Programmes

This section of the QMEF covers the development and approval of new programmes and modules, delivery of existing programmes to partner institutions, changes to existing programmes and modules and closure of programmes.

Key reference points

QAA Quality Code, Framework for Higher Education Qualifications (FHEQ), Southern England Consortium (SEEC) Credit Level Descriptors, relevant benchmark statement(s) and UWE Bristol Strategy 2020.

Audience

Developers of new programmes/programme design teams and members of committees involved in the approval of new programmes and modules and changes to existing programmes and modules.

Initial point of contact

Faculty Quality Account Managers, Academic Partnership Development Team if collaborative provision is involved.

Programme approval contents

  1. Principles
  2. Collaborative provision
  3. Key roles and responsibilities
  4. Timescales
  5. New programmes
  6. Procedures for amendments to existing programmes and modules, developing new modules and programme title changes
  7. Discontinuation/Suspension of programmes
  8. Monitoring and review
  9. Annex
  10. Section templates

1. Principles

The QMEF covers all taught provision leading to the awarding of UWE Bristol credit, including those programmes delivered in collaboration with a partner institution. The curriculum design and approval process at UWE Bristol aims to ensure that all new programmes of study align with the University Strategy and its market position and aspirations, meet national requirements on standards, make a positive contribution to financial sustainability and risk, and are academically robust. The process is underpinned by the requirement for external opinion from a variety of sources as appropriate, such as external academic or practice-led advisers, professional bodies and employers.

2. Collaborative provision

The process of programme development with a prospective partner institution or with a current partner institution may vary depending on the relationship between the University and the partner, and the model of delivery. The process for prospective partnerships will also involve a due diligence process which culminates in an Institutional Meeting and Programme Delivery meeting. The process for existing partnerships will require a due diligence process that culminates in a Programme Delivery meeting. For advice on the approval of a new partner institution, or the extension of provision at an existing partner, please see the Formation of a new Academic Partnership and  the Extending Provision within an Academic Partnership sections of the QMEF and contact the Academic Partnerships Development Team within Academic Services.

Whilst the University is keen to expand its international collaborative offer, new proposals for collaborative programmes delivered and/or assessed in a language other than English will not normally be accepted.

3. Key roles and responsibilities

Key individuals

a) The Quality Account Managers are the primary source of advice on curriculum design and approval, including the collation of all documents required for final approval, the administrative responsibilities in ensuring the process is logged and complete and the arrangements for the external reviewer’s attendance at a Curriculum Approvals Panel (CAP).

b) The lead developer/Programme Leader is responsible for compiling all the necessary documentation, leading the development work, chairing/coordinating the design team, including working with a partner institution where applicable (see point e below), ensuring deadlines are met and  liaising with the necessary team members and professional services.

c) The Design Team (under the lead developer/Programme Leader) is responsible for ensuring academic content and coherence, academic quality and standards, and conformity with University regulations. As well as preparing programme and module specifications (as appropriate) the Design Team must also ensure that the Programme Design and Consultation Document is completed ready for faculty scrutiny.

d) The Associate Dean (LTSE) is responsible as Chair of the Faculty ASQC, and on behalf of the Academic Board, for ensuring appropriate scrutiny is given to programme approval documentation and for sponsoring the proposal to the CAP. They are also responsible for sponsoring proposals to the Faculty and University Executive for programme discontinuation or suspension. 

e) Where a programme is being developed or rolled out to a partner institution, the Faculty must nominate a member of academic staff to act as lead developer or link tutor with the institution.

f) For collaborative provision, advice should be sought from the Academic Partnerships Development Team.

g) The Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Academic is responsible for approving programme discontinuation.

Committees

a) The Faculty Executive is responsible for:

  • Endorsing ideas for new programmes/modules in line with the University Strategy.
  • Endorsing proposals to discontinue programmes.
  • Approving suspension of programmes on a temporary basis.

b) The Portfolio Development Group (PDG) is responsible for the oversight of the University’s academic portfolio: endorsing programme development and noting discontinuation. 

c) The Faculty ASQC ensures that:

i. appropriate consultation has taken place at the design phase;

ii. Where an existing programme is to be rolled out to a partner institution, appropriate scrutiny of a partner’s ability to deliver specific programmes has been undertaken;

iii. the Faculty Executive receives advice in relation to programme discontinuation or, where appropriate, suspension.  

