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CLIPP Quality Team News

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Welcome to New Team Members

The Quality welcome Jenny Holt and Belinda Cross to the team.  Jenny will be the Quality Officer in ABS, whilst Belinda has taken over as quality Officer for  Programme Approval and Modification.  Please join us in welcoming them to the team.

Programme Data Dashboard

The project to provide programme data on a Tableau dashboard for Annual Monitoring and Periodic Review  is progressing well and is expected to be ready for the next round of programme-level reviews in autumn 2018.

Exam Board Briefings

Exam Board Briefings took place on 10th and 22nd May”, attended by over 70 Exam Board Chairs, Secretaries, and associated staff. The presentation from the Briefing is now available on the Regulation Sub-Committee webpage.

Feedback on these sessions has been positive with staff commenting on how useful they find it, particularly for staff who are new to Examination Boards.

Quality Handbook

The Quality Team have put together a Quality Handbook to act as a guide to Quality Assurance and Enhancement processes at Aston. This will be a primary source of information and will be continually developed.  You can find the handbook here.

If you have any comments of feedback, please contact Steve Jonesin the Quality Team.

Articulation Approval Process

In response to demand, CPSG has produced a separate set of process documentation for the approval of articulation and progression arrangements, including a flowchart, which will be up on the web at http://www.aston.ac.uk/clipp/quality/a-z/collaborativeprovision/ soon.

Articulation is a process whereby all students who satisfy the academic criteria on a partner’s programme are automatically entitled (on academic grounds) to be admitted with advanced standing to a subsequent stage of a programme of the University. Progression agreements allow for all students who satisfy the academic criteria on a partner’s programme to be admitted to the initial stage of a programme at Aston.

Transnational Education Review

CPSG is sending a request out to all Schools to seek information regarding Aston’s preparedness for the new QAA Transnational Education Review process. This covers all learning delivered to students overseas which leads to UK awards at levels 4 – 8, and is not in all cases collaborative. This can include online and distance learning as well as integrated foundation years, shared delivery of Aston awards, off campus delivery of Aston awards by flying faculty and partnerships leading to dual, double or joint awards. It does not include exchanges, placement years abroad or articulation arrangements.

Schools will be asked to report back, via their Learning and Teaching Committees, to say who in the School is responsible for keeping evidence such as minutes of liaison committees and exam boards, publicity materials and operational manuals. It is also important that Schools check that they are fully evidencing any issues pertaining to TNE where it exists alongside on campus provision, for example making sure that online provision is referenced at annual review.

TNE Review will focus on a different area of the world each academic year. For 2017/18 this is Hong Kong and 2018/19, Malaysia.

Annual University Report on Academic Governance

HEFCE’s Operating Model for Quality Assurance requires the University Council to provide an annual assurance statement about:

  • the continuous improvement of the student academic experience and of student outcomes
  • the reliability of degree standards.

The Report to evidence these statements was approved by Council in December 2017, and summarises all aspects of University quality assurance and enhancement processes, giving details of strengths and weaknesses and how we are dealing with them.  The Report was scrutinised in detail by a sub-group of the Senate on 22nd November 2017. The sub-group, which included representation from the Executive, academics, professional staff and students, was pleased to recommend that the Council sign off the annual assurance.  They based their decision on the comprehensive nature of the report and the work that had been undertaken behind it.  They were pleased to see significant external evidence to back up assertions, as well as data driven evidence of impact, and challenging action plans for the coming year to ensure further continuous improvement.   They saw clear evidence of a focus which puts students clearly at the centre of all that is being done. 

You can find the full report on the Learning and Teaching Committee Page.

External Examining

Responsibility for the coordination of External Examining is moving to CLIPP's Quality Team over the next few months.  Alison Birch is working closely with Steve Jones to ensure a smooth transition.  

As part of the handover, we will be looking at the related processes to ensure that they remain fit for purpose and continue to reflect best practice in the sector.

Currently, the External Examiner Fee Structure is out for consultation with Schools.  If you wish to comment, please let your School Quality Officer know in the first instance or contact Steve Jones in the Central Quality Team

As part of the review, we would welcome input from colleagues about their experience of external examining.  If you have experience of external examining at any other institutions, either as an External Examiner or as a member of staff involved in the related processes and systems, please contact Steve Jones, who will be happy to meet and discuss your experiences in order to better inform our approach.

Periodic Review

As an outcome of LTC’s review of the policy in 2016-17, changes to the review policy were made for 2017-8 which include a reduction in the supporting dataset; for portfolio planning and development to be a topic for the senior staff meeting, and for the integration of digital technology into curriculum design to be a contributing factor when considering programme design.  You can find the updated policy on the periodic review webpage

We have added an exemplar Self-Evaluation Document for staff to use as a resource when completing their own, in preparation for Periodic Review.

We are also currently in the process of allocating volunteers to panels and will be in touch with volunteers shortly.

Deadlines for Programme Changes

Changes to material information that have already been planned for 2018 entry, and which are included in the School lists in Appendix B below, must be approved and communicated to offer holders by 31 January 2018. Changes to the material information for 2019 entry are expected to be in place by 30 September 2018. 

