Process for the Approval of New Programmes
27. The process for developing new programmes is owned by faculties and developments should be considered within the context of both the University Strategic Plan and the faculty annual plan as well as any relevant regulations or policy that guide and support the structure of degree programmes.
28. All joint programmes are owned by one nominated faculty and this faculty should be identified prior to starting Stage 1. The programme will require approval by both or all involved faculties when developing the concept and at stage 1 to ensure full consideration of the partnership.
a) The ‘owning’ faculty will be responsible for: the operation of the boards of examiners for the joint programme, submission of any future amendments or withdrawal of the programme, convening of the Student Staff Consultative Committee (SSCC) and other relevant committees and appointment of the Programme Director
29. Postgraduate programmes must be discussed with Stirling Graduate School (SGS) as the concept is developed.
Developing an Idea
30. The pre-development stage supports the development of ideas, curriculum innovation and collaboration and may be built upon research outputs, student/market demand, employer insights and/or academic interest.
a) Faculties determine how best to manage this stage within the context of their organisational structure and subject disciplines however it is suggested that opportunities are created to enable colleagues to share, discuss, critique and support the development of new ideas in an informal way. This may be through the use of an ‘incubator’ programme, a new programme ‘sandpit’ or roadshow development sessions during annual planning rounds
b) Students should be engaged at this stage through the established SSCC structures and/or Faculty Officers
31. The programme concept should be reviewed by the ADLT in consultation with the Dean of Faculty and the Faculty Executive Group (or equivalent) in line with the processes developed by the Faculty (see a.) Whilst a full proposal is not required at this point it is important that initial consideration of the following items is consistently undertaken.
a) What is the overall aim of the Programme?
i) Does this concept support the achievement of the faculty annual plan?
ii) Does this concept support the achievement of the University strategic plan?
b)Does the programme build on existing teaching or research potential, or support the development of a new area(s) of focus?
c) Has a clear target market for this programme been identified? If not, how will this be developed?1
d) Will this require additional teaching resource either due to expertise requirements or time allocations?
e) Does this complement rather than overlap the existing portfolio?
f) Have student views been taken into account?
g) Have external views, e.g. those of employers or external examiners been taken into account?
h) If the programme is Postgraduate has the SGS been engaged in the development of the concept?
i) If the proposal includes innovations in areas such as delivery model or approaches to employability or teaching tools have relevant stakeholders been engaged in the development of the concept?
j) These areas are not exclusive and further areas of consideration may be identified by the ADLT and/or faculty
32. ADLTs coordinate with other ADLTs across the institution to identify potential synergies and overlaps in existing portfolios or approval pipelines.
33. The following decisions are available to the ADLT on consideration of the programme concept/idea:
a) Approve – the proposal moves to test and create step of Stage 1
b) Suggest amendments – the proposal requires further information or development and will be reviewed again on an agreed date
c) Reject – the proposal will not be considered further at that time
1Market Research at this stage is based within the Faculty, when the proposal moves to Stage 1 development support can be requested from Communications, Marketing and Public Engagement (CMPE) Please see the Resource Hub for more information.
Test and Create
34. This stage provides the opportunity to lay a solid foundation on which the new programme will be built. The design team2 will begin to fully develop the proposal by working with a range of co-producers who will engage with, and support, the development process.
35. The design team is encouraged to use the Programme Development Resource Hub to support the development of the programme.
36. Forms for the new programme approval process are available here (forms ARO 034a, ARO 034b and ARO003a3).
37. The final proposal must include:
a) A full description of the background, context and rationale for the proposal, clearly outlining the need for this programme, supported by market research3, and alignment with the faculty annual plan and University’s Strategic Plan
b) A full outline of the proposed programme including programme learning outcomes, module selection and relevant module learning outcomes (Form ARO 034a). If new modules are proposed these should be included and approved at faculty level alongside the programme, (only the programme progresses to Stage 2, modules only need be approved at faculty level)
c) Any information regarding relevant accreditations either required to launch the programme and/or desired to market the programme and an outline of how will these accreditations be gained and used
d) Information regarding relevant rankings/surveys and their impact on the programme or the impact of the launch of the programme on the ranking/survey
e) Consideration of the resource implications of the proposal including teaching resource, finances, technical requirements and space
f) Evidence of the involvement of students in the development of the proposal
g) Evidence of the involvement of external experts and advisors in the development of the proposal
h) Consideration of the recruitment channels and admissions requirements for the programme
38. Successful partnership between the design team and co-producers is a requirement that supports the development of a complete, comprehensive and robust proposal at Stage 1. Information provided by the co-producers will enable those responsible for programme approval to make an informed decision that facilitates the institution to respond to market demand, act on academic innovation effectively and efficiently whilst also meeting the minimum expectations of academic quality practice and enabling the institution to meet its obligations in the management of the academic portfolio.
