Institutional briefing paper by hcj

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									Section 1            Introduction and background

1.1         The institution and mission
1.1.1       The University of Brighton is committed to:
             delivering socially purposeful Higher Education (HE) that serves and strengthens society
                and underpins the economy; contributes critically to the public good; enriches those who
                participate; and equips our graduates to contribute effectively as citizens to their chosen
                professions and communities, locally, nationally and internationally;
             developing a creative and energetic institution with a knowledge base of national and
                international quality, fully committed to mutual engagement with its local communities
                and economy alongside an international reputation for the quality and impact of its work;
             finding creative and effective ways in which to strengthen the relationship between
                learning and teaching, disciplinary and professional practice, research, and economic
                and social engagement1.

1.1.2       The university adopted its title in 1992 building on a long history as a provider of adult
            education which can be traced back to 1859. It has six faculties, one of which is jointly
            managed with the University of Sussex, comprising academic schools or equivalent as
            shown in the table below, and operates over five campuses - Grand Parade, Moulsecoomb
            and Falmer2 (all in Brighton), and Eastbourne and Hastings. Each campus has a significant
            academic presence and sustains a distinctive academic community in its own right. The
            university franchises provision to four Further Education (FE) colleges3 based in Hastings,
            Brighton, Plumpton, Eastbourne and Lewes, and is the validating body for HE provision at
            Northbrook College in Worthing.

             Faculty                 School                                                           Site
             Arts and                Architecture and Design                                          Moulsecoomb, Grand Parade
             Architecture            Arts and Communication                                           Grand Parade
                                     Historical and Critical Studies                                  Grand Parade
             Brighton and            Division of Clinical Medicine                                    Falmer (2)
             Sussex Medical          Division of Primary Care and Public Health                       Falmer (1)
                    4
             School
                                     Division of Clinical and Laboratory Investigation                Falmer (2)
                                     Institute of Postgraduate Medicine                               Falmer (1)
             Education and           Education                                                        Falmer (1), Hastings
             Sport                   Language, Literature and Communication                           Falmer (1), Hastings
                                     Centre for Learning and Teaching                                 Falmer (1)
                                     Chelsea                                                          Eastbourne
             Health and Social       Applied Social Science                                           Falmer (1), Hastings
             Science                 Health Professions                                               Eastbourne
                                     Nursing and Midwifery                                            Falmer (1), Eastbourne
             Management and          Brighton Business School                                         Moulsecoomb
             Information             Computing, Mathematical and Information Sciences                 Moulsecoomb, Hastings
             Sciences
                                     Centre for Research in Innovation Management                     Falmer (2)
                                     Service Management                                               Eastbourne
             Science and             Environment and Technology                                       Moulsecoomb
             Engineering             Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences                               Moulsecoomb


1
    Corporate Plan
2
  Falmer includes the University of Brighton Falmer site (1) and the University of Sussex Falmer site (2)
3
  Hastings College, Plumpton, City College Brighton and Hove and Sussex Downs College
4
  A joint entity of the University of Brighton and the University of Sussex
                                                                                                                      Page 1 of 37
1.1.3       In December 2007 the university had 15,567 undergraduate students, 3,052 taught
            postgraduate and 343 research students5, of these 5,835 were part-time and 1,209 came
            from non-EU countries.

1.1.4       In 2006-07 the university had 2,037 staff (average monthly full time equivalent (FTE)),
            including 817 teaching and research staff6.

1.1.5       The university offers over 450 courses covering a broad range of subject areas7 at
            undergraduate and postgraduate level, many characterised by their professional and
            vocational focus and leading to professional recognition or accreditation by a Professional,
            Statutory and Regulatory Body (PSRB).

1.1.6       The university is involved in national and international HE developments and research
            projects. Examples include:
             lead partner for the Sussex Learning Network (SLN) and Sussex Aim Higher;
             hosting the Subject Centre in Art, Design and Media and involvement in three Centres
                 for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL)8, one of which – the CETL in Design
                 (CETLD) is led by the university;
             hosting the European League of Institutes of the Arts Teachers Academy 2007 and
                 coordinating institution for EPOCH, a network of over a hundred European cultural
                 institutions aiming to improve the quality and effectiveness of the use of ICT for Cultural
                 Heritage;
             four academic staff as National Teaching Fellows9;
             external recognition for the university‟s central departments10.

1.1.7       The university places significant emphasis on the link between research and teaching
            through a widespread range of applied and basic research being undertaken across all its
            subject areas. In RAE 2008 the university submitted 286 fte academic staff to 1611 units of
            assessment. The university works closely with business and community organisations, and is
            committed to expanding its economic and social engagement through, for example, the
            Community University Partnership Project (CUPP), its Collaborative Training Centre and,
            more recently, the establishment of the Business and Community Committee.

1.2         Developments since the last audit
1.2.1       The university appointed a new Vice-Chancellor, Professor Julian Crampton in September
            2005, following the move to the University of London, Institute of Education of Professor Sir
            David Watson.

1.2.2       Other new appointments have included a Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research), Deans of the
            Faculties of Health and Social Science, and Arts and Architecture and new Heads of
            School12. Two positions have been created with responsibility for equality and diversity for
            staff and student matters. Roles have been created at faculty level focusing on academic
            matters relating to development, planning, quality and standards. A further significant change
            has been the introduction of a new pay and grading framework for all staff.


5
  HESA census date 1st December 2007
6
  Annual Academic Year Review (AAYR) 2006-07
7
  Undergraduate and Postgraduate prospectus
8
    CETLD, InQbate (CETL in Creativity) and LearnHigher CETL
9
    Jon Dron, Hal Sosabowski, Gaynor Sadlo (and Gina Wisker, award at APU)
10
     eg, Student Services Matrix Award
11
     includes a joint submission with the University of Sussex
12
     Education, Chelsea, Nursing and Midwifery, Centre for Learning and Teaching
                                                                                                   Page 2 of 37
1.2.3    Organisational developments have included the establishment of the School of Environment
         and Technology (SET)13 , and School of Language, Literature and Communication (SLLC)14
         in 2007. There has been considerable discussion about building on and developing subject
         areas such as English, Media Studies, Humanities and Social Sciences15 in the university,
         including their links with existing subject areas and schools, and discussions about securing
         the future of subject areas such as Engineering16.

1.2.4    A new Corporate Plan 2007-12 has been developed, following a period of consultation and
         discussion. Other new or revised policies since 2004 include the Staffing Strategy, Learning
         and Teaching Strategy, Mental Health Policy, Personal Development Planning Policy, and a
         framework for ethics and governance17.

1.2.5    The continued development of the Brighton and Sussex Medical School (BSMS) has seen its
         incorporation of the Institute of Postgraduate Medicine (IPGM - previously the Postgraduate
         Medical School). The first cohort of undergraduate medical students will complete their fifth
         (and final) year in 2007-08.

1.2.6    The university has continued to expand and strengthen its regional role and partnership
         activity. This includes development of new courses to meet employer needs, most notably
         the FdA Policing in Partnership with Communities which provides training for Sussex police
         officers at three sites (Falmer, Eastbourne and the University of Chichester Bognor campus),
         and includes community placement opportunities. The SLN is informing course and
         curriculum development in a number of schools and FECs. In September 2006 the university
         entered a partnership with Northbrook to become the validating body for its HE provision.
         This includes 20 courses (foundation and honours degrees) delivered to approximately 500
         HE students. As reported at the last audit, the university, in partnership with the Open
         University, the University of Sussex and Hastings College, launched the University Centre
         Hastings (UCH) in September 2003 to provide HE relevant to the needs of the community;
         UCH now offers 17 courses to 329 students18 and more recently the university developed a
         cross-school modular programme for UCH19. In the same period the university has also
         opted to begin to withdraw from some of its peripheral collaborative activity20.

1.2.7    The professional and vocational character of the university‟s academic provision requires a
         high level of external review, and since 2004 there have been two major reviews of NHS
         funded provision, 12 successful Ofsted inspections and a regular annual pattern of visits and
         accreditations to provision across the university.

1.2.8    Over the last four years the university‟s student learning environment has been enhanced by
         improvements to the estate and, in particular, with the increased use of web-based
         technologies. The use of studentcentral (in 2004 still in its early stages) has now become
         widespread and the great majority (between 80 and 85 %21) of the university‟s students use
         it to access course materials, resources and student support information. The university has
         also developed early access to information for students prior to enrolment. Following the
         2006 introduction of the new fees and bursaries regime, positive student achievement has
         been encouraged and rewarded by the first merit-based scholarships, awarded in 2007.

13
   Previously School of Engineering and School of Environment
14
   Previously School of Languages
15
   AB05-03 Jan 2005 - Academic Organisation, AB06-90 December 2006 Distribution and Leadership of Social Sciences and
Humanities Subjects
16
   AB07-13 March 2007 – Academic re-organisation within the Faculty of Science and Engineering
17
   See full list of policies and strategies
18
   University of Brighton validated courses
19
   Validation report of UCH Joint Honours Programme June 2007
20
   London School of Osteopathy and International College of Oriental Medicine
21
   Student Written Submission 2008
                                                                                                                Page 3 of 37
1.2.9    Key elements of the university‟s framework for managing quality and standards have been
         further developed since 2004, responding to changing demands of students, employers and
         the institution itself. Significant developments have included the recent approval of a new
         Learning and Teaching Strategy22, completing the move from HND to Foundation degree
         provision23, the merger of the Learning Resources Committee (LRC) and Learning and
         Teaching Committee (LTC)24, and further devolution to faculties of quality assurance
         responsibilities25.

1.2.10 Recommendations included in the 2004 audit have been thoroughly considered and
       significant developments (covered in more detail in later sections) include:
        articulating how the university monitors and evaluates the comparability of academic
            standards across the breadth of its provision:
           o the adoption of a common undergraduate grading scale;
           o more systematic consideration of assessment processes and outcomes;
           o proposals relating to the use and analysis of data during annual monitoring.
        reviewing and strengthening the conduct of its procedures for the validation of new
            programmes of study in partner colleges, and taking further its existing arrangements for
            the support and academic development of its partner colleges:
           o completion of the approval of Foundation degrees and associated support to work
                within university academic and regulatory frameworks;
           o tighter processes relating to signing off conditions.
        developing further its work in progress on assessment policy and practice, and proceed
            with its current initiatives in establishing, where necessary, greater consistency in its
            quality management arrangements with respect to internal moderation:
           o all schools operate in accordance with principles of the policy and recent review has
                been undertaken in light of revised section of the Code of Practice.
        considering at an institutional level the findings and strategic implications of all reports
            from PSRBs:
           o establishment of the PSRB Reports Sub-committee in 2005.
        reviewing its present regulations for the composition of its faculty and institutional
            validation panels:
           o reviewed and unchanged.

1.3      The institution’s framework for managing academic standards and the quality of
         learning opportunities
1.3.1    The university offers a very extensive range of courses, many characterised by their
         vocational, professional and applied focus. The key principles underpinning the university‟s
         approach to managing academic standards and the quality of learning opportunities are:
          critical self reflection;
          collective ownership of, and distributed responsibility for, academic standards and
             quality;
          external scrutiny and accountability;
          prioritising student learning, achievement and experience within the quality assurance
             framework;
          the use of diverse and contextually appropriate learning and teaching approaches in the
             curriculum.

1.3.2    The university‟s framework for managing academic standards and quality of learning
         opportunities is designed to balance internal consistency across the institution with external

22
   Learning and Teaching Strategy
23
   ASC06-69 October 2006 – Report on foundation degrees
24
   AB06-61 September 2006 – Terms of reference, constitution and membership of reporting committees for the Academic Board
25
   AB06-35 – Course development proposals
                                                                                                                 Page 4 of 37
            consistency at subject level. It relates to the now nationally (and increasingly internationally)
            recognised Academic Infrastructure (AI). The overall framework is set out in the Quality
            Statement26 and consideration of `academic standards` and `quality of learning
            opportunities` within all elements of the quality assurance framework is fundamental. The
            distinction between the two elements is played out not through different processes or policy
            but rather through a shared understanding of how the two interrelate. Thus the Course
            Development Policy seeks to ensure appropriate academic standards are met as well as
            ensuring the curriculum, together with teaching, learning, and assessment structures, will
            support students in achieving those standards.

