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Minute of the Meeting of the School of Law on Wednesday_ 18th May 2005

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Minute of the Meeting of the School of Law on Wednesday_ 18th May 2005 Powered By Docstoc
					 Minute of the Meeting of the School of Law on Wednesday, 7th November 2007
                at 1.00pm in the Walker Room, Stair Building

Present: Professor Tom Mullen (Convenor), Mrs L Brown, Professor Noreen Burrows, Dr J
   Carruthers, Professor E Christodoulidis, Ms S Craig, Professor E Crawford, Dr C
   Connelly, Dr M Doris, Ms S Elliston, Professor L Farmer, Dr J Finlay, Ms M Fletcher,
   Professor M Furse, Dr T Gazzini, Professor R Greaves, Mr T Guthrie, Ms H Hiram, Dr F
   Leverick, Ms F McCarthy, Dr A McHarg, Mr J Sloan, Professor J van Der Walt, Dr S
   Veitch, Ms H Vincent.

Student Reps: Mr Jack Orr (level 2), Mr Jamie Wisbey (level 3), Mr Rana (Masters)

Present: Mr Jujhar Singh Dhanda

Apologies: Dr G Anderson, Dr R Dukes, Dr C Gavaghan, Dr M Godfrey, Dr J Mair, Dr S
  Marco Colino, Professor I MacNeil, Professor J Murdoch, Professor A Tomkins.


10.    Minute of the meeting of 3 rd October 2007.

The minute of the meeting was approved without amendment.


11.    Matters arising

There were no matters arising


12.    Head of Department’s Report

The Head of Department reminded colleagues that his term of office was due to end on 31st
July 2007. The Court had established a committee consisting of Professor Elizabeth Moignard
(Faculty of Arts, and committee Convenor) Dr Olwyn Byron (IBLS and Senate Assessor on
Court), and Professor Tom Mullen to consider the Headship and to make recommendations to
the Court. Professor Moignard had sent a memo to all members of staff in the department
inviting them to make observations to her as to possible candidates or nominees by 30th
November 2007. Subsequently, Professor Moignard had clarified that even if only one
candidate came forward there would be a meeting at which there would be an opportunity for
all members of School to hear a presentation from that candidate and to address questions.

Professor Mullen encouraged colleagues to consider the matter and make suggestions but
suggested that it would be appropriate to speak to any potential candidate before nominating
him/her.


13.    National Student Survey

There was a discussion of the National Student Survey the results of which had recently been
released. Professor Mullen pointed out that the NSS which had been running since 2005 was
the most significant survey of student opinion on the quality of education being offered to
them and was an important component of higher education league tables. The NSS score
contributed approximately 17% of the overall assessment score for Universities in the Times
Good Education Guide.
A meeting to which all current final year students had been invited had taken place the
previous evening. A number of staff had attended but the attendance form students had been
disappointing. Professor Burrows had made a powerpoint presentation at the meeting, a copy
of which had been circulated to all members of the department along with the other papers for
the School meeting.

The 2007 survey indicated that undergraduate law students‟ level of satisfaction were low in
comparison both to other departments in the University of Glasgow and to other law schools
nationally with Glasgow being ranked 60th out of 78 participating universities. The survey
consisted of 21 questions on specific topics and the 22nd question indicating overall
satisfaction. Students were expected to indicate the extent to which they disagreed or agreed
with the statements on a scale of 1-5 with 5 indicating the highest level of satisfaction. Only
79% of law students expressed themselves to be satisfied overall, the lowest level in the
Faculty of Law, Business and Social Sciences. By comparison 95% of Management students
appeared satisfied overall. There were a number of issues on which law students appeared
particularly dissatisfied including the following (the equivalent figures for Management are
shown in brackets after the Law figures):

       Criteria used in marking has been made clear in advance                   55% (67%)
       Feedback on my work has been prompt                                       28% (58%)
       I have received detailed comments on my work                              33% (48%)
       Feedback on my work has helped clarify things I did not understand        29% (49%)
       Received sufficient advice and support with studies                       49% (75%)
       Good advice was available re study choices                                46% (57%)

Professor Mullen raised the question of whether things were really as bad as the survey results
suggested. He thought that it was unlikely that student dissatisfaction was really at such a
high level as the findings of NSS were not consistent with other sources of information. Many
members of the department regularly received very positive informal feedback from current
students and recent graduates. Moreover, the information received through the course
questionnaires in particular courses suggested much higher levels of satisfaction. Having said
that, Professor Mullen suggested that the best interpretation of all the available evidence
(National Student Survey returns including the free text comments made by students,
information gathered at students the previous evening, information from all other sources
including course questionnaires) was that there was indeed a significant level of student
discontent on a number of issues, and he suggested that this was something the department
had to address for two reasons. First, if there were significant deficiencies in aspects of
students‟ educational experience, the department ought to put right. Secondly, it was
important in the interests of maintaining the department‟s reputation that it should do much
better in future NSS surveys.

