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UNIVERSITY OF ABERDEEN ACADEMIC STANDARDS COMMITTEE (POSTGRADUATE) Minutes of the meeting held on Friday 10 March 2006 Present: Professor G Burgess (Convener), Dr GM Coghill, Professor J Feldmann, Dr F Murphy, Professor D Shaw, with Dr L Hall and Dr S Potts and Dr T Webb in attendance for items 256, 263 and 265. Apologies : Dr DW Hay, Professor D Lurie, Dr L Philip, Dr T Stuchbury and Mr JH Wyllie MINUTES 254. The Committee agreed that the minute of the meeting held on 10 December 2005 was accurate. (copy filed as ASC(PG)/100306/01) MATTERS ARISING 255. The Committee agreed that there were no matters arising from the minute of 10 December 2005. CODE OF PRACTICE FOR POSTGRADUATE RESEARCH STUDENTS 256. The Committee was invited to approve the proposed Code of Practice for Research Students, Supervisors, Heads of School, Heads of Graduate School and College Postgraduate Officers and consider the issues raised by the Graduate Schools. (copy filed as ASC(PG/100306/02) 256.1 The Committee discussed whether it wished to stipulate that each student had more than one supervisor and agreed that it did not wish to do so at this time. 256.2 It was further agreed that the writing-up period continue to be referred to as such since it was a widely-known term. The Committee was concerned that changing it to “extension post-supervised study” could imply that the supervisor was no longer involved, and cause some confusion. 256.3 The Committee also discussed the responsibilities listed in the code and considered whether they should be less prescriptive in detail, since some of the duties may be undertaken by the Graduate School. It was agreed that the Code should be as specific as possible in regard to the responsibilities of Supervisors. 256.4 The Committee approved the Code of Practice which would come into operation at the start of the next academic year. Action: Clerk 2 GENERAL REGULATION 24 FOR RESEARCH DEGREES: POSSIBLE OUTCOMES OF THESIS EXAMINATION 257. The Committee was invited to consider amendments to General Regulation 24 for Research Degrees. (copy filed as ASC(PG)/100306/03) 257.1 The Committee was informed that concern had been raised by the School of Divinity, History and Philosophy that the current regulations, which were amended two years ago, did not allow the award of a lower degree or resubmission for a lower degree at the time of first examination. 257.2 After considerable discussion, the Committee agreed to amend the regulations to allow examiners to make one of the following recommendations at first submission: a) the thesis be sustained b) the thesis be sustained subject to minor corrections c) the candidate may re-submit the thesis in a revised form for the same degree (within a stated period which should not exceed twelve months) d) the thesis does not meet the standards for the degree being examined but does meet the standards for the award of a lower degree (MPhil or one year Master’s) and the candidate be awarded that degree without further examination e) the candidate may re-submit the thesis in a revised form for a lower degree (MPhil or one year Master’s) within a stated period which shall not exceed twelve months f) the thesis be not sustained 257.3 In addition, it was agreed that an additional option should be that the candidate may re- submit the thesis in a revised form for the same degree (within a stated period which shall not exceed twelve months) but the candidate chooses not to re-submit. Where examiners consider the thesis meets the standard for the award of a lower degree (MPhil or one year Masters) the candidate could be awarded the latter degree without further examination if the candidate does not wish to revise and re-submit the thesis. 257.4 The Committee agreed that no amendments were required to the current regulations regarding the recommendations examiners could make following re-submission. They would remain as follows with no further re-submission permitted: a) the thesis be sustained b) the thesis be sustained subject to minor corrections c) the thesis does not meet the standards for the degree being examined but does meet the standards for the award of a lower degree (MPhil or one year Master’s) and the candidate be awarded that degree without further examination. d) the thesis be not sustained Action: Clerk POSTGRADUATE SUPERVISION QUESTIONNAIRE RESULTS FOR 2004/05 258. The Committee noted the results of the Postgraduate Supervision Questionnaire for 2004/05. (copy filed as ASC(PG)/100306/04) 258.1 It was agreed that these results would be given to the Heads of Graduate Schools to discuss with their Schools. Action: Clerk 3 ISSUES ARISING FROM ELIR: STUDENT FEEDBACK 259. The Committee was invited by the University Committee on Teaching and Learning to give consideration to ways in which to enhance student and staff awareness of the annual Postgraduate Supervision Questionnaire. (copy filed as ASC(PG)/100306/05) 259.1 The Committee agreed that the Clerk would discuss