1.3.3       A core feature of the quality assurance framework is the significant delegation of
            responsibilities to faculties for course approval and review, annual monitoring, and the
            operation and chairing of examination boards. The university‟s aim is to strike the right
            balance between institutional security and local ownership of quality and standards and
            between maintaining institutional principles to secure academic standards and allowing
            discipline difference and adaptation. Underpinning this approach is the necessity to
            understand and respond to the student learning experience through a sector-wide
            disciplinary and professional lens as well as an institutional one.

1.3.4       The university‟s academic development is influenced by a series of external and internal
            demands and expectations, and the quality assurance framework is intended to enable the
            university to participate in complex relationships within the region, nationally and
            internationally, and to continue to develop and expand its portfolio to meet changing external
            (professional and subject) environments, eg FdA Policing in Partnership with Communities
            (2006), MA Tourism and Leisure Management (2006), the UCH joint honours programme
            (2007), and Postgraduate Diplomas and Certificates in Social Work (2007).

1.3.5       The university considers itself a mature and reflective institution: it is able to adapt
            institutional policy and process to meet changing needs (eg recent changes to the Course
            Development process) and is confident in supporting different faculty approaches to the
            delegated management of quality and standards (eg through different committee structures).
            It is also sufficiently self-aware periodically to check its structures and processes to ensure
            they continue to meet and enhance institutional responsibilities. For example during 2007-08
            the university brought together key representatives from each faculty to reflect on the
            different committee structures in place27.




26
     Quality Statement
27
     Faculty Committee Structures Working Group terms of reference
                                                                                                    Page 5 of 37
Section 2         Institutional management of academic standards

2.1      Introduction
2.1.1    Confidence in the academic standards of its awards is a fundamental pre-condition for the
         achievement of the university‟s purposes. This has been achieved through a well-established
         framework for managing curriculum and assessment development and review. External
         scrutiny is an essential component, maintaining the link between the university‟s provision
         and its external benchmarks. This section outlines key elements in place including:
          approval, monitoring and review;
          external examining;
          Academic Infrastructure and external reference points;
          assessment policy and regulations;
          management information.

2.2      Approval, monitoring and review of award standards
2.2.1    The university‟s Common Academic Framework (CAF) 28 establishes the core characteristics
         relating to credit and levels of all of the university‟s awards and takes note of the Framework
         for Higher Education Qualifications. The CAF has recently been revised taking account of the
         proposed national credit framework for England and the framework for the European Higher
         Education Area (see 2.4).

2.2.2    The university operates a well-established and widely understood policy and process for
         course development and review through which academic standards, and the means by
         which they can be supported and achieved, are assured. The three distinct but interrelated
         aspects of this are approval, monitoring and review, and each is guided by separate but
         complementary processes29. A common feature of each is the use of external reference
         points and, in the case of programme development and periodic review, external scrutiny as
         well as internal scrutiny across the university.

2.2.3    New course developments are generated by strategic discussions at school, faculty and
         university level, and may occur in response to changing student demand, evolving subject
         areas, staff expertise or national initiatives such as the SLN. Development typically follows
         principles laid out in the Course Approval and Review Handbook. Following school and
         faculty support, the Academic Development Committee (ADC) provides institutional approval
         for the use of a title and recruitment to it, subject to an academic rationale for the
         development and sufficient evidence of the availability of resources (human and physical). A
         review during 2006-07 was undertaken of the information requirements of central
         departments as well as for the ADC30 and, as a result, a revised template was introduced
         with a stronger focus on resources as well as a clearer distinction between information
         required for the ADC and that required in parallel by central departments. Additional
         information is required for partnership proposals (see section 5).

2.2.4    In 2006-07, 32 validation events were held. 14 involved courses offered by one of the
         university‟s main partner colleges, and a further three were in partnership with European
         institutions31. On occasion initial approval or validation approval is delayed or withheld to
         allow for further development and discussion between or within schools, for example the
         Masters in Public Administration32.




28
   Common Academic Framework
29
   Course Development Process, Academic Health Process and Periodic Review Process
30
   ADC07-44 May 2007 – Revised ADC form
31
   Validation Workshop November 2007
32
   ADC07-23 – Minutes of the meeting held 1st March 2007, minute 905.4
                                                                                                Page 6 of 37
2.2.5    The Academic Standards Committee (ASC) is the primary site of review and development of
         quality assurance processes. Two significant changes to programme development and
         review introduced in the last two years are outlined below.

2.2.6    The first relates to university-level scrutiny of course outlines. In 2006 the university
         amended the Course Development Policy, so that only courses involving new, innovative or
         collaborative developments would continue to be considered in detail by the ASC prior to
         validation. The decision was made on the basis that discussions of most course outlines at
         the ASC were, adding little value to the thorough scrutiny which had already been conducted
         at (Faculty Academic Boards) FABs33. This development was possible because of a shared
         understanding across the university about the structure, shape and (academic) levels of our
         awards, which has been achieved through the development and use of internal (eg CAF) and
         external (eg AI) reference points.

2.2.7    The second change relates to internal review processes. For many years the university
         operated an Internal Subject Review (ISR) process, and more recently a revalidation
         process. In 2006 this was reviewed and a Periodic Review process was developed for
         implementation beginning 2007-08 which includes elements of ISR as well as elements of
         revalidation. The institution has returned to a principle of continuous approval, but
         concentrating now on enhancements to the programme. The process is described in the
         Course Approval and Review Handbook, and notable features include the appointment of an
         ASC representative on the panels and involvement of students34.

2.2.8    Unsuccessful course development is rare but can occur (e.g. the FdSc in Veterinary
         Nursing35 ) illustrating both the rigour of the process and the need to continue to refine
         mechanisms for identifying and resolving major concerns at an early stage. The annual
         Validation Workshop is a key opportunity to reflect on these processes. For example in 2004,
         colleagues considered the chairing of validations by Deans (identified for consideration by
         the 2004 Institutional Audit report) concluding that no change was needed36. The 2006
         workshop provided an opportunity to understand different needs of all participants (course
         development team, panel members and officers) in the validation process which informed
         the revised version of the Course Approval and Review Handbook. Faculties also review
         their course development activity and amend local processes so as better to support
         development and approval. For example the Faculty of Science and Engineering has
         introduced a Faculty ASC to undertake specific responsibilities relating to course
         development37.

2.2.9    The annual monitoring process, known as Academic Health, remains, as in 1999 and 2004,
         a basic building block in the university‟s quality assurance processes for management of
         academic standards. It is a well-understood process that secures widespread engagement at
         a number of levels with consideration of the delivery of the university‟s taught provision, the
         achievement of students on those courses, and the views of external examiners and
         students. The process prompts detailed consideration and action at all levels38, for example,
         as a result of the 2004-05 process, the Faculty of Arts and Architecture undertook a close
         analysis of the classifications achieved across its programmes in order to understand if there
         was an upward drift in classification39.



33
   ASC06-45 April 2006 – Course development: committee consideration
34
   ASC06-60 June 2006 – Internal subject review; ASC06-71 October 2006 – Proposals for periodic review
35
   Validation report of FdSc Veterinary Nursing April 2007
36
   Validation Workshop November 2004
37
   Faculty Academic Standards Committee terms of reference
38
   ASC07-115 December 2007 – Report of the Annual Academic Health meeting
39
   FacAA November 2006 – Award profiles and comparability
                                                                                                         Page 7 of 37
2.2.10 Building on the security of monitoring processes undertaken at course level, some schools
       and faculties are now exploring a more risk-based and thematic approach to annual
       monitoring. The university considers such faculty-led developments as an important feature
       of the way in which the university quality management systems develop.

2.2.11 An important feature of the Academic Health process is consideration of an annual theme.
       This provides the institution with a valuable perspective on engagement with, and emerging
       issues related to, institutional policies and practices such as assessment or equality and
       diversity. This is explored in further detail in section 4. Following the conclusion of the annual
       monitoring process the Academic Health Enhancement workshop is held and is used to
       continue discussion on the annual theme and to consider any issues (either substantive or
       process) that have arisen through the Academic Health process. For example, following the
       05-06 cycle, an extensive review of the use and analysis of data within the Academic Health
       process was undertaken40. This has led to a series of recommendations aimed at improving
       the use of data to secure greater comparability across the institution.

2.2.12 The Annual Academic Year Review, now in its 16th year (2007), is received by the Academic
       Board at its first meeting of the year and provides a valuable overview of university‟s activity
       (taught, research and third stream activity, provision of services to students, numbers of staff
       and students and the learning environment). In 2007, the Academic Board piloted a new
       process of review for its consideration of the AAYR which secured a greater level of scrutiny
       as well as informing discussions about the future direction of the review41.

2.2.13 Collaborative provision is reviewed alongside and within the university‟s core Academic
       Health process, thus ensuring full consideration alongside cognate subject areas and
       comparable awards, Collaborative provision is also subject to additional processes (see
       section 5).

2.2.14 With only two exceptions, all the university‟s schools offer courses that carry PSRB approval
       (in its broadest sense). The operation of these relationships exemplifies the balance the
       university maintains between institutional and the local management of academic standards.
       Relationships are primarily managed at the discipline level in schools, with faculty oversight.
       Courses accredited by a PSRB can, and should, often share more in common with similar
       courses at other universities than with equivalent awards in other discipline areas within the
       University of Brighton. Nevertheless the university is firm in its commitment to ensuring such
       relationships and consequent judgements about the quality and standards of these courses
       are operating within common frameworks within the university. Exemption from regulations in
       order to meet PSRB requirements is allowed but this needs to be fully demonstrated and is
       carefully managed.

2.2.15 Quality assurance processes are sufficiently flexible to adapt to the needs of PSRBs as
       necessary and any variations to existing university processes will be negotiated between the
       school, faculty and university. For example the Faculty of Health and Social Science has a
       high level of joint validation and PSRB approval activity, and the university has maintained
       the principle in its new Periodic Review process that if a course is subject to PSRB
       (re)approval, a university-based review would not normally be separately required. Since the
       last audit, the university has established the PSRB Reports Sub-committee42 to secure
       university oversight of PSRB activity through the maintenance of a register of activity and
       through consideration of reports. This has allowed the identification of common themes,
       issues and good practice, for example with regard to the format of reports and the varied
       processes for judging professional suitability.


40
   ASC07-47 April 2007 – Proposals to support the use and analysis of data for annual monitoring
41
   AB07-107 – Minutes of the meeting held 13th December 2007, minute 3741
42
   PSRB terms of reference
                                                                                                   Page 8 of 37
2.2.16 The 2004 Institutional Audit recommended that the university consider how it monitored, and
       evaluated the comparability of academic standards across the breadth of its provision.
       Discussions over the last three years have taken place in various fora (the LTC, the ASC,
       FABs, Learning and Teaching Forum)43 and pursued a number of policy strands (single
       undergraduate marking scale, generic marking criteria, analysis of Academic Health data,
       consideration of use and application of regulations, review of the Assessment Policy, revision
       to the CAF) illustrating the serious and considered way in which the university approaches
       such issues.

2.3      External examiners
2.3.1    The university uses external examiners in line with accepted practice across the HE sector.
         They are appointed for all university courses in accordance with long established policy and
         process44. Their roles and responsibilities, and arrangements for induction, can be found in
         the External Examiner Handbook45 . In 2006-07 110 new appointments were made.

2.3.2    A sub-committee of the ASC, the Sub-committee for External Examiner Nominations
         (SCEEN), acts on behalf of the Academic Board in approving the appointment of all external
         examiners. External examiner nominations are considered at both school and faculty level
         before presentation to SCEEN. The university encourages external examiner nominations to
         be drawn from a wide variety of institutional and professional contexts and traditions in order
         that courses benefit from an appropriate range of external scrutiny. An analysis of external
         examiner backgrounds is considered by SCEEN at its autumn meeting46.

2.3.3    Induction and briefing of new external examiners is shared between the school and the
         Academic Standards and Partnership section of the Registry. Schools are responsible for
         briefing examiners on all relevant aspects of the operation of the course/programme, which
         typically involves an informal visit by the examiner to the school to meet staff. The External
         Examiners‟ Handbook provides details of the documentation to be provided to an external
         examiner. The university has provided an annual External Examiners‟ Induction Workshop
         for all new and continuing examiners since 200047, with approximately 50-60 new examiners
         attending each year. The workshop is well-received by external examiners and in response
         to feedback received elements have been revised and new features introduced.

