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					                                                                                    PAPER A

                                UNIVERSITY OF DUNDEE

                                 SENATUS ACADEMICUS


A meeting of the Committee was held on Monday 13 March 2006.

Present:         Professor J Calderhead [Convener], Mrs B Illsley, Dr K Peebles, Dr K Wilkie
                 (vice Professor S Hunt), Professor C T Reid, Mrs L Gillies, Dr J Elliott,
                 Professor G Fisher, Dr L Walsh, Ms P Elliott, Dr A T Davidson, Ms P Elliott,
                 Mr D R W George, Mr J Bagnall, Ms L Bibby, Ms J Koprowska, Mr S Blane

In Attendance:   Dr E Monaghan

By Invitation:   Mr G Nicholson

Preliminary Remarks:          to welcome Mr Graham Nicholson, Director of the Careers
                              Service, to his first meeting of the Committee.

Presentation:          Mr Nicholson delivered a brief presentation on the actions taken by
                       the Careers Service to promote student employability which he had
                       outlined in his contribution to a recent Court paper which the
                       Committee also received.

                       Mr Nicholson employed the ESECT definition of employability as a
                       set of achievements - skills, understandings and personal attributes
                       that made graduates more likely to gain employment and be
                       successful in their chosen occupation.

                       Careers education in the curriculum and specifically via Personal
                       Development Planning (PDP) formed the key action to promote
                       student employability. Student Services offered a wide range of
                       opportunities to assist student employability but the Careers Service
                       was the principal provider of these services through its involvement

                          Employability and Personal Development Planning through its
                           participation in the development of and support for the launch of
                           the My PDP online resource in September 2005. The Service, to
                           date, had cooperated with Faculties in the joint delivery of an
                           induction session on PDP to over two thousand undergraduate
                          Credit bearing Careers education via the delivery of two Level 2
                           credit-bearing modules on Career Planning and a pilot on
                           Internship. The former was open to students in the Faculties of
                           Arts & Social Sciences and Life Sciences and studies at other
                           universities had shown that students who had completed this type
                           of module were 32% more likely to gain a “graduate track” job

                   after their degree. The internship module was launched in
                   January 2006 with twenty-two students and student placements
                   included the Prime Minister’s Office and with Sir Menzies
                  Employability and Careers Information Services including:
                   1. the operation of the Job Shop in the Careers Service which had
                       succeeded in successfully placing a large number of
                       international students in part-time employment; over 1400
                       students were currently registered with it.
                   2. raising employer awareness through the arrangement of
                       Careers Fairs, Employer Visits and the free Vacancy Service
                       which had advertised around 14,000 vacancies for final year
                       students (access via
                   3. a comprehensive range of careers information resources.
                  Employability and Careers Consultancy
                   1. through direct participation in the University’s Academic
                       Programme Approval and Review procedures.
                   2. responsibility for the management of the annual First
                       Destination Survey including the interpretation and analysis of
                       graduate labour market for specific Faculties.
                   3. careers advice provided by the 5 day week drop-in Careers
                       Advice Service for all students and graduates and the on-line
                       careers guidance service.

               In 2004/05, the Careers Service had recorded over 9,300 visits, almost
               treble the number from the previous year and the number of students
               attending careers talks trebled. Similarly during the same period,
               there were approximately 198,300 visits to the Service’s website
               compared to approximately 104,600 during the same period in the
               previous year.

               It was noted that the Career Planning module was only open to
               students from two Faculties which raised an issue of student equity
               though it was noted that Faculties approached employability in a
               diversity of ways. The move to the new College structure could
               provide students from a broader range of subjects with these
               opportunities, provided that the relevant programme regulations
               were redrafted

               If the pilot of the Internship module proved successful, the present
               cap of thirty students would be lifted. The high degree of co-
               operation between the Careers Service and Alumni Relations in the
               identification of placements opportunities for students including the
               Downing Street example, and the active involvement of local
               businesses were welcomed.

               Resolved:      to thank Mr Nicholson for his informative presentation.


     Resolved:   to approve the minutes of the meeting of 23 January 2006 which
                 Senate approved without comment.


     (1)   Assessment Reporting Scale Working Group

           (1)   Meeting of the Assessment Reporting Scale Working Group

                 The Committee received the unapproved minute of the Group’s
                 meeting of 24 February 2006.