this with Graduate Schools with a view to feeding back to the May meetings of the Academic Standards Committee (Postgraduate) and the University Committee on Teaching and Learning in regard to the action proposed. Action: Clerk PROCEDURES FOR DETERMINING PROGRESSION AND AWARD IN MODULARISED POSTGRADUATE TAUGHT PROGRAMMES OF STUDY 260. The Committee agreed to approve the proposed amendments to the procedures for determining progression and award in modularised postgraduate taught programmes of study, which would clarify the new procedures introduced for 2005/06. (copy filed as ASC(PG)/100306/06) 260.1 The Committee also agreed that the existing wording for the Award of Master’s Degree with Commendation or Distinction was unclear and should be amended as follows: For Commendation: Marks at 15 or better in elements constituting three quarters of the total assessment, inclusive of the project/dissertation (which must also be graded at 15 or better). For Distinction: Marks at 18 or better in elements constituting three quarters of the total assessment, inclusive of the project/dissertation (which must also be graded at 18 or better). Action: Clerk DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF MEDICINE 261. The Committee noted that the College of Life Sciences and Medicine would submit detailed proposals for making the Degree of Doctor of Medicine a supervised degree to the Academic Standards Committee (Postgraduate) for consideration at its meeting on 12 May 2006. MASTER’S PROGRAMME IN EU STUDIES WITH NANKAI UNIVERSITY, CHINA 262. The Committee was invited to consider a proposal for a Master’s Programme in EU Studies with Nankai University, China. (copy filed as ASC(PG)/100306/09) 262.2 The Committee agreed in principle to the proposal and agreed that Sociology should now seek College and ASC (Pg) approval of SENAS forms for the new programme and new courses. Action: Clerk 4 VALIDATION OF INTERNATIONAL CHRISTIAN COLLEGE 263. The Committee approved the responses to all postgraduate issues from International Christian College to the recommendations made by the Validation Panel that visited International Christian College in January 2006. (copy filed as ASC(PG)/100306/10) Action: Clerk EXTENSION OF SAC ACCREDITATION 264. The Committee was invited to consider the request from the Scottish Agricultural College to extend University of Aberdeen accreditation of the MSc/PgDip programmes in Business Management and in Organic Farming for two years until 31 December 2008. (copy filed as ASC(PG)/100306/11) 264.1 The Committee approved this request and noted that the extension would apply only to students currently enrolled on the programmes and that no new students would be enrolled or new programmes submitted for accreditation during this extension period. 264.2 The Committee agreed that, while no formal review or renewal of the current agreement would be required during the extension period, the submission of annual reports by the Scottish Agricultural College would still be required. Action: Clerk UHI MILLENNIUM INSTITUTE: AWARD OF DEGREE FROM UNIVERSITY OF ABERDEEN AND SUPERVISION 265. The Committee was invited to consider by the UHI Millennium Institute whether to award University of Aberdeen degrees to students registered with UHI Millennium Institute in areas not currently offered at the University of Aberdeen and whether to have joint supervisory arrangements in subject areas where UHI Millennium Institute might have research student demand but in areas not yet ready for University of Aberdeen accreditation. (copy filed as ASC(PG)/100306/12) 265.1 The Committee approved these requests in principle and agreed that any arrangement to offer degrees to UHI Millennium Institute students in areas not currently offered at the University of Aberdeen should include mechanisms by which supervision for research students can be maintained should their UHI supervisor become unavailable. Action: Clerk PROGRAMME AND COURSE REVIEW SUMMARY REPORTS 266. The Committee approved the Student Course Evaluation Form and Programme Review Reports and agreed that responses be fed back to Schools. (copies filed as ASC(PG)/100306/13a-14b) Action: Clerk 5 COURSE AND PROGRAMME PROPOSALS 267. The Committee noted course and programme proposals approved by Convener’s action since 4 November 2005. (copy filed as ASC(PG)/100306/15) ANY OTHER BUSINESS 268. The Committee was invited to consider whether it was appropriate for the spouse of a Supervisor to be appointed as the examiner for the Supervisor’s student. Two such cases had arisen recently. 268.1 The Committee agreed that, in principle, such an appointment was not appropriate. Given their infrequency, the Committee proposed that such instances should be considered by the relevant Head(s) of School on a case by case basis when nominating examiners. DATE OF NEXT MEETING 269. The Committee noted that the next meeting would take place on Friday 12 May 2006 in Committee Room 2 at 2.00 p.m.
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