The points made at the meeting the previous evening had tended to reinforce the message
coming from the specific questions in the survey. Points made by students included:

       Students did not understand the marking criteria and did not find the grade descriptors
        very helpful;
       There was considerable variety in the forms of assessment and, therefore, the skills
        that students were expected to demonstrate. Insufficient guidance was given to
        students as to what was expected of them;
       The results of examinations and other assessments, and feedback on assessment were
        sometimes delivered very late;
       The extent of feedback varied considerably from course to course;
       Feedback was often not very helpful in explaining where students had gone wrong
        and indicating how performance might be improved in future;



                                                                                             2
         There was insufficient contact between staff and students, particularly between level
          1 and 2, resulting in a somewhat “anonymous” experience;
         There was insufficient advice and support for students.

There followed a general discussion. It was suggested that one reason for the apparent
discrepancy between the NSS results and other feedback from students received during the
degree was that the course questionnaires did not capture some of the concerns that students
have: they reviewed each individual course separately and there was no regular process for
reviewing years of study (other than DPTLA). It was generally agreed that the department
ought to consider carefully the results of the NSS and consider how best to respond to it.
Professor Mullen suggested that he set up a small group to review the survey in detail and to
work out what needed to be done to address each of the areas of concern. Professor Burrows
suggested that it would be appropriate for the School‟s Undergraduate Committee to consider
the strategy and encourage it to consider the paper “The Student Voice: views of the student
experience” which had just been presented to the University‟s Education Policy and Strategy
Committee.
                                                                        ACTION: HoD

14.       Policy and Procedure on Feedback and Assessment

Professor Mullen reminded the meeting that the main elements of a revised approach to
feedback on assessment had been agreed at the School of Law meeting 3rd October 2007 as
recorded in the minutes. However, as some questions had arisen about the application of the
policy since the last meeting it was appropriate to bring the matter before the department
again. After discussion, the meeting agreed to confirm the revised policy and procedure on
feedback described in paper B appended to the minute, including the use of the standard form
feedback sheets for problem solving essays and for discursive essays.

Professor Mullen stressed the importance of adherence to the deadlines for return of
assignment (including feedback) and return of examination grades to Registry. The meeting
of deadlines would be strictly monitored in accordance with the procedure described in paper
B. It was understood that there would be certain assignments that were sufficiently different
from the standard problem essay or discursive essay as to make the standard form sheets
unsuitable. For such assignments alternative methods of feedback (which simply might be a
third style of feedback sheet) would be permitted provided that the alternative method of
feedback met the basic requirements of giving students sufficiently meaningful guidance to
enable them to reflect on their performance, identify their strengths and weaknesses and
prepare effectively for future assessments.

There was some discussion of the existing practice of sending assignments and examinations
together to external examiners in Honours courses. This typically occurred where the deadline
for submission of the assignment was shortly before the time of the final examination. Ms
Hiram pointed out that the Code of Assessment required that each instrument of assessment
be considered, graded and approved by external examiners separately. The overall grade was
then produced by aggregation of the grades of all of the instruments of assessment, it was not
appropriate to treat the different instruments of assessment as a unity. Some colleagues
wondered whether this was the correct interpretation of the Code of Assessment. Professor
Mullen and Mr Guthrie supported Ms Hiram‟s interpretation but it was agreed that definitive
guidance would be issued to colleagues after the meeting.

Professor Mullen reminded colleagues that where the deadline for submission of the
assignment fell before the relevant date (see paper B) then both feedback and grade should be
returned to the student according to the normal timescale (i.e. within four weeks) . However,
it was important to note that grades for written assessments at level 3 and 4 which were
returned to students before the final examination could only be provisional grades as final


                                                                                             3
grades were not confirmed until the Honours Board of Examiners had met. The Code of
Assessment now permitted the giving of provisional grades.

                                                  ACTION: HoD; Assessment Officer

15.     Postgraduate Research

Code of Supervision

Professor Christodoulidis presented a paper to the meeting suggesting a number of
adjustments to existing policy and practice on supervision of research students, and the
following proposals were agreed:

        (i)      All PGR students should be allocated two supervisors at the beginning of
                 their research. The maximum number of supervisees per member of staff
                 would be 8 (four first supervisions and 4 second supervisions);
        (ii)     Regular meetings should take place with supervisors. The normal expectation
                 would be one meeting per month of at least one hour duration. The second
                 supervisor should attend at least three of these meetings per year;
        (iii)    Supervisors should work closely with students to identify their needs in
                 relation to research methods as early as possible and encourage them to take
                 full advantage of the opportunities available;
        (iv)     Where it was deemed to be beneficial, supervisors should encourage/ require
                 first year PGR students to audit Masters and/or Honours courses in their field
                 of research;
        (v)      It was necessary to tighten the upgrading procedure to ensure that it amounted
                 to a rigorous examination of the candidate‟s work justifying confirmation of
                 their registration as a PhD;
        (vi)     There should be enhanced monitoring of progress during the period of study
                 including annual reports at the end of each year of study;
        (vii)    The first supervisor should be given the discretion to request a second,
                 reduced version of the first year upgrade progress in situations where the
                 progress of the student has fallen below expectations either where the student
                 had requested this or where it seemed beneficial for the student;
        (viii)   At the end of the third year of study a strict schedule for writing up should be
                 submitted and policed (assuming this had not already been done) with a view
                 to improving our completion rates;
        (ix)     Students should be required to keep a log book which would include a record
                 of all supervision meetings;

With regard to the log book, it was agreed that it was important to make it clear to the
students that it was their duty to keep the logbook, that the record of each meeting should
include a statement of the actions to be taken before then next meeting (literature to be read,
papers to be presented etc), that the record of each meeting be written up shortly after each
meeting then shown to, and agreed as an accurate record by, the supervisors.