2.3.4    All external examiners produce a written report formally submitted to the chair of the
         Academic Board and circulated according to agreed processes48. The report template was
         revised in light of section 4 of the QAA Code of Practice (2004). External examiners are
         requested to comment on academic standards and student performance, the learning
         opportunities and examination board operation (including the university‟s regulations) making
         use of external reference points including the Foundation degree benchmark. All reports are
         considered at Course Boards and Boards of Study and schools‟ annual monitoring reports
         include a summary of the key features of external examiner reports and actions to be taken
         as necessary. Reports for courses at partner institutions are considered annually by the
         Academic Partnership Committee (APC). From October 2007 external examiner reports
         have also been made available to student representatives on Course Boards which meet as
         part of the annual Academic Health process. All external examiner reports are read by the
         Vice-Chancellor, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Academic Affairs) and Academic Standards Officer,
         as well as by Deans, Heads of School and course leaders. Where specific problems are
         identified, the course team is asked to respond on action taken to address these problems as


43
   Comparability of Academic Standards briefing paper
44
   GEAR section E – External examiners
45
   External Examiners‟ Handbook
46
   SCEEN 07-114 – Annual report
47
   ASC07-34 March 2007 – Report of the external examiners‟ workshop
48
   General Examination and Assessment Procedures Handbook (GEAPH)
                                                                                              Page 9 of 37
           appropriate. Generic issues are noted from reports to inform sessions at the annual External
           Examiners‟ Workshop.

2.3.5      In 2008, the university held its second training workshop for staff interested in becoming
           external examiners which was attended by 25 staff. The establishment of this workshop
           followed some years of running an External Examiners‟ Reports Workshop which had
           provided both an opportunity to take an institution-wide perspective of external examiners‟
           reports and a valuable insight for new academic staff into the role of an external examiner.

2.4        Academic Infrastructure and other external reference points
2.4.1      The university considers itself part of a national and (increasingly) international academic
           community, offering academic provision the quality of which is mutually assured by shared
           understanding and processes. Being able to use reference points that are commonly
           understood is vital for academic development and approval.

2.4.2      The university has incorporated the AI into its own policies and procedures, which has
           helped harmonise and anchor institutional practices with sector-wide practice as exemplified
           by:
            the CAF using the FHEQ as a key reference point and the Framework for European
               Higher Education Area. Recent revisions to the CAF also took note of the proposed
               national credit framework for England 49;
            the Course Approval and Review Handbook including expectations about the use of the
               AI, and validation events often exploring issues using the AI as a reference point;
            sections of the Code of Practice informing revisions to existing policy where the
               university considers it appropriate, for example:
               o section 7 was used in formulating the new Periodic Review process;
               o the external examiner report form was modified following revisions to section 4;
               o section 5 (academic appeals and complaints) is currently being considered;

2.4.3      Revisions to the AI are considered by the ASC, and where appropriate, considered at a local
           level (for example subject benchmarks) with comments noted at institutional level50.

2.4.4      As already indicated, the university has a significant level of engagement with PSRBs, and
           during 2006-07 39 courses across 10 schools were subject to some level of scrutiny
           (validation, review, annual monitoring) from a PSRB. A summary overview of enagagement
           was recently received by the ASC51.

2.4.5      In addition, subject centres provide a valuable resource and reference point, The HE
           Academy Annual Academic Partnership Report 2006-07 reports on both significant
           interaction between subject centres and schools in the university and also the various events
           run by the HE Academy attended by university staff. For example, the Centre for Learning
           and Teaching (CLT) with SLLC received funding from the English Subject Centre to
           undertake research into the establishment of English as a discipline at the university. SLLC
           is also managing a consortium project with funding from the Linguistics, Language and Area
           Studies Subject Centre to research and promote routes into modern foreign languages.

2.4.6      Staff are engaged as reviewers and examiners for other HEIs and are members of
           professional bodies. Currently over 130 staff are engaged as external examiners at other
           universities.




49
     ASC07-44 April 2007 – Common academic framework
50
     ASC06-93 November 2006 – National consultations
51
     ASC08-11 February 2008 - Summary report on PSRB engagement
                                                                                              Page 10 of 37
2.5      Assessment policies and regulations
2.5.1    The Assessment Policy was developed and implemented in 2003-2005 and aimed to provide
         a common framework within which all assessment practices could be situated. Each school
         has an assessment policy (in some cases these are set within over-arching faculty
         frameworks) which will typically include specific requirements for setting and moderation of
         assessment, as well as defining the types of assessment that might be used for modules.
         These were reviewed under the direction of the LTC in 2007 in the light of the revised section
         of the Code. The range of work undertaken on the implementation of the assessment policy
         since its development is summarised in a briefing paper prepared for ASC52.

2.5.2    The university operates a common set of regulations, the General Examination and
         Assessment Regulations for Taught Courses (GEAR53), to which all taught courses are
         subject. In addition course specific regulations, typically defining the curriculum structure are
         required to be in place. Over the past three years the university has carried out:
          the development of a common undergraduate marking scale54;
          the development of a framework for the use of agreed grade descriptors55;
          discussion and debate relating to postgraduate regulations including pass mark and
             merit and distinction algorithm.

2.5.3    The management and operation of over 300 examination boards that run each year is
         delegated to faculties, mirroring their delegated responsibilities for other aspects of the
         quality assurance and standards framework. Following the implementation of the
         Assessment Policy, the university has further developed its regulatory framework through a
         strengthening of its institutional oversight of the use and implementation of regulations which
         include:
          the establishment of the Sub-committee for Examination and Assessment (SCEA) in
             2005 which has a strategic role in considering the implementation and development of
             regulations;
          annual post examination board meetings in faculties and production of faculty reports to
             SCEA;
          the establishment of the Chairs of Examination Boards Register and an annual Chairs‟
             workshop;
          improvements in the recording and reporting of academic misconduct.

2.5.4    Three key drivers were important in taking forward these developments: discussion around
         the comparability of academic standards; the revised section of the Code of Practice on
         assessment which emphasises the importance of clear assessment practices for students;
         and internal discussions about achieving effective use, oversight and development of
         regulations56.

2.6      Management information
2.6.1    The university uses its student records data to consider profile, progression and achievement
         of students, and significant progress has been made since the last audit in establishing a
         core student data set which is used to meet external and internal needs. The data is made
         available annually for the Academic Health process57 and is reviewed at school and faculty
         level as well as institutionally.



52
   Assessment policy briefing paper
53
   GEAR
54
   AB07-41 June 2007 – Revisions to the university‟s GEAR
55
   ASC07-99 November 2007 – Marking/grading criteria; ASC07-107 Minutes of the meeting held 15th November 2007, minute 1160
56
   ASC05-84 October 2005 – Academic regulations: mechanisms for reporting, review and development; SCEA07-12 – Minutes of
the meeting held 6th November 2007
57
   Academic Health data website
                                                                                                              Page 11 of 37
2.6.2       Information relating to assessment such as comparative data on the use of compensation at
            examination boards is now considered by SCEA.

2.6.3       In addition, the Strategic Planning Unit undertakes analysis and development work in core
            areas for the university and since the last audit has appointed additional posts to undertake
            data analysis. Recent work has included analysis for equalities impact assessments of the
            university‟s admissions and assessment data, and regular reviews of student retention.

2.6.4       The Destination of Leavers in HE data is reviewed by the Careers Centre and made
            available on the university‟s website. The outcomes of the National Student Survey (NSS)
            (see section 3) have now added to the comprehensive range of information that the
            university is able to use in its analysis of the quality of its academic provision.

2.6.5       A review of the use and analysis of institutional data was undertaken during 2006-07, and
            key recommendations58 from the Academic Health Data Working Group (AHDWG) included:
             the establishment of a suite of three primary analysis data sets (Institutional, School,
                Partner Institution) to promote greater consistency and comparability;
             the establishment of an Institutional Data Review Group to inform use and analysis of
                data;
             working with faculties and schools on alternative grouping of courses into programmes
                and more effective use of data available amongst colleagues
             promoting the use of external benchmarking of national data available via HESA.




58
     ASC07-47 April 2007 – Final report from the AHDWG
                                                                                                Page 12 of 37
Section 3             Institutional management of learning opportunities

3.1         Introduction
3.1.1       Ensuring students are able to succeed in their learning is a fundamental principle underlying
            the design and delivery of courses. The university achieves this in three key ways: firstly
            through the appointment of appropriately qualified academic staff for the provision we offer
            and wish to develop; secondly through the Course Development process during which the
            student learning experience is explored and reviewed; and thirdly through the provision of
            appropriate learning resources.

3.1.2       Other key elements also outlined in this section include the:
             use of external reference points;
             role of students and their feedback;
             management of student support and learning resources;
             links between research and learning opportunities.

3.2         The use of the Academic Infrastructure and other external reference points
3.2.1       As noted in Section 2 the university is part of an extensive HE community which relies on a
            collective and shared approach to understanding and developing teaching and learning. The
            use of external reference points and benchmarks is significant in achieving this. This may
            take place at institutional level such as:
             the Code of Practice, for example the revised section on assessment of students, has
                 informed recent work to review local assessment policies, and particularly to encourage
                 an assessment for learning approach and to inform discussions about development of
                 marking/grading descriptors. These aim to ensure a shared understanding of
                 achievement for students59;
             the development of the Personal Development Planning Policy60, which built upon the
                 long-established Career Planning Agreement.

3.2.2       The high level of PSRB involvement in the university‟s provision provides an important
            external point of reference which will typically feature in the annual review and
            (re)development of courses. The specification of particular standards or competencies will
            invoke consideration of the appropriateness of student learning opportunities (including
            assessment methods) and this is explored through the university quality assurance
            processes, including validation and periodic review. Two examples of this are the TDA
            standards and developments in QTS courses, and the development of assessment practices
            such as the use of OSCEs in nursing programmes.

3.2.3       The university is a large, diverse and highly permeable organisation whose teaching and
            research activities are characterised by their links to the professions, to practitioners and to
            business. Close engagement with the regional social and economic context is an essential
            feature of the institution. Many courses make extensive use of visiting lecturers who are
            practitioners in their field (for example practice based provision in the School of Arts and
            Communication) and such expertise is used to develop new courses, for example the FdA
            Broadcast Media offered at UCH. Several schools have Industrial Advisory Boards, and a
            number of staff are working with local companies through Knowledge Transfer Partnerships
            (KTPs). CUPP has developed and extended the university‟s work within the region and its
            local communities.

3.2.4       The university is active in a number of externally-funded teaching and learning projects, for
            example the HEA/JISC e-Learning benchmarking and Pathfinder projects and the visual
            assessment project funded through the LearnHigher CETL. The university has direct

59
     ASC07-04 February 2007 – Revised sections of the QAA Code of Practice for the assurance of academic quality and standards
60
     AB06-34 June 2006 – Policy on personal development planning
                                                                                                                   Page 13 of 37
         involvement in three CETLs all of which involve external partners. These are described in
         more detail in section 3.6.6.

3.3      Approval, monitoring and review of programmes
3.3.1    The Course Development process is the central route through which student learning
         opportunities are planned (curriculum, learning, teaching and assessment, resources,
         student support) and new learning opportunities implemented. Developing a course starts
         with creating learning opportunities through curriculum design. The Course Development
         process is designed to ensure thorough consideration of the student experience, including
         ensuring progression through a course is well-structured, utilises good practice and is
         informed by relevant external factors. Examples include:
          supporting work-related learning on Foundation degrees61;
          validation of the new PGCE Post-compulsory Education, recently awarded a grade 1 by
              Ofsted62;
          validation of the new MDes/MFA awards, the development of which took account of both
              the employment context and the stringent academic requirements of masters level
              awards63.

3.3.2    The annual Academic Health process ensures the maintenance and improvement of the
         quality of the student learning experience. This is a continuous activity with an annual
         outcome; relying on core building blocks including external examiner commentaries, student
         evaluation and assessment outcomes to review courses, and identifying actions to ensure
         that the learning opportunities remain appropriate and current, and that student learning is
         supported.

