International Campuses and Quality Assurance Policy with Respect to Implementation
Amended February 16 2017
The policy framework for quality assurance in those instances in which academic schools have provision across multiple campuses is outlined in the University’s Quality Manual. The purpose of this document, which is subsidiary to the Quality Manual, is to outline the ways in which this policy framework might be reflected in organisational practice.
It is recognised that enactment of the principles and guidance below is, of necessity, something for all parties to work towards as provision on the international campuses matures. During the start-up phase for Schools becoming involved with an international campus, (particularly when the number of staff and students involved may be low), it is inevitable that some of the arrangements are of an ad-hoc nature; although it will always be an expectation that the interests of students will be respected and academic standards maintained.
1 Organising Principles
Schools have ownership of provision on one or more campuses. Ownership is as true for international campus provision as for UK provision, even if the manner in which this ownership is effected differs.
All provision on all campuses is clearly owned by a single School (even where delivery may be joint and there is no single equivalent UK School).
Where a School has delegated specific functions to a unit on an international campus, it should be clear that this unit forms part of that School or, at least, is performing those specific functions on behalf of that School1.
Schools have all the responsibilities set out in the Quality Manual for their entire provision across all campuses. It is the responsibility of the individual School to determine the most appropriate approach to operating its quality assurance process within the context of the broad principles outlined in this document. Where QA responsibilities have been delegated to particular individuals or units on the international campuses, this should be formally documented in the form of a Statement of Responsibilities and appropriate protocols put in place. Schools may have multiple Statements of Responsibilities in order to facilitate differing arrangements for different programmes/ groups of programme. The Heads of School at each campus to which a Statement of Responsibilities applies should each sign-off a completed template. Schools may choose to give considerable autonomy to units on international campuses, but necessarily retain a responsibility to exercise a general monitoring function to ensure that the policies and procedures in the Quality Manual are being executed appropriately. Institutional oversight of this is provided by the Quality and Standards Committee via the Annual Monitoring process.
Where the activities of the School have repercussions for the provision of other Schools on the international campuses, or for the overall management of the campuses, the relevant managers on the international campus (e.g. the Provost, Vice Provost or Dean) must be fully involved in decision-making and there should be joint agreement as to the actions taken. By the same token, decisions of the international campus management that have repercussions for the academic activities of Schools should be arrived at jointly with those Schools.
In regard to the above, and to the guidance section below, decisions made at an international campus can be regarded as having the agreement of Schools and of international campus management, so long as Schools have delegated requisite authority to their staff on the campus.
In cases where agreement cannot be arrived at between Schools and the international campus management, the matter should be referred to the University's Teaching and Learning Board (in regard to matters of academic policy) or to the PVC Global Engagement (in regard to strategic or operational matters).
Professional Services have a responsibility for ensuring that University policies and procedures take account of the needs of all campuses and the implementation of them is supported on all campuses. This involves either direct or indirect responsibility for relevant professional services on the international campuses in co-operation with the senior management of the international campuses.
3 Guidance on Particular Areas
Schools should agree entry criteria in discussion with international campus management. Implementation of these admissions criteria is undertaken by the international campus management with academic decision-making as necessary by relevant academic units.
3.2 Internal Programme Approval
In all cases, Schools should submit business cases and programme specifications in consultation with international campus management to Student Services Development (Academic Processes). The PVC Global Engagement has the authority to sign off the business case, with approval for the programme specification resting with Quality and Standards Committee. Where a campus is proposing to run a programme which already exists on another campus, only the business case needs formal approval but the Programme Specification must be reviewed by Quality and Standards Committee and the relevant campus to ensure that local delivery plans and the overarching programme specification are consistent. With respect to such ‘based on’ programmes, the new version of the programme will include the same learning outcomes and compulsory modules as the original version2. There is also an expectation that the title of the new programme should be the same as the original version3.
See also Programme Design, Development and Approval
3.3 Module Approval
Schools submit module specifications in consultation with international campus management to Student Services Development (Academic Processes). Where a module (as defined by its title4 and learning outcomes) already exists on one of the campuses, no separate approval is required. The content, delivery format and assessment of the same module may vary between campuses, so long as the learning outcomes remain constant. In sanctioning such module differences across the campuses, the consequences of such differences on the effectiveness of student transfer between campuses must be addressed.
