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Teaching & Learning Update November 2015

This update contains information on the following topics:

Communicating with Students and Applicants?

Warwick International Higher Education Academy

Changes to Regulations and Policies


Student Engagement

Maintaining Information for students


Staffing Changes

Communicating with Students and Applicants?

The CMA Working Group has been meeting on a regular basis to oversee a number of projects associated with our institutional obligations under consumer protection legislation as codified in guidance from the Competition and Markets Authority. A new website at has been developed which it is hoped will guide colleagues in academic departments and central service areas alike and ensure that as many colleagues as possible are aware of our collective obligations. A series of briefing sessions have been schedule for next month; details and a link to make a booking may be found on the LDC website at Whilst the sessions in December will be fairly generic in nature, a further series of briefings to be delivered after the Christmas break will be focussed around specific themes for colleagues working in specific roles, likely to be: marketing and communications; teaching and learning and recruitment and admissions.

Warwick International Higher Education Academy

Interviews are in train fot the roles of Director, Academy Administrator and Clerical Officer and we look forward before too long to being able to make an announcement about the inaugural Director and publish details of the new team. Work is progressing in relation to the Digichamps and Teaching and Learning Ambassadors schemes under which it is hoped shortly to invite students and staff to bring forward collaborative bids for funding. Work is also progressing in relation to the International Visiting Teacher Fellow scheme to ensure appropriate co-ordination with similar opportunities open under the Monash-Warwick Alliance. Colleagues should look for details appearing soon at


Changes to Regulations and Policies

New University Mitigating Circumstances Guidance
New guidance on Mitigating Circumstances has been developed for Undergraduate and Postgraduate Taught courses and was approved by Senate in June 2015. Further information on this was circulated to departments on the 9th September 2015, together with the updated version of the Good Practice Guide on Providing Information to Students. The Guidance includes a refreshed statement on Mitigating Circumstances for use in all Student Handbooks/Department webpages, with more detailed guidance for students and staff. A new webpage has been created for mitigating circumstances information, which includes an introduction and written guidelines on mitigating circumstances ( ). These guidelines include tables that highlight common circumstances that are likely, and not likely to be considered as eligible for mitigating circumstances, suggested appropriate supporting evidence and documentation, and sources of support and advice to students. In addition to this, an updated process and procedures document has also been developed, and a template declaration form has also been made available to departments online to download and edit, to be used by all students submitting mitigating circumstances.

Academic departments have been asked to ensure that the new mitigating circumstances guidelines are made available to all students in department handbooks and online information. In addition departments are asked to ensure that all students submitting mitigating circumstances do so using a completed declaration form, a template of which is available online for departments to edit as required and implement within their own department. Local internal procedures should also align to the process and procedures for considering mitigating circumstances outlined in the accompanying document.

Should staff have any further queries regarding this, please contact Jen Bowskill, Assistant Registrar (Teaching and Learning at J dot Bowskill at warwick dot ac dot uk).

Harmonised PGT Conventions
It has now been agreed that the 14/15 version of the harmonised PGT examination conventions will be applied with immediate effect, to all postgraduate taught students being considered by Boards of Examiners in autumn 2015 and beyond, not just those students who commenced their study in 2014/15. Academic departments were notified of this change in October. These conventions are being applied irrespective of students’ original date of registration or mode of study, noting that earlier versions of (departmental) examination conventions would only be applied if resulting in an outcome more beneficial to the student in question. The conventions are available online from: The approval was given following consultation with members of Faculty Graduate Studies Committees over the summer, and in line with recommendations from the Chairs of Faculty Graduate Studies Committee, the Board of Graduate Studies and the Academic Quality and Standards Committee.
Undergraduate Study Abroad and Intercalated Years

Work has been ongoing over the summer to develop an approach to awarding credit for periods of work and study abroad and for work placements in the UK on undergraduate degrees. This is a requirement of the Erasmus Charter and therefore a condition of Erasmus funding for study abroad. However it was felt that all students on such placements should be treated consistently regardless of the source of funding.

It has therefore been agreed by Senate that students will receive 120 CATS for a full year abroad or in work which they will need to pass but which will not count towards degree classification, unless departments already count credit from the placement year towards degree classification. As far as possible, marks achieved for study abroad should be translated into Warwick equivalents for the purpose of the HEAR. These arrangements will apply for students going on placements from 2016/17. It does not apply to professional practice placements (e.g. in medicine, teacher training). The proposal approved by Senate is available here.

Further work is ongoing to develop more detailed guidance and procedures, which will include criteria for the approval of exchange partners, guidance on translation of marks, and confirmation of the minimum CATS equivalent which will be considered to be a ‘pass'. This work is being overseen by the International Sub-Group of the Academic Quality and Standards Committee. Further briefings will be made available in due course.