3.3.3    The new Periodic Review process, building upon previous ISR and revalidation processes,
         provides an opportunity to reflect upon the quality of learning opportunities in the context of
         the operation of a course over five years, developments (nationally) in the subject area and
         institutional policies and practice. For example the recent periodic review in Graphic Design
         saw the number of units that make up the course reduce from 57 to 22.

3.4      Management information
3.4.1    The university draws on a range of information from its students to inform institutional
         understanding of the student learning experience, most notably quantitative data such as the
         institutional Academic Health data (see section 2.6) and also qualitative data such as student
         evaluation which is considered at course and school level as well as institutionally through
         the Academic Health process.

3.4.2    Annual and periodic surveys are undertaken by Information Services64 and Student Services,
         and are used to inform improvements to their provision. They are also made available to
         schools as part of the Academic Health process and considered alongside more localised
         student evaluation. The university has commissioned an annual Student Finance Survey
         since 1992 which is received by the Academic Board, and this has provided important
         information (to take one example) regarding access to personal computers which helps
         inform developments in Information Services provision.

3.4.3    The establishment of the NSS has provided a valuable addition to the information the
         university collects from its students. All schools comment on the results of the survey in their
         annual academic monitoring report. At university level, outcomes are analysed and selected



61
   Validation report of FdA Sport Coaching and Development May 2006
62
   Validation report for the PGCE July 2007
63
   Validation report for the MDes April 2006
64
   LTC07-38 October2007 – Information Services annual report 2006-07
                                                                                              Page 14 of 37
         schools asked to comment on significant issues raised65, with action plans monitored
         through the ASC. The survey has highlighted concerns students have in relation to feedback
         on assessment. This has provided a sharper contextual focus for review of local assessment
         policies and practices. The School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences (PABS) has, for
         example, put into place an action plan to meet issues related to the timing and nature of
         feedback, and the provision of information on assessment tasks. In addition, good practice
         from the NSS results has been disseminated through research undertaken by the CLT66. The
         university recently participated in the HE Academy Taught Postgraduate Experience Survey
         and is now considering its outcomes67.

3.4.4    The Student Feedback Working Group was established in 2004 to take a view across the
         institution as to the appropriateness of the multiple ways in which student views were sought.
         Following the subsequent successful development of the NSS the SFWG concluded its work
         in 2007, having decided against an additional institution wide survey of students. The Group
         endorsed the continuation of an institutional position of a flexible and integrated approach to
         student evaluation (combining formative and summative modes of feedback) according to
         local circumstances.

3.5      Role of students in quality assurance
3.5.1    Student participation in the quality assurance framework is essential and is achieved through
         committee representation, attendance and involvement in validation and review meetings,
         and significantly through student evaluation.

3.5.2    The University of Brighton Students‟ Union (UBSU) and student representatives have places
         on Course Boards, Boards of Study, FABs, the Academic Board and its committees, and the
         Board of Governors. Representation at the highest institutional level (through elected UBSU
         sabbatical officers) and at course level (Course Boards) is especially active and effective, for
         example:
          the Academic Misconduct Policy was recently revised in order to address issues of
             independence which had been raised by members of the Academic Board, including
             UBSU68;
          revisions to the Student Complaints Procedure included a UBSU member on the
             working group.

3.5.3    UBSU has recently taken on the role of securing representatives to FABs, which has
         improved the profile of student membership; UBSU offers training for all student
         representatives. In addition, many courses and schools have established local mechanisms,
         such as a Student Council in PABS and a Student Charter in Chelsea, to ensure students
         can discuss issues directly with relevant staff. At postgraduate level, research students are
         represented on the Research Degree Committee (RDC).

3.5.4    The Student Services Committee (SSC) contains a high proportion of UBSU members and
         reserves a regular place on its agenda for an UBSU report and other issues UBSU wishes to
         raise. There are regular meetings and contact between the Senior Management Team and
         the UBSU Executive.

3.5.5    The university values student evaluation and feedback as part of its quality assurance and
         enhancement processes and sees it secured at a range of levels (for example course and
         module) and in a number of different ways (including questionnaire and focus groups)
         across the university according to local context. As outlined in section 3.4 this is a deliberate
         policy which balances institutional needs with those at module and course level. There are

65
   ASC07-96 November 2007 – NSS results 2007: interim responses from schools
66
   CLT website
67
   ASC08-07 February 2008 - HEA taught postgraduate student experience
68
   AB07-41 June 2007 – Revisions to the university‟s GEAR
                                                                                               Page 15 of 37
            also university-wide surveys undertaken: for example information services, student services,
            sport and recreation, residences and catering. The SSC maintains an overview of the range
            of surveys undertaken69. The NSS (see section 3.3.3) provides additional information to
            which the university responds.

3.5.6       Students are actively encouraged to be involved in advising on the development of learning
            and teaching resources. The pattern of extended opening hours of library and computer pool
            rooms has been heavily influenced by student demand70.

3.5.7       Participation of students is an important requirement of the Periodic Review process for
            courses and review panels meet with current students to discuss their experiences.

3.6 Links between research or scholarly activity and learning opportunities
3.6.1 The university aims to foster, manage and support the relationship between the taught
      curriculum and research. The importance of sustaining research activity of at least national
      standing across all subject areas covered by its portfolio of courses is explicit in Aim 2 of the
      Corporate Plan.

3.6.2       The university encourages all staff to feed their research, scholarship and professional
            practice into the curriculum in order to maintain its currency, for example:
             in curriculum development initiated by staff research interests, including the Extension
                Studies programme in the Faculty of Arts and Architecture; Electives in the Brighton
                Business School (BBS) and the School of Service Management (SSM); targeted field
                trips in Geography; honours year projects, special subjects and dissertation topics
                throughout the university;
                illustrating core curriculum topics through case studies, for example the BBS‟s
                extensive use of case studies developed by staff in its law, finance and accountancy
                programmes and the use of current staff research in core courses within the Schools of
                Historical and Critical Studies, and Applied Social Science (SASS).

3.6.3       CLT plays a significant role in supporting the development of evidence-based teaching
            methods by providing, amongst others:
             small „learning and teaching research-oriented groups‟ which take the Learning and
                Teaching Strategy forward in relation to HEFCE‟s focus on linking research and
                teaching, and developing students as researchers;
             support for pedagogic research which can directly influence teaching and learning
                practice, for example research in the School of Health Professions into students‟
                experience of learning, the analysis of which will inform the different professions about
                their students‟ learning experiences and will facilitate comparison between problem-
                based and subject-based learning;
             the Learning and Teaching Research Conference (October 2007), which provides an
                opportunity for recipients of the internal Learning and Teaching Fellowships to
                disseminate their research findings.

3.6.4       In 2006-07 the university launched internally-funded learning and teaching fellowships to
            support a variety of innovations, developments and evaluations of processes and outcomes
            in learning and teaching, curriculum, and the student experience.

3.6.5       The Learning and Teaching Strategy interprets the corporate plan and connects it directly to
            practices of learning, teaching and assessment. The strategy focuses on enabling research
            evidence to inform the enhancement of student and staff learning and teaching activity and
            experience, through, amongst others: spreading good practice and well-founded


69
     SSC07-22
70
     LTC08-07 February 2008 – Information Services Report October 2007 through January 2008
                                                                                                Page 16 of 37
         developments in pedagogy; structured staff development opportunities; and the development
         of a research informed and enhanced curriculum. Projects related to learning and teaching
         underway during 2007-08 include71 Education and Sustainable Development and The Big
         Draw.

3.6.6    The university is involved in three CETLs - CETL through Design (lead institution), CETL in
         Creativity (joint with University of Sussex) and LearnHigher, which further good practice in
         learning and teaching, assessment and the student experience, and are providing valuable
         development opportunities eg the proposed MSc in Industrial and Product Design being
         developed with the University of Sussex. The LTC monitors the work of these in order to
         maximise their positive impact upon learning and teaching across the university72, and to
         ensure productive linkages between the work of these CETLs and relevant institutional
         strategies – most notably the Learning and Teaching Strategy. The university also hosts the
         HEA Subject Centre in Art, Design and Media.

3.6.7    The Periodic Review process enables a course team to consider recent research and
         pedagogic practice.

3.7      Other modes of study
3.7.1    E-learning plays an increasingly valuable and significant part in the university‟s part-time
         courses and in full-time courses involving extended placements, but the university‟s current
         academic plans do not include any significant commitment to courses wholly taught by e-
         learning or distance learning. It has developed only one course, MA Tourism and Leisure
         Management, wholly in e-learning mode which was undertaken jointly with an institution in
         France, having been initiated as a result of an EU funding opportunity73.

3.7.2    The role of e-learning in all of the university‟s provision is, however, expected to increase
         further over the life of the current Corporate Plan and there is now a considerable pool of
         expertise and an extensive level of activity in this area. The university regards e-learning, as
         developed over the past two decades, as a major addition to the range of pedagogic
         resources available to the schools, course teams and individual teachers. It does not regard
         e-learning as intrinsically qualitatively different to other pedagogic methods, has fully
         integrated consideration of e-learning into its Learning and Teaching Strategy and currently
         sees no added value in having a separate e-learning strategy.

3.7.3    The university‟s long tradition of offering vocationally-oriented courses focusing on the
         application of knowledge requires considerable emphasis on work-based learning which
         includes the use of placements and simulated work experience. The university has reflected
         on the operation of and support for placements in the light of national guidance and good
         practice, and has recently reviewed this in the light of the revised section of the QAA Code of
         Practice74.

3.8      Resources for learning
3.8.1    Overall responsibility for maintaining the quality of learning resources in the institution on
         behalf of the Academic Board resides with the ADC and ASC. ADC plays a key role in
         coordinating learning resources with estates and information management policies through
         its oversight of the Estates Committee and Information Strategy Committee (ISC); ASC plays
         a key role in ensuring that learning resources are closely aligned to learning and teaching
         activities.



71
   CLT website
72
   LTC07-40 – CETL update
73
   Validation report of MA Tourism and Leisure Management November 2006
74
   Placements webpage
                                                                                              Page 17 of 37
3.8.2       Until 2006 the LRC had responsibility for consideration of learning resources, and monitoring
            and evaluation of services. However the role and remit of the LRC and the LTC were
            increasingly overlapping, and the opportunity to consider the learning environment and
            experience in a more holistic way led to the decision to merge the two committees. The new
            LTC terms of reference take into account this broader and more strategic remit75.

3.8.3       In addition the Academic Health process provides a regular means by which resources are
            considered and action identified76, while patterns of use of teaching space are also
            considered through the Space Management Group as well as the committees cited above.
            The university is committed to long-term investment on all its sites and the programme of
            development over the next five years includes the completion by September 2009 of a £29m
            new academic building at Falmer, further academic space and a new library at Grand Parade
            by September 2010 and a new science building to house PABS at Moulsecoomb by
            September 2010.

3.8.4       Organisationally, the university has adopted a dual mechanism for the provision and
            planning of learning resources to students. Information Services is a central department that
            provides baseline library, computing, audio-visual, media and learning technologies services
            across the university, and varies these services in detail to meet the needs of the cluster of
            subjects at each site. Schools and faculties provide local subject-based resources, services,
            learning spaces, laboratories, workshops and specialist equipment and specialist computing
            facilities to meet specific study needs of subjects. User feedback helps to develop these
            services.

3.8.5       Information Services plays an active and strategically influential role in supporting the
            academic activities and developments of the university and the emerging learning needs, by
            responding directly to student evaluation (eg extension of library opening hours, additional
            funding targeted at the provision of more copies of key multiple texts) and through
            membership of course development teams and School Boards. In addition, staff in the
            department are involved in external networks and projects, for example the HEA e-learning
            benchmarking and Pathfinder projects and being a pilot in the JISC IT Governance and
            management Project.

3.8.6       Since 2004 the university has seen a significant rise in the use of its Managed Learning
            Environment (studentcentral). The development and use of studentcentral is steered and
            supported by Information Services and has been implemented through direct engagement
            with course and module leaders, as well as responding to student demands and
            expectations. The CLT works closely with Information Services to ensure staff are able to
            make appropriate use of e-learning in their teaching. The LTC receives regular reports on the
            use and development of studentcentral. The recent establishment of the innovative
            Community@ Brighton social networking service and the use of blogs and wikis demonstrate
            the success of the university‟s strategic approach to the deployment of networking
            technologies to support student learning.