d) The Curriculum Approval Panels, on behalf of Academic Board, are responsible for ensuring the University regulations and procedures have been followed and that the proposal appropriately demonstrates the criteria outlined below.  Where a proposal involves collaborative provision or engagement with a PSRB, a Special CAP may be arranged. All other proposals will be submitted to the calendared meetings.

e) The Learning, Teaching and Student Experience Committee (LTSEC) is responsible, on behalf of Academic Board, for the oversight and monitoring of quality and standards of UWE Bristol awards and University procedures for approving/amending programmes/modules. It is also responsible for providing scrutiny of the arrangements to protect academic standards, student and applicant interests in the case of programme closure.

f) The Collaborative Provision Committee is responsible for ensuring that all proposals for working with a partnership institution have undergone due scrutiny, process and governance checks and are in line with what has been agreed during the partner institution approval process. 

g) The Global Development Group is responsible for ensuring that all proposals for setting up a new or expanding provision at an existing partner are strategically, financially and legally sound.

h) The Academic Board has responsibility for the final approval of all new programmes as set out in the Articles (CAPs undertake this business on behalf of Academic Board). It is also responsible for approving, in conjunction with the Board of Governors, programme closures which would alter the academic character of the institution (e.g. an exit from a subject area).

4. Timescales

Prior to the beginning of the new academic year, the Governance team will set a schedule for Curriculum Approvals Panels in line with Faculty ASQCs. The Associate Deans (LTSE) will discuss with the Head of Learning and Teaching Enhancement what developments are scheduled for the year and will agree a timetable for approval. This will include any additional CAP meetings that may be needed to meet a PSRB requirement or those involving collaborative provision.

The expected lead-in time for a new programme following initial sign off by the University is a minimum of 16 weeks, approvals requiring engagement with Partners, PSRBs or other stakeholders may take significantly longer. To enable a new programme to be developed in time, the timescales must be adhered to. It is essential that there is sufficient time to allow detailed development and scrutiny with employers, students, professional services etc during the design stage, that there is sufficient time to sign off any conditions set by the CAP, and that there is time for other departments within the University to complete the essential tasks to enable students to be registered correctly. The Quality Account Manager will agree appropriate deadlines with the lead developer to ensure these timescales are met. Any slippage of deadlines may delay a programme start date.

5. New programmes

Concepts for new programmes should be discussed as part of the University’s annual planning round. The Faculty Executive is responsible for ensuring that the proposal is aligned to both the Faculty and University strategies, including the subject strategy, and for including the proposed development(s) in the planning round submission. If agreed, the Faculty must then undertake the Market Impact and Authorisation process.

5.1 Market Impact and Authorisation form (MIA)

The lead developer should contact the Faculty Quality Account Manager within Academic Services for initial advice and creation of the MIA form. The purpose of the MIA is to provide an opportunity for proposed developments to be analysed in order to establish where the new programme will sit in comparison to UWE Bristol’s competitors and to provide a detailed rationale. MIAs should be completed for new programmes, including the re-packaging of existing provision under a new award title, a new named target within an existing programme or the delivery of a new or existing approved programme by an affiliated partner. Once the form has been completed by the lead programme developer the form will then be sent to the appropriate Faculty Associate Dean (LTSE) for endorsement and to allow their input on portfolio enhancements, prior to submission to the University Portfolio Development Group (PDG) for scrutiny.

5.2 Portfolio Development Group

The Portfolio Development Group (PDG) will consider the MIA against the overall University strategy and the subject strategies. If authorised to proceed, the programme design phase may begin. The PDG may set conditions or recommendations for consideration during the design or approval phases. The programme team will be expected to comment on any conditions or recommendations when submitting the development to the CAP.

Once authorisation to proceed is given, the programme can be advertised as ‘subject to final UWE Bristol approval’. The Learning and Teaching Enhancement Team (LTET) will liaise with Admissions and Marketing accordingly. For any programmes which complete the approval process and then do not successfully recruit for a further two years, PDG may request from the Faculty Executive a decision on whether these should be closed in accordance with the process outlined below.

