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Quality Manual
   
   
  

About the Quality Manual

The Quality Manual is relevant to both staff and students. It was established in 1995 and aims to act as a central source of information for policies and procedures which support the University in its aim to assure the quality of its learning, teaching and supervision. Students may expect advice from tutors on the use and interpretation of the Quality Manual if they need it. 

The Quality Manual provides the regulatory framework governing teaching and learning at The University of Nottingham and its provisions have regulatory force.  Where statements contain the wording that schools or students 'should' take particular actions or adhere to certain principles, this has regulatory force to mean that schools and students are required to comply with the policy as stated.

In applying the principles of the Quality Manual and in all University activities staff are expected to act in an unbiased manner and report any relevant and substantial conflicts of interest that arise.

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The provisions of the Quality Manual and any other University regulations regarding the quality management of learning and teaching apply equally to the University’s campuses in the UK and Asia.  Where there is a need to set out separate procedures or requirements for an individual campus, this has been done in the body of the Quality Manual.

Across all campuses, primary responsibility for quality assurance and for the implementation of the Quality Manual (including module and programme ownership) rests with the Heads of Schools under the jurisdiction of Senate and its committees.  Schools with provision on more than one campus are therefore regarded as multi-campus entities for the purpose of the Quality Manual.  For those aspects of the Quality Manual which are the primary responsibility of professional services, the respective units at each of the campuses are required to liaise to ensure that equivalent practice is followed subject to the constraints of the local context.

For the purposes of the Quality Manual the term ‘School’ refers to units that have overarching responsibility for ensuring compliance with the University’s quality and standards framework.  A list of these units is published here.  The term ‘Head of School’ refers to the individual who has overall responsibility for those individual units.

1. Aim of the Manual

The Quality Manual is a valuable source of information for staff and for students. It tries to set out as clearly as possible the University's policies and procedures relevant to both teaching and supervision of undergraduate and postgraduate students (both taught and research).

2. Compliance with the Quality Manual

(a) Introduction

Primary responsibility for compliance with the Quality Manual lies with Schools. The various sections of the Quality Manual state those circumstances where a School must seek approval at the University level for an action. The Registrar's Department (or equivalent unit on the International campuses) has responsibility for interpreting the Quality Manual and therefore for determining whether the action of a School is in accordance with the Quality Manual and whether approval at the University level is required. If a School is informed that an action is outside the provisions of the Quality Manual but nevertheless wishes to purse that action, the Registrar's Department (or equivalent) will arrange for the request to be considered on behalf of Quality & Standards Committee.

Schools seeking advice on a particular section of the Quality Manual should contact the relevant office within the Registrar's Department (or equivalent). For contact information see:

UNUK:

    Academic Services Division (for all sections of the Quality Manual except those stated below)

    Student Services (for students with disabilities)

    Careers and Employability Service

UNMC

UNNC

(b) Primary Responsibility 

It is the Head of School's responsibility to keep his/her School's practice under review and in line with the Quality Manual.  Compliance with the Quality Manual is checked by the University School Review teams.  The Head of School may delegate those responsibilities but where this is the case it should be formally documented and appropriate protocols established.  Where autonomy has been granted to another unit by the Head of School, the School still has responsibility to exercise a general monitoring function to ensure that the policies and procedures in the Quality Manual are being executed.

(c) Delegation and Sharing of Responsibility particularly in relation to International Campuses

While it is up to individual Schools to determine specifically how their academic responsibilities should be managed and the extent of delegation of decision-making to units on specific campuses, in making these determinations, the following principles should be adhered to:

• In terms of organisational structure, academic staff in a given subject area at the international campuses and the UK campus should be regarded as members of the relevant School (although it is noted that their contracts of employment may reside with separate legal entities).

• The expertise of staff is a key component in quality assurance and a clear protocol should exist across campuses to ensure that the appointment process makes full us of recognised expertise among existing staff in making new appointments

• Modules that are delivered across multiple campuses must achieve the same learning outcomes to the same standards and cover the same core subject matter.  It is a fundamental requirement that the content of teaching programmes is equivalent, but not necessarily identical. The title, structure and content of the same programme may vary between campuses so long as the learning outcomes remain the same.

