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					                                            HSS QAE COMMITTEE PAPER 09/09
                                                                     For discussion

Teaching Programme Reviews and Postgraduate Programme
Reviews in 2008-09 and 2009-10

The paper updates the Committee on the TPRs and Postgraduate Programme Reviews
conducted in 2008-09, and sets out the schedule for 2009-10. The Committee is
invited to discuss these reports.

Background

In addition to the annual quality reporting processes, the University also conducts the
following forms of internal reviews programmes: a six-year rolling programme of
Teaching Programme Reviews of undergraduate provision; and five-yearly reviews of
postgraduate provision (Postgraduate Programme Reviews, formerly know as
Quinquennial Reviews).

Reviews in 2008-09

The following TPRs were held in CHSS in 2008-09:

Subject area                     School
Archaeology                      School of History, Classics and Archaeology
Architecture                     School of Arts, Culture and Environment
History                          School of History, Classics and Archaeology
Music                            School of Arts, Culture and Environment

The recommendations and commendations from these TPRs are attached for
information. The full reports can be found at:

http://websiterepository.ed.ac.uk/qahandbook/tpr/schedule.html

Committee members are invited to note the commendations and recommendations
and to consider whether any of them raise issues for the Committee.

The following Postgraduate Programme Reviews were held in CHSS in 2008-09:

   School of Law
   School of Health in Social Science

The report of the Law PPR is attached. The Committee is encouraged to comment on
any QAE issues that the report raises, rather than issues of postgraduate governance or
research, since the latter issues are the responsibility of College Postgraduate Studies
Committee. CQAEC has already received the report of the Health in Social Science
(at its meeting in May 2008).

Schools should note that they should append their formal responses to these TPRs and
Quinquennial Reviews to their annual quality reports.


                                                                                      1
Reviews scheduled for 2009-10

The following TPRs are scheduled to be held in CHSS in 2009-10:

Subject area                     School
Initial Teacher Education        Education
(including Physical
Education)
Psychology                       Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences
Scottish Studies                 Literature, Languages and Cultures
Sport Science and Sport &        Education
Recreational Management

The University had scheduled for Nursing to be subject to a TPR in 2009-10.
However, it has now agreed to reschedule the TPR to 2010-11 to allow staff and
students in Nursing to provide support in relation to the swine flu pandemic (eg for
mass vaccination).

The following Postgraduate Programme Review is scheduled to be held in CHSS in
2009-10

   School Divinity


Tom Ward
August 2009




                                                                                       2
Teaching Programme Review of Archaeology, February 2009

Commendations and Recommendations

Commendations
   1. The review team commends the School‟s vision of a centre for the study of
        the human past, and notes that Archaeology is crucial to the fulfilment of that
        vision (para 3.4).
   2.    The review team commends the School for its efforts to achieve a balance
        between autonomy and independence in its relations with the Subject Area,
        and for its emerging School-wide structures and processes including the
        Student Support Office, the Undergraduate Director, the Special
        Circumstances Committee and the implementation group (para 3.10).
   3. The review team commends Archaeology for their growing expertise in
        Mediterranean pre-history, on the strong theoretical basis provided to the
        student, on the flexibility and choice offered to the student and on the recent
        restructuring of the sub-Honours curriculum, which appears to have been well
        received by students (para 3.12).
   4. The review team commends the quality and innovation of some courses
        across Archaeology which make good use of synergies and collaborative
        working within the University, College and School while seeking to maximise
        teaching offerings within the same staffing resource, particularly at PGT level
        (para 3.13).
   5. The review team commends the requirement to demonstrate presentation
        skills as part of learning (para 3.15).
   6. The review team commends plans to provide a course for Junior Honours
        students on dissertation skills (para 3.16).
   7. The review team commends the standard of teaching and the quality,
        enthusiasm and commitment of the academic staff which was evident
        throughout the Review visit (para 3.19).
   8. The review team commends the incorporation of e-learning approaches to
        teaching, and the plans to develop this across the School, as well as the plans
        to develop distance learning Masters courses (para 3.20).
   9. The review team commends the level of support and guidance provided to
        students to help them make informed and appropriate subject choices (para
        3.24).
   10. The use of drop-in surgeries for student support is commended (para 3.25).
   11. The review team commends the commitment and the depth of knowledge of
        the staff, as evidenced by the many positive comments by the students
        interviewed as part of the Review (para 3.29).
   12. The review team commends the Subject Area for its use of a range of tactics
        and work-arounds in order to deliver continuously improving and expanding
        teaching and learning within a constrained staffing envelope (para 3.30).
   13. The review team, in concurrence with the History TPR team, commends