                 Concern was expressed regarding the accuracy of the unapproved
                 minute. Reference was made to the item on the exemptions granted to
                 the Faculty of Education & Social Work on use of the Type 1 scale and
                 the corresponding resolution. The Group had in fact agreed that the
                 only restriction on the use of the Type 1 scale was that it may not be
                 used for modules that contribute to Honours classification and that
                 the relevant section of the policy statement (paragraph 29) be
                 amended accordingly. The draft amendment suggested by the
                 Academic Secretary in the minute was considered too narrow to
                 reflect the Group’s views.

                 On minute 3(2), page 6, it was noted that the departments concerned
                 were English and Philosophy and not English and Psychology, as

                 In response to minute 1, the Committee received a paper from Ms
                 Elliott outlining current policy and practice on the recording of
                 students’ assessment on the Student Management System (SMS) to
                 seek to clarify the existing arrangements. The processes relating to
                 the reporting of final module grades and honours classifications and
                 to the recording of module grades and individual assessment
                 components were described. The former was a continuation of
                 approved University policy for recording and publishing student
                 assessment, while the latter actions were primarily the responsibility
                 of academic departments, under Registry guidance.

                 The significant change to previous practice was that departments
                 were expected to use the SMS for the purpose of recording students’
                 assessments centrally, rather than the previous system of multiple
                 ‘local’ databases. Once recorded on the SMS, the results were
                 immediately published via eVision. It was noted that while some
                 departments had still retained their own ‘local’ databases, others had
                 replaced them by the SMS, in line with University policy, in terms of
                 its significant investment in the SMS.

                 While the above brief description of the SMS processes was clear,
                 some of the actual operational aspects of entering, manipulating and
                 reporting assessment data using the SMS required clarification and
                 improvement with regard to ‘user friendliness’. The University had

      introduced a new SMS and a new policy on the assessment of taught
      provision during essentially the same time period. There was a need
      to disentangle the policy aspects of reporting students’ assessment
      which was the task of the Assessment Reporting Scale Working
      Group, from the operational aspects of implementing that policy. The
      latter was included in the remit of the SITS User Group but it had not
      met for some time.


      (i)     to endorse the Group’s recommendation that to avoid
              confusion amongst students and staff, there should be no
              change to the reporting and aggregation scales this academic
              session, until the operational experience gained from the main
              Summer diet of examinations was available for the Group’s

      (ii)    on the aggregation scale, to note that the Group, following its
              review of the outcome of the Summer diet of degree
              examinations, would consider whether the MF grade be
              increased from 8 to 9 points to ‘better reflect the “marginal”
              nature of the fail’;

      (iii)   to ask Dr Monaghan to arrange a further meeting of the Group
              immediately following the final meeting of Boards of
              Examiners, to review Faculties’ and Schools’ experiences of the
              operation of the new reporting and aggregation scales;

      (iv)    to ask the Committee’s Faculty and School representatives to
              collate Faculties’ and Schools’ views on (iii) above, for
              submission to that meeting of the Group;

      (v)     to ask the Academic Secretary to consult the Convener on the
              drafting of the amendment to the Type 1 scale, in line with the
              Group’s wishes, and to ask him to submit that text to the
              Committee’s meeting of 15 May 2006; and

      (vi)    to ask Ms Elliott to consult Faculty and School Secretaries to
              arrange a meeting of the SITS User Group involving the
              relevant faculty and departmental staff, to discuss the
              operational aspects of the implementation of the new
              assessment policy and to identify problem areas for resolution
              before the assessment data for the forthcoming main
              examination diet was recorded onto the SMS and to ask Ms
              Elliott to report the outcome of that meeting to the
              Committee’s meeting of 15 May 2006.

(2)   Guidance on e-Vision for Students on the New Reporting Scale

      The Director of the Registry, Ms P Elliott, submitted a paper by Mr M
      Glover, Registry, describing briefly how students were able to view

      provisional assignment and module results by running reports in
      eVision. The reports queried the SITS database and displayed the
      provisional grades. Students were then able to translate the grades
      against the appropriate assessment scales and qualifying codes which
      were listed at the end of the report. Queries concerning grades were
      directed to the relevant department. Screenshots displaying what a
      student would see on eVision were included in the paper.