Professor Christodoulidis undertook to make the necessary revisions to the current
departmental code of practice on PGR supervision, posted on the staff intranet and also
circulate hard copies to members of staff.

                                                            Action: Professor Christodoulidis




                                                                                               4
PhD Scholarships

Professor Christodoulidis presented a paper suggesting a revised approach to the provision of
PhD scholarships. Currently, the School of Law funded one new PhD scholarship per year
which covered the cost of fees at the Home/EU rate currently (£3240 per year) plus a stipend
of £10000 per year. If this continued, the annual cost in session 2008/2009 and subsequent
sessions would be approximately £40,000 per year. Professor Christodoulidis suggested that
in future (beginning in 2008/2009) the School of Law should offer two postgraduate teaching
assistantships per year with a value of approximate £7500 each which would be sufficient to
cover fees and around £4000 towards maintenance. This would result in twice as many PhDs
for a modest increase in expenditure.

The successful candidates would be expected to deliver undergraduate teaching of three hours
per week on average, primarily the delivery of tutorials at levels 1 and 2. The principle
rationale of the scheme was to encourage good quality PhD applicants to carry out research at
Glasgow. The meeting of teaching needs was a secondary but important consideration as the
delivery of a significant amount of teaching by PhD students would reduce the funds which
would otherwise have to be spent on tutorial provision, and this would assist in providing the
necessary budget for PhD scholarships.

There was a lengthy discussion of the proposal. Dr Godfrey and Dr Leverick thought that the
proposal to split the existing funds was a retrograde step and that the department ought to be
offering fully funded PhD scholarships instead. Even the current rate of support was below
that provided by the AHRC. They suggested that the reduced level of funding would result in
the best students going to other institutions instead and thus the scheme would not achieve its
objectives. Professor MacNeil had expressed similar views in an email sent to the HoD. Dr
Godfrey suggested that it was in any event inappropriate to have only partially funded
scholarships as PhD students would then have to work part-time to make ends meet and this
would interfere with their studies. Ms McCarthy reinforced this point and that when
preparation time was taken into account a teaching allocation of several hours per week could
be a substantial burden. Professor Christodoulidis and Professor Farmer were firmly of the
view that the level of funding suggested would be sufficiently substantial to attract the best
candidates. Indeed, Glasgow had failed to secure good candidates who had been offered only
a waiver of fees but no stipend at other institutions. Dr Dukes had sent an email supporting
the proposal on the basis of her experience of being a Graduate Teaching Assistant at the
London School of Economics during her PhD. Some colleagues also raised the question of
how we could be sure that PhD students would be competent to teach, particularly in their
first year.

Eventually it was agreed, by way of a compromise, that we should advertise the scheme as the
provision of up to two scholarships in each year to a value of £14-15000. Once the
applications had been received and reviewed, a decision could be taken as to whether it was
appropriate to offer a single fully funded scholarship or two partially funded scholarships in
that year. It was also agreed that further consideration should be given to certain details of the
scheme before it was finalised. It was suggested that the name of the scheme should emphasis
postgraduate research rather than referring to teaching assistantship. It was agreed that a full
teaching load was only appropriate in the second and third years (subject to checking the
suitability of the student for teaching) and that other activities such as research assistance to
staff might replace teaching in the first year of the studentships.

                                                            Action: Professor Christodoulidis




                                                                                                5
16.     Student Law Journal

Mr Wisbey and Mr Singh reported that a body of students had agreed to begin law journal.
Such publications are common in the USA and English universities such as LSE and
Cambridge have had great success with their version. They had already received £1300 in
sponsorship (which would cover the website setup and initial advertising costs) from law
firms and the general feeling was that student body was interested in such a publication. Mr
Wisbey was asking for departmental support and for staff to volunteer to assist in the editing
of submissions.

The journal would initially be available on the web and Mr Wisbey asked if a link could be
added to the School of Law‟s website. The intention was to include a range of submissions
from articles, case notes, reviews and dissertations. To try to encourage students to submit
articles a prize fund would be set up to award to the student with the best article.

Professor Farmer expressed his general support but added that such ventures had failed in the
past, the last such venture only 2-3 years ago. Ms Fletcher encouraged Mr Wisbey to speak to
Dr Gavaghan who was the editor for the last web journal. Professor Christodoulidis asked if
the intention was for this to be a primarily undergraduate undertaking and if it could be
possibly for the postgraduate students to get involved. Mr Singh indicated that those setting
up the journal were all undergraduates but that the journal would welcome submissions from
postgraduate and Diploma students.

It was agreed that the journal could be linked to the departmental website and Professor
Mullen encouraged colleagues to support the venture.


17.     Examination Duration

A paper had been tabled by Mr Guthrie regarding Senate‟s proposals for 2008/2009 for the
maximum permitted duration of examinations. Mr Guthrie had to leave the meeting early and
there was not sufficient time to discuss the paper. Therefore, it was agreed that colleagues
should email Mr Guthrie with any comments as soon as possible after the meeting copying
their emails to Professor Mullen.