5.3 Design phase

The lead developer, in discussion with the Head of Department, will identify a programme design team. Whilst the membership of the design team may vary depending on the nature of the development it should include the following:

Lead Developer Co-ordinate design team, oversee the development plan, draft documentation, nominate external academic adviser and/or practice-led adviser.
Quality Account Manager Source of expert advice on curriculum development, oversight of appointment of, and liaison with appropriate external input, assist in drafting and development of documentation, provide advice to the programme team on process and timelines, requirements and regulations
Module leaders Draft module specifications.
Representative from collaborative partner (if appropriate) Coordination of documentation required from partner institution, contribute to design team deliberations from the perspective of the partner institution.
Subject external academic advisers and/or practice-led advisers (eg employers, industry experts, service carers and users) To advise on the development of the curriculum in the context of their specialist expertise. This must include advice in the context of current developments in the discipline and relevant benchmark statements.
Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Bodies (as appropriate) To advise on the development of the curriculum in the context of PSRB requirements.
Student Representation To provide insight from a student perspective.
Academic Partnerships Team To provide advice on requirements for working with a collaborative partner.
Operations Manager for partner institution as appropriate To provide input from an operational perspective regarding delivery at the partner institution.

The design team may wish to include other input such as the National Teaching Fellow/UWE Bristol L&T Fellows, specialist input for alternative forms of delivery (eg staff from the Education Innovation Centre). In addition, UWE Bristol alumni may also provide useful input into the design process. For provision at a collaborative partner the design team membership may vary but must include subject specialists, the operational manager, a member of the Academic Partnerships Development team and the link tutor from UWE Bristol.

Student input into the design phase is a key part of the process. This can be achieved by using the existing representation system in the Student Representation/Staff Forums (SRSFs) or equivalent, inviting student representatives to join design meetings or by holding open fora, or discussion groups for students to attend.

Design team guidance is available. Under 6.9 of Design Team Guidance.

5.4 Internal consultation

During the design phase a number of UWE Bristol professional services should be consulted as part of the process. The Programme Design and Consultation form must be completed to confirm that these discussion has taken place.

5.5 Documentation

The following documentation must be completed as part of the design process:

a)      Programme Specification A programme specification is the definitive description of a programme that will be made publicly available via the University website. They should be written in a way that is comprehensive to a lay audience but are mainly intended for both current and future students. All programmes must have a completed programme specification.

b)      Module Specifications all new modules that form part of a new programme proposal require a module specification (where existing modules remain on an old template an up to date specification must be completed).

c)       Programme Design and Consultation document including comments/report from the external advisor.

d)      Variant regulations (if appropriate for validated collaborative programmes or in line with PSRB requirements). All variant regulations must be approved at Academic Board and recorded on the programme specification

e)      Programme Delivery Report and Institutional Meeting Report (as appropriate) for provision which is to be delivered at a partner institution

5.6 External input and review

The programme approval process places the emphasis on the design phase where external input contributes to the development of the proposal. External input should be sought from a variety of sources such as subject experts, employers, industry experts, service users and carers as well as alumni. The subject-based external input must be able to comment on the content and learning outcomes of the proposal, the level, and its currency in the market, as well as its fit to subject benchmark statements or professional body requirements as appropriate. Evidence of this input must be included in the programme design and consultation document.

In addition, a CAP External Reviewer will be appointed as part of the membership of the Curriculum Approvals Panel (CAP). The reviewer will be required to review the programme and module documentation to ensure that the learning outcomes are appropriate and meet external reference points such as the Framework for HE Qualifications. If a CAP External Reviewer is not able to attend, so long as the meeting is otherwise quorate, they will be asked to provide a written report on the business of the meeting.

Please see the External Peer Review Section of the QMEF with regards to nominations for the appointment of subject external advisors and CAP External Reviewers.

5.7 Scrutiny of partner's capacity and capability to deliver the proposed programme(s)

Where the proposal involves potential delivery at a partner or prospective partner of the University, a Programme Delivery Meeting will be held to consider the partner’s capacity and capability to deliver the proposed programmes. The Programme Delivery Meeting’s outcome is intended to inform the UWE Bristol curriculum design and approval process and, in particular, the committee scrutiny and approval noted below. Please refer to the formation of a new Academic Partnership and the Extending Provision with an Academic Partnership Sections of the QMEF or contact the Academic Partnership Development Team in Academic Services for further advice.

5.8 Committee scrutiny and approval

When the design phase of the new programme has been concluded and the documentation completed the proposal will be scrutinised by the faculty and signed off by the Chair of the Faculty Academic Standards and Quality Committee (ASQC). Within the terms of reference the Faculty ASQC is responsible for ensuring that appropriate scrutiny is given to the quality and standards of the programme and that the programme meets the regulations and requirements of the University.

