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Durham University

Department of Physics

Education Administration

The Physics Academic Support Team aims to enable the Physics Department to maintain and enhance its ability to provide excellence in undergraduate and postgraduate education.

The Learning & Teaching Manager, Mr AM Skelton, is located in Room 13 on the ground floor of the Rochester Building and is responsible for the management of the Department's Academic Support Team. He is assisted by the Senior PGR Administrator (job share), Mrs JL Richardson (Monday to Wednesday) and Mrs E Worden (Thursday to Friday).

Undergraduate courses, examinations and some admissions-related activities are presently supported by staff in the Academic Support Office. They look after:

  • Organising open days and visits
  • Updating course web pages and duo
  • Attendance records and student records
  • Examinations support and marks entry
  • Minutes Secretary to the Education Committee
  • Secretary to the Laboratories Committee
  • Support for the Learning & Teaching Manager
  • Departmental reception window
  • Some general duties including distributing post and maintaining stationery stocks

Postgraduate studies administration is led by the Senior PGR Administrator (Room 105), who is responsible for:

  • Postgraduate Admissions
  • Postgraduate progress monitoring
  • Providing support and guidance to Postgraduate students on any matters related to their time within the Department
  • Support for the Director of Postgraduate Studies
  • Providing advice on postgraduate policy, planning and operational issues as required; participating in decision making on strategic issues and supporting implementation
  • Organisation of postgraduate demonstrators and markers, including spot-checks of marked scripts for quality purposes
  • Member/Secretary to Postgraduate Studies Committee and to the Staff-Student Consultative Committee (Postgraduate)
  • Deputy Secretary to the undergraduate Board of Examiners in Physics, including coordination of resit examinations.

The Learning & Teaching manager is responsible for the management and development of the Physics Academic Support Team and for:

  • Board of Examiners
    • Secretary to the Board: responsible to the Chairman for the operation of the Department's examinations and assessment process.
  • Monitoring undergraduate students' progress
    • Providing advice and support to students who may be experiencing adverse circumstances affecting their ability to study effectively; generating warning emails to students with poor attendance/submission records; discussion with students and/or their academic advisers in extreme or difficult cases; liaison with students' colleges when appropriate; deciding when to initiate Academic Progress Notices; helping to organise any special arrangements needed as a result of student disability or serious illness; overseeing other types of in-year mitigation; raising, supporting or coordinating concession requests.
  • Weekly Problems organisation
    • Managing the system for each of the four levels; drawing up the problems schedules with lecturers' input; producing instructions for staff, students, markers, problems assistants; briefing the markers and workshop demonstrators; briefing and advising new lecturers about weekly problems; liaising with lecturers, secretaries and problems assistants throughout the year; overseeing spot-checking the marked scripts for quality of marking; dealing with students' queries about the problems or marking or "missing" scripts; overseeing the granting of appropriate exemptions from weekly problems in cases of student illness.
  • Member of the departmental Education Committee
    • Includes membership of Teaching Review Committee.
  • Timetabling
    • Determining departmental requirements; liaising with the University Office to produce University timetable; checking the various editions; producing the departmental "translation" of the timetable; allocating student groups; arranging timetable refinements and any necessary late lecture swaps.
  • Database maintenance and development
    • Management of student electronic records; specifying database enhancements and implementing them in conjunction with the Computer Officer and the Department Manager.
  • DUO
    • Briefing new lecturers; advising staff re content; reviewing policy; implementing module evaluation questionnaires.
  • Learning and Teaching documentation
    • Annual revision/production of Assessment Manual for Staff, including changes to assessment proformas/criteria; overseeing the annual production of course booklets and module web pages; drafting and administering changes to module outlines, programme regulations and programme specifications; drafting policy documents and reports on teaching-related matters.
  • Level 4 Projects organisation
    • Overseeing the collection project descriptions from staff and their publication to students; allocating projects to students; overseeing the arrangement of the project seminars and project vivas.
  • Registration
    • Coordinating the registration of students in June and October, particularly those with unusual circumstances; changes of registration.
  • Advice
    • Providing advice to students and staff on all teaching-related matters including University regulations.