18.     External Examiner’s Reports

Professor Mullen had tabled a paper summarising the content of recent external examiner‟s
reports. He suggested that no response was required except to the comments made by
Professor Douglas-Scott about coordination of submission of assessments and examinations
and the overall load on external examiners. Ms Fletcher was investigating the coordination of
submission or material. With regard to the external examining load colleagues thought that
the load was not excessive in the light of the load undertaken by other examiners at the
University of Glasgow and other institutions.


19.     AOCB

There was no other business.

Dates of next School Meetings: 05/12/07, 30/01/08, 05/03/08, 30/04/08




                                                                                            6
                                                                                    Paper B




                              School of Law Feedback Policy

This document summarises the School of Law‟s policy on giving feedback to students on
assessed work. Appended to it are standard form feedback sheets which are to be returned to
students along with assessed work after marking. One sheet is designed for problem
assessments and the other for discursive essays.

Purpose of Feedback

The rationale behind giving feedback to students is to provide sufficient meaningful guidance
to assist individual students to reflect on their performance, identify their strengths and
weaknesses and thereby prepare effectively for future summative assessment .

Format of Feedback

There must be an individual element of feedback (identifying good and bad features of
individual performance) and there may also be a collective element (identifying how students
generally could do better). Individual submissions should have appended to them a standard
feedback sheet (either for discursive or problem assignments as appropriate). This may be in
addition to written comments made on the submission itself. The collective element of
feedback may take one (or more) of the following forms:
     A review lecture to the entire class;
     the provision of a model answer;
     the provision of samples of work (e.g. at grade A, grade, C/D and grade E/F) from
        earlier cohorts of students demonstrating the actual application of the marking scale
        and explaining why marks were awarded;
     the provision on Moodle of a list of common mistakes arising in an assessment.

Attached to this document are the style sheets for standard feedback forms. These may be
downloaded, as may this document, from the website {add address}.

Deadlines for Feedback

All formative (or diagnostic) assessments should be returned to students within 3 weeks of
submission. All summative assessments should be returned to students within 4 weeks of
submission and staff should liaise with external examiners well in advance to ensure this
happens. It is expected that deadlines will be adhered to except in exceptional circumstances
which should be notified to the Assessment officer in writing in advance of the deadline. The
course convenor must notify students on Moodle with a revised date for the return of scripts.

Level 3 Courses

For courses at level 3, the provisional grade and feedback (using the standard form sheet)
should be returned to students within the normal deadline provided the assignment was
submitted by the last appropriate day before the Spring vacation (Thursday 13 March). Where
the assignment was submitted later it is appropriate for both the assignment and the
examination scripts to be sent to the external examiner together and in such cases students
would not receive a provisional mark before the examination. They would however be
entitled to receive individualised feedback on the standard sheet once the external examiner
had completed his/her scrutiny and the marks had been confirmed.
                                                                                       Paper B


Level 4 Courses

Where the assignment is to be submitted by the end of the fourth week of the second
semester, a student should receive individualised feedback within the normal time limits.
Where the submission date is later than this, it is acceptable to send the assignments to the
external examiner along with the final examination scripts. Individualised feedback should be
given to students after the marks have finally been confirmed although this in practice this
will not be until after the Honours Board of Examiners meeting.

Monitoring of Summative Assessments

All summative assessments are submitted to the Undergraduate office and signed in by
students. Once marked, they must be returned to the Exams office. Adherence to the
turnaround deadline will be monitored by the Exams office which will record the following:
    (a) the date of submission of the assessment;
    (b) the date scripts were handed in to the Exams office;
    (c) the date of despatch of scripts to the external examiner;
    (d) the date of return of scripts to the Exams office; and
    (e) the date on which marks were returned to the Registry.

Report for Level Committees

A short report may be prepared identifying any issues arising from marking which, in the
view of the marker, should be brought to the attention of the Level Committee. This may
include issues such as widespread poor presentation, lack of ability to communicate
effectively, poor use of sources, plagiarism or inappropriate collaboration, etc.


                      Guidance for staff on the provision of feedback

Essentially the purpose of individual feedback is to assess the extent to which a student has
demonstrated the achievement of the intended learning outcomes which the relevant
instrument of formative or summative assessment was intended to cover. Some students will
obviously require more feedback than others.

Individual feedback

The feedback sheet is the main instrument for providing individual feedback. The marker‟s
comments may relate to the demonstration (or lack thereof) of specific knowledge outcomes,
the extent to which the student has demonstrated ability to understand and use relevant
sources appropriately and the ability of the student to write succinctly, clearly and in a well-
structured way. In providing feedback the focus should be on skills development. General
comments in individual feedback (e.g. „this could have been done better‟) may not be helpful
without further explanation. Individual feedback may, for the sake of brevity, be partly cross-
referenced to a model answer or a list of common errors; however feedback should always be
sufficiently comprehensive to meet the purpose set out above.

Collective feedback

Where provided, this should be generic, suggesting what should have been done or what, in
general, was done badly. Students who performed poorly should have an opportunity to know
why they did so and how they might improve their skills. The provision of collective
feedback may be the least labour-intensive method of demonstrating points of substance.




                                                                                              8
                                                                                      Paper B



Examinations

It is not required that comments be written on exam scripts. However course convenors
should set aside time after publication of the results of an examination during which students
might come and see them to discuss their performance in the examination and should also
consider whether collective feedback in one of the forms above should be given. Where an
examination is formative or both formative and summative course convenors shou ld give
particularly careful consideration to giving some form of collective feedback (as above) in
addition to a general opportunity for students to consult them on examination scripts.