Following sign off by the chair of the Faculty ASQC, the programme will then be submitted to a Curriculum Approvals Panel (CAP). CAPs are scheduled within the academic calendar on a Faculty basis and are responsible to Academic Board for:

a) The approval of new programmes and modules, and amendments to existing programmes and modules, in accordance with the University’s Academic Regulations and Procedures (including where delivery is at a partner institution).

b) Consideration of the impact on the student experience of teaching, learning and assessment of the programme or in relation to any changes to a programme.

Members of the design team and the Chair of the Faculty ASQC will be invited to present the new programme to the Panel.

The membership of a CAP will have experience of learning, teaching and assessment, programme development and approval, and will normally consist of:

a)      Chair – this will be a member of the University’s senior management team outside the home faculty (Executive Dean or nominee).  If a nominee is selected, he/she must be at a level of Associate Dean or above) from outside the home Faculty

b)      Four members external to the home Faculty who may typically be an Associate Dean, Head of Department, Modular Scheme or Academic Director, Programme/cluster leader, Associate Head of Department or UWE Bristol Learning and Teaching Fellow

c)       The CAP External Reviewer.

d)      The Quality Account Manager for the faculty

A member of the Learning and Teaching Enhancement Team in Academic Services will serve as Officer to the CAP. Where a programme is to be offered at a collaborative partner, the Partnership Officer may also attend.

The Chair of the Panel may wish to invite other colleagues with expertise relevant to the proposals under consideration to join the Panel as they deem to be appropriate, in particular where a programme may be delivered in collaboration with a UK or international partner.

The quorum of the CAP must be one third of members eligible to attend, excluding the Chair.

The CAP will consider whether the proposal for a new programme can demonstrate the following:

Programme learning outcomes The learning outcomes are appropriate to the level of award, relate to the title and meet external reference points such as the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications and benchmark statements.

The learning outcomes relate clearly to the overall educational aims of the programme as stated in the programme specification.

The learning outcomes support the requirements of the UWE Bristol 2020 Strategy.
Curriculum design The curriculum design will enable students to achieve the intended learning outcomes;

The design and organisation of the curriculum promotes student learning and achievement of the programme learning outcomes appropriate to the mode of delivery;

The curriculum promotes progression through the programme so that the demands on the learner in terms of intellectual challenge, knowledge, skills, conceptualisation and autonomy of learning and the sophistication of their response to these demands increase;

The design of the curriculum represents an intellectually coherent and fully inclusive student learning experience and is current in the subject area;

The curriculum is balanced in terms of academic and practical elements, personal development and academic outcomes, breadth and depth.

Achieving the learning outcomes The design and content of the curriculum facilitates intellectual development at the appropriate level and supports the following:
  • Knowledge and understanding
  • Intellectual/cognitive skills e.g. critical thinking, analysis and evaluation, reflective and reflexive skills etc.
  • Progression to employment and/or further study
  • Subject specific skills (including practical/professional skills)

The curriculum design and content is informed by:

  • Recent developments in learning and teaching
  • Current research and scholarship
  • Changes in relevant occupational or professional requirements
Assessment strategy

The assessment strategy will enable learners to demonstrate achievement of the stated learning outcomes;

The assessment strategy provides the means to effectively support and inform learning.

Quality management and enhancement

The programme management and quality assurance arrangements are clear and workable.

There is evidence that staff research, scholarship or professional activity underpins and enhances the programme(s).

The quality of materials provided is to an appropriately high standard to support the mode of delivery, e.g. distance learning, blended learning, technology enhanced learning, work-based learning. 
Support for student learning

The arrangements to support student learning (including the needs of disabled students) are explicit and appropriate. 

Learning resources  The collective expertise/capability and capacity of the staff is suitable for:
  • Effective delivery of the curriculum
  • The overall teaching, learning and assessment strategy
  • The achievement of the learning outcomes
  • There is an effective staff development strategy to support the programme(s)
  • Appropriate technical support is available for students if required
  • Suitable space is available for teaching and learning
  • Suitable equipment, books, journal stocks and IT facilities are available to learners
  • That the range of requirements of learners likely to enter the programme has been considered

The outcome of the CAP consideration for the proposed new programme will be:

a) Approval

b) Approval with conditions and/or recommendations

c) Non-approval

Approval will be granted for a maximum of 6 years, after which time the programme will require re-approval as part of the periodic curriculum review process. Where a proposal is not approved, a full report outlining all the concerns with specific conditions will be produced by the Officer and appended to the Minutes of the CAP. The CAP will set a deadline by which the response to the conditions should be submitted which will be considered at a future CAP meeting. If the proposal is approved with conditions and/or recommendations, then the response to these must be reported to the next appropriate CAP and during the first annual monitoring of the programme. The programme will not be able to run until any conditions have been met.