                                                                                          3
   development of a very thorough workload model (para 3.33).
14. The review team commends the quality of the PG tutors (para 3.35).
15. The review team commends the PG tutors for their strong peer support and
   ethos (para 3.36).
16. The review team commends the quality of the administrative support staff,
   which is evidenced from the external assessors‟ reports and the comments
   from the students (para 3.42).
17. The review team commends the plans to develop an Undergraduate Teaching
   Office, as recommended by the History TPR team (para 3.45).
18. The team commends the appointment of the E-learning and Web
   Development Officer as a School-level resource, while noting that this may be
   perceived in the short-term as a loss to the Subject Area (para 3.46).
19. The review team commends the plans to develop further the links between the
   library resources and teaching, particularly e-learning, across the School (para
   3.47).
20. The review team commends the plans for the new building as seen for their
   use of shared flexible spaces (para 3.48).
21. The team commends the School on achieving a rare breadth of collaboration
   across the School and the University (para 3.54).
22. The review team commends the School‟s commitment to research-led
   teaching (para 3.60).
23. Student progression trends, degree results and programme specifications,
   together with the comments of the external assessors, make it clear that the
   quality of student learning outcomes is high, and that the programmes are
   challenging students to attain their intellectual potential. The review team
   commends the Subject Area on this finding (para 4.4).
24. The Subject Area is commended on the diversity and effectiveness of its
   assessment and examination procedures (para 4.5).
25. The review team, in concurrence with the History TPR team, commends the
   establishment of a School-wide Special Circumstances committee and hopes it
   will operate in line with the recommendations of the History TPR team (para
   4.11).
26. The review team commends the efforts made to date by the School and the
   Subject Area to improve the quality, quantity and timeliness of feedback (para
   4.12).
27. The review team commends the feedback forms used (para 4.15).
28. The team commends the employability and transferable skills demonstrated
   by the students interviewed (para 4.17).
29. The review team commends the Subject Area for the quality of the Analytical
   Report and the willingness to engage with the TPR process (para 5.1).
30. The team also commends the Subject Area for its recent work in developing
   new teaching methods (para 5.2).



                                                                                  4
     31. The review team commends the Subject Area for its robust processes for
        amending and improving courses, either on a stand-alone basis, or in
        conjunction with other Subject Areas, which have been adopted as best
        practice within the School (para 5.3).
     32. The team commends the School for its recently completed review of UG
        teaching (para 5.4).
     33. The review team commends the School for its robust and thorough response
        to the findings on assessment and feedback in the National Student Survey
        (para 5.8).
     34. The Subject Area is commended for its responsive relationship with external
        assessors, for its robust arrangements for undertaking course assessment and
        obtaining student feedback, for the improvements noted in its QA processes
        and for its role as a site of QA best practice for other parts of the School


Recommendations
1.      The review team, in concurrence with the History TPR team, recommends the
        development of a School Learning and Teaching Strategy that aligns with the
        College strategy, in order to take full advantage of the latter and cultivate a
        proactive approach to the development of teaching and learning across the
        School (para 3.3).
2.      The review team recommends that the Subject Area develops its own medium
        to long-term strategy, which would give context to its ambitions for growth
        and resource planning, identify future demand trends, help balance the issue of
        PGT provision against UG provision, assess the competitors in the market and
        define the Subject Area‟s distinctive appeal. This may have consequences for
        the planned space allocation in the new building and should accordingly be
        undertaken without delay (para 3.5).
3.      The review team recommends that the Subject Area considers how its joint
        offerings with other Subject Areas, other areas across the School and
        University and with external associates, can be managed and delivered to
        ensure maximum potential benefit to the students and to the University. That
        means that collaborations are documented with clearly defined responsibilities,
        resources and expected outcomes from each partner, in order to ensure
        commitments are deliverable, are clear and are kept (para 3.7).
4.      The review team, in concurrence with the History TPR team, recommends the
        practice of setting up small taskforces across the School to tackle priority areas
        such as e-learning, assessment, feedback and employability (para 3.8).
5.      The team recommends that the Subject Area considers whether its strategy
        may look to provide a given range of courses primarily because staff have the
        relevant expertise, rather than because students want to enrol on those courses
        (“supply-led”, rather than “demand-led” provision) and what risks may arise
        and need to be managed as a result of that approach (para 3.13).
6.      The team recommends that the Subject Area and School consider the
        curricular offerings as part of the proposed strategic plan (para 3.14).