Consumer Law Compliance Arrangements for 2017/18

In response to the Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) review of Higher Education providers’ compliance with consumer law, the University set up a CMA Steering Group (currently Sarah Davies, Frank Eperjesi, Sapreena Kumari, Alison Levey, Ben McAree and Victoria Mee), with responsibility for how compliance processes are carried out, and the communication with stakeholders. The Group reviewed how processes worked during 2016/17, and in May and June 2017, made recommendations to the University Learning and Teaching Committee (LTC), which were subsequently approved.  You can find more information on the Programme Approval webpage.

TEF

Get Involved                           

Management and Minuting of Board of Examiners

Emma Szurminski and Sarah Davies have jointly held two cross-University meetings on the management and minuting of Boards of Examiners attended by 16 professional support staff from all Schools. The meetings have highlighted the benefits of sharing best practice, and a number of recommendations for more efficient ways of working will be taken forward. Another meeting will be arranged for October 2018.

Collaborative Provision Strategy Group - Support Session

The Collaborative Provision Strategy Group is running a support session on the morning of 7 June to inform and support staff who are involved in running collaborative arrangements of all types, from whole programmes run with a partner through to double degrees and articulation arrangements. The idea is to give some helpful advice on working with partners and operating collaborative provision. There would be an opportunity to talk to colleagues dealing with similar arrangements to help facilitate an ongoing university wide network and to share experiences over tea and cake. 

You can find the programme for the event here.

If you would like to attend, please contact Lesley Price

Assessment Word Limits and Penalties

Regulation Sub-Committee is setting up working group to look at assessment word limits and associated penalties.  If you are interested in joining this working group, or would like more information, please contact Adam Hewitt in the Quality Team.

Working Group on Accelerated Degrees

Are you a member of staff likely to be involved in the delivery of Two-year Accelerated Degree programmes? The Regulation Sub-Committee will be convening a working group regarding the regulatory considerations for operating this new type of degree, and the potential regulatory amendments that may be required for programmes to operate effectively. Anyone interested in being involved in the working group should contact Adam Hewitt via email, a.hewitt@aston.ac.uk

Programme Specific Approval Panels (PSAP)

There has recently been a change in procedures for approving new programmes. New proposals are now approved by Programme Specific Approval Panels (PSAPs) arranged within Schools.

Prior to the panel meeting, members scrutinise the documents in relation to subject applicability and pedagogic design.  During the meeting, the panel will disucss the programme with  Programme Director and verify the quality and viability of the programme. The panel may approve the programme on the day, or set conditions of approval to be met subsequently.

Each PSAP consists of: Chair, Secretary, University Representative, School Representative, External Advisor, Student Representative and (as appropriate) representatives from Professional Bodies, Employers and Collaborative Provision Strategy Group.

We are now seeking volunteers to add to the group of potential Chairs and University Representatives for PSAPs during 2017-8.  

PSAP Chairs

The role of the Chair is to ensure that the event runs smoothly, and, with the Secretary, produce a panel report.  Chairs will have an academic interest in the approval process, and experience of new programme design and implementation.

University Representatives

The University Representative is there to offer a generic academic perspective from another School. They should have a particular interest in learning and teaching in higher education and experience of curriculum design as a process. 

If you would like to volunteer to act in either capacity, or if you have any further questions about the roles, please contact the CLIPP quality Team.

Standardisation Of Credits

The University Learning and Teaching Committee (LTC) has approved in principle a transition to a University-wide credit structure based on units of 15 and 30 credits. The working group which took the proposal to LTC will be reconvening to work out the details of operationalising the move to the new structure, including timescales, transitional arrangements and any exemptions which may be necessary based on PSRB accreditation requirements. If you would like to make suggestions or offer comments on any of these aspects, please contact Carol Marley, as Chair of the Group, or the rep for your School, as follows:

ABS – Colin Chapman or Simon Finley

AMS – Ray Carson 

EAS – Trevor Oliver

LHS – James Wolffsohn or Chris Langley 

LSS – Raquel Fernandez-Sanchez or Carol Marley

RSC Updates                          

Regulation Sub-Committee (RSC) is a sub-committee of University Learning and Teaching Committee. It has a remit which spans the development and security of all academic university regulations and the maintenance of academic standards.

New And Revised Regulations

Information on new and revised Regulations can be found at http://www.aston.ac.uk/quality/a-z/general-regulations/new-and-revised-student-regulations/

Website Updates 

The Quality Team are currently updating and re-organising their web-pages.  We hope to provide a more cohesive user experience and make navigation of the site easier.  This may affect any pages or documents linking to CLIPP Quality Team pages. Details of page moves will be posted on this page.

Updates

Migration to new Content Management Systsem

CLIPP's webpage are currently being migrated to the the new Content Management System.  Part of this process is to capture the data and pages as they stand at a given point in time and to import those into the new system.  This means that updates made during that period may not carry over.  

We have attempted to capture any changes we have made to the webpages during this period, but please let Steve Jones know if there is anything that looks out of date.

Quality Handbook

We have added a handbook page to our webpages.  This is intended to act as a collection of topics and resources that are key to Quality Assurance and Enhancement here at Aston.

Quality Committees

The Quality Team are proud to announce its committees pages.  These pages provide detailed information about the committees supported by the Quality Team and provide contact information for the representatives for each area.  We hope that these pages will be useful in supporting individuals to better understand the operation of these committees and enable individuals to feed into them through the representative for their area.  The committee pages are:

We have also created a more general committtees page, which gives an overview of each committee and contains links to each of the main pages.  You can visit this page here.

Last updated 12/06/2018