      In response to the Group’s request, the third screenshot included new
      text explaining the procedure for the recording of a zero mark due to a
      Medical Certificate (MC) or a Certified Absence (CA).

      Resolved:     to note the paper.

(3)   Improved Guidance for Boards of Examiners

      Resolved:     in the Academic Secretary’s absence, to defer
                    consideration of his paper on improved guidance for
                    Boards of Examiners on the new reporting scale and
                    their role in the assessment process until the
                    Committee’s meeting of 15 May 2006.

(4)   Penalty Points: Draft University Policy

      The Committee received a paper from the Academic Secretary
      providing recommendations on an institutional policy on penalty
      points for the late submission of students’ coursework and for
      students’ non-attendance at tutorials. The final policy would not be
      applied until the beginning of the next academic session.

      Some expressed the view that the recommendations were too harsh
      but it was agreed that more time was required to consult colleagues
      on the full implications of the recommendations. On recommended
      penalties for non-attendance at tutorials, the difference between
      students’ simply attending tutorials and actively contributing to
      tutorial discussions was noted. On the corresponding
      recommendations for the late submission of assessed work, guidance
      would be required on the interpretation of what constituted
      “acceptable” in the phrase, “where there is no acceptable reason”.


      (i)    to ask the Committee’s Faculty and School representatives to
             submit the paper to Faculties’ and Schools Learning &
             Teaching Committees for comment;

      (ii)   to ask Ms Bibby to submit the paper to the DUSA Students’
             Council to obtain their views; and

(iii)   to ask that the above comments be forwarded to Dr Francis by
        Monday 1 May 2006 and to ask him to submit these comments
        to the Committee’s meeting of 15 May 2006.

      (5)    Students’ Views on the New Reporting Scale

             The Committee received an oral report from the DUSA President, Ms
             L Bibby, on recent student feedback on the introduction of the new
             assessment policy for taught provision.

             After some initial confusion, the Students’ Council had indicated that
             students were generally satisfied with the new policy. However
             Honours students at Level 4 required a reassurance from the
             University that the transition between the two reporting scales would
             not have an adverse effect on their final degree classification
             particularly for those students on the borderline between two classes
             of Honours degree. The University’s position on this issue must be
             transparent to students and staff.

             Resolved:      it was agreed that in line with common university
                            practice where a change in assessment reporting placed
                            a student on a borderline, the Board of Examiner’s
                            discretion would normally be in the favour of the

(2)   European Diploma Supplement (EDS)

      Ms P Elliott tabled a paper outlining progress with the development of an
      institutional EDS (now known as a Europass) by the Registry in consultation
      with the Director of Quality Assurance, Dr A T Davidson. The Registry had
      embarked on a project to produce and manage the datasets using SITS web-
      based functionality, to create the institutional Europass. Given the scale of
      the project, it was not expected that the new system would be fully
      operational until the academic year 2006/07.

      Any student graduating this Summer would receive, on request, a copy of a
      Europass, in addition to his/her individual final academic transcript.

      The paper included a copy of an example of this transcript reporting the new
      assessment reporting scale and the supporting explanatory text together with
      details of the previous reporting scale.


      (i)    to ask Ms Elliott to keep the Committee informed of progress with the
             development of the SITS related system to deliver the Europass; and

      (ii)   on the reference in the final academic transcript to credit awarded
             under “APL”, to ask Ms Elliott to include a reference to the relevant
             Scottish Qualifications Framework Level of any credit awarded in the
             final version of the transcript as well as the University’s level


     The Committee received the latest draft of the University’s Learning & Teaching
     Strategy and the associated action plan.

     The following observations were made on the draft strategy;

           references to the word “new” in the phrase “new technology” were no longer
           on page 4 in respect of the reference to the “University’s principal aim”, to ensure
            that this “Aim” was consistent with the other relevant University documents and
            to suggest that the phrase “within the strategy” might be added after that phrase.


     (i)       to ask the Convener to incorporate Dr Davidson’s points relating to quality
               enhancement into the draft documents before they were circulated to
               Faculties and School’s Learning & Teaching Committees for comment; and

     (ii)      to ask the Convener to submit Faculties’ observations on the draft strategy
               and action plan to the Committee’s meeting of 15 May 2006.


