University of Wales, Bangor
INTERNAL QUALITY AUDIT REPORT
Department of Theology and Religious Studies
Date: 10th& 11th May
Audit Team: Professor Colin Baker (Chairman, Quality Assurance Committee), Ms Meri Huws
(Head, Department of Lifelong Learning), Dr Della Fazey (Member, Quality Assurance
Committee), Mrs Karen Chidley (Acting Assistant Registrar)
External Assessor: Professor D P Davies, Department of Theology and Religious Studies, University of
Observer: Dr Sarah Jackson (UWB Quality Assurance Officer)
The Department is placed in the School of Arts and Humanities. The Department teaches full-
time undergraduate courses in Religious Studies, Biblical Studies, Theology and a large
number of Joint Honours courses in addition to part-time and full-time Masters and PhD
programmes. However, in recent years the department has diversified in order to deliver
theological training and ministerial support to church-based partners located at a distance from
Bangor. It is also developing taught Master’s schemes in Pentecostal Theology, Rural
Ministry, Religious Education and Church School Studies.
Its aims are to continue to offer a basic degree package in the customary theological disciplines
– Biblical Studies (including Greek and Hebrew), doctrinal and historical theology, the
philosophy and study of religions, and pastoral and practical theology – but to develop and
strengthen new strategies in response to changes in recruitment patterns and the needs of
2. Documentation analysed in the audit
 Department of Theology and Religious Studies Self Assessment Document
 External Examiners 2000/2001, 2001/2002, 2002/2003
 QA1 Forms Annual Review and Development Plans 2000/2001, 2001/2002, 2002/2003
 Minutes of Board of Studies 2000-2004
 Minutes of Examination Board 2000-2004
 Minutes of Departmental Meeting 2000-2004
 Department Prospectus
 Bangor Based Undergraduate Programmes
 Distance Learning Undergraduate Programmes
 Postgraduate Programmes
 Information leaflet on Certificate in Children’s Ministry
 Information leaflet on Certificate in Christian Studies
 Information leaflet on MTh in Religious Education and Church School Studies
 Information leaflet on MTh, MMin, DMin in Implicit Religion
 Information leaflet on MTh, MMin, DMin mewn Gweinidogaeth Wledig
 Information leaflet on MTh, MMin, DMin in Rural Ministry
 Information leaflet on MTh, MMin, DMin in Self Supporting Ministry
 Information leaflet on MPhil, PhD, DMin in Practical Theology, Ministry Studies and
 Exploring Faith – Handbook for Students and Course Facilitators
 BTh in Ministry Studies – Course Document
 Certificate in Christian Ministry – Student Handbook
 DTRS Handbook Level 1 – Welsh and English
 DTRS Handbook Level 2- Welsh and English
 DTRS Handbook Level 3 – Welsh and English
 DTRS MTh Handbook
 DTRS MA Handbook
 Postgraduate Programmes in Practical Theology including Rural Ministry, Ministry
Studies, Religious Education and
Church School Studies – Handbook for Students
 Mattersey Hall – MTh Handbook
 Memorandum of Understanding UWB and Centre for Ministry Studies Partners (First
 DTRS Admission and Graduation figures 1997-2003
 DTRS External Examiners Statistics and memorandum
 Code of Practice for Programme Approval, Monitoring and Review
 Documentation on the East Anglian Ministerial Training Course
 Documentation on the Southwark Diocese Ordained Local Ministry Course
 Documentation on the Ministry Course at Bangor
 Documentation on the Norwich Diocese Ministry Course
 Documentation on the South Wales Ordination Course
 Documentation on the St. Edmundsbury and Ipswich Diocesan Ministry Course
 Documentation on the Guildford Diocesan Ministry Course
 Documentation on the Training for Learning and Serving Course
 Documentation on the Aberystwyth Academy, Apostolic Church of Wales, South Wales
3. Staff interviewed during the Audit
Professor Densil Morgan (Head of Department), Professor Leslie Francis (Professor of
Practical Theology), Dr Catrin Williams (Senior Lecturer & Admissions Tutor), Dr Eryl Davies
(Reader & Senior Postgraduate Tutor), Dr Geraint Tudur (Senior Lecturer, Senior Tutor &
Timetabling Officer), Dr Robert Pope (Lecturer & Examination Officer), Mrs Tania ap Sion
(Part-time Lecturer), Dr Andrew Village (Director, Centre for Ministry Studies), Mr Iwan
