The Strategic Departmental Review process
The key aspects of Strategic Departmental Review (SDR) are as follows:
- The process will ensure that the full range of a Department’s present and planned future activities is reviewed once every five years.
- The process will ensure that the standards and quality of teaching and learning of every course in the University are reviewed at least once in a five-year period.
- The Review will normally be conducted over a three-day period.
- External peers are involved at all stages of the process and will be in a majority on the Review Group.
- Senior internal members, external to the Department, will also be involved on the Review Group.
- Strategic Departmental Review involves direct engagement with the views of staff and students. At least one meeting with a representative group of undergraduate and postgraduate students will always form part of the review process.
- While Strategic Departmental Review performs an important quality assurance function, it is also concerned with the enhancement and development of courses and the future academic vision and strategy of Departments. The process is intended to encourage a constructive and challenging dialogue between the Review Group and members of the Department.
- Dependent research centres will form part of the review.
- Strategic Departmental Review is overseen by the Steering Committee which initially considers the Review Report and determines what actions should be taken as a result of the recommendations and by whom. Matters specific to the standards and quality of courses will normally be delegated to the quality assurance committee structure culminating in the Academic Quality and Standards Committee (AQSC) and matters relating to management and resources normally to the Academic Resourcing Committee (ARC).
- A summary of the process and those outcomes relating specifically to courses will be published on the Teaching Quality website.
- to assist Departments in the formulation of medium-term strategies for the development of research, teaching and resourcing and in the development of management capability to deliver those strategies;
- to evaluate current strengths and weaknesses in the teaching, research and management activities of the Department with a view to identifying potential enhancements that can be made to the Department’s activities;
- to promote the enhancement of the quality of education for students in the Department and to stimulate new initiatives in teaching;
- to assure the University and other interested parties (e.g. applicants, students, employers) of the standards and quality of the courses under review.
- to formulate recommendations to the Vice-Chancellor and the Department under review;
- to assess progress in relation to the outcomes and recommendations of the Department’s previous review(s).
The panel included three senior colleagues from outside the University:
- from the Sussex Institute, University of Sussex
- from the School of Lifelong Education and Development, University of Bradford
- from the Graham School of General Studies, University of Chicago
The panel also included two senior professors from Warwick:
- from Warwick Business School
- from Warwick Medical School
The Department provided the written evidence base for the review, including:
- Self Evaluation Document
- Reports from previous Periodic Reviews of Courses
- Reports from inspection/accreditation activites by the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy, Ofsted, Standards Verification UK
- External Examiners' reports and departmental responses
- Annual Course Review reports
- Student-Staff Liaison Committee minutes and reports
- Results of module questionnaires and other student feedback
- Student handbooks
- Promotional literature including prospectus entry and brochures
- A range of evidence relating to the other aspects of the department's work - research, organisation, financial position and management structures
Scope of review
The following courses were included in the scope of the review:Degree and Foundation Degree courses
- BA Social Studies (part-time and 2+2)
- BA Health and Social Policy (part-time and 2+2)
- BA Post Compulsory Education and Training
- FdA Post Compulsory Education and Training (Foundation Degree)
- FdA Community Enterprise and Development (Foundation Degree)
- Certificate in Post Compulsory Education and Training Stage 3
- Open Studies Introductory Certificate in Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector
- Open Studies Certificate in Teaching in the Lifelong Learning Sector
- Diploma in Teaching in the Lifelong Learning Sector
- Open Studies Diploma for Adult Literacy Specialists
- Open Studies Diploma for Adult ESOL Specialists
- Open Studies Diploma for Adult Numeracy Specialists
- Open Studies Certificate in Key Skills Teaching and Learning
- Open Studies Certificate in Working with 14-16 Year Olds for PCET Practitioners
- Open Studies Certificate for Practitioners in 14-19 Vocational Learning
- Open Studies Certificate in Citizenship Education for Post 16 Practitioners
- Open Studies Certificate in Personalised Learning for Practitioners
- Open Studies Diploma in E-Learning for Teachers and Trainers in the Lifelong Learning Sector
- Certificate in Person-Centred (Rogerian) Counselling
- Diploma in Person-Centred (Rogerian) Counselling and Psychotherapy
- Certificate and Advanced Diploma in the Supervision of Person-Centred Counsellors and Psychotherapists
- Validated Certificate in Person-Centred (Rogerian) Counselling - Shetland College
- Validated Diploma in Person-Centred (Rogerian) Counselling and Psychotherapy – Shetland College
- Validated Diploma in Integrative Counselling (Solihull College)
- Advanced Diploma in Cognitive Behavioural Methods for Person-Centred Counsellors
- Advice and Guidance
- American Studies
- Creative Writing
- Ecology and Conservation
- English Studies
- Historical Studies
- History of Art
- History of Music
- History of Opera
- Local History
- Philosophical Studies
- Social Studies
- Supporting Minority Ethnic Pupils' Achievement
- Career Management
- Warwick Skills Certificate
Conduct of review
The review panel read the written evidence provided by the department and discussed issues with staff and student in a number of meetings over three days:
- meetings with a large number of students from a wide range of the Centre's courses
- meetings with academic and administrative staff to discuss curriculum, quality and standards, learning resources, pastoral support and other areas
- visit to a partner college to meet staff and students there
The review panel concluded that teaching within the Centre for Lifelong Learning is of a high quality, with a number of examples of excellence. In the view of the review panel, the Centre is at the forefront of the lifelong learning sector and makes a significant contribution to the core values underpinning the University Strategy.
The Centre was consistently demonstrating good practice in terms of:
- the extent to which staff were able to provide practical examples of how enhancement activities in one area of provision are transferred to other areas;
- the staff development structure in place for part-time tutors, and the level of participation by part-time tutors in staff development events, which is exceptional in the sector;
- the development of innovative e-learning resources in Post-Compulsory Education & Training and Essential Skills courses;
- its management of collaborative links;
- the operation of the Warwick Learning Account and its distinctiveness within the sector;
- its entrepreneurial approach to curriculum development and partnership working in a context of widening participation, including responding to the needs of employers and identifying and exploiting strategic opportunities
- library support provided to Open Studies students
There were a small number of recommendations for the Centre to consider as it continues to develop and enhance its courses:
- The review panel recommended that the Centre continue to pursue options for restructuring its current provision into a modular framework. The Centre's Teaching and Policy Group is considering options which would increase the flexibility of the Centre's existing qualifications
- The Centre should investigate the extent to which electronic resources are currently used within each of its areas of provision, and consider whether a policy should be developed to encourage teaching staff to further integrate e-resources into their practice. The Centre has been at the forefront of developments in this area in its Post Compulsory Education and Training courses and was commended for this in a recent Ofsted inspection. The Centre has also successfully bid for funding from the University to embed e-learning into the Open Studies Certificate programme
The report of this review was considered by the following committees:
- University Steering Committee, June 2008
- AQSC, October 2008
- Other committees considered the aspects of the report which related to other aspects of the department's work - research, organisation, financial position and management structures