Review and monitoring

4.1 Overview

4.1.1 The University’s internal review processes take account of the UK Quality Code for Higher Education advice and guidance on Monitoring and Evaluation and Review and SFC guidance to higher education institutions on quality

4.1.2 Stirling’s internal review processes comprise: (i) module review, including use of a core set of questions for student module evaluations; (ii) annual programme review; (iii) periodic learning and teaching review (incorporating periodic programme review).

4.1.3 The effectiveness of module and programme review is considered as part of the learning and reaching review process.  The requirements for learning and teaching review are described in the Guidelines for Learning and Teaching Review and summarised in section 4.5 below.

4.2 Module Review

4.2.1 The procedures for module review require module co-ordinators to consider feedback from student module evaluation questionnaires, external examiner(s), and student staff consultative committee(s).

4.2.2 A core set of questions form the basis of student module evaluation questionnaires (ARO 002a) for all modules to allow the collection of a standard set of data (See section 5.2).

4.2.3 Faculties may if they wish extend this core to meet their own needs, particularly in terms of gathering additional feedback on individual members of staff for staff development, review and promotion purposes, which will remain a matter for individual faculties.

4.2.4 Module evaluation questionnaires are machine readable and available on Canvas

4.2.5 Each semester the outcomes of module review are discussed at the faculty’s Learning and Teaching Committee (or equivalent).  A summary report of the outcomes and any action points are reported to the Divisional Committee and to the Student Staff Consultative Committee.

4.2.6 The Dean of Faculty, nominee or appropriate Divisional Committee is responsible for ensuring that appropriate follow-up action is taken.

4.3 Annual Programme Review

4.3.1 The procedures for annual programme review provide a framework for programme directors to reflect upon the outcomes of the module review process, consider feedback from external examiner(s) and students (via the National Student Survey and student staff consultative committees), as well as data on student achievement and the qualifications awarded (ARO 023).

4.3.2 Programme directors have responsibility for monitoring their honours programmes, their component of combined honours programmes, and  postgraduate taught programmes of study as specified in the Calendar. They are asked to comment on the curriculum and assessment methods across the programme, the learning resources that support it, the implementation of changes proposed in earlier monitoring reports and any future developments.

4.3.3 The Programme Director submits the Annual Programme Review report to the faculty at the end of November for undergraduate programmes and the end of March for postgraduate programmes.  Annual Programme Review reports are considered at the Faculty’s Learning and Teaching Committee (or equivalent). Any relevant points are reported to the Divisional Committee and Student Staff Consultative Committee(s).

4.3.4 Schools submit summary reports on annual programme review to Academic Quality and Governance at the end of January for undergraduate programmes and the end of April for postgraduate programmes.  Academic Quality and Governance prepares institutional reports for consideration at the Education and Student Experience Committee.

4.3.5 Annual Programme Review reports will be scrutinised as part of the quinquennial programme of learning and teaching review.

4.3.6 The faculty is responsible for ensuring that appropriate follow-up action is taken.

4.4 Quality Archive

Annual Programme Review Report forms are available for completion electronically and can be held electronically by faculties in the Quality Archive.

4.5 Learning and Teaching Review

4.4.1 Given the primary responsibility of faculties for quality of provision and the maintenance of academic standards, the rolling programme of learning and teaching review is a major element of the University’s quality strategy.

4.4.2 Learning and teaching reviews have been conducted on a 4 to 6 year cycle since 1990/91.

4.4.3 Conducted under the aegis of the Education and Student Experience Committee, the learning and teaching review provides a mechanism for a review of a faculty’s learning and teaching operations.

4.4.4 The aim of the learning and teaching review is:

  • to assess the performance of the Faculty/Division against the University’s Learning and Teaching Quality Enhancement Strategy.;
  • to provide assurance about the quality of educational provision and the standards of academic awards and to consider the continuing appropriateness of the Faculty’s /Division’s programme specifications with particular attention to curriculum content and learning outcomes;
  • to consider and advise on the plans for the future development of the Faculty’s teaching programme;
  • to identify and disseminate good practice.

