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Durham University

Learning and Teaching Handbook

12.2 : University Procedure for the Consideration of Accreditation Reports

Preparation for periodic accreditation visits

1. Departments are required to inform the Curriculum, Learning & Assessment Service when they are making an application to accrediting bodies for accreditation or reaccreditation in respect of University provision (whether the accreditation process is to be entirely paper-based, or will involve an accreditation visit) and to seek advice in the preparation of documentation. Submissions should not be sent to accrediting bodies until this advice has been sought and given.

2. The points of contact in the Curriculum, Learning & Assessment Service are the Faculty Support Officer and/or Head of the Curriculum, Learning & Assessment Service.

3. Discussion should take place regarding whether it would be appropriate or helpful for a member of the Curriculum, Learning & Assessment Service to be involved in the visit itself.

4. When the initial report of the accreditation process is received the department/school should involve the Curriculum, Learning & Assessment Service in agreeing any response to the report.

5. When the final report is received a copy should be sent to the Head of the Curriculum, Learning & Assessment Service.

Follow-up to accreditation reports

6. All reports will be considered by Quality and Standards Committee in the first instance, to allow any issues that relate to University policy and procedure arising from the report to be identified and appropriate action taken (this action may include referring the issues to another committee or individual, e.g. Education Committee or the Chair of the relevant Faculty Education Committee).

7. Reports will then be referred to the Periodic Review and Accreditation Panel (PRAP), or equivalent, for the faculty concerned.

8. The PRAP will request from the department an action plan indicating how any recommendations in the report (and any additional issues arising from the report that have been identified by QSC) will be addressed and will request a final report detailing what has been done and seeking relevant documentary evidence in relation to this action.

9. Final reports from departments in response to an accreditation visit will normally be required to be submitted for consideration by the PRAP 12 months after the accreditation report. To support departments in making such responses:

a. Three months after the accreditation visit the secretary to the PRAP will contact the department to confirm that action is underway in response to the report, and to offer any guidance on any issues arising from the development of the departmental response.

b. The chair and secretary of the PRAP will offer to meet with the department six months after the accreditation visit, to discuss progress to date and any issues arising from the development of the departmental response.

c. Nine months after the accreditation visit the secretary to the PRAP will contact the department to confirm that the departmental response is on schedule for submission to the PRAP, and to offer any guidance on any issues arising from the development of the departmental response.

10. The conclusion of this follow-up process will be reported to QSC by the PRAP. Where possible and appropriate, the timing of the requirement for departmental responses to accreditation reports will take into account the timing of any departmental response to a periodic review report (where departments believe that matching the schedules for responses to these two types of report is possible, they should contact their Faculty Support Officer in the first instance to discuss this).

11. Where an accreditation visit and an internal review take place at a similar point in time the PRAP will ensure that the two reports are considered together.

Annual reports to accrediting bodies

12. Where departments are requested by accrediting bodies to make annual reports on accredited provision, they are required to seek advice from the Curriculum, Learning & Assessment Service prior to submitting such reports to the accrediting body. Submissions should not be sent to accrediting bodies until this advice has been sought and given.

13. The point of contact in the Curriculum, Learning & Assessment Service is the relevant Faculty Support Officer.