5.9 Professional, statutory and regulatory bodies (PSRBs)

The approval process may require the involvement of one or more professional, statutory or regulatory bodies (PSRBs). PSRB representatives may be invited to join the CAP or may be involved as part of the design phase. On occasion, there may be a requirement to hold a joint panel event with a PSRB and a special CAP may be convened for this purpose. 

5.10 Programme structure and assessment

Programme design teams should design the programme to align with the following requirements:

a) Common curriculum within awards at level 1: all undergraduate awards must offer a diet of compulsory modules to first year students as a means of supporting a more programme focused approach to the curriculum and of providing a more coherent learning experience for students.

b) The credit framework set out in UWE Bristol academic regulations and procedures. The approved module sizes will normally be 15, 30, 45, 60 credits with exceptions for CPD provision and Masters by Research.

c) All learning achieved during placement that is assessed under the University’s regulations must be awarded standard credit.

d) In addition, sandwich (SW) awards must incorporate at least 15 standard credits at level 2 or above which reflect and assess the learning and skills acquired during the placement or study year abroad period such as independent reflective learning, enhanced levels of critical self-awareness etc.

e) Programme design teams should consult the guidance found in the programme specification for information on minimum contact hours. 

5.11 Shell Award Framework

The 'Shell' Award Framework (SAF) at UWE Bristol, the Professional Development (PD) portfolio of programmes, is a work-based and action learning framework where learners can study Work-Based Learning Project Modules which have been developed specifically for SAF, or any module in the University provided it is relevant and at the appropriate level. A learner pathway is devised from the needs of the workplace and of the learner, rather than the University’s programme paradigm. The PD portfolio is therefore trans-disciplinary rather than subject specific. All exit awards have the title ‘Professional Development’. An approval procedure has been put in place to enable descriptors in parenthesis to be approved expediently and this is outlined in Quality Process Sheet 18.

6. Procedures for amendments to existing programmes and modules, developing new modules and programme title changes

The University is committed to maintaining programmes that are relevant, up to date and responsive to feedback from students and other stakeholders such as external examiners and PSRBs. Any changes to modules and programmes must go through the process outlined below to ensure:

  • Modules and programmes receive proper scrutiny by the faculty and relevant professional services to ensure the changes are in line with the University 2020 Strategy, the Academic Regulations and to share good practice and support enhancement
  • Students are engaged and consulted with, and in the case of changes to material information, agree the proposed changes
  • Changes are captured on the module and programme specifications and fed into University systems to ensure the smooth running of administrative functions.

6.1 Changes to material information

Material programme information is defined as the information present on the relevant programme entry on the UWE Bristol website that applicants are presented with in pdf form. Any materials changes to programmes, under Competition and Marketing Authority legislation, must be communicated to, and agreed by students.

For the purposes of the QMEF, materials changes to programmes include;

  • Changes to programme title
  • Changes to compulsory modules (including change to the title or a change in the compulsory module structure of the programme). This does not include changes to the syllabus or assessment of modules unless this changes the fundamental description of the programme as set out in the programme entry.

Guidance for the changes to material information is included in Quality Process Sheet 16.

6.2 Title Changes

All programme title changes are governed by Academic Regulation B3.2; 

An approved change to an award title should normally be introduced on a phased basis so it does not impact upon current students. Exceptionally, if a change is deemed to be desirable for existing cohorts all students must be consulted with and give their unanimous consent to the change in writing.

All proposals to change an existing award/programme title (where the content will remain unchanged) need to complete a Market Impact and Authorisation exercise and seek approval through the University Portfolio Development Group (PDG). When a Faculty identifies the need to change an existing award/programme title, the lead developer should contact the Faculty Quality Account Manager within the Learning and Teaching Enhancement Team (LTET) for initial advice and creation of the MIA form. PDG will only consider title changes that impact on current students in exceptional circumstances where a clear case can be articulated that not making the change would significantly disadvantage student’s post-graduation. Changes to programme title AND curricula are generally regarded as new programmes and follow the process outlined above.