Davies (Departmental Administrative Secretary), Ms Charlotte Craig (Studies Co-ordinator,
Centre for Ministry Studies), Dr Mandy Robbins (Teaching and Research Fellow, Centre for
Ministry Studies), Revd Dr Malcolm Brown (Principal, East Anglia Ministerial Training
4. Students interviewed during the Audit
Stephen Fuller Year 1 BA Religious Education/History of Wales
Lowri Williams Year 1 BA Theology/Education
Nia Lloyd Hughes Year 2 BA Religious Education/Welsh
Adam Dyjasek Year 2 BA Religious Studies
Alun Jones Year 3 BTh Theology
Janice Gourdie Year 3 BTh Theology
Huw Tegid Roberts PhD Church History
Christina McRea 2nd Year Exploring Faith
Angela Williams Graduate of Exploring Faith course
5. Quality Audit Outcomes
The Panel investigated whether processes and mechanisms for quality and standards were in
place and operating effectively and efficiently, and recommend enhancements to teaching and
learning within the Department of Theology and Religious Studies. The Panel considered
academic standards, the quality of learning opportunities and provision for the maintenance of
quality and standards in the School.
5.1 Strengths Identified
 The Department is congratulated for the way it has adapted in a period of rapid change,
including its diversification and innovation in developing new distance learning
 Staff are praised for their dedication, commitment and their willingness to take on an
increased workload in diversification.
 Staff are congratulated for the high standards of pastoral and academic care given to
full-time students. Students praised staff for their approachability, support and for the
‘open door’ policy of the Department.
 The Department is commended for pursuing the integration of staff in partnerships and
those based at UWB. It is encouraged to increase integration by continuing to hold
annual joint meetings, for example.
 In its important pursuit of comparability of standards across courses, the Department
has begun to organise training sessions for the staff of the partner institutions (e.g. on
assessment). The Panel wish to commend the Department for this type of activity and to
recommend its extension.
 The Department is congratulated for the bilingual provision in its full-time programmes
and the valuable contribution this makes to UWB’s portfolio of Welsh language
 There is a strong relationship between research and teaching in some areas of the
Department, potentially elevating the standards of student achievement.
 The UWB-based Postgraduate Forum is an important means of integrating DTRS
research students into the Department’s research activities and to enhance such
students’ learning experience.
 The Departmental Administrator is commended for the steps taken in integrating the
administrative systems of the Department and for establishing systems for the partners
(e.g. registration). The Panel would wish to encourage the Department to consider how
his financial skills may be utilized.
 The Senior Tutor is congratulated for his commitment to this role and for successfully
leading a group of dedicated personal tutors.
 The Panel commend the evident quality of activity in the Centre for Ministry Studies
and the Centre for Pentecostal Studies.
 Many staff make key contributions to local and national religious activities. This helps
raise the profile and status of the Department.
5.2 Action points for the Department
Many of the points listed below are currently being addressed by the Department. We wish to
encourage the Department to engage in further discussion and action planning on the
 A DTRS Quality Assurance Committee should be formed to take on all Quality
Assurance functions, ensuring that the Department (a) installs UWB Procedures and
Codes of Practice across all modules and courses, (b) establishes QA1s and QA2s
across all courses and modules, (c) monitors standards in all partnerships, (d) discusses
nominations of External Examiners who will be common across all courses, and (e)
monitors how UWB’s Quality Assurance procedures are implemented in all
It is recommended that the UWB Quality Assurance Officer is co-opted by DTRS onto
this new Committee for a minimum period of two years. This is subject to the
agreement of the Academic Registrar.