                                                                                        5
7.    The review team recommends that the Subject Area considers whether they
      need to increase or amend their provision of fieldwork and whether they need
      to take a more proactive role in provision of fieldwork opportunities for
      students (para 3.17).
8.    The review team recommends that the Subject Area continues with its work
      to build on its good practice in relation to e-learning (para 3.20).
9.    The review team recommends that the roles and the underpinning procedures
      and systems for student support be further clarified and publicised to staff and
      to students before the move by the Subject Area and the School (3.23).
10.   The review team recommends that the Subject Area begins to draw together a
      medium-to-long-term strategy without delay, to provide a context and a case
      for additional staffing resources (para 3.32).
11.   The review team, in concurrence with the History TPR team, commends
      development of the very thorough workload model and recommends that the
      Workload Model be used to move towards equity of teaching and
      administration loads across the Subject Area and the School (para 3.33).
12.   The review team recommends that the School and College take into
      consideration, when reviewing the Subject Area‟s strategic plan, the effect on
      the Subject Area‟s national reputation and staff morale of the unfilled
      Abercromby Professorial Chair (para 3.34).
13.   The review team recommends a School-based induction to complement the
      University-wide programme (para 3.37).
14.   The review team recommends that the Subject Area and School consider how
      feedback for PG tutor could be achieved (para 3.38).
15.   The review team recommends that a continuing professional development
      programme for PG tutors would not only assist their development and enhance
      the quality of their teaching, but would help provide documented standardised
      evidence for tutors to use in applying for the next stage in their careers. This
      recommendation may benefit from being taken forward at the University level
      (para 3.39).
16.   The review team recommends that the Subject Area makes use of the peer
      support provided by the Higher Education Academy (para 3.40).
17.   The team recommends that the Subject Area works with the School to
      consider how to preserve the strong sense of community that currently exists
      within the Subject Area, when the move to new premises takes place (para
      3.48).
18.   The review team, in concurrence with the History TPR team, recommends the
      appointment of a full-time move co-ordinator from within the staff at the
      School to ease and negotiate the transition to the new building, who can ensure
      that the learning resources are fully responsive to emerging teaching and
      learning approaches (para 3.49).
19.   The longer term relationship between both field centres and the University is
      noted in the Analytical Report as being unclear and the review team
      recommends that this relationship is clarified by the University (para 3.52).



                                                                                       6
20.   The team recommends the School considers the degree of integration sought
      between the three Subject Areas as part of its review of course allocation for
      2010/11 (para 3.56).
21.   The review team recommends that the Subject Area continues to lobby for
      Archaeology to be a separate subject in the Research Evaluation Framework
      (REF) (para 3.58).
22.   The review team recommends that, when undertaking its review of course
      allocation for 2010/11, the Subject Area and School take into account the
      greater operational complexity involved in offering the widest possible range
      of subjects and options, rather than a small number of specialisms (para 3.59).
23.   The review recommends that the Subject Area and School make a decision to
      deliver the teaching of science based archaeology through MA and other
      programmes, undertaking, if necessary, a more detailed costed option appraisal
      as the basis for that decision (para 3.62).
24.   The review team recommends that further research be done by the Subject
      Area on the area of recruitment trends, possibly in collaboration with other
      institutions with archaeology departments, or the relevant HEA subject centre
      (para 4.1).
25.   The review team recommends that further research be done by the Subject
      Area on retention trends and students‟ motivations for moving, as too high a
      level of “churn” is hard to manage (para 4.2).
26.   The review team nevertheless recommends that further research be done by
      the Subject Area in the area of destination trends, which might be done in
      collaboration with other institutions‟ archaeology departments and their
      Careers Services (para 4.3).
27.   The review team recommends some “marking of the markers” by the Subject
      Area, particularly provision of feedback to tutors (para 4.8).
28.   The external assessors observed that there is sometimes a degree of overlap in
      content between the different assessment streams, e.g. a similar focus for a
      continuous assessment essay and an examination question. It is
      recommended that this be kept under review by the Subject Area (para 4.9).
29.   The review team recommends that the detail to be included in the grade
      descriptors be debated at the School, College and University level (para 4.10).
30.   The review team recommends that the Subject Area puts in place stronger
      mechanisms for ensuring that assessment and feedback is consistently received
      by the student within the target three weeks (para 4.13).
31.   Feedback was reportedly issued piecemeal in some cases, so that some
      students had access to their results before others. Again only in some cases,
      students had not always received feedback on their first essay before entering
      their first examination. The review team recommends that procedures in this
      respect are clarified and communicated to staff by the Subject Area (para
      4.14).
32.   The review team commends the feedback forms used but also recommends
      that the Subject Area considers allowing more space in the forms for
      comments, if needed (para 4.15).


