1.5.1: Outline of University Open Days: Durham City
1. Number and Timing of Open Days
1. Senate has agreed that there should be two University-wide Open Days held each year, in the week immediately following the end of the Epiphany Term on the Tuesday and Wednesday. In the Academic Year 2008/9, Open Days will be held on the following dates:
Tuesday 24 March 2009 (students arrive on 23 March 2009)
Wednesday 25 March 2009 (students arrive on 24 March 2009)
2. These Open Days are intended for candidates who have been offered a place on an undergraduate degree programme commencing in the following October (or the year after, if deferred entry). The primary objective of the Open Days is to improve the conversion of applicants by communicating the 'Durham experience' and emphasising that Durham is an attractive and exciting place to study.
2. Suggested Outline of Open Day Programme
1. Late afternoon/early evening of day before: College-based activity
Arrival in college, evening meal, presentation by senior member of college staff followed by the opportunity to meet and socialise with current students. This is regarded as a vital part of the success of any Open Day scheme and the colleges should ensure that there are students willing and able to help with this activity.
2. Open Day: Department-based activity
1. It is advisable that candidates have the opportunity to visit the department to learn about its various degree programmes as well as have the opportunity of a brief informal meeting with course tutors, perhaps on a one-to-one basis or as part of a small group.
2. It is recognised that those departments with a visit days or commitment to interviewing will not wish to put on an extensive programme of activity. However, they will need to ensure that as a minimum at least one member of staff is available to meet with candidates who may be interested in taking courses in the department as part of a Joint Honours degree or a Combined Honours or Natural Sciences degree.
3. Monitoring Attendance and obtaining feedback on Open Days
In order that the success or otherwise of Open Days may be judged, it is advisable that colleges and departments maintain a record of the names of students who attend Open Days on DUGAMSso that arrangements may be made, at an appropriate time, to correlate attendance at Open Days with the final acceptance of offers, on both a college and a departmental basis.
3. Departmental Programmes
1. All Departments should submit, to the Student Recruitment and Admissions Office, brief details in order to submit the online Open Day booklet, outlining their intended Open Day programme clearly and in an appropriate degree of detail.
2. Departments should be informed that once submitted, their programmes may be changed only in exceptional circumstances.
3. All Departmental programmes should include a clear statement of the provision for Joint Honours and Combined Honours/Natural Sciences candidates, in respect of which they will be expected to have consulted with other departments as appropriate. This information should be forwarded by the Student Recruitment and Admissions Office to the relevant Combined Honours and Natural Sciences Directors who will be responsible for compiling a summary of the provision available to such candidates. This information should be returned to the Student Recruitment and Admissions Office.
4. All departmental programmes should be sufficiently flexible to allow candidates to visit one or more other departments if they so wish.
5. Departmental programmes should normally commence no later than 9.30 am and finish no later than 1.00 pm, being sufficiently substantial to render the trip to Durham worthwhile. In the case of departments operating Joint Honours degrees, there should be a slot clearly available in the Open Day timetable, outside the main departmental programme, for Joint Honours candidates (eg. for Departments whose main programme finishes at 12 noon, a slot from 12 noon to 1 pm; or an afternoon slot). Particular care will need to be given to checking that all Joint Honours students will be able to attend both Departments without clashes. This will be the responsibility of the Departmental Open Day co-ordinators. (See section 7.3 below)
6. All Departmental programmes should, where possible, allow candidates the opportunity to meet with one or more members of staff on a one-to-one basis.
7. Arrangements should be made to ensure that at least one member of staff will be available in all departments until 4.00 pm.
4. College Programmes
1. Senate has agreed that colleges should be free to devise their own programme of activities for the evening before the Open Day.
2. College accommodation should be used wherever possible (ie in preference to 'bed and breakfast' accommodation) but any candidates who cannot be accommodated in college should be able (and encouraged) to participate fully in the college's evening activities.
5. Other Arrangements
1. The Colleges Division shall be responsible for fixing, on an annual basis, a University-wide standard fee to be charged to applicants to cover their overnight stay in College.
2. The University Library, Graham Sports Centre and Dunelm House will be open for candidates to visit, should they so wish.
3. Senate has agreed that no department or college should provide lunch for candidates. Arrangements should be made for the sale of sandwiches and drinks in Dunelm House, and candidates should be free to choose whether to have their lunch in Dunelm House or elsewhere.
4. Senate has agreed that colleges should arrange to provide short, guided tours in the afternoon to candidates who have not stayed overnight.
6. Preparations: Communication between Departments and Colleges
1. Finalised Open Day programmes will be made available electronically. Colleges are requested to inform students of this link in their offer letter.
2. It is recognised that departments/colleges may, in exceptional cases, find it necessary to change their programmes or schedules of activities after the circulation of the finalised listing. In such cases the relevant Co-ordinator shall be responsible for notifying and obtaining the approval of the Co-ordinator in any department/college directly affected by the proposed change (including those in Joint Honours Departments and Natural Sciences) and then for forwarding details to the Student Recruitment and Admissions Office. Where a change is proposed which will not have direct implications for the programmes offered by other departments, or for the activities in colleges or Combined Honours or Natural Sciences (e.g. minor changes to the internal running order of events within a single Department) details should be forwarded to the Student Recruitment and Admissions Office.
3. A copy of the Open Day programme, including any subsequent revisions, will be available from the Student Recruitment and Admissions Office web-site.
4. Departments and colleges should keep each other informed as fully as possible about the numbers of candidates likely to be attending an Open Day, especially those not intending to stay overnight in college the day before and the numbers of Combined Honours and Natural Sciences students who may wish to visit particular departments.
5. Departments and Colleges are reminded that, other than in exceptional circumstances, last-minute changes to programmes are to be avoided as they are liable to create confusion for all concerned which may result in a greater proportion of applicants declining their offer from Durham.
7. Providing Information to Applicants
1. The information sent out to candidates at the time of inviting them to an Open Day should include dates, times and accommodation, ie a "booking form" which all candidates should return whether staying overnight or not. Detailed information regarding departmental programmes should be available to candidates on arrival in College. Candidates attending only on the Open Day itself will need to be sent the necessary detailed information in advance by the College.
2. Any additional information which individual departments and colleges make available to candidates might take several forms. A single A4 sheet, prominently displaying the name and location of the department and with programme details and times set out clearly could be used effectively in a College display and/or issued to interested "non-Honours" students if departments so wished.
3. In order to attempt to achieve a more balanced attendance across the two Open Days, Colleges should not require candidates to reply to Open Day invitations until the latest possible date (if possible- depending on the Calendar - after, rather than before, the University closes over Christmas).
4. Colleges should ensure that all candidates know the location of the department(s) which they are visiting, and how to get there.