4.2 Annual Programme Review for Taught Programmes
1. Annual programme review is the responsibility of the board of studies. It is monitored by EducationCommittee through Faculty Education Committees and Quality and Standards Sub-Committee, and the whole process is audited as part of periodic review. This reflects the fact that boards of studies are primarily responsible for the management of degree programmes, but that the quality and standards of all degree programmes are the responsibility of the University.
Objectives of the annual review process
2. The principal aim of the process is to ensure that an overview is taken of all taught programmes (undergraduate and postgraduate) on a more frequent basis than the periodic review cycle.
3. The annual review should take a strategic overview of the development of each degree programme, and of learning and teaching in general. This should involve reviewing the current situation against an overall learning and teaching strategy and updating that strategy as appropriate. This will enable departments to take a proactive as well as reactive approach to curriculum development and delivery.
4. The annual review of learning and teaching allows boards of studies to:
a. identify strengths and weaknesses;
b. disseminate good practice;
c. review the programme as a whole, and the portfolio of programmes;
d. consider the department's/school's learning and teaching strategy;
e. establish priorities for development over the next year.
5. All departments are required to review annually their undergraduate and taught postgraduate programmes, and to report to FECs and EC on the following areas:
a. programme specifications;
b. outcomes of module reviews;
c. external examiners' reports;
d. issues raised in staff student consultative committees;
e. admissions (undergraduate and postgraduate), including widening participation for undergraduate provision and international student recruitment;
f. issues raised by performance indicators (including student progression, student achievement, first destination statistics and the National Student Survey);
g. placement learning;
h. quality management and enhancement;
i. the departmental/school learning and teaching strategy.
6. To support departments/schools in conducting this review the following data will be circulated to departments by central support departments:
a. Key performance indicators for each programme of study for a three year period, including student numbers; number of applications; number of admissions; 'mean' A-level entry score; number of mature/disabled/ethnic minority entrants; transfer rates; wastage rates; degree results. [To be supplied by Student Planning and Assessment]
b. Data on admissions according to socio-economic group. [To be supplied by the Undergraduate Admissions Office]
c. National Student Survey Results. [To be supplied by the Academic Support Office]
d. Data on the first employment destinations of graduates. [To be supplied by the Careers Advisory Service]
Annual review procedures in departments
7. Departments/schools are required to hold at least one meeting a year to review learning, teaching and assessment in its taught programmes. Departments/schools may choose whether to hold this as an 'away-day' or as a dedicated meeting of the board of studies.
8. Departments/schools may choose to conduct their annual review as a phased process over the course of the academic year, considering some or all of the areas covered in the University's annual review report form (Appendix: A4.06) at appropriate departmental/school committee meetings throughout the course of the academic year. This allows departments/schools to develop the evidence base to prepare a draft annual report form, which can then be considered at the annual review meeting as part of a wide-ranging strategic discussion of learning and teaching issues. While there is no requirement that departments/schools adopt this approach, a schedule of business that would support a phased annual review is provided at Appendix A4.16.
9. All departments/schools must directly involve students in the annual review process. Where a department/school chooses to conduct its annual review solely at a single meeting of the board of studies, or annual away-day, devoted to learning and teaching issues then student representatives must be involved in this meeting and the department/school will need to ensure that the timing of the meeting allows this. Where a department/school chooses to adopt a phased approach to annual review, student involvement can be achieved through appropriate representation on the departmental committees participating in the phased annual review.
Department/school annual review reports
10. All departments/schools must submit the following documentation to the secretary of the appropriate FEC no later than the final Friday in October:
a. a completed annual review report form;
b. an up-to-date department/school learning and teaching strategy.
11. The expectation is that having completed its annual review of learning and teaching, the department/school will be in a position to take forward to the annual planning process (specifically the review meeting between the head of department and of the relevant FEC that starts this process each November) key issues relating to learning and teaching.
12. Following submission of its annual review report to the faculty, the department/school should ensure that the report is subsequently discussed at a Michaelmas meeting of the relevant staff-student consultative committee(s) to ensure that students are aware of the review's outcomes.
Faculty and University consideration of annual review reports
13. Once departmental/school annual review reports have been received by secretaries to FECs, it is the responsibility of the chairs of FEC to review all departmental/school reports and to raise with departments/schools any questions arising from the documentation (where a department offers both undergraduate and taught postgraduate programme, this review will be the joint responsibility of the chairs of the undergraduate and postgraduate FECs). To support this process, early in the Epiphany Term each academic year the chairs and secretary of FECs will meet with representatives from each of the departments/schools in their faculty to discuss the issues arising from their annual review submission, boards of examiners' minutes and external examiners' reports. These meetings will as a minimum cover the topics detailed in the example agenda available at Appendix a4.20. Faculties may seek permission from the chair of FEC to combine these meetings with meetings held as part of the planning process, provided that these combined meetings cover all of the key learning and teaching issues prescribed in the template agenda for learning and teaching meetings.
14. The chairs of FEC are also responsible for preparing a faculty overview summarising the key issues arising from departmental annual review reports. The faculty overview will identify areas of strength and weakness, and any generic issues in either category arising from the departmental reports. It will also report on progress against the faculty learning and teaching strategy, and include as an appendix an updated faculty learning and teaching strategy. This overview should be considered by both the FEC (Undergraduate) and FEC (Postgraduate) early in the Epiphany Term, following which it will be submitted (amended if appropriate in light of the comments of FE) to an Epiphany Term meeting of Quality and Standards Sub-Committee.
15. Once they have been received by secretaries to FECs, all annual review reports will also be copied to the Head of the Academic Support Office. The Head of the Academic Support Office shall be responsible for preparing a University overview of these reports, considering both the effectiveness of the operation of the process and the key learning and teaching issues emerging from the departmental reports. This University overview will be submitted to the Epiphany meetings of FECs for comment, and will then be submitted for consideration at the same meeting of Quality and Standards Sub-Committee that receives the faculty overviews.
16. The University and faculty overviews will be considered by Quality and Standards Sub-Committee, which will report on this consideration to EC identifying any areas where there is evidence of good practice and/or potential for quality enhancement, and any issues of concern.