                                                                                       7
33.   The review team recommends that the Subject Area seeks guidance from the
      Careers Service, CTLA and other colleagues about how to evidence
      employability more explicitly in its assessments (para 4.17).
34.   The team recommends the Subject Area consider whether a session of
      training in presentation skills would be a useful addition to the curriculum.
      This might include provision of opportunities for students to practice
      presentational skills at an earlier stage in the degree programme in the form of
      formative assessments that receive staff feedback (para 4.18).
35.   The team also recommends the Subject Area investigate the appropriateness
      of employing video feedback in assessing UG students‟ presentation skills, as
      Transkills does for post-graduates. (para 4.18).
36.   The review team recommends more specialised support is sought for
      Archaeology students from the Careers Service or alternative arrangements are
      made (for example, a shared careers event or advice pack for Archaeology
      students across Scotland) (para 4.19).
37.   It was suggested that employers‟ views be sought to support proposals for new
      courses by the Subject Area and the review team supports this
      recommendation (para 5.3).
38.   The team recommends the creation of a channel of communication from the
      PG tutors into the quality enhancement process by the Subject Area (para 5.5).
39.   The review of History recommended that the School creates a School-wide
      teaching and learning forum to foster a more proactive culture of sharing of
      good practice in teaching, learning and assessment from inside and outside the
      School and encourage the piloting of innovation, and the Archaeology review
      team reiterate that recommendation (para 5.6).
40.   The review recommends that staff are encouraged by the Subject Area to
      attend the Staff-Student Liaison Committee, while acknowledging that
      workload pressures can make this difficult (para 5.9).
41.   The review team recommends that the SSLC examine whether targeted
      survey or focus group work might help assess the weight to be given to minor
      complaints, and therefore the appropriate level of response (para 5.10).
42.   The review recommends that the Student Archaeology Society approaches the
      Head of School for funding for speakers and any other added-value activity it
      feels is appropriate (5.11).
43.   The review team recommends that the University considers whether it should
      take steps to encourage and embed consistency of quality assurance processes
      across the Colleges (para 6.2).
44.   The review team recommends that the University, College and the School
      seek to roll out peer observation and have it accepted as normal working
      practice as quickly as possible (para 6.3).
45.   The review team, in concurrence with the History TPR team, recommends
      that the Subject Area publish QA results on student webpages (para 6.4).




                                                                                      8
Recommendations                                      Responsibility of
2, 3, 5, 7, 8, 10, 16, 21, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 30,   Subject Area
31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 40, 41, 45
6, 9, 11, 14, 17, 22, 23                             Subject Area and School
1, 4, 13, 18, 20, 39                                 School

12                                                   School and College

15, 19, 43                                           University
29, 44                                               School, College and University
42                                                   Student Archaeology Society




                                                                               9
Teaching Programme Review of Architecture, March 2009

Commendations and Recommendations

Commendations

    8.1    The Department of Architecture is commended for the dedication and
           commitment of its staff, particularly in the area of design studio and
           cultural context.
    8.2    The Team commends the Department for its approach to research-led
           design teaching and knowledge exchange – teaching links in both
           Architecture and Architectural History.
    8.3    The Review Team commends the Department and the Edinburgh College
           of Art for the provision of excellent facilities and resources within the
           relevant libraries, workshops and dedicated individual studio space.
    8.4    The Team commends the Department and the Edinburgh College of Art
           for the commitment and resourcefulness of technical support staff.
    8.5    The Department is commended for its use of high quality one-to-one
           teaching at critical points in the programmes.
    8.6    The Review Team commends the support given by the Edinburgh
           University Students Architecture Society [EUSAS] and the Edinburgh
           College of Art's Architecture student association [ARCHIE] to the
           teaching programmes.
    8.7    The Department is commended for the quality of students, who
           demonstrated maturity, responsibility and quality in their work.
    8.8    The Review Team commends the Department for the introduction of the
           academic portfolio review.
    8.9    The Team commends the Department for its work on developing the
           strength of student writing skills.
   8.10    The Department is commended for its current ventures into publications.
   8.11    The Department is commended for its current Director of Studies system
           as an integral element of community of practice.
   8.12    The Review Team commends the Department and Edinburgh College of
           Art for the strategic vision of staff tasked with looking at IT and library
           arrangements in the new School of Architecture.
   8.13    The Team commends the Department for its intention with regard to
           visiting professorial fellows.