4.4.5 It is intended that the review process should be positive and supportive and should involve the Faculty/Division as a whole in portraying an accurate and comprehensive picture of its learning and teaching activities.  Faculties/ divisions are required to produce a self-evaluation document, in accordance with the review guidelines.  Most of the supporting documentation should be readily available either in hard copy or in electronic form.

4.4.6 The learning and teaching reviews are undertaken by a panel comprised of:

  • One external adviser
  • Deputy Principal (Education and Students);
  • One dean of faculty or associate dean of learning and teaching from another faculty (preferably not from a cognate discipline);
  • A student representative (normally a Students’ Union sabbatical officer).
  • In addition a representative from the Academic Quality and Governance team will be in attendance throughout to act as review secretary.

4.4.7 The external adviser is appointed by the Academic Registrar, who selects one from a list of possible advisers submitted following consultation with the Dean of Faculty and Head of Division.  Normally, the external adviser will be a senior academic in the subject area and not have had a recent link with the Faculty (for example as an ex-member of staff or an external examiner).

4.4.8 The Faculty/Division’s self-evaluation document, submitted in advance of the review is of fundamental importance to the review process, in setting the context and identifying issues for discussion.  All members of the Faculty/Division are included in the review and are expected to engage in prior discussions on the preparation of materials as a collegial activity.  Faculties/Divisions are required to reflect on learning and teaching, and to consider the effectiveness and continuing validity of taught and research student programmes and associated curricula, and the extent to which academic standards are being maintained.  Finally, they are required to consider computing support, library support, and any other aspects of the wider University learning and teaching infrastructure that impact upon provision.

4.4.9 All of the above areas of activity are inter-related and should not be considered in isolation.  The University’s approach to the review ensures that members of the Faculty/Division come together to reflect on, and justify what they are trying to achieve in all aspects of their work, and how these different areas of activity impact upon one another.

4.4.10 External points of reference include the QAA UK Quality Code for Higher Education, QAA Subject Benchmark Statements, and other publications by professional, accrediting or funding bodies as appropriate.

4.4.11 The review itself will be completed within one day.  A programme is agreed in advance with the Dean of Faculty/Division, which comprises a session with the Dean of Faculty/Division together with other sessions attended by relevant staff, or in the case of larger divisions, relevant staff representatives. The panel also sees representative groups of undergraduate, postgraduate taught and postgraduate research students.

4.4.12 The external adviser has a central role on the panel, both in terms of leading discussions on the day, and in contributing to the report.  This external perspective is deeply valued by the University, and by divisions undergoing review.  The wider panel membership, provides a direct link with the senior management, and affords them an opportunity to see at first hand how the work of the Faculty and Division engages with the University’s general direction and mission.

4.4.13 Following the event, the external advisor is asked to submit notes, to the review secretary, on the review’s outcomes and processes.  A draft report, based on discussions during the review and the notes from the external adviser, is prepared by the review secretary.  A draft of the report is sent to the Dean of Faculty/Division for factual correction.  If necessary, a note of any differences of view which cannot be resolved is attached to the final report.  Once the report is finalised the Faculty/Division is asked to produce a response.  The final version of the report and the faculty/Division response are submitted for formal approval to the Education and Student Experience Committee. The review panel is able to make recommendations to a variety of groups within the University. These may relate to operational, procedural or curricular matters within the Faculty/Division, or may be more concerned with policy and directed at the Education and Student Experience Committee other appropriate committees.  The report also identifies good practice for wider dissemination in the University.  Comments from the Education and Student Experience Committee are sent to the Faculty/Division and any follow-up action is monitored by the Education and Student Experience Committee.

4.4.14 The full Guidelines for Learning and Teaching Reviews are available on request from Academic Quality and Governance and may also be accessed on the University web-site. See Learning and Teaching Review Guidelines