The full process for programme title changes is outlined in Quality Process Sheet 15. 

6.3 Changes to modules/programmes and the development of new modules

When a programme team decide that a programme or module requires amendment or they wish to develop a new module, the Programme Leader will need to complete a Rationale and Impact Assessment (RIA) form. This is available through the Faculty Quality Account Manager who will also be able to offer advice on its completion (see Quality Process Sheet 14 below). There is a risk-based approach to new and revised curriculum, with all new programmes and modules and changes to existing programmes and modules classified as either low, medium or high impact by the Faculty Quality Account Manager, in partnership with the faculty. The classification will depend on the extent of the changes and their impact and will determine the level of scrutiny required.

There are clear timelines for the approval of new and revised programmes and modules in which facilitates the timely update of key systems and notification of external bodies such as the Student Loan Company. Failure to adhere to timescales can have a significant negative impact on the student experience. Normally, all changes are made in advance for the following academic year, in exceptional circumstances, changes to assessment for current students may be considered on a case by case basis if not doing so would significantly disadvantage students.

All changes to programmes or modules that may impact on delivery at a partner institution must be discussed and agreed with the partner prior to approval. If the change involves the addition of a student exchange to a programme, whether this is with a new or existing partner, it will be necessary to inform the Academic Partnership Team. Quality Process Sheet 18 gives details of the requirements to include an exchange in a programme.

7. Discontinuation/Suspension of Programmes

7.1 Definitions

i. Discontinued: programme(s) to be permanently withdrawn.

ii. Suspended:  programme(s) no longer to be offered to new applicants for the immediate intake; however it may be offered for subsequent intakes. 

7.2 General principles

There are a number of drivers which may precipitate a decision to remove a programme from the University’s portfolio on either a permanent or temporary basis. These include, but are not limited to, as an outcome of programme monitoring or programme review, changes in patterns of demand from prospective students, or for other reasons, underpinned by analysis of management information.

Fundamentally the discontinuation of a programme is an Executive responsibility due to the potential resource implications. The Academic Governance arrangements are in place to advise the Faculty and University Executive teams and aid communication. 

Whatever the rationale for the withdrawal of the programme the interests of current students’ will be paramount. In the case of discontinuation students on the programme will be consulted, alongside the Students’ Union, and wherever possible steps will be taken to ensure they are able to complete their chosen programme.

Consideration will also be given to how Academic Standards on the programme(s) will be maintained and where necessary significant external stakeholders (eg employers or collaborative partners) will be consulted.

Steps will be identified, at the point of decision, to support applicants holding an offer to study the programme to find an alternative programme either with the University or another higher education provider.

7.3 Timelines

The suspension or discontinuation of a programme should be considered as early as possible, and ideally not less than 10 months before the next intake would be due to commence the programme.

7.4 Proposal format

The Associate Dean: Learning and Teaching (or nominee) must provide a paper proposing suspension or discontinuation to the Faculty ASQC, normally, using the programme withdrawal form, so that it may provide advice to the Faculty Executive.

In the case of collaborative provision, the programme withdrawal form should still be completed and the University would, regardless of the model of collaboration, wish to be assured that appropriate arrangements are in place to protect the interests of current students and applicants holding offers.

7.5 Method of withdrawal

In most cases programmes to be discontinued will be run out. This means recruitment will cease and existing students will complete their studies as planned; normally the run out of a programme takes a minimum of three years but may be substantially longer for complex programmes or those with large numbers of part-time students.

Where a programme exists in a suspended state and there are no students or applicants holding offers, discontinuation can take effect immediately.

In the case of circumstances beyond the University’s control requiring programmes to be suspended or discontinued at short notice from delivery by Partner organisations (e.g. in the case of force majeure), outline business continuity frameworks for individual partnerships are helped by Academic Services and the International Office. These also detail options that would support a planned exit.

7.6 Approval

The Faculty Executive may approve the suspension of a programme after consultation with ASQC (where timescales permit).

The Faculty Executive after consultation with ASQC may endorse program discontinuation to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Academic for approval on behalf of the Vice-Chancellor.

In cases where programme discontinuation would result in a change to the academic character of the institution (e.g. the withdrawal of a subject area) the Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Academic will arrange for appropriate consideration of the proposals by Academic Board and the Board of Governors.

