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					                                                                                            07/PG/94 minutes


                             MINUTES OF THE MEETING HELD ON 28 APRIL 2008

                                         OPEN COMMITTEE BUSINESS

Present                   Professor S G Hillier    Convenor of CPGSC
                          Dr J P Bradshaw          Head of the Graduate School
                          Professor A A Calder     QA Director
                          Dr B M Dutia             R(D)SVS School Representative
                          Dr A Hall                BMS School Representative
                          Professor C Gregory      CSCH School Representative
                          Prof S E M Howie         MCM School Representative

                          Dr Catherine Roberts     Secretary to CPGSC
                          Dr Dorothy Watson        Senior Postgraduate Administrator
                          Ms Claire Smith          Postgraduate Secretary

                          Ms Ruth Stewart        For items 1 and 8 only
                          Dr Veena O’Halloran For item 1 only
                          Mr Saladin Rospigliosi For item 1 only

Apologies                 There were no apologies.


          The Convenor welcomed Dr Veena O’Halloran, Director of the EUCLID project, and Mr Saladin
          Rospigliosi, a Functional Expert on the EUCLID project, to the meeting and thanked them for
          attending to update the Committee on progress with the EUCLID project. They were supported by
          Ms Ruth Stewart, as a member of the EUCLID Project Board.

          Dr O’Halloran gave a short presentation, which was followed by questions and discussion. The
          presentation provided a reconfirmation of the EUCLID vision and key benefits, an update on the
          Postgraduate Admissions deliverables, timings and core roles, and an overview of the impact on
          academics, other staff and applicants. It was explained that Postgraduate Admissions was the
          current priority and that this aspect of the project was due to go live on 6 October 2008. A round of
          business process briefings was being undertaken and arrangements for training were being made. It
          was stressed that the Committee could help the EUCLID project by advising on how best to engage
          with academics, sharing the message with colleagues and being actively supportive, and giving input
          to the EUCLID team on what was needed going forward.

          The Committee advised that it would be very helpful for a more detailed presentation, including flow
          diagrams and examples, to be given at School level. This presentation should emphasise how the
          new business processes and supporting software would be an improvement for academics.

          Action: School level presentation to be arranged through Schools

          During the questioning that arose, it was clarified that there would be online training for academics
          and a local expert contact (such as the Postgraduate Administrative Officer in the College
          Postgraduate Office) for academic users to approach for support; there was a process within the
          system for dealing with interviews; and there was a reporting function that would allow for reports to
          be run.

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     The Committee was informed that a staff newsletter about the EUCLID project would be circulated
     shortly and that feedback from members would be welcomed by the EUCLID team.

     The Convenor reiterated the Committee’s enthusiasm and support for the EUCLID project and its
     gratitude to the EUCLID representatives for taking the time to engage with the College in this way.

2.   MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETING – 11 MARCH 2008                                                  07/PG/83

     The minutes of the previous meeting were approved as an accurate record.

3.   MATTERS ARISING (not covered elsewhere)

     3.1     Marketing Meeting (minute 3.4 refers)
             At the previous meeting, the Committee had agreed that it would be helpful to convene a
             meeting between the College Postgraduate Marketing Officer and all Programme Directors
             to review current marketing activity and to determine whether there were additional
             immediate actions that might be taken towards maximising student recruitment for 2008-09.

             The Convenor informed members that the College Postgraduate Marketing Officer would be
             attending the meeting of Programme Directors scheduled for 30 April 2008. She would be
             engaging with Programme Directors in an effort to reinvigorate marketing activities and to
             encourage them to play a proactive part in these.


     4.1     School of Biomedical Sciences
             The BMS School Representative reported orally that:

                  a post-doc society had been set up in the School;

                  the issue of problems with the WebCT service that he had raised at the previous
                   meeting had been taken forward; and

                  a number of errors had been noticed in the original BBSRC application. This
                   highlighted the difficulty that existed in getting data on grants held in Schools and
                   between Schools.

             In relation to the first bullet point above, it was acknowledged that there was the critical
             mass for more than one post-doc society in the College, but that it would be important for
             there to be plenty of interaction between the post-doc society in the School and the one in
             the QMRI.

