A1.3.1 Subject Committees

  • Every programme of study, whether taught at Brookes or delivered off campus through a collaborative partner, must be monitored by a Subject Committee, responsible to the Faculty Academic Enhancement & Standards Committee for:

    1. promoting productive communication between staff and students on matters relating to the student experience and the quality and standards of the programmes covered;
    2. overseeing at subject level the implementation of University and Faculty student experience strategies and for promoting and disseminating good practice across the subject and for identifying good practice for wider dissemination;
    3. ensuring the effective operation of the University and Faculty processes for managing quality and standards at subject level and for ensuring that timely and appropriate action is taken in response to the outcomes of those processes;
    4. communicating with the Faculty and University via the Faculty Academic Enhancement & Standards Committee and/or Faculty Executive as appropriate.

    A Subject Committee may be responsible for the quality monitoring of a single programme or a group of cognate programmes, and will be chaired by the Programme Lead for the programme/s within its remit.  Individual Subject Committees for collaborative provision may be referred to as Programme Committees, and will be chaired by the appropriate Programme Manager at the partner organisation.

    Subject Committees are responsible for ensuring the implementation of the University’s policies and procedures, as approved by the Academic Board and its sub-committees, but have the authority to establish advisory groups, steering groups, and working groups to assist in the management of their business and the fulfilment of their remit, as necessary.

    Providing a forum for dialogue between staff and students is a primary function of the Subject Committee.  Other consultative forums may be set up for the purposes of gaining student feedback, but the University acknowledges the importance of Subject Committees in ensuring that feedback from students is embedded in the formal quality monitoring procedures. 

    At least two meetings of the Subject Committee must be held per year, during semester time in order to facilitate student attendance, with an additional meeting held specifically to consider the Annual Programme Review report.

    Subject Committees are expected to undertake the following duties and responsibilities:

    1. To keep the programme structure and curriculum under review and to consider and approve proposals for minor or major changes.  (Changes/nominations must subsequently be approved by the Faculty and University Academic Enhancement & Standards Committees.)
    2. To ensure that the timetabling of modules, assessments and examinations are coordinated in a timely fashion and communicated to both staff and students.
    3. To contribute to the development of admissions policies for the programme(s) within the Subject, including strategies to widen participation; and to monitor admissions against targets.
    4. To ensure that a suitable induction programme is in place for new students and to review the effectiveness of the induction programme annually.
    5. To monitor the adequacy of the human and learning resources that support the programme(s) and to take action as required to ensure the maintenance of quality and standards and the student experience.
    6. To receive the End of Module Reviews/Reports in the semester after the module ends for all modules (that include module evaluation summary reports) and to ensure that appropriate action is being taken in response.
    7. To receive and approve the Annual Programme/s Review and to oversee the implementation of any actions identified in the annual review report.
    8. To monitor the quality of the student experience as evidenced, for example, by outcomes from the National Student Survey, the National PGT Experience Survey, University surveys, Student Fora, Student Representatives on the Subject Committee, and to ensure that appropriate action is being taken in response.
    9. To monitor national developments in respect of quality and standards within the disciplines – for example, changes to PSRB requirements or QAA subject benchmark statements – and ensure that provision remains in line with sector expectations.
    10. To meet the requirements needed to maintain any professional, statutory and regulatory body accreditations and to oversee the implementation of any actions identified in PSRB reports.
    11. To monitor external examiner provision for the subject (ensuring that all programmes are covered by external examiners, as appropriate) and approve external examiner nominations, applying the appropriate University guidelines and criteria.  (Changes/nominations must subsequently be approved by the Faculty and University Academic Enhancement & Standards Committees.)
    12. To receive external examiner reports for the programme(s) and ensure that examiners’ comments are responded to appropriately in a timely manner.
    13. To identify themes from the outcomes of internal and external quality assurance processes, such as End of Module Reports, Annual Reviews, Periodic Reviews and PSRB reports, and initiate and monitor action to improve the quality of provision within the subject and/or to disseminate good practice.
    14. To promote engagement with national developments in teaching, learning and assessment within the relevant disciplines, and ensure that they are reflected in the (evidence-based) practice of teaching staff within the subject.
    15. To contribute to the development of Faculty and University policies on teaching, learning and assessment and/or quality assurance/enhancement. This includes, for example, policies on exceptional circumstances, academic conduct, and academic appeals and complaints.
    16. To consider and respond to any other matters referred from time to time by the Faculty Academic Enhancement & Standards Committee, University Academic Enhancement & Standards Committee, or the Faculty Executive Group.
    17. The committee may undertake any other business, as appropriate to the stated purpose of the Subject Committee.

    The membership of each Subject Committee must be approved by the Faculty Academic Enhancement & Standards Committee, but its core membership is as follows:

    • Chair (Programme Lead)
    • Head/s of Department
    • Subject Coordinator/s
    • Module leaders
    • Other members of academic staff teaching on the programme/s
    • Programme Administrator representatives
    • Learning Resources representative
    • Student Support Coordinator representative
    • Student representatives (at least two)
    • Secretary (Programme Administrator)

    Up to three other members may be co-opted, as deemed necessary by the Chair in order to provide an appropriate range of perspectives and expertise.  The following Faculty staff also have the right to attend Subject Committee meetings:

    • Associate Dean (Student Experience)
    • Principal Lecturer (Quality Assurance), or Faculty equivalent
    • Liaison Manager (collaborative provision)

    A template for Subject Committee terms of reference and membership is available on the University’s intranet.  The terms of reference and membership for Subject/Programme Committees relating to collaborative provision must be specified in the Operations Manual governing the arrangements.