The University Senate approved a new policy and procedure for the discontinuation of courses. This provides information to guide departments through the process and highlights areas to consider. The policy, together with a form to propose discontinuation of courses, can be found online at: http://warwick.ac.uk/quality/categories/courseapproval/discontinuation
The OIA has recently changed its guidance, giving students 1 year from the receipt of a Completion of Procedures letter to submit an OIA Complaint form. Previously students had to submit their form within 3 months of the receipt of a Completion of Procedures letter. It has therefore been necessary to revise the timescales for retention of examination and assessment scripts and Senate has recently approved changes to Regulation 10.1 on Retention of Exam Scripts. For undergraduate courses students’ work will need to be retained for 2 years following the meeting of the final year Board of Examiners and for 2 years after a meeting of the Board of Examiners at which an unsuccessful candidate was considered. In the case of postgraduate taught courses students’ work should be retained for two years’ after the final exam. The proposed change in Regulation 10.1 has yet to be confirmed by Council but information will be updated following the meeting of Council in May.
The Senate has approved an updated Policy and Strategy for Collaborative Courses. This has been revised to reflect the new University Strategy, setting out the expectation that collaborative courses contribute to Strategy goals against specified objectives.
In June 2015, Senate approved a revised process for the Annual Course Review (ACR) for introduction from the academic year 2016/17 as proposed by the Monitoring and Review Working Group. Senate agreed that further work on the procedures and underpinning systems was needed before implementation could take place, this would focus on identification of relevant key indicators and the actual process of the review event. In autumn 2015, colleagues from Strategic Planning and Analytics, Departmental Administration, the Graduate School, Teaching Quality and the SITS Development Team participated in a Business Process Review (BPR) to work on how to successfully operationalise the Annual Course Review process for implementation in 2016/17.
As an outcome of the BPR, the original proposal approved by Senate in June 2015, has been slightly amended to ensure that no unreasonable administrative burden is imposed on school/departments as outcome of the revised ACR process. Instead of a yearly ACR event, it is proposed that a course review event would take place every two years involving the course team and members of Teaching Quality and making use of quantitative and qualitative data available on a course portal maintained by SPA and Teaching Quality. In addition, continuous monitoring of key indicators would be carried out by Teaching Quality and schools/departments will be contacted during the course of the academic year when red or amber triggers are reached, the level of triggers will be agreed with each department in advance and might differ depending on the nature of the programme of study.
During the winter, further work to identify the key indicators for course review, where these indicators should be stored and the operation of the review events has taken place involving colleagues from SPA and Teaching Quality.
Academic (members of Undergraduate Studies Committee and Graduate Studies Committee) and administrative colleagues were invited to consultation sessions in the middle of March to be briefed on the proposed process and to contribute further to discussions on the revised course review process. Following these consultation sessions, a revised course review process will be considered by the Boards of Graduate and Undergraduate Studies in April/May 2016, followed by consideration by AQSC in May 2016; and by Senate in June. Implementation is currently intended from the start of the academic year 2016/17.
As part of a Review of Institutional Quality Assurance Processes in 2014/15, AQSC recommended that a number of quality processes at the University of Warwick required priority attention and it was noted that the process of the review of external examiners’ reports and departmental responses needed to be revisited to implement robust, timely review and effective action planning, noting that Teaching Quality should be responsible for receiving and reviewing external examiners’ reports and responses.
As an initial step, it is proposed to revise the external examiners’ report form by moving away from free text boxes to asking specific questions to obtain more sophisticated information from external examiners and thus allowing the University to build up a detailed picture of themes, concerns and recommendations arising from external examiners’ reports. In addition, the external examiners’ report form is proposed to be combined with the departmental response form creating one single form to be accessed online via SITS with a view to making them available to relevant staff and students. Keeping external examiners’ reports and departmental reports in one place on SITS, would also enable the University to extract reports enabling an overview of themes, concerns and commendations, which would allow appropriate scrutiny of external examiners’ reports and responses. It would also enable the University to have early sight of any emerging concerns, allowing appropriate action planning to remedy any serious issues at an early stage. Further SITS development has been approved to introduce the single proposed report form, to share the information with relevant staff and students and to enable reports to be extracted on relevant issues.
Academic (members of Undergraduate Studies Committee and Graduate Studies Committee) and administrative colleagues were invited to consultation sessions in the middle of March to be briefed on the proposed changes and to contribute to discussions around the revised external examiners’ form and the proposed process of scrutiny of external examiners’ reports across the University. Following these consultation sessions, the revised external examiners’ report form and process will be considered by the Boards of Graduate and Undergraduate Studies in April/May 2016, followed by consideration of AQSC in May 2016; and by Senate in June. Implementation is currently intended from the start of the academic year 2016/17.
Currently undergraduate degree courses offer a range of opportunities for students to take a year working in industry or studying abroad in a range of forms: an additional, intercalated year or an integrated year, replacing a year of study at Warwick; compulsory or optional; carrying credit towards the degree or unaccredited. However it is now a condition of the University’s Erasmus Charter that sending universities recognise all credit awarded by receiving universities and count this towards the student’s degree.
To ensure consistency and fairness of treatment it was agreed by the Senate at its meeting on 12 October 2015 (minute 21/15-16 refer) that such approaches are applied to those periods of study abroad or to work in industry to which Erasmus funding does not apply. This project is also designed to support the University’s strategic objectives to enhance the mobility of students and their graduate employability.
