4.2 Approval processes

  • Minor and major changes

  • 4.2.1 Proposals for minor changes should be presented on the Request for Changes to Existing Provision (T2.13) template. 

    1. Approval of minor changes is delegated to Faculties, although the agreement of the PVC (Student Experience) must be secured for the introduction of Semester 1 examinations, following FAESC approval. Proposals for minor changes should be presented by the module leader on the Request for Changes to Existing Provision template, and must include confirmation that the relevant external examiner has been consulted in respect of any changes to the assessment strategy, and is in agreement with the proposals.
    2. The Course & Student Administration Team (Student Central) must also be consulted prior to approval, to ensure that the proposed change fits with regulatory and systems requirements, and their comments should be recorded on the request for changes form. Module leaders should provide a summary of any feedback from students on the changes. This may take the form of a short account of the discussion at the Subject Committee (or other meeting at which students were present) or - where the change has come about as a result of student feedback - a statement to this effect. 
    3. Once the change has been agreed at a Subject Committee, the request for changes form, together with the updated module description, should be forwarded to the Faculty Quality Officer, who will arrange for the proposal to be considered by the Faculty AESC. Once FAESC approval has been granted, the form should be submitted to the APQO via the link QAO. The APQO will lodge the approved form with the programme documentation and forward a copy to the Course & Student Administration Team for the updates to be logged on the records system. 

    4.2.2 Because major changes affect the programme as whole, a panel approves the proposal and consultation must be recorded in more detail than for minor changes. 

    Panel approval

    1. The approval of major changes is also devolved to Faculties, but, because these changes affect the programme as a whole, the approval process should take the form of a panel approval (this may be by email correspondence), and consultation with students and external examiners must be recorded in more detail than for minor changes. In addition:

      • Internal consultation with APQO and the Course & Student Administration Team (Student Central) should be undertaken to ensure that the programme continues to meet University regulatory requirements.
      • OCSLD should be consulted for advice on good practice in teaching, learning and assessment where changes are to be made to these strategies.  

    Panel membership

    1. The proposal must initially be discussed by the Subject Committee, following which the appropriate documentation should be submitted to the Faculty Quality Officer, who will arrange for its consideration by a panel. The panel should include as a minimum: 

      • two academics from other departments within the Faculty, at least one of which must be a member of the Faculty AESC
      • a panel coordinator, nominated by the Chair of the Faculty AESC, who will be responsible for drawing the panel members’ comments together and writing a short panel report for the major change form
      • link QAO for the Faculty

    Evidence

    1. The panel will be provided with the following evidence:

    The approval process

    1. The panel must consider whether the documentation provides evidence that an appropriate consultation process has been undertaken, and that the rationale for the change is robust.

      • Where new compulsory modules are being introduced, the panel must check that the modules contribute to the achievement of the programme learning outcomes and that the proposed curriculum change does not substantially alter the nature of the award.
      • The panel coordinator will then add a short report to the Request for Changes to Existing Provision Form to summarise the key points raised by panel members and to indicate their decision.
      • The form will then be submitted to the FAESC for endorsement, following which the request for changes form, programme specification and (where applicable) module descriptors must be forwarded to the APQO via the link QAO.
      • Students must be notified by the Subject Coordinator/Programme Lead when changes affecting their programmes of study have been approved. 
  • Note: the process for obtaining approval for variations from the regulations is set out in section 3.2

    Deadlines for approval

    4.2.3 In order to ensure that changes are implementation for the next academic year it is important to complete the approval process by the deadline set by the University.  

    • For implementation in the next academic yearby 28th February
      Minor and major changes for implementation in the next academic year should have completed the approval process - i.e. they must have been agreed by Faculty AESC - by 28th February (in order to meet the March deadline for systems amendments).   
    • For taught postgraduate provision - by Week 12, Semester 2
      Semester 2 modules for taught postgraduate provision must have completed the approval process in time for submission to the Student & Course Administration Team by Week 12, Semester 2. If changes need to be processed beyond these deadlines, the link QAO and the link Curriculum & Student Information Manager in CSAT should be consulted for advice on how to proceed. 

    Except in the case of collaborative provision (for which periodic review incorporates an element of re-approval), programme teams going through periodic review should avoid presenting minor and major changes for approval by the review panel. These amendments should, wherever possible, be considered and approved by Faculty AESC prior to the panel event, so as to allow the panel to focus on the provision as a whole rather than on detailed changes to individual modules. 

    Where the need to revalidate a particular programme is identified during the preparation for the periodic review of a Subject area, this should also be undertaken as a separate exercise. 

    If amendments to existing provision are to be submitted during the periodic review exercise, particularly where they will require processing beyond the deadlines set out in section 4.2.4, advice should be sought from the link QAO and the link Curriculum & Student Information Manager on whether it will be possible to carry out the systems update in time for the start of the next academic year.