3.8.7       The university has recently provided a number of secure wireless access zones, targeted at
            informal learning areas and social spaces.

3.8.8       Learning materials for students in the libraries and the studentcentral online library are
            identified, acquired and made available by specialist librarians or Information Advisers (IAs)
            in liaison with academic staff in their subject areas. Together they work on implementing
            overall strategies to enhance learning and teaching and to support curriculum design by
            aligning the learning resources base with the academic ambitions of each school. IAs work
            with teaching staff to provide the direct communication between Information Services and

75
     AB06-61 September 2006 – Terms of reference, constitution and membership of reporting committees for the Academic Board
76
     ASC06-116 December 2006 – Interface between schools and central departments
                                                                                                                   Page 18 of 37
         schools. IAs also deliver a face to face enquiry service during all library opening hours,
         provide one to one guidance for staff and research students and deliver tutorials to student
         groups – both at induction and later to develop independent skills in information retrieval and
         use. IAs are members of school Course Boards, Boards of Study and course teams –
         including at validation.

3.9      Admissions policy
3.9.1    The Admissions Policy77 provides an overarching framework that sets the parameters for
         admission criteria, the principles that guide the admission of students and the structure of
         responsibilities in the admissions process. Course-specific admissions criteria are derived
         from this and developed through the Course Development process and agreed at validation.
         The policy is currently being revised, informed by the most recent changes in the Code of
         Practice, which has prompted the university to include a more formalised appeals and
         complaints process78.

3.9.2    The university has developed a number of new qualifications over the last five years to
         provide alternative entry routes into HE, for example the Foundation Diploma which has
         been designed as a mixed level (levels 1 and 2) programme for students already in
         employment79.

3.10 Student support
3.10.1 The university provides well-managed and well-directed student support - academic and
       personal - to enable its students to achieve their potential. Students are provided with
       information about support for learning through course handbooks and studentcentral.
       Students have opportunities to review their personal, academic and career development on a
       planned and regular basis through personal tutoring, which complements both direct course
       delivery by academic staff and specialist support by Student Services. The two aspects of
       student support are closely interrelated and oversight is achieved through the SSC and the
       LTC. Two examples include:
        the Personal Development Planning policy is now well-established across the university
            and this acts as a primary framework by which to support students in maximising their
            learning opportunities. The university encourages and supports the development of
            students‟ skills alongside their subject knowledge which sees courses embed
            employability, enterprise and sustainability into their curriculum, for example all year 1
            students in the undergraduate business programme take a Personal and Professional
            development module;
        the Mental Health Policy80 introduced in 2006 further supports students.

3.10.2 The Personal Tutoring Policy, updated in 2003, articulates a set of principles specifying
       student entitlements. The policy does not require a particular operational model to be used;
       each school is responsible for maintaining systems and practices to ensure that students on
       all courses have access to appropriate personal tutor support. Monitoring of this is achieved
       through student feedback at course level and through the AH process. The LTC maintains
       oversight of the policy and CLT have produced a resource pack for personal tutors81.

3.10.3 The university recognises the diversity of its student population, its types of courses, the
       demands of its multi-campus estate and the differing needs students have at different times
       in their career at the university. A partnership between the schools, central departments,
       CLT, UBSU and groups such as the Widening Participation Implementation Group supports
       this diversity. Student Services is responsible for the overall management and delivery of key

77
   Admissions Policy
78
   ASC07-22 March 2007 – QAA Code of Practice on admissions to higher education
79
   AB07-14 March 2007 – Proposal for a Foundation Diploma and a Masters of Public Administration
80
   Mental Health Policy
81
   Personal Tutoring: A guide for tutors
                                                                                                   Page 19 of 37
         personal support and guidance services to students. The APC offers a forum for the
         evaluation and monitoring of personal support and guidance to students at partner colleges.

3.10.4 Established procedures for students with disabilities have been operating and are well-
       understood amongst key participants, including students, course leaders, course
       administrators and chairs of exam boards. Successful liaison between the disability team and
       school-level contacts ensure that adjustments to, for example, the assessment regime, are
       achieved82.

3.11 Staff support
3.11.1 The Staffing Strategy83 provides the overall framework for managing the support and
       development of all staff. This is complemented by the Learning and Teaching Strategy which
       provides the overall framework for teaching quality enhancement plans.

3.11.2 The Staffing Strategy articulates the university‟s commitment to the recruitment and
        development of high quality teaching (and learning support) staff, which is fundamental for
        the management and quality of student learning opportunities. Ensuring the right staff are in
        the in right place and possess the optimum skills and knowledge base to advance student
        learning effectively is a fundamental principle for the university. This strategy is achieved
        through careful staff appointment and the creation of an active academic culture in which
        scholarships, research, and teaching and learning are paramount. The appointment of
        subject leaders and professors, (of whom the university has appointed 25 over the last three
        years) plays a significant role in achieving this.

3.11.3 Staff development needs are identified through discussion with Heads of School and
       Departments and their senior colleagues. It is policy that all staff new to teaching HE who
       have insufficient teaching experience shall undertake a PGCertificate in Learning and
       Teaching in Higher Education offered by the CLT. CLT have recently piloted a new module‟
       part of the URTF (see section 6.4)‟ designed to provide support for lecturers, research staff
       and doctoral students as supervisors for undergraduate and postgraduate taught projects84.

3.11.4 The Staff Development Group (SDG) oversees staff development plans and activities and is
        responsible for policy development. All schools and departments provide annual reports on
        staff development activity to SDG85. Annual reflections on staff development issues are also
        contained in the school annual academic health reports.

3.11.5 CLT provides support for staff development through an extensive programme of sessions
       including:
        those related to the development of pedagogic understanding , for example „Talking
            about Teaching‟ seminar series;
        those related to teaching and learning skills , such as Learning and Teaching Forums;
        the annual Learning and Teaching conference86.

3.11.6 Since 2004, a number of workshops have been developed to support colleagues in
       undertaking new roles such as ASC representatives on validations and reviews, becoming
       an external examiner and using the university regulations (particularly for partner college
       staff)87. The university also runs an annual administrators‟ conference, with the 2008 focus
       being on improving student learning.


82
   GEAR section G – Assessment of students with a disability
83
   Staffing Strategy
84
   See module RMM08
85
   For example see Staff Development annual report for School of Engineering and Technology
86
   Annual Learning and Teaching conference web page
87
   For example see Programme for ASC representatives, Programme for prospective external examiners
                                                                                                     Page 20 of 37
Section 4           Institutional approach to quality enhancement

4.1        Introduction
4.1.1      Over the past decade the university has made quality enhancement an integral aspect of its
           organisational strategies, policies and processes, and a core feature of its approach to the
           management of quality and standards.

4.1.2      The Corporate Plan (and the previous plan before it) articulates an overall framework of
           institutional values and objectives from which specific strategies are shaped, developed and
           implemented. Those strategies lead to and, also, reflect a range of activities and projects
           across the university which fulfil both the university‟s general educational purposes and its
           collectively agreed operational objectives. Such institution-wide activities and projects create
           a climate for a widespread and organic culture of enhancement which encourages „bottom
           up‟ local and subject-based enhancement activity to emerge. It is this dual approach – of
           strategically-defined projects and locally-initiated action and experiment - to improve student
           learning that defines the quality enhancement strategy. This strategy does not lead, and
           should not lead, to a single formal plan but is, rather to be recognised by the successful
           fostering of a culture and an ethos of creativity, innovation and the play of ideas.

4.2        Institutional approach to quality enhancement
4.2.1      The systematic oversight and prioritisation of enhancement activities is informed and shaped
           by both existing and emerging internal strategies, and by extensive and continuous
           engagement with the national and international HE sectors. In order to maintain a focus on
           the student the university has conceptualised the student learning experience as one
           necessarily shaped by university and academic decision-making in a number of core spheres
           specifically: curriculum design; teaching methods; assessment regimes; student support
           provision; library and information systems; and the estate.

4.2.2      The most significant expression of the institutional approach to sustaining the student
           learning experience is the Learning and Teaching Strategy, the focus of which is the
           enhancement of both student and staff learning and teaching activity and experience. This is
           achieved through the spreading of good practice and through promotion of innovative
           developments in: reflective pedagogy; staff development; research-informed and
           enhanced curricula; active engagement in national strategies and initiatives in HE teaching
           and learning; support of key institutional priorities in widening participation, sustainability
           and economic and social engagement; and recognition of the importance and diversity of
           students‟ learning experiences and ways of learning. Other strategies of particular
           importance are the Estates Strategy, the Staffing Strategy, the Information Services Strategy
           and the Research Strategy.

4.2.3      In addition, the university‟s existing quality assurance processes themselves are a key
           mechanism for generating enhancement activity. For example the annual Academic Health
           theme provides an institutional focus on a topic which can lead to the identification of issues,
           good practice or further work88 which may be taken forward in different ways. Consideration
           of assessment practices and polices in 2004-05, for example, provoked a particularly high
           level of engagement throughout the Academic Health process and it was evident that
           schools were fully involved in the debates and discussions at local level. In other instances
           the university recognises the importance of taking a clear institutional lead, as was the case
           with student retention, a thematic strand in 2001-02, the outcomes of which led to the
           establishment of the Student Retention Review Group (SRRG) to coordinate work across the
           university. This has resulted in extensive efforts to understand retention patterns and, as a
           consequence, appropriate strategies and initiatives, piloted in SASS and SSM, are now
           rolled out in other schools. These have had a measurable effect in improving student


88
     ASC07-98 November 2007 – Annual academic health 2006-07 theme
                                                                                                Page 21 of 37
         retention89, the learning from which was disseminated in Autumn 2007 when the university
         held a conference focusing on student retention90.

4.2.4    The development of the periodic review process was informed by a confidence in the course
         development and the academic health processes which assure the standards and quality of
         provision. The university sought to establish a review process that had an explicit focus on
         enhancement in order to encourage a forward looking approach to the development of its
         provision91.

4.2.5    The coordination and strategic oversight of the quality enhancement activities is achieved
         through the committee system, primarily the ASC and the LTC, and organisationally through
         the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Academic Affairs) and the CLT.

4.3      Management information
4.3.1    The student records system is the primary and core source of student data used by the
         university in its quality assurance processes, for PSRB requirements and for planning and
         target setting.

4.3.2    Examples of how the university uses student data to improve the student learning experience
         include:
              the work of the SRRG which has been informed by the analysis of student retention
                 patterns across the university which are collated into an annual report92;
              analysis of the outcomes of the NSS which has provided schools with detailed
                 understanding of their results thus enabling investigations into issues raised by
                 students to be undertaken with a clear focus and action identified93, and has led to
                 CLT research which has identified characteristics of highly-rated courses94

4.3.3    Alongside statistical data, a range of qualitative information is routinely collected and
         analysed including: external examiner reports; PSRB reports and commentary; and student
         feedback, (including the NSS). Such information is considered and acted upon at course
         level, and more generic themes or issues are identified at school, faculty or institutional level
         which may result in broader action, see for example the issues identified in the Faculty of
         Education and Sport Academic Health report95.

4.3.4    As noted in section 2, following the 2005-06 Academic Health process, the university
         considered the use and analysis of student data across the university and set up the
         AHDWG96 in order to improve and develop understanding of data trends within the institution
         and nationally. The first meeting of the newly established committee which will take forward
         these recommendations is scheduled for the spring term 2008.

4.4      Good practice
4.4.1    The university considers the identification and dissemination of good practice a major factor
         in supporting and developing student learning, and achieves this through a number of
         mechanisms and structures:
        university conferences and workshops, eg the Learning and Teaching conference, provide
         an opportunity to present ideas and research concerning the student learning experience;


89
   Student retention annual report 2005-06
90
   Student retention conference programme
91
   Course Approval Handbook section G – Periodic review
92
   Student retention annual report 2005-06
93
   SPU NSS analysis; ASC07-80 October 2007 – NSS results 2007
94
   CLT NSS research
95
   Dean‟s summary of the Faculty of Education and Sport Academic Health 2006-07
96
   ASC07-47 April 2007 – Final report from the AHDWG
                                                                                               Page 22 of 37
           quality assurance processes: validation, periodic review, external examiner reports, and
            annual monitoring (for example faculty Academic Health discussions and the Academic
            Health enhancement workshop ) provide a valuable source of evidence of good practice, and
            the extensive staff involvement in these processes itself results in the spreading of ideas and
            approaches;
           networks and fora including the Learning and Teaching Forum, Quality Assurance Forum
            and Research Administrators Forum;
           subject-level activity (such as the workshop on inclusive curriculum), and national structures
            including CETLs and Subject Centres;
           organisational: the CLT plays a significant role in supporting the professional development of
            academic staff across the university working on several levels - with individuals and groups
            of staff, with schools and faculties, and through contributing to institutional and national
            policy;
           committees: regular reporting on progress and outcomes of projects and strategies, and
            cross-university membership, such as the LTC and SSC ;
           publications including newsletters and web-based technologies such as Community@
            Brighton.