             In relation to the second bullet point above, the Head of the Graduate School elaborated that
             he had met with Marshall Dozier (Information Services Academic Liaison Director for
             CMVM) and Nora Mogey (Information Services E-Learning Manager) to address the
             problems with WebCT delivery that had been highlighted in the paper tabled at the previous
             CPGSC meeting. [A note of the WebCT meeting, which was held on 7 April 2008, was
             appended to the Graduate School report considered at item 4.5 below.] There remained an
             issue with out-of-hours support that would require a change to current working practices and
             contracts of employment.

             The Committee agreed that a strong message should be sent that this matter needed to be
             resolved. The way in which the University educated students was changing, and the services
             supporting this would have to change in line with it. The Convenor would draft a letter to
             Professor David Dewhurst (Director of Educational Information Services), as the person at

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      the front end of the College’s aspirations for online distance learning, flagging up the
      Committee’s concerns.

      Action: Convenor to write to Professor David Dewhurst on behalf of the Committee

      In relation to the third bullet point above, it was noted that Paul McGuire (Research
      Administrator) had produced a paper about acquiring data for the recent Research
      Assessment Exercise (RAE) that highlighted this very difficulty.

4.2   School of Molecular and Clinical Medicine
      The MCM School Representative informed members that the School Postgraduate Studies
      Committee would be meeting next month.

4.3   School of Clinical Sciences and Community Health
      The CSCH School Representative tabled a report of the School Postgraduate Studies
      Committee meeting that had taken place on 18 March 2008. A new Secretary to the
      Committee, who would also co-ordinate all postgraduate administrative activity in the
      School, had been appointed. The Committee had also been joined by its new postgraduate
      student representative.

      The Committee had welcomed the paper specifying School and College postgraduate
      operations (Paper 07/PG/81) but sought clarification about who should be responsible for
      signing off progress reports. The Chair and the School Administrator would be meeting
      with the Head of School to discuss this.

      CPGSC members made the point that it was probably ideal for one person in a School to
      have oversight of all reports, but that logistics might mean that this was not possible

      Action: The Convenor requested that each School provide a clear statement for
      CPGSC on how the signing off process would be handled and the mechanism in place
      in the School.

      The CSCH School Representative also highlighted that the School would be taking a more
      proactive approach to ensuring that staff attended supervisor briefing sessions.

4.4   Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies
      The R(D)SVS School Representative tabled the note of the School Postgraduate Studies
      Committee meeting held on 16 April 2008. It was noted that the Committee had been very
      positive about the postgraduate operations paper (Paper 07/PG/81).

      The R(D)SVS School Representative sought advice from CPGSC about the maximum
      number of students that a supervisor should have. The following key points were made
      during the resulting discussion:

           The subject area and the research environment were crucial. Different subject areas
            and different research environments gave rise to different levels of potential for the
            number of students that a supervisor could appropriately supervise.

           The number of students that a supervisor could take on was also very dependent on
            the support mechanisms in place. It some situations it might be necessary and
            appropriate for one “figurehead” Principal Supervisor to have many students, with
            Assistant Supervisor(s) providing day-to-day support to those students.

      For these reasons, the Convenor expressed reluctance for CPGSC to be prescriptive about
      numbers. It was, however, agreed that it would be helpful for Schools to have written

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           guidance on this issue. It was suggested that a sensible approach might be to indicate the
           number of hours of supervision that a student could expect to receive per week, and to
           allocate a percentage of this time to be contributed by each member of the supervisory team,
           in order that the team as a whole would meet the number of hours of supervision required.
           The total amount of time that any one supervisor would be spending on supervision each
           week could also then be calculated.

           It was also suggested that it might be a good idea for a School to look at whether a
           supervisor’s students were completing on time when trying to determine whether that
           supervisor had reached his or her maximum supervisory capacity.

           A further suggestion was that the guidelines might be extended to include guidance to Heads
           of School on action to be taken when a supervisor repeatedly had students failing.

           Action: Guidelines to be developed to help Schools to make decisions about the number
           of students that it would be appropriate for supervisors to have

     4.5   Graduate School                                                                  07/GRAD/V
           The Head of the Graduate School tabled a written report for the Committee. This included
           information about a Biotechnology Grad School residential event planned for a weekend in
           June 2008, but this was not for open circulation as detail was subject to change. The Head
           of the Graduate School sought input from members on whether the anticipated uptake of 50
           students seemed realistic.

