2. Principles and overview of the periodic review process

  • 2.1 The Brookes periodic review process is undertaken to provide assurance to the Academic Board, and relevant external audiences, that the quality and standards of the programmes under review meet the expectations of the discipline, sector and profession, and are delivered and managed with their students’ interests at heart (i.e. promoting high standards, adopting a strong pedagogic approach to teaching and learning; and offering value for money).

    2.2 The periodic review process is designed to enable the University to demonstrate that it meets national and international expectations with respect to the monitoring and review of the quality and standards of its provision, as well as those of the professional bodies involved in accrediting the University’s programmes. Equally, the process aims to provide an effective mechanism for ensuring that the University’s strategic objectives relating to the quality of the learning experience - articulated through the Strategy for Enhancing the Student Experience, and associated enhancement initiatives such as the Assessment Compact and the Programme for Enhancing the Student Experience (PESE) - are being appropriately implemented at Subject level. In line with these aims, periodic review provides an opportunity for staff to take a holistic view of the quality of teaching, learning and assessment on programmes within a Subject cluster (or collaborative partnership), and to take action to enhance the provision in partnership with their students.

    2.3 The principles of independence, externality, evidence and enhancement, as set out in chapter 2 (Programme design and approval) of the Quality & Standards Handbook, also apply to periodic review. The principles underpinning the periodic review procedure flow from these earlier principles, in that it aims to:

    1. promote reflection by Subject teams on the quality of the learning experience they provide for their students, and on the quality of teaching across the provision;
    2. identify good practice for sharing more widely, either within the Faculty or across the University;
    3. encourage Subject teams to look forward and identify potential risks that may affect the academic quality and standards of the provision in the near future (in the context of current School/Department strategic objectives, and likely changes in the discipline/professional environment) and identify the support, or changes to provision, that may be required to address these risks;
    4. engage staff: by providing a mechanism for an open, constructive dialogue between panels and Subject teams; and encouraging a sense of shared responsibility for identifying good practice and addressing areas for development, through the involvement of internal and external academic peers in the process;
    5. engage students and focus on the student experience: by holding panel meetings with current students (and, if wished, recent alumni) from the programmes under review, and including a student as a full members of all periodic review panels;
    6. draw on stakeholder perspectives: by taking into account the outcomes of professional body reviews, and encouraging Subject teams to seek feedback from a wide range of stakeholders (students, employers, service users, placement providers, etc) to inform the evaluation phase of the review process.

    2.4 Periodic review of on-campus provision is carried out at a maximum interval of six years for home provision, with a five-year cycle for collaborative provision. In general, a programme should only be involved in one periodic review per cycle, but there may be occasions where a review is brought forward (for example, when a programme moves into a new Subject group). No programme should run for longer than six years without a review. Since a significant proportion of the University’s programmes of study lead to professional accreditation, the University is also accountable to a range of professional, statutory and regulatory bodies; and periodic review may, where appropriate, be aligned with periodic professional body reviews, with the inclusion of PSRB representatives on review panels.

    2.5 The outcome of a periodic review exercise will be the production of a report from the review panel to the Academic Enhancement & Standards Committee - to provide assurance to the University of the quality and standards of the provision under review - and the development of an action plan for enhancement by the Subject team, in response to the recommendations of the review panel, for monitoring by Subject Committees, and by Faculty AESCs, through the annual review process.

    2.6 The periodic review process is evaluated annually, through the analysis of review reports contained in the Annual Quality Review prepared by the Head of APQO for consideration by AESC and through feedback from panel members and chairs via post-event evaluation surveys. Training will also be provided by the APQO throughout the year for panel chairs, members and secretaries, and other colleagues with an interest in the programme approval process.