     The Committee received a paper from the Student Representation Working Group
     on its revised proposals for a pilot co-curricular student leadership skills module.
     These revised proposals incorporated Faculties’ earlier comments and reflected
     strong student demand, expressed via DUSA, that a module of this type would be a
     real incentive to motivate and encourage students to engage in co-curricular
     activities. The pilot module was simply a recognition of the student contribution and
     achievement which was already present in a variety of co-curricular student
     activities including student representation, sports clubs, students’ societies and
     volunteering. The module would be optional and would be available to students
     who were studying at level SHE2 /SCQF 8 or beyond, and who were participating in
     co-curricular activities that would allow them to engage with the module, and who
     met the specified intake requirements. It would not affect the credit accumulated by
     a student throughout this/her degree and would also support and reinforce effective
     use of the e-portfolio, the on-line MyPDP electronic resource, and build on the
     University’s leading edge expertise in e-learning.

     The Module Leader would have responsibility for student enrolment. Students
     might be denied the opportunity to take the module if the Leader following
     consultation with the relevant academic staff, decided that a student might
     jeopardise the successful completion of his/her degree programme by enrolling on it.

     The pilot module would probably comprise 10 credits, equivalent to 100 hours of
     notional student effort on learning activities, extending over two semesters, at SHE
     Level 2/SCQF Level 8. The Learning Enhancement Unit (LEU) had agreed to lead
     the delivery of the module, working closely with DUSA. This was subject to the
     availability of the necessary funding (as outlined in the LEU’s draft costing) for the

     proposed three year pilot commencing in September 2006. The Group would
     identify a Faculty to oversee the quality assurance aspects of module approval,
     review and external examining. LEU staff would provide all day-to-day
     administration of the module.

     The Committee recognised the advantages of the proposals but expressed concern on
     the identification of the funding required by the LEU to deliver the three year pilot.


     (i)    while recognising the merit of the Group’s proposals, to ask it to consult the
            CEM on their potential involvement in the pilot module and to ask the Group
            to report the outcome of that discussion to the Committee’s meeting of 15
            May 2006; and

     (ii)   to ask the Convener to consider during his current review of the Centre for
            Learning & Teaching whether any resources might be identified to fund the


     The Committee received the unapproved report of the meeting of 27 February 2006
     and a copy of the Howells Report: Learning to Improve was tabled.

     The Committee considered minute 1.2(1) of the report in relation to the AQC’s
     discussion of staff student ratio derived from HESA data and the related information
     published in the Guardian. The Convener noted that the unapproved minute
     required correction in this area prior to its submission to Senate.

     For its part, the Committee also expressed its concern on the perceived inadequacies
     of the University’s procedures for cross-checking the accuracy of institutional data
     submitted to HESA, at the departmental and Faculty level. Inaccuracies in any of the
     personnel, student and finance HESA datasets could have an adverse effect on the
     value of the management information provided to Colleges to inform their operation
     and development. This included the operation of staff workload models as proposed
     in the draft learning and teaching strategy. These inaccuracies would also have a
     significant negative effect on external perceptions of the University’s standing in
     certain subject areas.


     (i)    on minute 1.2(1) of the report concerning HESA data, to ask the Convener to
            consult Mr D R W George (Mr George had left the Committee’s meeting by
            this point) on the University’s procedures for cross-checking the accuracy of
            HESA data at the Faculty and departmental level and to ask him to report his
            findings to the Committee’s meeting of 15 May 2006;

     (ii)   on minute 1.2, to ask Dr A T Davidson to discuss his views on improved
            guidance for external examiners and related institutional policy on Boards of
            Examiners with Dr Francis, as the minute was incomplete in this area, to

             allow Dr Francis to address these in his paper for the Committee’s meeting of
             15 May 2006;

     (iii)   on minute 1.4, to note the main outcomes of the thematic overview of annual
             monitoring of taught programmes for 2004-05;

     (iv)    on minute 1.5 concerning the QAA follow-up to the University’s ELIR, to note
             that the University’s submission to the Agency would be submitted to the
             next meeting of the AQC, in advance of the University’s annual discussion
             with that body;

     (v)     on minute 1.7, to note the publication of the Howells’ report
             ( refers);

     (vi)    on minute 2.2, to note a summary of recent external developments and
             activities relating to quality assurance and enhancement
             ( refers).


