the range of courses across a number of professional areas, with such diversity a strength
    • excellent use of a range of technologies to enhance learning
    • pastoral support and guidance for students
    • robust and flexible system for the supervision of research students

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

    • the review panel recommended that the Medical School should continue to audit assessment turn around times and in due course reduce the target for turn around to four weeks. The Medical School has piloted an online submission system, which has had some impact and is committed to achieving the four-week target
    • the review panel recommended that the Medical School should review induction and orientation arrangements, particularly for overseas students. The Medical School reviewed induction and orientation arrangements and introduced a new programme of induction days and study skills tutorialsin 2007-08. Online induction resources were also developed.
    Further information