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Reviews of courses and departments (annual, periodic, strategic)

Institutional Teaching and Learning Review

The Institutional Teaching and Learning Review (ITLR) replaced the University's previous practice of undertaking Strategic Departmental Reviews. An ITLR was conducted in 2011, and Senate approved the proposal to undertake a further ITLR at its meeting of 27 June 2016. The ITLR 2017 will review teaching and learning provision across all departments, at undergraduate, postgraduate taught, postgraduate research and post-experience levels. The Review will provide assurance of the quality and standards of courses of study, ensure alignment with external requirements, and inform preparation for external review. It also provides an opportunity for reflection and external advice on how best to enhance the quality of the University's teaching and learning provision, as well as the distinctiveness of the student experience. Professional services departments which support teaching and learning will also be reviewed during the same period.

Strategic Departmental Review

Strategic Departmental Review (SDR) included reviews of a department's portfolio of courses (undergrad and taught postgraduate courses and research degrees) in the context of a review of the whole of a department's activities. It incorporated the previous Periodic Review and Departmental Review processes. (Departmental Review was also known as Quinquennial Review). The purpose of Strategic Departmental Review was to assure and enhance the quality of the full range of a department's activities.

The Strategic Departmental Review page on the Governance section of the University website set out the details of the process. The Deputy Registrar's Office was responsible for the operation of Strategic Departmental Review.

Summary outcomes of reviews

Annual Course Review

Effective annual review of courses of study is an important complementary activity to the periodic review (now part of Strategic Departmental Review), allowing departments to pay close attention to indicators of the success of a course such as application figures, degree results and student feedback on a regular basis. Annual Course Review is far more sensitive than Strategic Departmental Review to factors such as changes in the market for a course or problems with a module or method of assessment. Annual Course Review enable departments to monitor closely standards of teaching and learning on courses and to react quickly if problems become evident. Annual Course Review reports provide key information for Strategic Departmental Review.

While the procedures for Annual Course Review set out here provide a clear framework, the way in which Annual Course Review is conducted is partly up to the individual department, and may vary depending on its size, management structure, and the way its degrees are organised. However, Annual Course Review will involve those staff responsible for modules comprising a degree course meeting formally annually, usually with the course leader or convenor in the chair to discuss issues associated with the development of their course such as student progress, a summary of student feedback, examination results and External Examiners’ reports. A brief report on the appropriate form is prepared on the basis of the meeting(s) for consideration by the Head of Department. Once they are content with the report they submit it, together with the reports of the Annual Course Reviews of all other courses in the department (or as a single, consolidated report) to the Faculty Board. Reports from all of the departments in the Faculty are considered formally by the Board's Undergraduate and Graduate Studies Committees, and points of best practice and areas of possible improvement identified. The Faculty Board Secretary will then prepare composite reports on Annual Course Review reports for the appropriate Faculty for submission to the Boards of Undergraduate and Graduate Studies.

Collaborative Course Review

Recognising the need for closer scrutiny of collaborative courses through course review processes, a procedure for reviewing collaborative courses separately from other teaching and learning courses was introduced in 2012/13. Reviews are undertaken on a departmental basis and are overseen by the Partnerships Committee. Three different approaches to the review process are employed, depending of the volume and level of risk associated with the collaborations with which departments are involved. Further details of the process are available in the Guidance.

 

For statistics required in annual review reports, departments make use of profiles from section 3 of Academic Statistics from the relevant academic year.