Departments will shortly be asked to complete an abbreviated Course Revision Form together with a Module Proposal Form for each undergraduate course where study abroad or placement in industry is a feature. Both forms have been pre-populated and abbreviated where feasible to minimise the administrative burden place on Departments. A one-off approval process has been developed to keep the process streamlined and this will be managed by the Teaching Quality Team. For further information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Government’s consultation on the Green Paper, which set out proposals for the introduction for the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), as well as revised regulatory structures, closed in January. BIS are currently reviewing the responses and we are expecting a technical consultation on the detailed workings of the TEF to be published later in the spring. The Green Paper set out proposals for assessing teaching excellence, with levels potentially being linked to fees.
In the meantime the HEFCE have also been consulting on a proposed new operating model for quality assessment, to replace the process of cyclical review undertaken by QAA. They have now published their proposals, which will involve more ongoing monitoring of our performance, based on data and other sources of information but will also be integrated more closely into existing regulatory structures. Council will now have to provide annual assurance of the work we do on quality assurance and enhancement and this assurance will be subject to five yearly review by the funding bodies. In addition, the HEFCE have indicated that further work will be taken forward to strengthen oversight of academic standards in relation to external examining, degree classification and calibration of standards. The full document is available here.
These sector developments will inevitably have some implications for the way in which we approach quality assurance and work will be ongoing to assess this as further details emerge.
The Working Group overseeing the application of Competition and Markets Authority guidance to HEIs is continuing its work. Additional workshops have now been held for staff working in recruitment and admissions, marketing and communications and teaching and learning. Further workshops are planned. Bespoke briefings are also being delivered to departmental staff meetings and events specifically organised by departments on the topic, so if you are interested in holding such an event in your department or for a network or group in which you are involved, please email email@example.com
Please continue to visit the consumer protection legislation website at http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/services/aro/cpl/ to review more recent additions. Further guidance and a request for action/information has been released to Heads of Academic Departments covering a variety of areas designed to support further progress towards proportionate compliance. The circular covers: information provision and retention; additional course costs; departmentally-produced marketing materials; collaborative contracts and collaborative course marketing materials produced by partner institutions and organisations; planning change to taught provision; ‘surprising’ terms; reviewing and revising course specifications and supporting students transferring course.
Our new WIHEA Director, Gwen van der Velden joined us on 1st April.
WIHEA International Visiting Teaching Fellow
Since launching the scheme on the 15 January, Geoff Malleck from the University of Waterloo, Canada has been appointed as International Visiting Teaching Fellow. Geoff will be visiting Warwick in June 2016 to explore and deliver an international perspective on the meaning, delivery and critical role of enterprise education for global HE providers. Rachel Davis, Student Careers & Skills, is co-ordinating Geoff’s visit, about which more information will be shared shortly.
WIHEA Student Engagement Programme
As a result of the first call the Academy received 27 applications for teaching and learning enhancement projects. The assessment of applications is now complete and the final decisions on which projects will be awarded funding communicated to applicants. We look forward to these projects getting underway.
WIHEA Foundation Fellows Lunch
The next Foundation Fellow lunch will be held on Tuesday 19th April at 12pm in the Council Chamber, focussing on institutional preparation for TEF.
INVITE: Briefing on Core Maths and post-16 Maths reforms, Wednesday 4 May 2-4 pm, CMR 1.0, University House
Staff are invited to a briefing on Core Maths and post-16 Maths reform being delivered by Dr Paul Glaister, who is advising the Core Maths Support Programme (CMSP) http://www.core-maths.org/ that is funded by the DfE to roll out Core Maths in schools, targeted at the majority of the 250,000 pupils per year not pursuing mathematics post-16 but in full-time education - https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/michael-gove-speaks-to-the-royal-society-on-maths-and-science and http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-13958422
Further information on core maths can be found at:
- For headlines on Core Maths the following announcement by the DfE https://www.gov.uk/government/news/launch-of-new-high-quality-post-16-maths-qualifications sets the scene, and this followed the Core Maths launch at which Liz Truss spoke https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/post-16-maths-in-england.
- There was also an article about Core Maths in the THE recently: https://www.timeshighereducation.com/blog/its-not-only-maths-students-who-need-solid-grasp-statistics.
- The HEA report https://www.heacademy.ac.uk/sites/default/files/resources/hea_mathematical-transitions_webv2.pdf highlights how many students and disciplines would benefit from post-16 mathematics which has more of a problem-solving, contextualised and statistics focus, compared to GCSE and A-level, coupled with the benefit of developing competence and confidence by continued study post-16.
Teaching & Learning Events
HEA Research webinar ten: Evaluating Teaching Development in HE
Wednesday 1 June 2016 at 12.30
Professor Pauline Kneale and members of the PedRIO team at Plymouth University will discuss their latest HEA-funded research which explores how best we can evaluate teaching development in HE. In addition to a literature review, the team have developed an evidence-informed toolkit which can be used to evaluate teaching development and CPD. It will be of interest to anyone who wants to understand how these activities impact and influence teaching, learning and the broader student experience. Visit the HEA website for more information.
Staff are reminded that the deadline for the submission of new or revised module proposals to be offered on courses starting at the beginning of the next academic year must be approved and submitted to the Strategic Planning and Analytics Office by the end of the preceding Easter vacation ( Friday 22nd April 2016) to enable the setting up of new modules- for more information please see https://www2.warwick.ac.uk/services/aro/dar/quality/categories/courseapproval/module/deptguidance/