           Action: Members to read the draft flier in detail and feed back comments. A prompt
           response was required as the event would need to be advertised in the next few days.

           The Graduate School report also highlighted that there seemed to be a growing number of
           students having difficulties arising, directly or indirectly, from cultural differences. The
           Committee supported the proposal that a small working party be set up to look at this and to
           make recommendations to CPGSC on the provision of additional support for international
           postgraduate students. The Committee strongly encouraged the involvement of international
           students and staff in this working party. It was noted that account should be taken of the fact
           that the College Equality and Diversity Committee was also taking this issue forward.


     5.1   Recruitment for 2008-09                                                           07/PG/84
           The Senior Postgraduate Administrator had provided a paper showing recruitment targets,
           applications received and offers made at 17 April 2008. The position was similar to what it
           had been the previous year.

           The Convenor stressed that every opportunity should be taken to advertise the College’s
           programmes as appropriate and that this would include advertising the Masters programmes
           in the May edition of the New Scientist Graduate Careers Special.

     5.2   Growing CMVM postgraduate income                                                  07/PG/91
           This paper reported on meetings between the Director of Postgraduate and International
           Relations, the Head of the Graduate School, the Senior Postgraduate Administrator, and
           Heads of School and/or representatives, which had been arranged to review each School’s
           portfolio of postgraduate taught (PGT) and postgraduate research (PGR) programmes and to
           scope potential areas for expansion and consolidation. Having identified areas of
           opportunity for new programmes, the Schools and College would be working hard to
           develop these.

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     6.1   New programmes approved for 2008-09
           The Secretary updated members that, at its meeting on 20 March 2008, SPGSC had
           approved the following new programmes:

                MSc/Dip in Equine Science (by online distance learning)
                Cert/Dip/MSc in Emerging and Neglected Infectious Diseases (by online distance
                Integrated BVM&S / PhD programme

           This meant that, along with the Cert/Dip/MSc in Health Informatics and the Cert/Dip/MSc
           in Health Information Governance (approved by SPGSC in November 2007), the College
           had five brand new postgraduate programmes running from 2008-09.

           SPGSC had also approved:

                the addition of a Masters level to the current Forensic Medicine and Science
                the addition of Diploma and Masters levels to the current Translational Medicine

           Concern was expressed that new programme fees had to be approved by the Fees Strategy
           Group, which this year would not be meeting until May 2008. Therefore programmes were
           being advertised and applicants expected to accept places on these programmes before the
           fees had been confirmed. This problem would be taken up with the relevant people at
           College and University level.

           Action: Secretary to raise concerns about the delay in approving new programme fees

     6.2   Extenuating Circumstances                                                          07/PG/85
           SPGSC had considered this paper from the College of Science and Engineering at its
           meeting on 20 March 2008. The paper proposed a procedure for handling instances of
           extenuating circumstances that could have a wholly disproportionate effect on a student’s
           academic career. SPGSC had asked for feedback from the other two Colleges on the
           proposal. The College of Humanities and Social Science had indicated that the new
           procedure was unnecessary as such circumstances could be handled under the existing
           “Special Circumstances” provision.

           The Convenor and Secretary, as the CMVM representatives, had fed back that, as the
           University already had a means for dealing with special circumstances that could be
           stretched to cover extenuating circumstances, we did not support the introduction of the new
           procedure. However, considering that clarity should be added to the regulations where
           possible, we recommended that the current regulations be modified so that they more clearly
           covered the scenarios highlighted by the College of Science and Engineering.

           CPGSC supported this approach to avoid further complicating the assessment process with
           an additional procedure.


     7.1   Masters Administration: an overview                                              07/PG/86
           The Committee noted the content of this standing paper, giving an overview of the items it
           had approved and those it had not yet seen.

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     7.2    External Examiner’s reports
            There were no External Examiner’s reports for this meeting to consider.

     7.3    Nomination of External Examiners

            7.3.1   MSc/Dip/Cert in Medical Education
                    The Committee approved a one-year extension to Professor William Shannon’s
                    appointment as External Examiner for this programme. As Professor Shannon’s
                    original appointment had been from 1 January 2005 to 31 December 2007, this
                    extension would cover the period from 1 January 2008 to 31 December 2008, which
                    would see the programme through to its end.