4.5         Staff development and reward
4.5.1       The Staffing Strategy articulates a clear commitment to the enhancement of teaching quality
            through the professional development of all staff involved in teaching and the support of
            learning which includes for example, the PGCert in Learning and Teaching in Higher
            Education which is accredited by the Higher Education Academy. The Staffing Strategy is
            informed by the Learning and Teaching Strategy.

4.5.2       The university expects all staff involved in teaching or supporting student learning to develop
            and maintain a high level of professional expertise and to be effective in enabling students to
            achieve to their full potential. Promotion criteria provide clear evidence of the university‟s
            recognition for significant contributions to the organisation and delivery of all aspects of
            teaching and learning. In addition specific initiatives to reward excellence in teaching include
            the Teaching Excellence Awards which have run since 2005 and the recently established
            CLT Learning and Teaching Fellowships. Staff awarded a National Teaching Fellowship are
            invited to membership of the LTC and are active participants in the Learning and Teaching
            Forum.

4.5.3       The university works closely with partner colleges to ensure that colleagues participate in
            University of Brighton activities and those within the college itself. In 2007 the university ran
            its first Partnership Conference which provided an opportunity for colleagues from partner
            colleges and the university to share good practice97.




97
     APC07-39 November 2007 – Report of the Partnership Conference
                                                                                                   Page 23 of 37
Section 5           Collaborative Arrangements

5.1       Introduction
5.1.1     The university operates a number of collaborative arrangements with other institutions
          providing opportunities for students to achieve awards of the University of Brighton, whilst
          studying at different locations and within different environments. All new collaborative activity
          is approved through the university‟s committee structure98. Responsibility for quality and
          standards of the university‟s collaborative activity is, with the exception of provision at
          Northbrook College, managed by a relevant school and/or faculty in accordance with the
          established university quality assurance framework99. This ensures that subject-level
          expertise and understanding is exercised across all provision within a cognate area, and that
          consistent quality assurance processes are used for collaborative and non-collaborative
          provision alike.

5.1.2     The university is fully aware of the potentially high risk nature of collaborative activity and has
          worked hard over the past five years to secure and embed its approach to such activity. As
          well as the incorporation of collaborative provision in the university‟s quality assurance
          framework described above, additional institution-level structures and quality assurance
          processes have been developed and implemented. These ensure that the university
          maintains a strategic oversight of its collaborative provision and can identify emerging
          themes; this has been crucial in managing collaborative provision. These structures and
          processes include the work of the APC, which maintains an oversight of the quality of UK-
          based collaborative provision, established processes for the development and approval of
          new collaborative activities, and the Partner College Review (PCR) process100. The
          university has discontinued some smaller collaborative arrangements due to concern about
          its capacity to manage the risks inherent in these relationships effectively without deploying
          excessive resources101.

5.1.3     There are a number of different types of collaborative relationship that the university
          operates, each of which requires a flexible approach to maintaining secure institutional
          ownership whilst respecting institutional autonomy of partners. The nature and
          responsibilities of these relationships are described in the Partnership Handbook. All
          collaborative provision is governed by memoranda of co-operation.

          Higher Education in Further Education Colleges
5.1.4     The majority of the university‟s collaborative arrangements involving taught provision are with
          four colleges based in Sussex: Hastings College, Sussex Downs College (SDC), City
          College Brighton and Hove (CCBH) and Plumpton College. These colleges deliver
          programmes franchised by the university, mainly foundation degrees but including some
          honours-level provision. Two models of operation have been developed.

5.1.5     The first includes Hastings College, SDC and CCBH for which each programme delivered by
          a college is located within a school; the school is responsible for the management of the
          quality assurance of the programme at subject level102. For each programme, the school
          appoints a link tutor, who is the key contact for the course leader based at the relevant
          college103. For programmes delivered by a number of partner colleges, the school appoints a
          course leader and is responsible for programme management and quality assurance across
          all sites of delivery. Each college has an HE Forum which provides an opportunity for staff


98
  Partnership Handbook section 1 – Criteria and guidance on the selection and approval of collaborative partners
99
   Partnership Handbook section 4.3 – Quality assurance
100
    APC terms of reference
101
    ADC07-20 March 2007 – Report on partnership development
102
    Partnership Handbook section 4.3 – Quality Assurance
103
    Partnership Handbook section 3.5 – Link tutor
                                                                                                                   Page 24 of 37
         teaching on university programmes to discuss generic issues that arise at each college104

5.1.6    The second model is a variation of this structure established for Plumpton, which delivers
         programmes in the land-based subject area. The Plumpton Board of Study (PBOS) has been
         established to manage this provision; this board reports to the FAB of the Faculty of Science
         and Engineering, and is equivalent in status and responsibilities to a School Board within the
         university105, with the college undertaking the school-level responsibilities set out above. The
         PBOS membership includes academic staff from cognate subject areas across the
         university, including the link tutors and course leaders for Plumpton programmes106. The
         board was established in 2003-04 and has successfully discharged its responsibilities in
         respect of quality assurance, programme development, and policy and strategy
         development, as well as facilitating relationships between university and college staff in
         relevant academic areas107.

5.1.7    In 2006-07 the university became the validating HEI for foundation degree and honours
         programmes at Northbrook. The newly-established relationship with Northbrook constitutes a
         different type of collaborative arrangement. Although the university had already been the
         validating body for a small number of awards for directly-funded provision at Central Sussex
         College and Northbrook, the recent arrangement to become the only validating body for 20
         directly-funded courses and 500 students was a major change. During 2005-06 the university
         established a working group, including representatives from Northbrook, to agree the
         principles and procedures for the approval and establishment of the validation relationship108.
         Northbrook is (in broad terms) conceptualised as a faculty in the university‟s quality
         assurance structures; the Northbrook Higher Education Review Board (HERB) 109, which
         includes members both from Northbrook and the university, is responsible for providing
         college-level quality assurance of programmes, receiving external examiner and course
         monitoring reports, and approving course development proposals. HERB nominates external
         examiners for final approval by the university. The responsibilities and reporting lines of
         HERB enable both the college to fulfil its responsibilities to HEFCE as a directly-funded
         institution and the university to assure the quality of its awards. The university also facilitates
         subject links between Northbrook and university academic staff, and provides access to staff
         development for Northbrook staff. The college‟s annual report to the APC was also received
         by the Academic Board in December 2007 to confirm the successful implementation of
         procedures and structures for Northbrook provision110.

5.1.8    Future developments in the area of collaborative provision include the development of an HE
         culture in FE colleges. A successful conference on this topic was held by Plumpton in
         2006111. The university‟s partner colleges are already in the process of developing staff
         development and research policies that will support scholarly activity for staff teaching on HE
         in FE as part of their HE strategies. The university held its first annual partnership
         conference in October 2007 with the theme of celebrating good practice; workshops were
         college-led and gave an opportunity for college staff to share experience and good practice
         relating to college-based programmes. The introduction of IQER and the imminent new
         HEFCE policy on HE in FE are likely to require some review and revision of existing policies
         and structures. Having successfully established the APC with a regional, college-based HE
         focus, structures for reviewing the university‟s core collaborative activity are secure. Further
         development of appropriate systems and structures for institutional oversight of other

104
    APC06-06 February 2006 – Individual college structures for HE provision
105
    PBOS terms of reference
106
    ASC03-62 June 2003 – Plumpton College: management of partnership provision
107
    Report of the PCR of Plumpton February 2007
108
    NBWG05-08 – Minutes of the meeting held 7th November 2005
109
    HERB terms of reference
110
    AB07-88 December 2007 – Northbrook College
111
    APC07-09 February 2007 – Developing an HE culture in an FE institution: conference report
                                                                                                Page 25 of 37
          collaborative provision is likely to be appropriate given the recent growth of overseas
          provision, increased interest in joint provision with UK HEIs, and potential involvement in EU-
          funded developments. The university is currently undertaking a review of its international
          activity which will contribute to these developments112.

5.1.9     The SLN, of which the university is the lead institution, represents a further development in
          the university‟s partnership working. Work initiated by the SLN in 2006-07 includes the
          development of additional programmes and the further development of progression routes
          for foundation degree programmes. The university is represented on the board and
          committees of the SLN.

5.1.10 The university has worked with Sussex Police to develop the FdA in Policing in Partnership
       with Communities. The preliminary part of this award, the FCert, forms the professional
       training for new police officers for Sussex Police. The programme is delivered by Sussex
       Police at three university campuses across Sussex, with the University of Brighton providing
       academic management of the programme and support to students113, and developing
       appropriate progression routes to honours level study.

5.1.11 The university plays an important role in the region through its close working relationship with
       the NHS, local schools, councils and employers to secure placement opportunities for
       students, and provide educational programmes and staff development.

       Partnership with the University of Sussex
5.1.12 The university's partnership with the University of Sussex is longstanding and operates
       formally through the Joint Planning Group (JPG)114 of the two universities established in
       1986. The Group‟s work covers a range of research, regional and other activities, as well as
       joint courses. The two universities currently offer three joint postgraduate awards and one
       undergraduate award (as well as the BMBS described below). In order to manage the joint
       responsibilities for academic standards and quality assurance an overarching set of enabling
       joint degree regulations115 has been established.

5.1.13 The underlying premise for the development and management of joint degrees has been for
       each university to ensure that its academic standards are upheld, for the responsibility for
       quality assurance of these programmes to be shared and for students to be registered at
       both institutions and to have access to facilities at each. For each programme bespoke
       curriculum and assessment regulations are developed and agreed between the two
       universities. The management of students and the administration of the programmes,
       including the annual monitoring process, are executed by one of the two universities, on an
       alternating basis per programme, known as the primary administering university. The
       partner university maintains the parallel student record (including the final outcomes).
       Outcomes of internal reviews which includes a joint programme in its portfolio, and NSS
       outcomes where these include joint programmes, are shared with the partner university so
       that each of the two awarding bodies may be satisfied about the maintenance of academic
       standards and quality of learning opportunities. External examiners are jointly approved and
       appointed, and their reports received and considered by both universities. The
       responsibilities for each joint programme are defined in annexes to the Memorandum of
       Agreement.

5.1.14 As with franchised and validated provision, the programmes are located within a University
       of Brighton school which provides a course leader or co-course leader depending on which
       HEI is the administering university.

112
    IASG07-09 Project proposal for the International Review 2007
113
    Validation report of FdA Policing in Partnership with Communities January 2006
114
    JPG terms of reference
115
    Regulations for degrees awarded jointly by the UoS and UoB
                                                                                              Page 26 of 37
       Brighton and Sussex Medical School (BSMS)
5.1.15 In 2003 BSMS was established. Given the scale of the operation, it was clear that the
       management oversight of the school would need to be shared and that the model of the
       primary administering university (see 5.1.13 above) would not be appropriate. Administrative
       responsibilities have therefore been agreed between the two universities and a separate
       Memorandum of Agreement drawn up to address this116 . In brief, the University of Sussex is
       responsible for administering the employment of staff and the finances of the “community
       chest” established for BSMS and the University of Brighton is responsible for student
       administration (admission, registration, assessment, student records). In the case of a
       student complaint or academic appeal, the process is handled by the University of Brighton,
       but panel membership includes representation from both universities.