    8.14   The Department is commended for the strong philosophical and critical
           grounding of its programmes
    8.15   The Department is commended for the quality of its design work,
            drawings and artefacts.

   Recommendations


                                                                                   10
8.16   The Review Team recommends that the Edinburgh School of
       Architecture explicitly includes students as partners in the creation of the
       ESA.
8.17   The Team recommends that the Edinburgh School of Architecture
       manages the change processes involved in its creation in a way which is
       student / learner focussed.
8.18   The Review Team recommends that every effort is made to maintain the
       level and quality of facilities and working space for students, particularly
       in the first critical years of operation of the new ESA and pending a
       decision from SFC on future buildings provision.
8.19   It recommends that attention is given to how best to manage student
       expectations in relation to two different sets of arrangements regarding
       access to some of the technical facilities.
8.20   The Review Team recommends that the Edinburgh School of
       Architecture should use Director of Studies arrangements to help ensure
       integration of the new intake from 2009-10.
8.21   The Review Team recommends that the Edinburgh School of
       Architecture monitors closely the experience of its first cohort.
8.22   The Team recommends the need for the Edinburgh School of
       Architecture to strengthen the existing support provided to new first year
       intake, recognising the pivotal importance of the experience of the first
       year to the reputation of the ESA over its first few critical years.
8.23   The Review Team recommends that the Edinburgh School of
       Architecture consider the use of formative assessment and feedback,
       particularly in first year.
8.24   The Review Team recommends that the Edinburgh School of
       Architecture should consider reviewing or adjusting admissions procedure
       to give some attention to candidates' creativity in visual media.
8.25   The Team recommends that the Edinburgh School of Architecture should
       consider ways in which to extend existing work in widening participation.
8.26   The Review Team recommends that the Edinburgh School of
       Architecture considers embedding e-Learning across the curricula,
       building on existing good practice.
8.27   The Team recommends that the Edinburgh School of Architecture keeps
       Quality Assurance & Enhancement arrangements under review in order to
       ensure manageability.
8.28   The Review Team recommends that consideration is given as a matter of
       priority to the development of explicit structures for financial
       management and resource allocation to, and within, the ESA.
8.29   The Review Team recommends that the Edinburgh School of
       Architecture explore ways in which to make it visible and outward
       looking.




                                                                                11
8.30   The Team recommends the development of a communication strategy to
       share and promote the vision, brand and contribution of the ESA.
8.31   Finally, it recommends that the strategic and operational plans for the
       creation of the new School are more widely shared with appropriate
       internal and external stakeholders.
   Recommendations                                Responsibility of
   16 – 17; 19 – 26; 29 - 31                      Subject Area (ESA)
   18, 27 - 28                                    Subject Area (ESA), School &
                                                  College




                                                                           12
Teaching Programme Review of History, November 2008

Commendations and Recommendations

Commendations
7.1 The review team commends the School for its open, reflective and forward-
    looking approach to the TPR and the quality of the Analytical Report (para
    3.2).
7.2    The review team commends the quality, enthusiasm and commitment of the
       academic staff which was evident throughout the Review visit (para 3.4).
7.3    In particular it commends the School‟s commitment to research led teaching
       (para 3.5).
7.4    The review team commends the quality of the part-time staff and tutors (para
       3.6).
7.5    The review team commends the School‟s induction of new members of
       academic staff into their teaching duties and the supportive and welcoming
       environment created for these staff (para 3.7).
7.6    The review team commends the histories for their international scope and
       range of courses, in particular the close links which Economic and Social
       History enjoys with economics and the social sciences and the wide
       international coverage in these courses. (para 3.8).
7.7    The review team commends the quality of the teaching administrative staff.
       (para 3.9).
7.8    The team commends the commitment of the School to fund the librarianship
       position, given the testing financial climate that prevails (para 3.10).
7.9    The team commends the School‟s recent appointment of a School UG
       administrator (para 3.11).
7.10   The team commends the appointment of the School E-learning and Web
       Development Officer (para 3.12).
7.11   The team commends the initiative of the Student Support Office to maintain
       contact with students during their year abroad (para 3.13).
7.12   The review team had been asked to consider the extent to which History had
       taken advantage of the wider community of Classicists and Archaeology
       within the School and the potential opportunities ahead arising from the co-
       location of the School. The team commends the School on achieving
       collaboration on the pre-honours courses (para 3.15).
7.13   The review team commends the high quality and diversity of the students and
       the standard of their work. (para 4.3).
7.14   The review team commends the good work of the Senior Director of Studies
       in providing guidance and information to other DoS‟s. (para 4.4).
7.15   The team commends the setting up of the Student Support Office and the
       valuable role played by the team in providing advice to students (para 4.5).
7.16   The review team commends the provision of comprehensive course booklets
       which provided detailed information on Learning Outcomes and assessment