Some suggested areas for comment

General
   What was good about the essay?
   How might the essay be improved?
   Written communication skills – grammar, punctuation, appropriate structuring of
    sentences, use of the apostrophe and paragraphing.
   Fluency and clarity of expression.
   General quality of presentation.
   The ability to observe the word limit.

Problem-based assessment
    Extent of the student‟s ability to identify the relevant legal issues
    The ability to apply appropriate legal principles
    The provision of authority – amount; appropriate use and citation
    The ability to structure an argument
    Succinctness
    Clarity of argument
    The ability to identify a legal remedy if appropriate

Discursive essay-type assessment
   Familiarity with relevant literature and legal sources
   The ability to structure the discussion
   Appropriate acknowledgement of sources
   The ability to synthesize arguments and to appreciate them critically
   The ability to make an independent argument, without over-reliance on secondary
    sources
   Comprehensiveness




                                                                                            9
                                                                                                 Paper B




Problem essay assessment sheet
Student Registrati on Number :                                            Grade:

Comments (including strengths and weaknesses)




    Cover sheet not supplied              Word count not supplied

For guidance, staff may indicate their evaluation of your work in one or more of the fo llo wing respects :

                                       Needs improvement                                       Excellent

Identifying the issues                               1          2           3           4          5

Maintaining relevance                                1          2           3           4          5

Accurately applying the law                          1          2           3           4          5

Properly defining any remedy                         1          2           3           4          5

Structure and clarity of argu ment                   1          2           3           4          5

Use of authority                                     1          2           3           4          5

Presentation (paragraphing, punctuation, etc)        1          2           3           4          5

                                                These 1-5 ratings are intended for general guidance only.




                                                                                                        10
                                                                                                   Paper B




Discursive essay assessment sheet
Student Registrati on Number :                                              Grade:

Comments (including strengths and weaknesses)




    Bib liography not supplied             Cover sheet not supplied          Word count not supplied

For guidance, staff may indicate their evaluation of your work in one or more of the fo llo wing respects:

                                         Needs improvement                             Excellent

Identifying the issues                               1        2         3        4          5

Maintaining relevance                                1        2         3        4          5

Depth of research                                    1        2         3        4          5

Critical understanding of the material               1        2         3        4          5

Structure and clarity of argu ment                   1        2         3        4          5

Use of authority                                     1        2         3        4          5

Presentation (paragraphing, punctuation, etc)        1        2         3        4          5

                                                These 1-5 ratings are intended for general guidance only.




                                                                                                       11
                                                                                           Paper C
                                                                                           7.11.07

                           PGR TEACHING ASSISTANCESHIPS

The proposal to the School is for the offer of two teaching assistanceships annually beginning in
2008/9 to replace the single law PhD scholarship currently awarded annually. A review of similar
schemes in other law schools shows them to be successful in achieving two things at once:
recruiting promising doctoral students and a tighter integration of the holders in the respective
schools' teaching communities. Such schemes are, to my knowledge, available at Warwick,
Birmingham, Cardiff (part-time PhD students only]) Kent and Leeds; UCL has recently
established one; none are currently available at Scottish Law schools although they were, in
principle, agreed at Edinburgh in 2003 but never implemented.

STRUCTURE:

We would offer an assistanceship along the following lines:

-       awarded for 1 year at a time extending to a maximum of 3 years subject to satisfactory
        progress
-       progress in research and teaching reviewed after 1st year
-       3 hours average per week undergraduate teaching (40 hours per term aggregate), level 1
        and 2 tutorials being the default)

FUNDING:

The Assistanceship would be set at approx. £7,500, to cover Home/EU fees plus £4,000 towards
maintenance. This would not significantly increase the School's current expenditure as it involves
in effect splitting the existing scholarship (of fees plus £10k maintenance) in two and finding the
modest amount of extra funds required from the tutorial budget. In fact, the net effect on tutorial
provision will be favourable as the additional teaching covered will more than offset the funds
transferred from the tutorial budget.

ADMINISTRATION OF THE SCHEME:

The Assistanceships would be aimed at students beginning a PhD, the rationale being largely to
attract promising postgraduates, from Glasgow and elsewhere, whom we might otherwise lose to
other institutions.

The proposal is that applications should be offered in all areas where the School offers
postgraduate supervision, but we might 'particularly welcome' applications in areas where in any
particular year our teaching needs are greater.

A rule might usefully be established as to whether it would be acceptable for Assistants to be
allowed, subject to course organisers' discretion, to become involved in marking as part of their
regular contribution to teaching.


EMILIOS CHRISTODOULIDIS
PGR CONVENOR
Nov 2007




                                                                                                12
                                                                                                         Paper D
                                                                                                         7.11.07

SUPERVISION

Backg round:
The purpose of the paper that is presented for the approval of the School is not to change existing ru les
regarding the supervisory relationship but to firm up our pract ices to in providing a minimu m of uniformity
across the school by setting certain thresholds, while remaining sensitive to the fact that supervisory
arrangements must remain flexib le if they are to best meet needs.

