The University operates within a governance framework which ensures that the responsibilities for academic standards and quality are appropriately discharged. The authority and responsibility for setting and maintaining academic standards is vested in the Academic Council. This senior committee determines the governance and management framework for academic standards and the quality of learning opportunities and how operational functions will be delegated. It approves the regulations which form the internal reference points for academic frameworks and the quality assurance procedures which will be used to maintain academic standards.
At each level of the University, executive functions are generally carried out by designated officers, whilst academic decisions are the responsibility of formally constituted committees and sub-committees with appropriate external input and reference to external benchmarks. Policy development, review of performance and dissemination of good practice is undertaken by the University’s committees supported by Academic Registry and Governance Services.
A brief outline of the roles and responsibilities of the various parties that contribute to the University’s approach to quality assurance and enhancement is provided below.
1.1 Academic Council
The authority and responsibility for setting and maintaining academic standards is vested in the Academic Council. Its remit is:
to direct, regulate and promote the teaching and research of the University;
to regulate and conduct examinations and to appoint internal and external examiners;
to grant Degrees, Diplomas, Certificates and other academic distinctions;
to regulate the admission of persons to the University and to courses of study at the University;
to regulate and superintend the living conditions and discipline of the students of the University; and
Subject to the provisions of Statute 18 and without prejudice to the authority of members of staff of the University on grounds of misconduct therein, to suspend a student from any activity within the University; to exclude permanently for a stated time a student from the precincts of the University or any part thereof; to expel a student from membership of the University; to impose reprimands and monetary fines, and to require sureties and reparation for damage.
In discharging its responsibilities the committee will pay due regard to the promotion of equality and diversity
The Academic Council has delegated authority to the Education and Student Experience Committee (ESEC) to take final decisions in its areas of responsibility. Council receives annual reports from ESEC on the discharge of its responsibilities.
1.2 Education and Student Experience Committee (ESEC)
The Education and Student Experience Committee is a committee of Academic Council with delegated authority to govern the strategic direction and monitor the implementation of agreed strategy and policy relating to education and the student experience.
The remit of ESEC is:
To direct and oversee the development, review and revision of the University's suite of strategies relating to learning, teaching, quality enhancement, student admissions and the student experience, and to recommend their approval to Academic Council and University Court.
To monitor the implementation of the University’s suite of strategies relating to learning, teaching, quality enhancement and the student experience.
To approve academic policy and regulations and revisions to the same, and to monitor their implementation by schools.
To oversee and monitor the development and implementation of school plans for learning, teaching, quality enhancement and the student experience, in line with the University learning and teaching strategy and within the context of national and international learning, teaching and quality enhancement environments.
To advise the Deputy Principal (Education and Students) on matters relating to learning and teaching strategy, policy and practice, as appropriate.
To report regularly to Academic Council as business dictates, including an annual review of its functions.
In discharging its responsibilities the committee will pay due regard to the promotion of equality and diversity.
The management of student academic and disciplinary cases, complaints and appeals shall be managed by a series of panels which report to the ESEC.
1.3 Joint Policy, Planning and Resources Committee
The Joint Policy, Planning and Resources Committee (JPPRC) has responsibility for scrutiny of policies, strategies and financial decisions relating to all of the major strategic portfolios in the institution i.e. academic, human resource, physical and financial planning. Its approval is required before resources can be released to support proposed academic developments. JPPRC reports to Academic Council and the University Court.
1.4 Deputy Principal (Education and Students)
The Deputy Principal (Education and Students) is responsible for the strategy and direction of the University’s approach to academic quality and enhancement and the student experience. The Deputy Principal chairs ESEC which manages, as noted above, a broad remit of elements connected to education and the student experience.
1.5 Deans of Faculty
Deans of Faculty report to the Senior Deputy Principal and are responsible for the efficient planning and delivery of the faculty's modules and programmes of study, for the assurance and enhancement of the quality of this provision, for the research supervision provided by the faculty, and for the establishment and maintenance of academic standards in both teaching and research supervision.
All faculties are required to have a committee, which is advisory to the dean of faculty and a student: staff consultative committee (SSCC) at undergraduate and postgraduate taught level. The SSCC provides a forum in which student representatives may comment on any aspect of activity, including matters relating to learning and teaching, and in which the faculty can inform and consult its students about proposed changes and developments. Formal agendas and minutes are maintained by faculties for these committees.
1.6 Associate Deans of Learning and Teaching
The associate dean of learning and teaching is a senior role within a faculty with responsibility for leading, stimulating, influencing and supporting good practice in learning and teaching, on behalf of the dean of faculty. The associate dean of learning and teaching role may vary depending on the faculty context but the core responsibilities will normally comprise leading and managing all aspects of learning and teaching in a faculty including:
Chairing the Faculty Learning and Teaching Committee
Membership of the Education and Student Experience Committee (ESEC)
Contributing to the development and enhancement of learning and teaching practice across the University
Promoting the implementation of best practice in relation to learning and teaching
Representing the faculty perspective and experience in consultations relating to learning and teaching
Leading the implementation of the Learning and Teaching Quality Enhancement Strategy (LTQES) and associated action points for faculties
Disseminating changes in university policy where this requires changes in faculty practice
Promoting research – teaching linkages
Maintaining student representation through the role of module and course representatives and student engagement with faculty learning, teaching and quality enhancement initiatives
Keeping abreast of the broad requirements of legislation relating to equality and diversity, the University’s Single Equality Scheme and their impact on learning and teaching (e.g. curricular content)
1.7 Academic Registry
Academic Registry led by the Academic Registrar, has overall responsibility for the quality and integrity for the University's academic awards and for the development and management of procedures for academic quality assurance and enhancement within the University.
The Academic Quality and Governance team within Academic Registry undertakes a number of functions to assure quality and academic standards including, the scrutiny of external examiners’ reports and annual programme reviews. It also ensures that any issues are dealt with appropriately including the referral of regulatory and procedural change, in relation to academic standards and quality assurance, to ESEC for approval.
Academic Quality and Governance
Revised with reference to the UK Quality Code, Chapter A2: Degree-awarding bodies’ reference points for academic standards