• The development and enhancement of individual modules and overall degree programmes should be regarded as a collaborative process involving relevant staff across all campuses.  While new course initiatives and course changes may be proposed by the international campuses, such proposals should be routed through the respective School and University systems at the UK campus.

• The status of internal examiners is equal, irrespective of the campus on which they are based; where examination boards meet at the international campuses, these should normally be deemed as having the status of internal examination boards.

• Staff across all campuses should have the opportunity to participate in the assessment process and in award recommendations (including participation in final examination boards), subject to the constraints of space and time; a normal expectation might be at least one representative from international campus internal examination boards at the final external board.  Where this is not possible, the School must ensure that there is someone present who can fully represent the view of the examiners at the relevant campus.

• Staff at the international campuses should have the opportunity to contribute fully and equally to the operation of quality assurance systems and process within their School.

The senior management of the international campuses should be consulted regarding specific quality assurance arrangements at School level, and their agreement secured, in so far as they affect the functioning of those campuses.

Where the same programmes and modules are offered on more than one campus, it is the responsibility of the Head of School which offers the programme to ensure that all modifications to this provision and the manner of its delivery are communicated and implemented across all campuses.

The School Review process will review academic units at the international campuses as part of their home School.  Additional reviews may be conducted as a result of local requirements.  Separate Campus reviews will be designed to focus on issues regarding context and environment rather than addressing the specific provision of individual academic units. 

Guidance on operational issues including setting up new units is published on the Overseas Campus workspace.  The policy framework for quality assurance and its implementation is available here.

3. Areas Covered

There are three sections to the Quality Manual:  

Part A: Academic Standards

1.  Quality Assurance Structures

2.  Study Regulations

Part B: Assurance and Enhancement of Academic Quality

3.  Programme Design and Approval

4.  Recruitment and Admissions

5.  E-Learning and Distance Learning Policy

6.  Career Development

7.  Students with Disabilities

8.  Student Support and Development

9. Student Engagement (new entry to be added Autumn 2012)

10. Assessment

11. Accreditation of Prior Learning

12. External Examining

13. Programme Monitoring and Review

14. Complaints and Appeals

15. Managing Higher Education Provision with Others

16. Research Degrees

Part C: Provision of information

Some of the pages of the Manual will be directly relevant to students, others only relevant to staff, whilst a third category will be useful to all.

The Manual applies equally to all the University's Campuses located in the UK and abroad. Where necessary, amendments have been made to certain documents to reflect local needs in certain countries e.g. Malaysia Campus or Ningbo, China. However, such documents have only been modified and approved after it has been clearly established that an equivalent policy/procedure has been identified and modified for well founded or specific reasons. Where no separate specific campus documents are included in the Manual (i.e. documents relating to the Malaysia Campus or Ningbo, China) this indicates that the information fully applies to all campuses. 

4. Updates to the Quality Manual

To view recent changes to the Quality Manual click here.  An update of recent changes is included in the Teaching and Learning Network workspace and cognate groups such as Examinations and Admissions Officers, are emailed when relevant sections are changed.

5. Quality Systems explained elsewhere

For information about the University's committee structures, including committee structure in relation to teaching and learning, please see http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/registrar/committees/index.htm.   Information about the University's School Review process is available here.

6. External Reference Points

The Quality Manual is consonant with the Quality Assurance Agency's Quality Code for Higher Education and the European Standards and Guidelines. Schools should be able to rely on the fact that by complying with the University's Quality Manual they will be adhering to the QAA Expectations and Indicators.  

7. Version control

The ongoing developments of documents within the Quality Manual mean that any printed copy becomes out of date very quickly. Therefore the Quality Manual is available and updated on the web only, although of course, viewers are able to print out any elements which they wish straight from the PC.

8. Further Information and Advice

If you have queries, comments or issues relating to the Quality Manual please email Quality-Manual-Enquiries@nottingham.ac.uk

9. Larger print version of the Quality Manual

If you would like to see a larger print version, please go into the view menu and select the type size you need in the drop down box.  In Internet Explorer, click on View, then Text Size to make the text bigger. If your mouse has a wheel, you can change the text size quickly by pressing Ctrl while moving the wheel down (for larger text) and up (for smaller text). In Netscape, press ctrl ] to make the text bigger, and ctrl [ to make it smaller. If you are using Netscape on a Sun Solaris terminal, you will need to go into Edit, Preferences, Fonts.

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