39. Co-producers, as identified below, will all provide information during the development of Stage 1 documentation. Information is available to support this process on the Programme Development Resource Hub including the role of the co-producer, key questions to support programme development and contact details.
40. Engaging students in the development of programmes is a requirement that supports the development of the student learning experience. Students may be engaged in a variety of different ways, either as members of the design team or through membership of SSCC that discuss the proposals, or via Faculty Officers who are members of FLTCs.
41. Engaging external advisors such as employers, alumni and external examiners can support the development of both the initial ideas for programmes and the development of the full proposals. Faculties may wish to engage with their Advisory Boards as the key link to these external advisors. External examiners are a valuable network who can provide advice and guidance regarding the development of new programmes in both the context of Stirling’s current portfolio and the broader academic context.
42. Faculties are asked to consider how best to engage with external advisors within their own contexts and the goals. How external engagement has been included and the outcomes of the engagement should be outlined in the proposal documentation.
2This term is used as a collective noun for the group responsible for developing the programme, this team is typically based in a faculty or division and may be led by the intended programme director of the new programme along with other academic or staff colleagues as required for the development of the programme.
3Market Research Request form ARO003a3
43. Once fully developed the design team will submit the proposal for consideration by the Faculty Learning and Teaching Committee (FLTC). A proposal is considered complete when:
a) All co-producers have provided the information necessary for consideration of the proposal
b) All required documentation has been prepared and is complete
c) If resource is not currently available a complete proposal will outline where it is intended that the resource will come from and how this will be achieved
d) The Faculty Executive (FE) has approved the proposal from a business planning point of view
44. When considering a new programme proposal the FE needs to be satisfied that:
a) Due consideration has been given to the financial, estate and staff resource planning to enable a successful launch
b) There is evidence of an adequate market and sufficient time has been given to launch the programme successfully
Once FE approval has been received the proposal can be submitted to the FLTC.
45. When considering a new programme proposal the FLTC needs to be satisfied that:
a) The programme design is robust with appropriate programme/module learning outcomes
b) The programme (and modules) have been appropriately credit rated against the SCQF and/or external accreditation requirements
c) The programme design meets the requirements of the University for the type of degree proposed. For example undergraduate programmes (with the exception of LLB and Nursing programmes) support students to take a broad curricula of study in their first two years and in an honours degree it is a requirement that 80 credits are obtained in at least two subjects.
d)The use of learning technology and other resources has been considered with best practice embedded in the programme design
e) Employability and student achievement of the graduate attributes has been included in the programme design
f) Due consideration has been given to accessibility and inclusion and the programme designed accordingly
g) Quality, systems and regulatory requirements have been fully addressed
h) The proposal has received business case approval from the Faculty Executive
46. The following decisions are available to the FLTC on consideration of the programme proposal:
a) Approve – the proposal moves to Stage 2
b) Qualified approval – the proposal is approved at Faculty level with outstanding University level questions clearly identified
c) Referred – the proposal is not approved and specific questions/amendments are asked, or required, of the design team. The proposal will be considered again on resubmission to FLTC
d) Reject – the proposal will not be considered further at that time
Review and Develop
47. This phase will only apply if the FLTC refers their decision when considering a proposal. The design team should ensure that they provide all requested information and full responses to any questions raised prior to submission of the updated proposal to the next FLTC.
Final Concept Approval
48. Following approval or qualified approval by FLTC the proposal can be submitted to the ESEC Programme Business Sub-Committee for consideration. The proposal will be considered in the context of University priorities, strategic plan and the existing portfolio.
49. Any areas identified in a ‘qualified approval’ decision will be considered by the PBSC who may seek guidance from other Committees or individuals within the institution as required.
50. The inclusion of 10 credit modules will be considered by the PBSC and requires explicit approval to enable the programme to be approved.
51. When considering a new programme proposal the PBSC needs to be satisfied that:
a) The programme’s approval will support the achievement of the University’s strategic plan
b) The programme design is robust and supports the launch of a high-quality programme that will enhance the existing portfolio
c) Due consideration has been given to accessibility and inclusion, employability, learning technology and the programme designed accordingly
d) Due consideration has been given to financial, estate and staff resource planning
e) Quality, systems and regulatory requirements have been met
52. The following decisions are available to the PBSC on consideration of the programme proposal:
a) Approve – the programme moves to launch
b) Referred – the proposal is not approved and specific questions/amendments are asked, or required, of the design team. The proposal will be considered again on resubmission to PBSC
c) Reject – the proposal will not be considered further at that time
53. Following approval of a new programme the lead faculty should commence the process of appointing a new External Examiner.