5.1.16 A Joint Board has been established responsible to the governing bodies of the two
       institutions for the overall governance and management of the school. The Joint Approval
       and Review Board (JARB), 117 accountable to the Academic Board of the University of
       Brighton and to the University of Sussex Senate, is the primary means by which the two
       universities discharge their quality and standards responsibilities, and provides a single point
       of contact for transmission of information between the BSMS and the two universities. The
       two universities approved an internal BSMS committee structure and bespoke quality
       assurance arrangements, which includes the BSMS Academic Board118 which oversees
       academic policy issues, curriculum development and quality assurance and enhancement.
       Key mechanisms for maintaining institutional ownerships are joint representation on BSMS
       committees (Quality Assurance Sub-Committee and the Curriculum Development Group),
       cross-membership from BSMS to institutional-level committees at both institutions, and
       JARB.

5.1.17 The two universities conducted three conjoint validation events to approve development of
       the curriculum and to confirm the details of bespoke assessment regulations119 for the BMBS
       award.

5.1.18 As from 2006/07, the two universities agreed the introduction of joint research degrees in
       BSMS which is covered in section 6.1.4.

5.1.19 As from September 2006, the university‟s IPGM has been incorporated into BSMS.
       Following the current review of the IPGM academic portfolio by the newly appointed director
       of the Institute, there will be discussions about validating the finalised portfolio to become
       joint awards of the two universities in due course.

       International partnership
5.1.20 The university also has a small number of programmes delivered with overseas partners. In
       most of these arrangements academic staff of the university visit the partner organisation to
       deliver an agreed proportion of a programme also offered at the university and monitor the
       operation at the partner organisation. These include: the MA Education delivered with the
       Mauritius Institute of Education and MAs offered by SSM with partner institutions in Germany
       and France120. Each of these is supported by a memorandum of co-operation. The university
       has recently approved the franchise of year 1 of its Mechanical Engineering undergraduate
       programmes to the Canadian Institute of International Studies, India; delivery of this
       programme will commence in 2008. Monitoring and review of overseas activities is

116
    Memorandum of Agreement between UoB and UoS in respect of BSMS
117
    JARB terms of reference
118
    BSMS Academic Board terms of reference
119
    BMBS validation report 2007
120
    MA Tourism Management, MA Hospitality Management and MA International Event Management delivered with the Angell
    Business School, Germany; the MA Tourism Management, MA International Event Management, MA Tourism and Leisure
    Management delivered with the Normandy Business School, France
                                                                                                             Page 27 of 37
          embedded in annual Academic Health processes, with schools responsible for programme
          management and quality assurance. Where programmes are delivered both at the university
          and at an overseas institution, the same external examiner is appointed for both locations of
          delivery, to ensure consistency of review.

5.2       Approval, monitoring and review of collaborative arrangements
5.2.1     The university‟s procedures for selection and management of partners were reviewed in
          2006, taking into account section 2 of the Code of Practice, and new procedures were
          approved to support the approval of delivery of programmes by partner organisations121. The
          new processes were implemented in 2006-07. New partnership proposals continue to be
          approved by the ADC, which also receives an annual review of collaborative activity.
          Partnership proposals involving the development of new programmes are approved through
          the Course Development process.

5.2.2     External examiners for all collaborative provision are approved and appointed by the
          university. To ensure consistency for programmes delivered in more than one location, the
          same external examiner(s) will normally be responsible for all offerings of the programme,
          and a single examination board will be constituted122. External examiners for Northbrook
          provision are approved by HERB for nomination to the university for final approval and HERB
          receives all external examiner reports123.

5.2.3     The APC reports to the ASC and is responsible for monitoring the standards of education
          delivered through the university‟s UK academic partnerships, and the quality and
          effectiveness of coordination in support of partnerships at the university. The committee
          includes representatives from all university faculties and each partner FE college. Franchised
          provision is reviewed through annual monitoring processes at school and faculty level;
          additionally, all external examiner reports are reviewed by the APC to identify generic issues
          affecting collaborative provision and to ensure institution-level engagement with that
          provision124. The APC receives an annual monitoring and evaluation report from each
          college, has oversight of the PCR process including the responsibility for ensuring
          completion of actions arising from review, and evaluates thematic areas across colleges
          such as provision and funding for staff development125. The APC is also involved in the
          development of enhancement activities such as workshops for partner college staff and the
          annual partnership conference126.

5.2.4     The university‟s PCR process reviews, at an institutional level, the quality of franchised
          provision in FE colleges and the quality of the operation of the partnership between the
          university and the college under review. All four colleges with franchised provision have now
          undergone at least one review. University staff, including link tutors, college staff and
          students all participate in PCR. PCR was reviewed during 2006-07; as part of that review,
          participants were asked to comment on the process and colleagues at colleges reported a
          positive experience. Examples of enhancements arising from PCR have included improved
          access to library services127, sharing good practice across colleges in terms of enabling staff
          development, and the development of dedicated information to support the link tutor role128.
          A new version of PCR was approved by university committees during 2006-07; this takes

121
    Partnership Handbook section 1 – Criteria and guidance on the selection and approval of collaborative partners; Approval of
delivery of programmes leading to UoB awards by partner institutions
122
    Partnership Handbook section 3.10 – Operation of examination boards
123
    HERB06-17 – Minutes of the meeting held 19th October 2006
124
    APC06-34 – Minutes of the meeting held 24th November 2006
125
    APC07-04 February 2007 - Staff development in partner colleges
126
    APC06-29 November 2006 – Proposed partnership conference discussion paper; APC07-17 May 2007 – Partner college
regulations workshop
127
    PCR Plumpton February 2007
128
    PCR Hastings College June 2006
                                                                                                                      Page 28 of 37
         into account the experience of participants in PCR to date and has also been adjusted to
         provide support for colleges as they prepare for IQER129, allowing colleges to use IQER
         documentation to support the PCR process and consequently avoiding duplication of effort
         while maintaining the university‟s oversight over college-based provision.

5.2.5    The university confirmed its approval of Northbrook as an affiliated college delivering directly-
         funded HE programmes at an approval event in June 2006130. As described above, the
         Northbrook Working Group (NBWG) was responsible for developing appropriate procedures
         for the management of this partnership activity; these have been further developed and
         implemented by HERB. Existing Northbrook programmes, previously validated by the OUVS,
         will be aligned with the university‟s framework and regulations during a revalidation process
         which will be completed in 2008-09. A dedicated member of staff in the Academic Standards
         and Partnership section of the Registry works with Northbrook to support this process, the
         operation of HERB and the development of new programmes. A PCR process for Northbrook
         is currently in development.

5.2.6    Each partner FE college now has an HE Forum which meets at least termly and allows staff
         teaching on university college-based programmes to meet regularly, discuss emerging
         issues and share good practice. College HE Fora are normally attended by a member of staff
         of the university. and have been used for staff development activity, and review of monitoring
         and evaluation reports, as well as discussion of new developments and recruitment issues.

5.3      Management information
5.3.1    The university‟s database of collaborative partners is maintained by the Academic Standards
         and Partnership section of the Registry. A report of active partnerships is received annually
         by the ADC, and a report of UK collaborative activity by the APC131.

5.3.2    The APC, as part of its annual monitoring activity, receives a primary data analysis set
         relating to student profiles and achievement at colleges delivering franchised provision132.
         This set is also provided to each college as benchmark data for consideration when
         completing the institution-level annual report for the APC133. To support the partner college
         planning process, information on recruitment at partner colleges and to core subject areas is
         also provided in a report to the joint planning meetings held twice yearly134.




129
    Partner College Review Handbook
130
    NB06-15 May 2006 – Report of the Northbrook institutional approval event
131
    ADC07-63 October 2007 - List of active memoranda of co-operation
132
    APC06-24 November 2006 - Summary academic health data summary for partner colleges 2005-06
133
    Partnership Handbook section 3.9.1 – Principles and procedures for academic health reporting
134
    Summary report on recruitment at partner colleges 2007
                                                                                                   Page 29 of 37
Section 6          Institutional arrangements for postgraduate research students135

6.1       Institutional arrangements and the research environment
6.1.1     The university has a well-established regulatory and operational framework within which its
          postgraduate research students are supported. The Regulations for MPhil, PhD and
          Professional Doctorates outline the framework for all research degrees136 ; the processes for
          managing research degrees137 are outlined in the Code of Practice.

6.1.2     The university has an active approach to reviewing regulations and processes ensuring that
          student, institutional and sector needs and developments can be considered and responded
          to. The RDC recommends amendments to the ASC and the Academic Board on an annual
          basis, including most recently the introduction of independent chairs at viva and a
          clarification of regulations relating to suspension138. Since September 2006, a sub-committee
          has taken responsibility for the approval of examination arrangements and other student
          business in order that the RDC can focus on research training policy, regulatory frameworks
          and monitoring. A full review of research degree processes and structures is scheduled for
          2008-09.

6.1.3     All registered research students are located within one of 13 Research Student Divisions
          (RSDs), which are aligned with areas of critical research mass within or across schools.
          Each RSD has a Leader (RSDL) responsible for overseeing the academic well-being,
          progress and pastoral support of all research students in their division. Each student has a
          Thesis Panel which remains with the student for the duration of study and is responsible for
          making the major decisions regarding student progress. The central administration is
          managed by the Research Support Team located in the Registry. These roles and the
          division of responsibilities are specified in the Code of Practice139.

6.1.4     In 2006, the Universities of Brighton and Sussex approved the joint awards of MPhil, PhD
          and MD to be run at BSMS under a bespoke set of regulations and Code of Practice140.
          Arrangements for administering PGRs at BSMS follow the structure described at 6.1.3
          above, with the Director of Research replacing the RSDL and a Thesis Panel constructed in
          the same manner as at the University of Brighton. A joint body, the Joint Research Degrees
          Approval Board (JRDAB) oversees those functions which would be executed at university
          level at both institutions such as the approval of the examination team and the conferment of
          awards. The authority to admit candidates on behalf of the two institutions is also vested in
          this body141.

6.1.5     The University of Brighton has approved the University College for the Creative Arts at
          Canterbury, Epsom, Farnham, Maidstone and Rochester (UCCA) to deliver research
          degrees under University of Brighton regulations142. This arrangement is subject to Partner
          College Review under the same arrangements as other collaborations (see section 5.2), and
          this is scheduled to take place in 2007-8.




135
    Special Review of Postgraduate Research Degree Programmes
136
    Regulations for MPhil, PhD and Professional Doctorates
137
    Code of Practice for MPhil, PhD and Professional Doctorates
138
    AB07-42 June 2007 – Changes to research degree regulations
139
    Code of Practice for MPhil, PhD and Professional Doctorates section 1.5-1.9 – Introduction and throughout the document
140
    BSMS regulations and BSMS Code of Practice
141
    JRDAB terms of reference
142
    UCCA student handbook
                                                                                                                     Page 30 of 37
6.2       Selection, admission, induction and supervision
6.2.1     The university‟s processes for research student admission, induction and supervision are
          outlined in the Code of Practice143.

6.2.2     The QAA report on the Special Review of postgraduate research degree programmes
          highlighted the university‟s supervisor register and system of reapplication to it as an
          example of good practice144. All supervisors must attend a programme of compulsory
          workshops, which includes training in admissions processes in order to be eligible for the
          register. Since the review, the university has amended the criteria for entry onto the register
          in order appropriately to recognise different levels of experience and different types of
          research output145.

6.2.3     Supervisors for a student are agreed during the admissions process. The university seeks to
          ensure that the team possesses an appropriate balance of subject expertise, specialist skills
          and supervisory experience.

6.3       Progress and review arrangements
6.3.1     The university has a framework designed to support students‟ development as researchers
          which includes key stages at which academic progress is monitored and approved. These
          include Thesis Outline Approval and Transfer to PhD146.

6.3.2     A system of annual progress panels was further enhanced and developed into annual
          Progression Review Panels (PRPs), which were introduced in autumn 2006. Designed to
          fulfil the functions of the previous system, they also ensure that students can only continue
          their registration if they are making satisfactory progress147. A review of the first year of
          operation is currently underway.

6.3.3     RSDLs are required to produce an annual monitoring report which includes student data, an
          analysis of student feedback and other reflections on the operation of RSDs. These reports
          are considered at faculty level and then by the RDC which takes an overview of institutional
          issues at its annual monitoring meeting148. In order to ensure as full an understanding as
          possible is reached, this meeting also receives other data including; withdrawal rates,
          completion times and supervisory workloads. Annual monitoring reports are placed on
          studentcentral in order that students can access them.