Individual supervisors differ greatly in their styles of supervision. Some prefer very frequent meet ings and
more structured tasks for the student, others prefer more informal ways of working; some are more
directive, others see their role more as encouraging and enabling. Second supervisors may assume very
different roles: sometimes they become more important than the first supervisor, sometimes the supervisor
is chosen because he or she has contacts that will be particularly useful in the student‟s research, is able to
cover a different angle or additional field of expertise, etc. Whatever the pattern of supervision that
develops, it is vital that it is suited to the specific needs of the particular studen t at the time, and that all
parties discuss and negotiate how best to work. What works well for one student may well not work at all
for another. Moreover, what students need from their supervisors will vary at different stages in the degree.
The supervisory relationship is an evolving one. It is therefore crucial to a successful relationship that
students learn to say what they need fro m their supervisors, and that supervisors are flexible and open
enough to respond appropriately.

Responsibilities of Superv isors are already listed in our School's „Code of Practice‟. These include:

    1    agreeing with the student a suitable field of study and training as appropriate
    2    reading and offering comments and suggestions on written work, fro m early reviews of the
         background literature to the full draft of the final thesis
    3    attending first year review and subsequent annual reviews of progress
    4    supporting the student to plan and manage their research effectively
    5    being the first point of contact if there are any problems - whether intellectual, practical or
         emotional - which students want to discuss
    6    notifying the Convenor to apply for any suspensions or extensions of study that may be deemed
         necessary
    7    giving guidance on academic publishing and careers, and providing references for job applications
         after co mpletion of the thesis.]

    --------------------------------------------




                                                                                                               13
                                                                                                      Paper D
                                                                                                      7.11.07


Recommendations for School approval:

The recommendations involve aspects of the stated guidelines that need to be firmed up. These include:
Regularity of Meetings, Role of second supervisor, Upgrades and annual Monitoring of Progress. The
principles underlying the recommendations were discussed and agreed at a School meeting during the
summer term 2007 and were also further discussed and refined at the last PG Co mmittee meeting of
2006/7. They are now being returned to the School for endorsement.


    1.   Two active supervisors allocated for each student at the beginning of their PGR career in ALL
         cases. Note that the maximum of supervisees per member of staff is EIGHT (rather than four)
         where joint supervision is involved.

    2.   Regular meetings: as a rule monthly hourly supervision with first supervisor and minimally one
         joint supervision a term (3 x year) with both supervisors present.

[The GU 'PG Research Strategy' document states two main priorities: [i] to 'ensure that each student has a
supervisory team of at least two research active staff and an additional contact outwith the supervisory team
for any other advice' and that 'at least one member of the supervisory team has successful research degree
supervision' (ie co mplet ion)' [ii] to ensure 'that students have sufficient opportunity to interact and build
networks with other research students and researchers. '
         More specifically regarding [i]: Res earch students should be provided with a supervisory team
consisting of at least two research active staff, whose roles and overall responsibilities should be clearly
defined. In exceptional cases where it is not possible to have two research-active supervisors, approval
must be sought from the appropriate Higher Degrees Co mmittee and satisfactory alternative supervisory
arrangements demonstrated.
         Staff designated as main supervisors should normally take rime responsibility for a maximu m of
eight students
Regular (at least monthly) structured interactions should take place with at least the 'main ' supervisor to
provide feedback on progress, with agreed outcomes recorded. The student and supervisor should record
outcomes of meet ings.
     There should be further structured interaction with the supervisory team to report, discuss and agree
academic and personal progress at least every 3 months. The student and supervisors should record
outcomes of meet ings.]

    3    Supervisors to work closely with students to identify research methods needs as early as possible
         in order to take full advantage of the many opportunities available

[Research Councils pay particular attention to the existence of postgraduate courses that enhance „research
skills and techniques‟ and on „networking and teamworking‟ wh ich they define as „developing and
maintaining co-operative networks and working relat ionships with supervisors, colleagues and peers,‟ and
have their „own measures for the evaluation of research training within institutions.‟ To meet these
requirements GU have introduced a number of courses that are open to all research students in both our
Faculty and the Arts Faculty.

    4. Where they deem it beneficial supervisors should encourage/require first year PGR students to
    audit Masters and/or Honours courses in their field of research



First Year review or Upgrade

    5. Tighten the procedure to ensure that the first year review (‘Upgrade’) performs its function of
        establishing whether the candidate’s work is sufficiently developed and of sufficient standard to
        justify confirmation of PhD registration.



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[At the end of first year (for full-t ime students) or within two calendar years (for PT students) the student
will submit a substantial piece of work - as a rule a draft chapter of the thesis. The aim of the submitted
work is to adequately locate the intended study in the literature of the field and fully to elaborate the
research design; it should also include a forward p lan of work to be undertaken (as a ru le an annotated table
of contents.)
         The purpose of this review to ensure that students only proceed with their doctoral research when
they have acquired the requisite expertise; it is intended as a genuine hurdle.
         The „Upgrade‟ involves a review panel of normally 4 members including the supervisors and two
other members of staff: an Assessor and a Convenor. It may include someone who is not a member of the
School.
           The student will speak to her work and answer questions on the presentation and the work
submitted. It is obvious that this min i v iva is of great value in preparing candidates for the more demanding
later experience
      The meeting will constructively discuss the work presented – asking questions, giving feedback and
making suggestions on any aspect of the existing or planned work, including the proposed timetable.
         At the end of the review meeting, the Assessor together with the Convenor will d raft a written
report of the meeting, including its recommendations to the Faculty Higher Degrees Co mmittee and any
suggestions to the student, and submit it to the PGR Convenor. The supervisors are responsible for liaising
between the review panel and the student. The recommendation is to whether the student should be allo wed
to proceed to doctoral status, be permitted to continu e on the Masters by research only, or have studies
discontinued. It is also possible for the committee to make no decision on the student's progress but to
recommend instead that she be allowed to undergo a second upgrading process within a determined period.
In that case the assessors will exp lain the reasons of their dissatisfaction and make suggestions for
improvement. In all cases reports will be made available to the student.
         Where a serious problem is identified or d iscontinuation is considered, the review panel will
normally write a provisional report which clearly states where the proposal is deficient and makes
suggestions for bringing the proposal up to the required standard. A second review panel will be arranged
at which the student has the chance to present the revised proposal. If the review panel still finds that the
student has not met the required standard, then discontinuation will be reco mmended.]

