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Learning and Teaching Handbook

9.7.3 Curriculum development

General

1. These policies and procedures should be read in conjunction with those in Section 3 of this Handbook.

New programme proposals

2. All new programme proposals from an Organisation in which Durham University already validates at least one programme should be considered through the new programme approval process as detailed in Section 3.3.1 (for 'department/school' read 'Partner Organisation), with the following variations:

a. At Stage 1 Partner Organisations need only complete Section A, and questions 12-13, 15-16 of Section B of the Stage 1 Form. In addition the Partner Organisation (working with the Academic Support Office and in liaison with Treasurer's Office) should develop a brief statement on the proposed validation fee that will be charged. This documentation will be subject to approval by the Faculty Pro-Vice-Chancellor.

b. At Stage 2 Partner Organisations will not need to obtain completed learning resources forms from the University's Librarian and Director of IT, but they will need to provide evidence that students on the proposed programmes will have access to appropriate learning resources.

3. If a new programme is approved the Memorandum of Association will be revised accordingly and reissued.

4. Details of new or revised programmes should not be advertised to existing or prospective students until final approval has been received from Durham University, although students may be informed that a new or revised programme is under discussion. Durham University must be consulted about the nature of this publicity.

Major changes to programmes

5. Major changes to programmes are those which exceed the scope of changes to individual modules, or where the number of module changes are such as to necessitate a review of the programme aims and learning outcomes and overall design.

6. To request consideration of a major change to a programme the following papers should be submitted to the relevant faculty support officer in the Academic Support Office at least three weeks before the next Management Committee meeting:

a. A completed Programme Specification. The programme specification template for undergraduate programmes is available at Appendix A3.02; the template for taught postgraduate programmes is available at Appendix A3.03.

b. A complete set of programme regulations.

c. A detailed explanation of the reasons for the changes.

d. A copy of the QAA benchmark statements for the subject area should be attached if available.

7. Major changes to programmes should be submitted in time to be approved before publicity for prospective students is printed and distributed. The timescale in these cases will vary between types of programme and partner organisation but it is essential that students are given accurate information.

8. Major changes will normally be considered for approval by the Management Committee, although any issues of principle raised by proposed major changes may be referred to Quality and Standards Sub-Committee for approval. This enables Durham University to assure itself of the continued maintenance of standards in the validated programme in terms of:

a. equivalence to standards at Durham University;

b. compatibility between the programme and external reference points such as subject benchmarks and the qualifications framework.

9. Major changes should be submitted before publicity for the relevant year of entry has been published.

Changes to regulations

10. The Partner Organisation is responsible for ensuring that changes to the regulations of the validated programmes are notified to Durham University.

11. Changes to regulations should be submitted by the Programme Committee (or equivalent) to the Management Committee which will notify the relevant faculty support officer in the Academic Support Office by 31 March of changes to take effect in September/October of that year.

12. In addition Partner Organisations will be given the opportunity to check the accuracy of their regulations entry for the Durham University Calendar in May each year. It is essential that this is checked carefully and returns made promptly so that amendments can be included in the Calendar for the following academic year. Entries must be returned to the relevant faculty support officer in the Academic Support Office by 20 June each year.

New modules

13. Requests for approval of new modules must be submitted by the Programme Committee (or equivalent) to the Management Committee for approval using the new module proforma available at Appendix A9.13. The proforma must be accompanied by an amended copy of the regulations where the regulations are affected by the new module.

14. Requests for approval of new modules must be submitted in good time for introduction for the next academic year. The final date for such requests to be approved by the Management Committee is 31 March; any requests made later than this must be accompanied by an explanation for the lateness of the request and may not be approved to take effect in September/October of that year.

Significant changes to modules

15. Significant changes to modules must be submitted for approval by the Management Committee using the module change proforma available at Appendix A9.14. Significant changes that require Management Committee approval are as defined in paragraph 2 of Section 3.4.2 of this Handbook.

16. To request consideration by the Management Committee of a significant change to a module a module change proforma should be forwarded from the Programme Committee (or equivalent) to the relevant faculty support officer in the Academic Support Office. The completed papers must be received by the relevant faculty support officer in the Academic Support Office at least three weeks before the next meeting of the Management Committee to allow time for everything to be checked and included as an agenda item.

17. A revised set of regulations for the programme(s) involved should be included with the form, where changes to the regulations are involved. Responsibility for identifying consequential changes in regulations rests with the Partner Organisation.

Withdrawal of Modules

18. A request to withdraw a module must be submitted by Programme Committee to Management Committee on the module withdrawal proforma, available at Appendix A9.15. This must be accompanied by an amended copy of the regulations where the regulations are affected by the withdrawal.

19. Requests for the withdrawal of a module must be submitted in good time to take effect for the next academic year. The final date for such requests to be approved by the Management Committee is 31 March; any request made later than this must be accompanied by an explanation for the lateness of the request and may not be approved to take effect in September/October of that year.

Student consultation

20. It is good practice to consult existing students through a Staff-Student Committee or by other means about curriculum development. Employers and other stakeholders may also be consulted as appropriate.

21. Where existing students will be affected by a proposed change, it is essential that those students are consulted and that documentary evidence of that consultation, including the students' views, is submitted with the request for the change. When a change inevitably affects all students on a programme (e.g. because it relates to a compulsory module) it will be necessary to write to each student involved explaining the proposed changes and its implications for them and requesting their agreement.

Approval of Publicity

22. All publicity for and associated with validated programmes must be approved by Durham University. This includes:

a. prospectuses and brochures for prospective applicants;

b. materials for other stakeholders, such as funding bodies, employers, accrediting bodies;

c. advertisements to fill job vacancies or to invite applications for the programme.

23. Publicity materials for and associated with validated programmes must be comparable in quality with materials issued for similar purposes by Durham University. Specimens of Durham University materials are available from the administrator on request.

24. Publicity materials must be passed to Management Committee for consideration. The relevant faculty support officer in the Academic Support Office will discuss the style of the publicity with the Director of Communications at Durham and will check the accuracy of information relating to Durham. Wherever possible Chair's action will be taken on behalf of Management Committee to avoid delaying the issue of publicity materials.

25. Publicity materials include:

a. prospectuses;

b. brochures;

c. videos;

d. websites;

e. other electronic media;

f. advertisements;

g. other publicity;

h. any documentation bearing the name of Durham University or referring to the Durham University in the context of validation.

26. Guidelines for the Management Committee to consider when approving all publicity material:

a. inappropriate or misleading comparisons with other programmes or providers are avoided;

b. derogatory statements about other Organisations or organisations are not used;

c. there are no misleading statements about the recognition of the awards by public or other authorised bodies;

d. there are no misleading statements about entry requirements, credit for prior learning or the length of time that may be required to secure an award;

e. where there is a possibility that questions might arise about the recognition of an award or a programme by a professional or statutory body, or within another country, prospective students are alerted to this possibility;

f. the reputation for standards and quality of UK higher education is protected.

27. The attention of Partner Organisations is drawn to the QAA Code of Practice on Collaborative Provision and associated guidelines which provides a comprehensive checklist of relevant publicity materials.

28. The logo of Durham University may not be used without permission in any given case.