3.4 Changes to Programmes and Modules
In those instances where approval of changes is required from beyond the School (the circumstances are set out in the relevant passages of the Quality Manual), the amended programme or module specification should be submitted by the School, in consultation with the international campus management, to Student Services Development (Academic Processes) for subsequent approval by the relevant committee.
3.5 Educational Enhancement and Assurance Reviews and Annual Monitoring
Reviews of programmes delivered on international campuses form part of the Educational Enhancement and Assurance Review process.
3.6 Assessment, Progression, and Awards
Creation of assessments and the marking thereof can be fully delegated to staff on international campuses at the discretion of individual Schools. Some moderation and comparison of performance outcomes should normally be undertaken at module level. There should be a single Board of Examiners for programmes taught on more than one campus with representation (physical or electronic) from all campuses; again, comparison of student performance outcomes should normally be undertaken at both stage and degree award levels.
3.7 School Committees
A School's international campus staff should have the opportunity to be fully represented on School committees including at senior management level5. A School's approach to internal communications should ensure that the international campuses are fully informed of all developments and are involved in decision-making. While it is for the individual School to determine the most appropriate mechanism for this to occur, it may be worth noting that many Schools have found it helpful to identify a Director of Internationalisation who has specific responsibility in this area.
3.8 Appointment of Staff
Schools retain responsibility for staff appointed on the international campuses where the role is within a School and should have an agreed process for making such appointments.
[see also International Campus HR Policy - Workspace login required[
3.9 Personal Tutors
Schools should ensure that their tutoring arrangements as set out in their tutoring statements are operating appropriately across all campuses on which they are represented7.
3.10 Student Feedback
Schools should ensure that LCFs, SEM and SET and any other related processes for securing school level student feedback are operating on the international campuses and that proper consideration is given to feedback8.
3.11 Complaints and Appeals
Schools should consider student complaints and academic appeals in accordance with the principles of the associated policies and the relevant published procedures. Any local deviations from core procedures must be approved by QSC and accessible to relevant students.
3.12 Research Students
Schools have responsibility for ensuring that Quality Manual requirements are implemented for their research students on the international campuses9.
3.13 Students with Disabilities
Schools and the international campus management should arrange jointly for a Disability Liaison Officer to be available for all international campus students.
3.14 Careers Information, Advice & Guidance
Schools, international campus management and the Careers and Employability Service have joint responsibility for ensuring that careers advice is delivered to international campus students in line with the Quality Manual10.
3.15 Communications and Staff Visits
Given the use of different email domains in UNNC and UNMC, Schools and Professional services should identify appropriate mechanisms to ensure that information flows between different locations in a timely fashion. Face-to-face meetings can be of particular value and, while noting the University’s carbon management plan, a limited number of annual visits (in both directions) would be considered desirable.
1 This principle is of particular significance in those instances in which there is joint involvement by UK campus based Schools in relation to provision of a degree programme in either UNMC or UNNC.
2 An existing Programme Specification might require revision to reflect variations in the number and range of optional subjects available which might include an increased number of compulsory modules at a campus with a more limited range of options available.
3 Whilst the expectation is that the new version of the programme will retain the same title as the original version, it is recognised that there may be circumstances where this is not possible, eg in order to meet to local regulatory or statutory requirements.
4 Similarly, the expectation is that modules will retain the same title unless there are circumstances which mean this is not appropriate, eg local PSRB requirements.
5 According to the circumstances of individual Schools this may range from formal video conferenced meetings, to virtual attendance via circulation of papers or regular one-to-one meetings with relevant colleagues. The key requirement is that there is an identifiable mechanism for representatives from the international campuses to engage with and be heard during School decision making processes.
6 Each School/ Department /Faculty’s positions on this should be set out in their Statement of Responsibilities.
7 Clarification of where responsibility for tutoring statements and tutoring arrangements lie should be outlined in a School/ Department/ Faculty’s Statement of Responsibilities (i.e. Head of School in the UK, Head of School at each campus etc).
8 Clarification of where responsibility for Student Feedback in each School/ Department/ Faculty lies should be set out in their Statement of Responsibilities.
9 Arrangements for responsibility of this implementation should be set out in each School/ Department/ Faculty’s Statement of Responsibilities.
10 Arrangements for responsibility of aspects of Careers Information, Advice and Guidance that fall to the School should be set out in the School/ Department/ Faculty’s Statement of Responsibilities.