7.7 Communication

a) Within five working days of the decision the Quality Account Manager will circulate confirmation of the programme withdrawal, the type of withdrawal, and the effective from date to:

The Dean, Associate Dean (Learning and Teaching) and Faculty Business Manager of the Faculty concerned For information and action as appropriate.
Admissions within the Future Students Team To remove the programme from UCAS (where applicable), the UWE Bristol website and contact existing applicants.
Marketing and Communications To ensure the programme is removed from the University’s promotional/ recruitment literature.
Academic Services SAT, CAT and Fees Team For information and to inform programme and student administration processes eg adding an end date to the student record system.

b) Communication with students

In the case of discontinuation, the Faculty will write to existing students to confirm the outcome of the decision to withdraw the programme and the arrangements made to protect their interests. Particular attention should be given to articulating how student feedback as part of the closure process has been taken in to account.

c) Communication with applicants

The Future Students Department is responsible for communicating with applicants as soon as possible after the decision has been made.

8. Monitoring and review

All programmes of study are subject to the annual monitoring and evaluation processes and the curriculum periodic review process.

Modules and programmes may develop incrementally over time. A series of incremental amendments and any associated introduction of new modules are monitored by the Quality Account Manager. The 4th impact change will be noted by the Quality Account Manager to the faculty to check the programme integrity has not been compromised. A higher impact process can be triggered at this point if increased scrutiny of the programme is deemed necessary. It is the responsibility of the Faculty to monitor that the focus and integrity of programmes remains through their lifecycle and curriculum drift does not occur.

Academic Services will produce an annual overview report for LTSEC on approved new programmes of study, as well as a summary report detailing the amount of new high impact and low impact changes to programmes have taken place. At the same time a review will be undertaken, within the principles agreed by Academic Board, of the  processes used in the approval of new and amended programmes/modules with a view to evaluating their effectiveness and suggesting enhancement for future years. This will constitute an element of the report submitted to LTSEC.

9. Annex

Antecedents

AQEC Min 12.10.17, October 2012
Academic Board Min 12.10.6.3, October 2012

Log of operational changes made to QMEF Handbook Annual Monitoring Section

Version Section Change
1.1 Jan 2014 6 Addition of Associate Head of Department as eligible to act as member of a CAP.
  6 Clarification of the MIA process.
  6.1 Clarification of the MIA process.
  6.2 Clarification of the MIA process relating to title changes.
  6.3 Clarification of PDG deadlines.
  9 Emphasis on arrangements for existing students on the closure of a programme.
Version      Section Change

1.2 June 2014

     6.4 and 6.5 Internal consultation clarified and link included to Design Team guidance.
      6.3 Added a closure of programmes process if new programmes do not recruit for two years.
      6.8 Clarification of the process for dealing with the conditions and recommendations from CAP.  Link included to Guidelines for ASQCs, CAP Chairs and CAP membership.
      6.13 Details of approval of Shell Award Framework descriptors.
      7 Student Exchanges.
      9 Closure of programmes now carried out by CAP under delegated authority from Academic Board.
  Throughout Clarification of type of external input to design and approval.
Version  Section           Change
1.3 June 2015     1 Scope increased to include discontinuation.
      2 Principle of maintaining standards and protecting student/applicant interests in case of programme discontinuation added.
      3 Table removed and section updated to reflect new sections of the QMEF in relation to collaborative provision.
      4 Addition to Faculty Executive, Associate Dean L&T, PDG and LTSEC and Academic Board responsibilities for programme discontinuation/suspension. Addition of the DVC Academic as a key role in programme discontinuation.
    6.8 Section added on the scrutiny of partner capacity and capability to deliver programmes.
    6.9 Removal of repetition of responsibilities and attendance at CAP and removal of responsibilities in relation to programme discontinuation.
    6.9 Explicit reference to the learning outcomes and curriculum design supporting 2020 strategic objectives.
      7 Note on the importance of consultation in light of EU consumer rights directive included.
      8 Programme closure re-titles and expended to include:
  • general principals including the primacy of the executive in the decision making process
  • consideration of timelines
  • method of withdrawal
  • approval
  • communication
Version Section Change
1.4 July 2016 7 (now  section 6) Changes to programmes/modules.
  6.2 Title changes.
  Throughout General edit and tidy up to correct nomenclature
     

 

10. Programme approval section templates

Quality process sheets

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