Article I.
Article II.       Annual Reviews in years 2 and 3

         6. Enhance monitoring throughout the period of PhD study

[It is University policy that Annual Review Forms should be completed in year 2 and every subsequent
year of the PhD for both full and part time students, and that the completing of these forms should be
preceded by an annual review of the student‟s progress.
 A dedicated meeting of the student and supervisors should take place every summer (or equivalent),
      the objectives of which are
       i)       to review the previous year‟s progress against the forward plan drawn up the year before,
                reflecting on how and why these differed if they did
       ii)      to agree a sensible workp lan for the coming year including, where appropriate, a target
                submission date
       iii)     to review the supervisory relationship (e.g. Was the support appropriate and adequate in the
                last year? Could anything imp rove the supervisory relationship? How might the student‟s
                supervisory needs evolve in the coming year?)
 The student should present a short report of the year‟s progress, with any appropriate reflection, plus a
      work p lan for the coming year. A final report of the meeting‟s conclusions should be redrafted by the
      student, then agreed by all, fo r reference at subsequent progress meetings and to be attached to the
      Annual Report Form to College which the students should have sight of.

[The current practice is that a progress report is submitted at the end of year 2 and a progress report with
a ‘write-up’ plan at the end of year 3. The Report is seen by the student who is able to add comments and
observations to the report. Finally there is a short 20 -minute meeting between the P/G committee


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(consisting of the Convenor and a further one or two members of the P/G Committee) and the student for
the discussion and monitoring of the progress.]

    7    That the principal supervisor be given the discretion to request a second, reduced, version of the
         ‘upgrade’ viva, for situations where the progress has fallen below expectations, where the
         supervisor deems it beneficial for the student, or where the student has requested it.

[ The danger of „over-monitoring‟ needs to be balanced against the very real benefits that such occasions
yield for the student and gives the school a further opportunity to recommend the MPhil route where things
are going badly wrong.]

    8    That a strict ‘write-up’ schedule be submitted (and policed!) at the end of a doctoral candidate’s
         third year of study. This should go some way to redressing our poor completion rates.


Log book

[Currently the Un iversity code of practice stipulates that „the responsibilities of the supervisor include …
keeping a log of supervisory meetings with students and [when things are going badly…] „a detailed record
of supervisory meetings.‟ This is a labour-intensive process that is rarely imp lemented in practice. A
different, less cumbersome method, would be to require that a „logbook‟ be kept by the student in
consultation with their supervisor, to provide a brief record of research training arrangements, supervisory
meet ings with an emphasis on what items were discussed and what future steps agreed. The logbook is
signed by the supervisors and submitted alongside the Report to the Upgrade and later Annual review
panels.]

         9. That a ‘Logbook’ or record of all supervision meetings be kept by the student and agreed by
         the supervisor.



                                                                           EMILIOS CHRISTODOULIDIS
                                                                                     PGR CONVENOR




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Article III.       Examination Duration

At its last meeting Senate discussed and (I think) agreed the following:

         Where a course‟s examinations account for 100% of the total assessment, the maximu m duration
          of these examinations shall be as follows:
               10 credits: 90 minutes (level 1-2) or 120 minutes (level 3-M)
               15 credits: 120 minutes (level 1-2) o r 150 minutes (level 3-M)
               20 credits: 150 minutes
               30 credits: 240 minutes
               40 credits: 330 minutes
               60 credits: 480 minutes
         Where the course‟s examinations account for less than 100% of the total assessment, their
          maximu m durat ion shall be determined by mult iply ing the above duration by the examination
          weighting, and rounding the result to the nearest multip le of 30 minutes. The min imu m duration so
          calculated shall be 60 minutes.
         In accordance with Reco mmendation 75 of the Academic Structures Working Group, individual
          examinations must last 1 hour, 1.5 hours, 2 hours, or (only in the spring examination period) 3
          hours, inclusive of reading time. A course‟s maximu m examination duration may be co mpos ed of
          two or more examinations whose total duration is as above.
         Where the calculated maximu m duration for a course examination is 60 minutes or 90 minutes, the
          Faculty shall have discretion to approve an examination of 90 or 120 minutes respectively where
          an extension by 30 minutes is justified by the nature and content of the examination .
         Depart ments shall be discouraged fro m regard ing the derived maximu m durations as normal, and
          increasing durations which are currently set at a lo wer level.

