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Theatre, Performance and Cultural Policy Studies - UG & 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’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).
Review Panel

The panel included three senior professors from outside the University:

  • from the School of Performance and Cultural Industries, University of Leeds
  • from the Graduate Center, City University of New York
  • from the Department of Theatre, Film and Television Studies, University of Glasgow

The panel also included two senior professors from Warwick:

  • from the School of Engineering, University of Warwick
  • from the Department of Italian, 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(s) from previous Strategic Departmental Review or Periodic 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:

  • BA Theatre and Performance Studies
  • the School's contribution to the BA English with Theatre Studies
  • the School's contribution to the BA Italian with Theatre Studies
  • MA Creative and Media Enterprises
  • MA European Cultural Policy Management
  • MA International Design and Communication Management
  • PhD Theatre and Performance Studies
  • PhD Cultural Policy Studies
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 a number of undergraduate students
  • meeting with a number of postgraduate students
  • a range of meetings with academic and administrative staff to discuss curriculum, quality and standards, learning resources, pastoral support and other areas

Key findings

The review panel commended the School for its high standard of teaching and research and the number of positive changes over recent years. The collegial atmosphere is to be welcomed, as are its good relations between staff and students as exemplified by the Student-Staff Liaison Committees.

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 School continued to build upon clear criteria for written work and practical work by developing effective criteria for the full range of assessment modes, including oral presentation, participation and group work. This is a priority, and the School is considering alternative assessment and feedback methods.
  • The School should ensure a more structured provision for the growing number of postgraduate students, in terms of induction, training and monitoring, and should work towards the establishment of a single postgraduate area for all departments in Millburn House, to help develop a vibrant research community. Postgraduates in the School have long been encouraged to attend University and Faculty induction and training events. As numbers continue to increase, the School is creating a more structured induction and training programme.
Further information

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

  • University Steering Committee, September 2008
  • AQSC, October 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