Colleges and Schools work within an Academic Policy and Quality Framework which sets out the University's mechanisms for assuring academic quality and standards, supported by the Policy Team within Registry. The Framework includes academic legislation, procedures and review mechanisms, all of which are overseen by sub-committees of the University Senate. Central to the Framework are the following quality assurance processes:
Programme approval and review
All proposed programmes of study go through a rigorous two-stage approval process. During the first stage, the plan for the programme is considered at College level. The second stage of the process is the preparation of a much more detailed Programme Proposal for consideration at University level which will include evidence of market research, external comments and a skills audit. Once programmes are approved, they are reviewed annually and as part of a periodic, strategic review process.
External examiner system
Feedback from external examiners forms a vital part of the University's quality assurance processes. External examiner recommendations are reported to quality assurance committees both at University and College level.
Student representation system
The student representation system is founded on the belief that through effective representation students become partners in their education, allowing them a more active involvement in, and ownership of, their learning. Elected Student Representatives from every subject area, undergraduate and postgraduate, are given responsibility for reporting on student issues within their subject to University staff and to the Guild of Students.
The University is committed to the continuous enhancement of the quality of its provision, and enhancement is central to the University’s Strategic Framework and Education Strategy. Enhancement arises both from routine quality assurance processes (through which examples of good practice in teaching delivery and related areas are identified and shared) and from specific quality enhancement and development activity.
The University’s approach to enhancement in a broad sense is focused upon the delivery of a curriculum that:
- Offers breadth, stretch, challenge and opportunity
- Is personalised, inclusive and supportive
- Engages students in their learning experience
- Promotes and values excellence in teaching
These principles underpin the recent undergraduate Curriculum Review, which builds upon established and ongoing areas of educational development such as those supported by the Centre for Learning and Academic Development (CLAD). Closely linked to CLAD is the University’s Teaching Academy, launched in 2015. The Teaching Academy leads and co-ordinates educational enhancement and supports the identification, sharing and dissemination of practices and approaches, thereby complementing the variety of educational activity undertaken on a daily basis by colleagues across the University.