Section 9.1 Definition, principles, policies and strategies
1. The University regards provision (in respect of either taught or research degree programmes) as collaborative when it meets the definition of collaborative provision given in Chapter B10 of the UK Quality Code published by the QAA: 'educational provision leading to an award, or to specific credit toward an award, of an awarding institution delivered and/or supported and/or assessed through an arrangement with a partner organisation' (p.1).
2. Within this definition, there are a number of different types of collaborative provision and a typology of the types of collaborative partnership the University is willing to consider is given in A9.01. If departments/schools wish to discuss whether an initiative under consideration would constitute collaborative provision, or where a proposal sits within the typology of collaborative provision, they should contact their Assistant Registrar - Faculty Support, in the Academic Support Office, in the first instance.
3. The following principles, policies and strategy, and the associated procedures in section 9 of the Learning and Teaching Handbook, define the Univeristy's approach to the approval, monitoring, review and renewal of collaborative partnerships. In addition, Section 9 includes further policies and procedures that apply to all of the University's validated partnerships..
4. Student exchange agreements will not normally fall within the University's policies and procedures for collaborative provision, but are covered by the procedures for placements in Section 3.7 of the Learning and Teaching Handbook.
5. The University is responsible for the quality and standards of all academic awards made in its name. Its policies and procedures for collaborative provision are therefore based on the following principles:
a. that the academic standards of all awards involving collaborative provision must be compatible with the University's qualification descriptors, level descriptors and credit framework, and with external reference points including the QAA Academic Infrastructure;
b. that the quality of student learning opportunities and experiences on collaborative programmes should be equivalent to those of comparable awards delivered and supported solely by the University, and adequate to enable students to achieve the appropriate academic standards.
6. To ensure that it meets these underlying principles, the University's policy in respect of collaborative provision is that:
a. it will only consider collaboration with partner organisations where this will support achievement of its strategic aims and objectives;
b. it will only consider collaboration with partner organisations which have the academic standing, in relation to their designated role, successfully to deliver programmes to appropriate academic standards; the financial standing to sustain them; and the legal standing to contract to their delivery;
c. it will only negotiate arrangements for collaborative partnerships which will enable it effectively to meet its responsibilities for the quality and standards of the University's awards;
d. it will only consider validating the programmes of another organisation where it has appropriate and sustainable academic expertise to enable it to assure itself of the comparability of academic standards and the quality of learning opportunities at the partner institution;
e. for all collaborative partnerships there shall be a written and legally binding agreement or contract setting out the rights and obligations of the parties, which is signed by the authorised representatives of the University and the partner organisation;
f. all proposals for collaborative partnerships shall be considered according to the policies and procedures approved by Senate, and that once a partnership has been approved the partnership and the programme(s) offered through it shall be entered on the University's Register of Collaborative Provision;
g. during the period of the partnership, the University will monitor the provision and partnership and if it perceives that academic standards are at risk it reserves the right to suspend or terminate the collaboration subject to safeguards for students;
h. all collaborative partnerships will usually be entered into for a five year period, with any requests for a variation to the normal period requiring explicit approval as part of the partnership approval process;
i. any proposal to renew an existing collaborative partnership shall only be considered for approval following a full review of the academic standards and quality of the provision, leading to a recommendation as to whether the proposal shall be renewed (subject to safeguards to students).
7. The University's strategy for collaborative provision is underpinned by the principles and policy detailed above, and it will only consider entering into collaborative partnerships which will support it in achieving its strategic objectives as defined in its Strategy 2010-20, and key sub-strategies such as the Education Strategy, Research Strategy, Postgraduate Strategy and Internationalisation Strategy.
8. The University will consider entering into collaborative partnerships that are national or international in nature, but all such partnerships must address the University's overarching strategic objectives.
All collaborative partnerships
9. The University will only enter into collaborative partnerships where:
a. The status and standing of the partner institutions are consistent with the University's ambition to be an 'international exemplar of the best in research and research-led education' (Strategy 2010-20, Context and ambitions).
b. The programme(s) offered through such a partnership includes an opportunity for students to spend some time studying and learning at the University, in line with the belief expressed in the University Strategy that in order to benefit fully from the Durham educational experience all programmes must include 'time spent as residents within our communities' (Strategy 2010-20, Education Aim 1).
10. Collaborative partnerships with organisations within the UK will be expected to support the University in meeting its strategic objectives relating to Education, Research and Community and Place. The University will consider entering into such partnerships where they meet one or more of the following strategic objectives:
b. Increase the number and proportion of postgraduate students (taught or research) studying for University degrees, while continuing to provide a high quality educational experience for all such students (Strategy 2010-20, Research Aim 2).
c. Support and/or facilitate the development of research links with other organisations that either contributes to the achievement of demonstrable international research excellence and/or the setting of academic agendas within or across disciplines (Strategy 2010-20, Research Aim 1).
d. Address national or international initiatives that are closely aligned to the University's mission and strategy.
11. All international collaborative partnerships must demonstrate how they will meet one or more the strategic objectives outlined in paragraph 5 above. In addition, they must also meet one or more of the following objectives:
a. Support the internationalisation of the University's educational provision through an increase in the number and proportion of international students (Strategy 2010-20, Education Aim 3).
b. Provide opportunities for cohorts of students to study overseas at partner institutions (Strategy 2010-20, Education Aim 3).
c. Increase the University's profile in key global regions, to enhance the University's global standing and position (Internationalisation Strategy, Objective 1.2).
d. Provide opportunities for Durham staff to draw on and learn from international best practice in education and research (Strategy 2010-20, Education Aim 3, Research Aims 1 and 3).
12. To ensure that its principles, policies and strategy are met, the University has procedures for the approval, monitoring and review of collaborative partnerships that must be followed for all such partnerships. Advice on these are available from the following:
Definitions, principles, policies and strategy
Head of Academic Support Office
Procedure for the consideration of initial proposals to establish collaborative partnerships, and ongoing support in the development of partnership proposals
Procedure for the consideration of full proposals to establish collaborative partnerships
Monitoring procedures for collaborative partnerships
Procedure for the renewal of collaborative partnerships
 Research-led defined broadly, as detailed in the University's Principles for the development of the taught curriculum.