            7.3.2   Cert/Dip/MSc in Surgical Sciences                                       07/PG/93
                    The Committee approved the appointment of Professor Samuel John Leinster, from
                    the University of East Anglia, as External Examiner for this programme.

     7.4    Boards of Examiners for Session 2007-08
            The Committee approved the following Boards of Examiners for Session 2007-08 as

            7.4.1   MSc/Dip/Cert in Medical Education                                       07/PG/87a
            7.4.2   MSc/Dip by Research in Reproductive Biology                             07/PG/87b
            7.4.3   Cert/Dip/MSc in Surgical Sciences                                       07/PG/87c

     7.5    New Programmes for 2009-10
            There were no proposed new programmes for this meeting to consider.

     7.6    Changes to Current Programmes
            There were no proposed changes to current programmes for this meeting to consider.

8.   PROPOSAL TO ASSESS RCVS COURSES AT R(D)SVS                                              07/PG/88

     CPGSC had considered an initial proposal to assess Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS)
     courses at R(D)SVS at its meeting on 26 November 2007. Whilst keen to see the collaboration
     between R(D)SVS and RCVS develop, the Committee had expressed a number of concerns
     regarding the initial proposal for accreditation.

     Ruth Stewart (Assistant Secretary), who had been working with the School to address these concerns
     and to develop the proposal, attended the meeting to speak to the current paper and to outline the
     background to the revised proposal. She explained that the proposal could not be considered under
     the University’s normal postgraduate regulations, but that Vice-Principal Professor Simon van
     Heyningen and colleagues in the University’s Academic Affairs section were supportive of the
     University being accredited in the way proposed. The arrangement would be one of CPD, under the
     Office of Lifelong Learning. The students being assessed would be CPD students, not matriculated
     University of Edinburgh students. The regulations and systems of appeal and complaint introduced
     would be in agreement with the University’s regulations and systems of appeal and complaint. This
     would be in line with the methodology adopted by other institutions that had been accredited to
     access RCVS courses. The R(D)SVS School Representative added that the School was fully
     supportive of the revised proposal.

     Reassured that the concerns and issues it had raised had been addressed, CPGSC was now happy to
     add its support to the proposal for CPD accreditation. The next step would be for the School to
     submit its proposal for accreditation to RCVS and for this to go to the University’s Senatus
     Postgraduate Studies Committee.

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9.    NOMINATION OF EXTERNAL EXAMINERS FOR RESEARCH STUDENTS                                    07/PG/89

      This issue was being brought to the attention of CPGSC at the request of the supervisor who had
      written the email that formed Paper 07/PG/89. The R(D)SVS School Representative had confirmed
      for the supervisor concerned that two external examiners would indeed be required for his student
      because this student was a member of staff of the University, albeit on a short-term contract. This
      was one of several similar discussions that had taken place recently with supervisors who were
      expressing resistance to the strict application of this regulation.

      CPGSC reasserted its requirement that this regulation be applied and gave its support to the School
      Representatives and College Postgraduate Office to ensure that this happened.

10.   QQR IN SCHOOL OF BIOMEDICAL SCIENCES: REVIEW PANEL                                        07/PG/90

      The Committee endorsed the Review Panel for the QQR in the School of Biomedical Sciences as
      proposed in Paper 07/PG/90. The Head of the Graduate School would not now be convening the
      Review Panel as originally proposed because he was to be an external for the upcoming Internal
      Teaching Review of the Graduate School of Medicine at the University of Aberdeen and this would
      have meant reciprocal panel membership.

11.   CMVM RESPONSE TO VLE SERVICES REVIEW                                                      07/PG/92

      CPGSC was provided with this paper for information. It was the response that had been submitted
      by the College’s E-Learning Business Development Manager, on behalf of the online distance
      learning postgraduate programmes in CMVM, to the University-wide review of future needs with
      respect to Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) services.


      12.1    Student Representative
              The Convenor flagged up the fact that a new student representative had yet to be found for
              the Committee. The Secretary would contact EUSA about this again.


      The Committee noted that its next meeting would be held on Monday 9 June 2008 at 9.15am in the
      Board Room, Chancellor’s Building at Little France.

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