 To achieve increasing comparability and compatibility in the standards of courses
across the whole Department, the commonality of External Examiners is a requirement.
The Department and the Academic Registry are asked to agree a transitional plan, to be
installed by September 2004.
 The Department should re-consider its committee structure to ensure that the Board of
Studies meets the UWB remit. The Board of Studies should also exactly follow UWB
procedures in reviewing new modules and courses prior to moving to Faculty for
 Comparability in the student learning and assessment experience needs to be
demonstrated across all courses. A system to achieve this should be discussed, codified
and implemented (e.g. the role of moderation, inspection visits to partnerships,
common external examiners, a pre-examination Board meeting to discuss in detail all
extenuating circumstances and a consideration of a common examination board). The
Department should also consider the nature and comparability of pastoral support for all
its part-time students.
 To retain high levels of staff morale, there should be transparency in DTRS funding and
budgeting within the School of Arts and Humanities, and this should be communicated
appropriately to DTRS staff.
 The workloads of many teaching staff are high. Prioritisation of tasks is therefore
needed. It is suggested that a strategic document produces an agreed vision for the
future of the Department, ensuring that links are made to relevant UWB strategies. As
part of this strategy, the Panel recommends that the Department considers its quantity of
 The University has a compulsory system of peer observation that should be installed
across all tutors. The Department currently encourages staff development in
partnerships, but the Panel requests the Department to prioritise the type of staff
development in which partnership tutors should engage.
 A Departmental Tutor Handbook, mostly for teaching and learning purposes, should be
produced following consultation with the Academic Registry.
 The appointment procedures and conditions of partnership part-time staff who have
UWB status need to be robust, transparent and agreed by relevant officers in the
 The Department is asked to explore with its partnerships a transition to working to the
same academic year as the University. This would particularly enable one Examination
Board in June as a strategy to help assure comparability of standards across all courses.
 The Panel commends the innovative diversification that has occurred in Departmental
courses. In the light of current predicted changes in England (e.g. as addressed in the
Hind Report), the Department is asked to consider developing its outreach programme
in Wales, including in Welsh-speaking faith communities, and to consider collaborative
provision with other partners in Wales.
 The Panel requests the Department to reconsider fees for the Bangor-based faith
courses, including exploring the possibilities of assistance for funding from HEFCW.
Discussion about this with the Head of DoLL is encouraged.
5.3 Action for the University
The University is recommended to consider the following in enhancing its central Quality
 The Quality Assurance Committee and its sub-group responsible for producing the
Code of Practice for Collaborative Provision is asked to ensure that a Code of Practice
for Partnerships is also forthcoming.
 Many staff in the Department were unclear where the Welsh National Centre for
Religious Education sat in the UWB infrastructure and its precise role and relationship
with the Department of Theology and Religious Education. The Panel requests Senior
Management to ensure clarity in this, including staffing and finances, and to
communicate this to DTRS.
 Increasing the physical integration of strands of the Department is important for
developing a shared identity, mission and collaboration in enhancing standards. The
University is asked to consider bringing varying strands together in one location as soon
as this becomes possible.
 The Quality Assurance Committee is asked to review the current validation procedures
of the University. The Committee should examine whether the current procedures
ensure that the University’s Teaching and Learning Strategy is fully incorporated,
including use of marketing information and ensuring that all procedures are carefully
monitored. The inclusion of External Examiner reports and Audit reports in re-
validation events, and the rigour of module validation in-between the re-validation of
courses should also to be considered in this review.
 The Academic Registry is invited to include DTRS in the current trial of the ARQUE
software for the statistical analysis of modules/courses. This will help establishing the
comparability and compatibility of marking across all modules and courses, including
 The Department and the Academic Registry is asked to establish how students in
partnerships can pursue their studies on a full-time distance basis.
 The Panel recommended that the University should have a Staff Handbook for all staff.
Signed: …………………………………….. Date:……………………..
(Chairman, Audit Panel)