     The Committee received report of the Sub-Committee’s meeting of 22 February 2006.

     Professor Ward drew the Committee’s attention to minute 6 concerning the Director
     of e-Learning’s report on the latest LEU developments for the further enhancement
     of the University’s e-learning infrastructure. The Sub-Committee had endorsed Dr
     Parsons’ recommendation that funding be identified for the appointment of a
     technical support officer to enhance the level of ICS/LEU technical support for My
     Dundee and Questionmark, the computer aided assessment system, given the critical
     importance of these systems for the delivery of learning and teaching.

     It was noted that the University had not yet signed up to the new Copyright
     Licensing Agency (CLA) photocopying and scanning licence reportedly because of
     the high costs of the central administration, monitoring and reporting requirements
     for the new licence. The University was covered legally in this area until 31 July
     2006, under the terms of the existing Higher Education Digitisation Agreement.
     After that date, the University would be able to use the HERON service to clear
     digital copies of UK publications on a transactional basis except that HERON would
     now have to deal directly with rights holders rather than through the CLA.

     It was estimated that approximately 50% of UK Universities had so far signed up for
     the new CLA agreement. The University could still opt into the scheme, either in
     August 2006 or February 2007. The Sub-Committee’s Faculty and School
     representatives were asked to note that My Dundee should be cleared of materials
     digitised under the current agreement by July 31st at the latest. Even materials
     cleared through HERON recently would only have clearance until August 2006, at
     the latest, so anything required for the first Semester in the 2006-07 session would
     need to be requested again before the semester commenced.


     (i)     on minute 2(3) of the report concerning the item on progress with the re-
             introduction of an on-line service to replace Webalumnus, to promote and
             maintain contact with University alumni, to welcome Mr George’s oral
             report that a company had now been identified to provide the necessary
             replacement service;

     (ii)    on minute 4 on the development of a new My Dundee resource to support
             staff in the development and delivery of distance learning programmes, led
             by Dr G Manwaring, Faculty of Education & Social Work, to congratulate the
             advances made by Dr Manwaring on this important project;

     (iii)   on minute 5, to welcome the first stage of the development of a new Freshers’
             website aimed specifically at supporting distance learning students;

     (iv)    on minute 6, concerning the Director of e-Learning’s report on the latest
             developments to enhance the University’s e-learning infrastructure, to
             endorse fully the Sub-Committee’s recommendation for additional technical
             support; and

     (v)     on minute 9, concerning the University’s position on a subscription to the
             new CLA Higher Education Digitisation Licence, to note Faculties’ concern
             about the implications of not subscribing.


     The Director of Academic Professional Development, Dr L Walsh, provided an oral
     report on the following recent developments in her area of responsibility:

            the new Higher Education Academy’s National Professional Standards
             Framework for Standards in Teaching and Supporting Learning in Higher
             Education ( refers);
            a flyer reporting details of the Honorary Graduates' Award for Innovative
             Teaching for 2005/06
             ( refers);
            a tabled flyer providing details of the second one-day annual Academic
             Professional Development (APD) conference on “Supporting Learning
             through Assessment” on Tuesday 20 June 2006 in the Westpark Conference
             Centre which would be hosted jointly by APD and the School of Nursing &
             Midwifery but would be open free of charge to all staff involved in teaching
             and learning;
            the University’s recent successful bid for funding to the HEA’s Change
             Academy; and
            to note Dr Walsh’s role as the primary point of contact between the
             University and HEA and the Academy’s recent actions to promote better
             liaison with institutions through the appointment of a senior advisor for
             Scotland, Dr A Ross, and the publication of a new on-line newsletter for


     (i)    to thank Dr Walsh for her report and to ask her to submit details of the
            successful bid to the HEA’s Change Academy to the Committee’s meeting of
            15 May 2006; and

     (ii)   to encourage the Committee to promote the Honorary Graduates’ Award for
            innovative teaching and to note that the closing date for applications to Dr
            Walsh was Friday 28 April 2006.

                                     SECTION 2


     Resolved:     to note that the Committee's next meeting would be held on Monday
                   15 May 2006 at 2pm.

                                                                  Professor J Calderhead
                                                                          22 March 2006


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