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Learning and Teaching Handbook

6.3.10: Purpose of the role of the University Chief Examiner

Purpose of the role of the University Chief Examiner

1. The University chief examiner annually reviews the operation of the University's boards of examiners for undergraduate, integrated masters and taught postgraduate programmes, in order to assure the University that the conduct of the University's boards of examiners are consistent with the University's regulations and policies and procedures for the operation of boards of examiners.

2. The University chief examiner plays no role in the verification of academic standards or in the award of certificate, diploma or degree qualifications by boards of examiners.

Nomination of the University Chief Examiner

3. Responsibility for the nomination of the University chief examiner lies with the chair of Education Committee.

4. The University chief examiner should:

a. currently hold, or recently have held (i.e. within three years), an academic appointment at professorial level in a UK HEI;

b. have significant experience in the management of academic quality and standards, at either institutional or faculty (or equivalent) levels, or be a current OM institutional auditor;

c. not have held an external examiner's post at the University for at least five years.

5. Former members of University staff shall not be eligible for appointment as University chief examiner until at least five years after they have left the employment of the University.

6. Nominations for the role of the University chief examiner should be accompanied by a full curriculum vitae for the nominee.

7. The chair and secretary to Education Committee are responsible for forwarding nominations for the role of the University chief examiner to the chair of Senate. Responsibility for the appointment of the University chief examiner rests with Senate.

Appointment of the University chief examiner

8. The period of service for the University chief examiner is four years. Extensions of the period of service, or renewals, are not permitted.

9. Following the appointment of the University chief examiner, an appointment letter (which constitutes the University's formal contract with the University chief examiner, and which will detail the annual fee that shall be paid to the University chief examiner on completion of their duties) shall be sent to the University chief examiner by the Academic Support Office. This appointment letter will be accompanied by:

a. a copy of the role and responsibilities of the University chief examiner;

b. information on the University's policies and procedures for examination and assessment;

c. the relevant University core regulations;

d. an annual report form.

Role and responsibilities of the chief examiner

10. The University chief examiner shall:

a. consider the minutes of all boards of examiners responsible for undergraduate, integrated masters and taught postgraduate awards, and report on this consideration (in relation to the consistency of the conduct of boards of examiners with the University's regulations and policies and procedures for the operation of boards of examiners);

b. submit an annual report on this consideration to Quality and Standards Sub-Committee. This report will consider both the conduct of the University's boards of examiners for undergraduate and integrated masters programmes, and the conduct of the University's boards of examiners for taught postgraduate programmes.

Consideration of the reports of the University chief examiner

11. The annual reports of the University chief examiner shall be considered by Quality and Standards Sub-Committee. Quality and Standards Sub-Committee is responsible for reporting to Education Committee on the receipt and consideration of these annual reports, and ensuring that where the University chief examiner identifies issues that require further consideration and/or action the University considers and responds to these issues.

Premature termination of contract

12. The contract of the University chief examiner may be terminated prematurely in the following circumstances:

a. if the University chief examiner fails to complete and return the annual report form;

b. if the report form is inadequately completed following a request for improvement;

c. if the University chief examiner fails to carry out his/her responsibilities appropriately;

d. if the University chief examiner engages in behaviour which could lead to disciplinary action if it were perpetrated by an established member of academic staff (e.g. fraud, or sexual or racial harassment)

13. In the case of conduct likely to lead to the premature termination of the contract of an University chief examiner:

a. the chair of Quality and Standards Sub-Committee should discuss the matter with the University chief examiner if possible to resolve the situation;

b. if such discussion is impossible or fails, the details must by documented by the chair of Quality and Standards Sub-Committee;

c. the matter must be discussed fully by the chairs of Quality and Standards Sub-Committee and Education Committee;

d. the chair of Education Committee will:

i. correspond with the University chief examiner to discuss the concerns raised and attempt to reach a solution;

ii. if no solution can be found, the authority to terminate the contract rests with the chair of Education Committee. If the chair of Education Committee deems it necessary to exercise this authority, they shall write the University chief examiner to inform them of this decision and giving reasons for it.