2.4 Programme approval panel

  • 2.4.1 All proposals for new (or re-validated) programmes of study are considered by a programme approval panel, acting on the principle of peer review. Programme teams and approval panels should note that they have a shared responsibility for identifying and solving any issues with a proposal, in order to achieve a successful outcome for the approval process. Information about training for panel chairs and members is available on the APQO website.

    Also read G2.3 Conduct of Approval Panels

    Panel members

    2.4.2 Programme approval panels should be constituted as follows:

    • Chair**
      Independent of the proposing Faculty. They should have appropriate seniority within the University, e.g. Associate Dean (Student Experience), Head of Department, Programme Lead, Subject Coordinator, Senior or Principal Lecturer; and experience of programme approval panel membership, within Brookes and at other higher education institutions.
    • Internal Assessors**
      One academic staff member from each Faculty involved in the delivery of the proposal, but from outside the School/Department/s presenting the proposal.
      One academic staff member from a Faculty not involved in the delivery of the proposed programme. 
    • External Assessor/s*
      At least one external panel member, employed in another UK higher education institution.
    • APQO link Quality Assurance Officer
      To advise on the conduct of the approval event, and assist the panel in formulating their conclusions.
    • Panel Secretary
      Usually a Faculty Quality Officer.

    External Assessors

    2.4.3 *External Assessors should have had no previous involvement with the development of the programme, nor should they have been an external examiner within the Department in the last five years. They must have:

    • the ability to form an expert and objective opinion of the overall standards of the programme/s and the comparability of those standards within the UK HE sector
    • academic qualifications at least to the level of the proposed programme and expertise relevant to the subject area under consideration
    • familiarity with current developments in the field of study concerned
    • knowledge and experience of current practice and developments in teaching, learning and assessment in higher education
    • for programmes with professional elements, awareness of the educational requirements for the profession (it may be necessary to secure an additional external assessor in order to fulfill this criterion).

    Internal panel members 

    2.4.4 **Internal panel members must have experience of delivering and assessing at the level of the award under consideration, and a good understanding of the University’s quality assurance requirements. An APQO workshop is available for staff wishing to take part in approval panels – particularly aimed at those who wish to become chairs. Other considerations for the selection of internal panel members include:

    • Where a programme is to be delivered by distance or e-learning, at least one member of the panel must have expertise in this mode of delivery.  
    • In the case of complex validation events held conjointly with one or more professional bodies, the panel must be constituted so that it contains the knowledge and expertise to deal with the potential issues involved.  This may have particular implications for the selection of the panel member from within the Faculty.
    • The Student Central link Curriculum & Student Information Manager may also be in attendance at the panel event, in order to provide advice on regulatory matters, changes to existing modules, and transition arrangements to enable the introduction of the new provision. 

    Panel nomination form 

    2.4.5 The membership of individual panels will be negotiated between the PDT and the link QAO, who will approve the final constitution of the panel - the Panel Nomination Form (T2.4) may be used to keep a record of proposed members.

    The details of proposed External Assessors must also be presented separately to the link QAO, for approval against the criteria below, using the External Assessor Nomination Form (T2.5).

    In the case of a conjoint approval event with a professional body, the panel should also include a representative of the PSRB – this representative is normally nominated by the PSRB and notified to the University, and they should also be listed in the panel nomination form for information.