Student Complaints Resolution Procedure 2015-16

The new complaints and feedback web pages (live from 5 October 2015) contain additional information for students wishing to raise feedback or complaints and for staff handling student complaints at Stage 1 or Stage 2.

The student complaints resolution procedure itself has been amended following staff and student feedback received during the first year of operation. The 2015-16 version, in operation from 5 October 2015, sets standards for complainant conduct, clarifies the independence of the formal departmental investigation stage and sets out more clearly that academic judgment cannot be challenged through the complaints process. The full procedure is available here.


Student Rights and Responsibilities Webpages

A new set of webpages are now available at which have been designed to outline the rights and responsibilities of students studying at the University of Warwick. The pages provide quick and easy links to University Regulations, Policies, and Guidelines that govern both what students can expect from the University, and what students need to be aware of and adhere to as a registered student. There are also useful links to resources, departments and information to help students (and staff) throughout a student’s period of study at the University, and the Warwick Student Community Statement. Information has been split into the four key areas of study; student life; feedback and complaints; and international students.

Course Approval Process

At its meeting in June 2015, the University Senate approved a proposal to redesign the University’s course approval process, taking into account suggestions on the proposal from the Faculty Undergraduate and Graduate Studies Committees, the Boards of Graduate and Undergraduate Studies and the Academic Quality and Standards Committee. Work is now underway to review existing course approval forms and to design and build an online workflow, which will support the new process. The Teaching Quality Team will be working with colleagues across administrative sections and academic departments during Term 1 to facilitate these steps and a fuller update will be provided to Faculty and University committees for their Term 2 meetings.

Student Engagement

Student Staff Liaison Committees

The SU website has been reworked and now contains the full SSLC handbook which is the primary source of SSLC information for both staff and student reference. The SSLC handbook can be found here.

At the end of 2014-15, the Senate approved a formal articulation of the respective responsibilities of the University and the Student Union in the SSLC Code of Practice . It is important that both staff and student are familiar with the contents of this document.

Student Survey Action Planning for 2015-16

This year, departments are being encouraged and supported to develop a holistic strategy for enhancement and action-planning across departmental feedback and institutional student surveys (including the National Student Survey and the Postgraduate Taught Experiences Survey). There is an expectation for 15-16 that SSLC meetings will be one of the ways that departments consult their students on results (or themes emerging from) UG, PG and PGR student surveys and the appropriate actions in response to these.

Maintaining information for students

The following student-facing information is derived from module and course approval documentation. Some elements of this information can be updated centrally as changes are approved but support from colleagues in academic departments is also needed to ensure that data is maintained accurately. We would therefore be grateful if you could ensure that this information is up-to-date, with any revisions approved where necessary. Please contact quality at warwick dot ac dot uk should you have any difficulties editing the below.

The Module

Information about module aims, learning outcomes, module availability/assessment, hyperlinks etc.

Once approved by the relevant departmental process, an e:vision interface is available to edit most of the content. Staff permissions are granted as standard to edit modules that fall within your home department. The module availability/assessment components can only be edited as part of the annual MAB return in conjunction with the Examinations Office.


Information on course aims, teaching and assessment and expected skills/knowledge of graduates

Course specifications approved as part of new and revised courses need to be uploaded on the Courses Specifications database. The version of the specification uploaded should be the same as that approved by the Boards of Undergraduate and Graduate Studies. Following approval by the Boards, the course specification will be published by the Teaching Quality team.


Information on entry requirements, scheme of study, relative weighting and a description of the credits required form the core, optional core and optional modules available (module diet table).

Departments annually maintain the lists of core/optional core/optional modules by course using the Online Diet Maintenance tool (maintained by the Examinations Office). In an annual process now managed by Teaching Quality, draft versions of course regulations for new and existing courses are circulated to departments to check prior to publication.


Annual Course Review

Please note the deadline for submission of Annual Course Review forms:

4 December 2015 for UG courses
4 January for PGR courses.

New and Revised Modules

We would also like to remind you of the deadlines for approving new and revised modules annually. The following information is included in the Guidance for Academic Departments on module approvals at

New or revised module proposals to be offered on courses starting at the beginning of the academic year must be approved and submitted to the Strategic Planning and Analytics Office by the end of the preceding Easter vacation to enable the setting up of new modules. Exceptions are only accepted when modules are being proposed by new staff joining the University after this deadline and where modules have to be amended due to unforeseen changes in student numbers. New or revised modules to be offered on courses that do not start at the beginning of the academic year should be approved and submitted four months prior to the course or year of study commencing.

Staffing Changes

Clair Henrywood, currently Assistant Registrar in the Institutional Governance team, will be joining the Teaching Quality team in January in the role of Assistant Registrar (Teaching and Learning). She will be replacing Mia Khan as Secretary to the Board of the Faculty of Arts following Mia’s move to Human Resources, and will be picking up institutional teaching and learning projects as well as Faculty projects.