6.3.4     The recent publication of national data on completion rates has led to instigation of a full
          review on behalf of the Academic Board149 in order better to understand the data and its
          conclusions alongside existing university analysis.

6.4       Development of research and other skills
6.4.1     Both generic and subject-specific training in research methodology are provided through the
          University Research Training Framework (URTF)150 which is subject to the standard quality
          assurance processes of the university‟s taught provision. The URTF is supported at RSD

143
    Code of Practice for MPhil, PhD and Professional Doctorates section 2 – Application and admission; section 4 – Supervision;
section 5 – Enrolment, fees, induction and training
144
    RDC06-105 October 2006 - QAA report; Code of Practice for MPhil, PhD and Professional Doctorates section 4.5-4.8 -
Supervision
145
    Code of Practice for MPhil, PhD and Professional Doctorates section 4.6 - Supervision
146
    Code of Practice for MPhil, PhD and Professional Doctorates section 6 – Thesis outline approval; section 9 – Transfer from MPhil
to PhD
147
    Code of Practice for MPhil, PhD and Professional Doctorates section 7 – The procedure for approving the academic progression
of research students
148
    RDC07-59 December 2007 - Overview of issues raised in the annual monitoring of research degree students 2006-07
149
    RDC07-69 – Minutes of the meeting held 4th December 2007, minute 1196
150
    URTF Programme Handbook
                                                                                                                      Page 31 of 37
          level by local seminars and support for conference attendance. Since September 2007, all
          new research students have been provided with a Personal Development Record folder
          which enables them to link individual goals and achievements to learning and development
          needs through a process of reflective analysis and to document research training and other
          contributions to personal development.

6.4.2     Where possible, research students are given opportunities to teach on undergraduate or
          Masters modules having completed a two-day Teaching in Higher Education short course
          offered by CLT.

6.5       Feedback and representation arrangements
6.5.1     Students are requested to complete an annual online satisfaction survey which allows the
          university to monitor the quality of its provision across the RSDs151. This survey forms an
          important part of the annual monitoring report (see 6.3.3 above). In addition, the university
          has participated in the PRES survey in order to assure itself that it is in line with provision
          across the sector.

6.5.2     Students are represented on the RDC in order to allow them to contribute to the debates on
          process and regulatory developments, and to the annual monitoring process. In addition,
          they are represented on local committees and School Boards.

6.6       The assessment of research students
6.6.1     Regulations concerning examinations are to be found in the Regulations152 and the
          processes for their operation are outlined in the Code of Practice153. Examination
          arrangements and the conferment of degrees are the responsibility of the Research Degrees
          Examination Sub-committee, a sub-committee of the RDC.

6.6.2     To ensure an equitable and efficient process, the university has introduced the compulsory
          presence of an independent chair at each viva examination (see 6.1.2). In order to utilise
          fully the considerable expertise and experience across the university, approved chairs were
          invited to a briefing session where consideration of good practice and potential issues
          resulted in the production of a set of guidance notes. All chairs are expected to complete a
          proforma on the conduct of the viva.

6.7       Complaints and appeals arrangements for research students
6.7.1     Research students follow the same complaints procedure as taught course students (see
          section 7.2.5)

6.7.2     The appeals processes can be found at annex 2 of the Regulations. Over the past five years,
          two appeals against examination decisions have been made, one of which was upheld. An
          appeals process for students who are withdrawn under the PRP process (annex 1 of the
          Regulations) has been introduced. Students who are not approved for the transfer to PhD
          have the opportunity to request a review of this decision154.




151
    Code of Practice for MPhil, PhD and Professional Doctorates section 8 – Research student monitoring
152
    Regulations for MPhil, PhD and Professional Doctorates section 9 – Examinations; section 10 – Examiners; section 11 –
Responsibilities of the examiners; section 12 – Re-examination; section 13 – Conferment of award
153
    Code of Practice for MPhil, PhD and Professional Doctorates section 10 – Proposals for examination arrangements; section 11 –
The examination
154
    Regulations for MPhil, PhD and Professional Doctorates section 8.5 – Transfer of registration from Master to Doctor of
Philosophy
                                                                                                                       Page 32 of 37
Section 7          Published information

7.1      Information strategy
7.1.1    The university is committed to providing accurate, relevant and timely information to its many
         and varied stakeholders. The scope of the university‟s published information is broad,
         including information about learning opportunities, corporate planning, and quality and
         standards. The Information Strategy recognises that authoritative and accessible information
         is crucial to the university‟s continuing success across the full range of its activities155, and
         provides a broad framework of principles within which information is published by multiple
         providers. The strategy clearly locates responsibility for the accuracy, currency and
         appropriateness of published information with the organisational unit that produces it. Overall
         responsibility for the management and review of the Information Strategy rests with the
         Information Strategy Committee (ISC).

7.1.2    The Marketing and Communications Strategy156 is a complementary strategy which also
         recognises the diversity of the university‟s target audience, and the need for consistency and
         rigour in delivering key messages about the institution and its distinctiveness. The
         department provides specialist advice on approach and presentation of information to
         faculties, schools and partner colleges.

7.1.3    The university has made significant progress in using the web as a key vehicle for provision
         of information, and has established a three-tier approach157. First, the university website
         provides information primarily of interest to members of the public, prospective students and
         alumni. Secondly, staffcentral provides university-wide information of interest to current staff
         and staff in external organisations working in close partnership with the university. Finally,
         studentcentral is the main site of web-based information for current students.

7.1.4    All schools are involved in publishing information about courses and two departments,
         Registry and Marketing and Communications, have a particular role in managing the
         information made available (see 7.2.2). Debates about the processes for ensuring the
         accuracy and completeness of published information take place at multiple levels of the
         organisation. For example, a recent programme of school webpage development overseen
         by Marketing and Communications158 ensured the common sourcing of course information,
         as well as stimulating debate and subsequently some caution regarding the provision of
         supplementary course information by schools. The Deans‟ Group also discussed the
         accuracy of web information at a recent meeting, and recommended that the institution
         consider approving web copy annually, in conjunction with the annual approval of
         programme specifications. The recent Validation Reports Workshop reflected on the
         importance of programme specifications as the definitive record of a course, which might
         therefore appear as evidence in student complaints and appeals.

7.1.5    The Recruitment Group and the Recruitment and Admissions Forum provide opportunities
         for representatives of schools and central departments to contribute to discussions about
         course based and other information the university makes available though, for example,
         UCAS. The Recruitment Group developed the institution‟s process for the development of
         entry profiles, which was recently approved by ADC159. The development of entry profiles will
         be managed by Marketing and Communications, in liaison with academic staff.

7.1.6    The university seeks student views and experience of published information through the
         Periodic Review and PCR process as well as annual monitoring, and there are well-

155
    AB06-05 March 2006 - Information Strategy: statement of commitments and expectations
156
    Marketing and Communications Strategy
157
    Report of the Information Architecture Task Force October 2003
158
    ISC06-27 October 2006 – Schools website development progress
159
    ADC07-76 November 2007 – UCAS entry profiles
                                                                                              Page 33 of 37
         established arrangements in operation between UBSU and the Registry for addressing any
         discrepancies identified by students.

7.2      Provision of information for students
7.2.1    The university structures the information it provides to students according to the various
         stages of their relationship with the institution.

         Prospective students
7.2.2    The Admissions Policy commits the university to providing clear and accurate information
         about its courses. The institution has a centrally-managed process for publishing information
         about learning opportunities for prospective students. The key means by which the university
         makes this information available are the prospectus and the website. Both draw on
         information held in a central courses database, which is jointly managed by the Registry and
         Marketing and Communications. The database holds definitive information about approved
         award titles, durations and modes of study. Information about curriculum content and
         opportunities for graduates is collected from course leaders using a standard template.

7.2.3    Faculties and schools have their own web-pages and, in some cases, also produce course-
         level brochures. Dedicated Marketing Officers are assigned to faculties and partner colleges
         to promote consistency of approach. The Registry also supplies information about the
         university‟s courses to selected external listings.

         Pre-enrolment / on acceptance of an offer
7.2.4    The new student area within the university‟s website was established in 2006 to ensure that
         consistent, good quality information, designed to help the transition to HE, is available to
         prospective students, following their acceptance of an offer.

         Enrolled students
7.2.5    Students are provided with the University Student Handbook160 which articulates the formal
         relationship between the student and the institution and applies to all students, including
         those studying in partner colleges. The handbook is also available on studentcentral and
         includes details of the procedures for appeals and complaints, extensions to deadlines,
         mitigating circumstances and the disciplinary regulations. The university has initiated a
         discussion with UBSU to explore improving levels of awareness amongst students about the
         appeals and complaints processes161.

7.2.6    It is a formal requirement that students receive a course handbook162 which must describe
         the course as validated, including the approved module descriptors that describe learning
         outcomes, learning and teaching methods, and assessment criteria and tasks. Course
         handbooks must also describe any course-specific regulations. Students will receive
         additional information throughout their course relating to curriculum and assessment matters,
         and responsibility for the accuracy rests with the author (e.g. module or course leader), whilst
         the course leader will have an overall responsibility for ensuring students receive accurate
         information about their course. Institutional expectations about assessment information
         received by students are set out in GEAR163 and the Assessment Policy also underlines the
         need for consistency and rigour in relation to clarity and student understanding of
         assessment criteria and assignments164. Faculties are responsible for the annual approval,
         review and publication of programme specifications (see 7.7.3.2) linking directly to their
         responsibilities for course development and approval.


160
    Student Handbook
161
    Student Written Submission 2008
162
    Course Approval and Review Handbook, section E
163
    GEAR section C – Part 1: Assessment
164
    Assessment Policy
                                                                                             Page 34 of 37
7.2.7    The institution has made good progress in the use of learning technologies to provide web-
         based material to support student learning. Studentcentral is now the main site of information
         for the majority of students and responsibility for content is clearly defined. Course and
         module-related information is the responsibility of the course and module leaders, whilst
         institutional information is generated by the relevant department (such as Student Services
         and the Registry). Key developments in the last three years have included the provision of
         assessment results to students, and the ability to access and amend personal data. The
         development of studentcentral is overseen by the LTC and takes place operationally through
         a network of Information Services staff and the CLT, working in conjunction with staff from
         schools, faculties and central departments.

7.3      Provision of information on academic standards
7.3.1    The university has a mature and well-understood framework for managing quality and
         standards. The framework is comprised of a series of policies and procedures. Accessible
         and user-friendly information about these policies is crucial to securing shared ownership
         and understanding. The Quality Statement provides a means of describing the framework in
         a single document, which is underpinned by a range of supporting handbooks covering
         individual processes in depth, for example the Academic Health Handbook and the Partner
         College Review Handbook. The quality pages on staffcentral have been developed to
         provide a single, authoritative source of information about the quality framework for use by
         staff, students and colleagues in partner colleges165.

7.3.2    The university‟s approach to the publication and use of programme specifications is set out
         in a policy statement166. Programme specifications are considered the definitive record of a
         course and are revised annually under the authority of FABs and published on staffcentral167.
         The university recognises that programme specifications continue to gain currency across
         the sector and has debated the development of its approach at institutional level168. In
         particular, the institution is keen to increase the profile of its programme specifications as
         public documents.

7.3.3    The institution has engaged with the Teaching Quality Information (TQI) site over the past
         three years and published a range of material in accordance with national policy. The
         university welcomes the refocused Unistats site that provides core statistics to prospective
         students. The university has made its external examiner reports available to student
         representatives through Course Boards. The institution has also considered how to make
         available the information set identified in the report of the Quality Assurance Framework
         Review Group169; for example, the Corporate Plan, Learning and Teaching Strategy and
         quality assurance policies are available via the web.

7.3.4    Summary information on the outcomes of quality processes is available via the publication of
         all Academic Board committee minutes on staffcentral170, of particular note are the minutes
         for the ASC and the ADC. Full reports of validation and review events are available on
         request from the Registry. The department is currently exploring possibilities for extending
         access to information about the outcomes of quality processes.




165
    Staffcentral quality webpages
166
    Programme specification policy statement
167
    Staffcentral programme specifications webpage
168
    Report of the validation reports workshop November 2007
169
    ASC07-27 March 2007 - TQI developments
170
    Staffcentral committee webpages
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