The following table shows the maximum permitted exam duration for courses of different credit ratings and
levels taking into account the percentage contribution of the examination to the final grade.

                                                Exam weight Levels
 Credits       Exam weight Levels 1-2                 3-M
                50%    75%     100%            50% 75% 100%
 10            60*    60*     90*              90*   90*    120
 15            60*    90*     120              90*   120    150
 20            90*    120     150              90*   120    150
 30            120    180     240              120   180    240
 40            180    240     330              180   240    330
 60            240    360     480              240   360    480

* - extendable to 90/120 minutes, see bullet point 4 above




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          Glasgow University Student Law Review (GUSLR)
What is it:

- A student-run academic journal in which articles on any area affecting law will be written by students.
Although Law Rev iews are an integral and prestigious part of law schools in the US, this will be th e first
student-run, peer reviewed legal academic journal of any university in Scotland. As far as we are aware, the
universities of Camb ridge and London are the only other UK institutions to have Student Law Reviews.
Students will be able to write articles on any type of law they wish; whether it‟s public, private, UK based
or international, on a niche area or otherwise. It will primarily be open to Glasgow Law School students;
but may later accept articles fro m other established Law Schools.

What we will need to succeed:

- Academic support. Cambridge Student Law Review (CSLR) have advised us that faculty backing is
essential to making Student Law Rev iews working, i.e. having several Law School staff in an Advisory
Board to suggest topics for students to write about and to support the student Editorial Board in supervising
student submissions – this would be much appreciated. Academic support will help GUSLR in many ways;
fro m general support to advising on which articles to publish and perhaps how to edit?

- Funding. We have already began approaching law firms for sponsorship and will be applying to the
University's Chancellor Fund next year. We have received £1,000 sponsorship from Macl ay, Murray &
Spens so far, with several other firms interested. Recently Bell & Scott have also shown interest and have
offered GUSLR £350 sponsorship. In the short term, we can publish the Law Rev iew online at minimal
cost. Once we have mo re substantial funding in place, we can look towards getting the Law Review in
printed format and then begin distribution in all Law Schools as well as Law Firms around the United
Kingdom.

- High quality student articles. We will seek to encourage these by providing a prize fund for the best
submissions to encourage student participation, perhaps with the possibility of a prize being distributed at
the annual Law School prize-giv ing?

- Publicity. We will look to make sure that the project is well publicised - posters, emails, lecture
announcements, forum on Moodle – perhaps even if mentioned by lecturers at tutorials etc? As well as
being advertised online along with our sponsors – undoubtedly gaining further publicity.

- Some other students on the student Editorial Board, perhaps some enthusiastic people involved at Masters
/ PhD level.

Benefits to students:

- Opportunity to win money via a prize fund for the best submissions.

- Opportunity to get some of your work published - this will impress law firms in applying for
placements/traineeships and enhance employability. A ls o useful if you want to become a journalist/writer
or if you are thinking of applying for a Masters / PhD.

- Opportunity to meet other law students via some GUSLR social events.

- Gain invaluable literary skills which will g ive you excellent preparation fo r future essays and the Honours
dissertation.

Where we are ai ming to go from here :

We are aiming to have a Student Law Review website which advertises this project online by the end of



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                                                                                                     7.11.07

November, or by the end of 2007 at the latest. We also aim to have completed all necessary sponsorship
arrangements by this time. We will publicise the project extensively (posters, fliers, lecture announcements,
website, facebook, wo rd of mouth etc) on complet ion of our website. We are looking to take submissions
of articles fro m February – April 2007, with the 1st publication of the Student Law Rev iew printed by May
2008.




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External Examiner’s Reports

    Examiner                     Section 3.01 Subject                       Section 3.02 Comments made:
    Ms E A Kirk                  International Law LLM                      (17) As external I raised some queries with the School and was pleased with the
                                                                            speed and care with which they were responded to. It was clear fro m these responses
                                                                            that the School of concerned to ensure delivery of good quality programmes in a
                                                                            professional manner at this level.
                                                                            (18) Two areas of imp rovement stand out- the first is the way in which cases of
                                                                            alleged plag iarism are dealt with by the School. The processes in place now appear
                                                                            to be thorough, fair and relatively quick to imp lement.
                                                                            The second is an admin istrative issue. I found initially as external examiner that I
                                                                            was not provided information on which modules would run, when exams would be
                                                                            held or when I might expect to receive scripts and essays from the Law School. I
                                                                            now find that the informat ion supplied is much improved throughout the year and
                                                                            that I am kept well informed by administrative staff on the progress of exams,
                                                                            marking etc.
    Professor S Douglas- Scott   European Law (LLB)                         (10) 10 courses is too much for one external- although I know the trend is to
                                                                            combine as many courses as possible for externals everywhere. But all the papers
                                                                            tended to arrive at different times.
                                                                            (17) I find it difficult to separate one course form another as I am external for so
                                                                            many and the papers arrive throughout the year. However standards seem high.
    Mr S Tierney                 Scots Law, Hu man Rights, Constitutional   (17) School of Law extremely well run. Courses demanding and engaging.
                                 Law & Hons (LLB)                           Excellent. Learn ing aims all met to a high degree.
    Dr C Waelde                  Co mputers and the Law                     (16(iii)) As always, the range of materials used by the students could be expanded-
                                                                            but that is a comment that applies to students in other institutions also.




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