                                                                                      13
       for each course (para 5.2).

7.17   The review team commends the University on its investment in investment in
       the relocation and intention of creating an integrated community of scholars
       (para 5.3).
7.18   The review team commends the histories for their diverse modes of teaching
       (para 5.5).
7.19   The review team commends the quality and innovation of some courses
       across the Histories (para 5.6).
7.20   The area of Economic and Social History is commended for its use of clear
       milestones for students completing their dissertation (para 5.10).
7.21   The team commends the School on undertaking the internal review process
       following the increase in the number of the School‟s subject areas (para 5.11).
7.22   The team commends the School for its participation in the Careers Service
       Framework (para 5.13).
7.23   The review team commends the willingness of the PG tutors to provide one to
       one feedback to students (para 6.1).

7.24   The review team commends the decision to start profiling of marks and to
       make this available to the students once agreement has been reached on when
       this will start. para 6.3).

7.25   The review commends the histories on the development of a very thorough
       workload model (para 6.5).

Recommendations

7.26   The review team recommends that the Subject Areas should make further
       efforts to share best practice across all the histories (para 3.4).

7.27   The review team recommends that the School consider creating a central
       Teaching Organisation office (para 3.9).

7.28   The review team recommends that the existence of the School Librarian and
       the services that are offered are publicised more widely to students so as to
       maximise what is an increasingly valuable resource as e-resources in history
       grow in volume and importance in the curriculum (para 3.10).

7.29   The team recommends that the histories explore possible solutions to the
       issue of large class sizes at honours level, recognising that this involves some
       difficult choices about resource allocation but noting the importance of this
       issue to student satisfaction (para 3.14).

7.30   The team recommends the School seeks further opportunities for
       collaboration on honours courses between all existing components of the
       School to increase the choice of courses available to History students and ease



                                                                                      14
       imbalances in workload (para 3.15).

7.31   The team recommends that the layout of the new building includes common
       staff and administration areas for the whole School which should further
       increase collaboration between Subject Areas (para 3.15).

7.32   The review team recommends that the histories clarify exactly how students
       meet the benchmark statements with regard to geographic and chronological
       coverage for each degree programme and in each year of study (para 4.2).

7.33   It further recommends the histories clarify progression at all levels in terms of
       meeting intended Learning Outcomes in order to assist students to more easily
       monitor their academic development and see the coherence of their
       programme of study (para 4.2).

7.34   The team recommends that the Student Support Office track movements of
       students between DoS‟s and return a student to their original DoS once a
       sabbatical is ended. (para 4.4).

7.35   The team recommends clarifying the division of roles of the Director of
       Studies and the Student Support Office and ensuring that the distinction is
       communicated to students and the students have a clear view of how to access
       the support services they need within the School. (para 4.5).

7.36   One of the concerns of the School was the bureaucracy and constraints
       imposed by College on changing assessment practices. The review team
       recommends that colleagues in the histories take a positive and proactive
       approach towards making changes (para 4.6).

7.37   The review team recommends the School reviews the relationships between
       the programmes and the structure of each programme to see if a more balanced
       distribution can be achieved while taking account of the needs of the students
       (para 4.7).

7.38   The review team recommends that the University of Edinburgh renews and
       reinforces its institutional commitment to support and value teaching and
       recognise and reward excellence in this area of activity in the promotions
       process, including to the highest levels (para 5.1).

7.39   The team recommends the histories consider providing Programme Level
       Handbooks for first and second year students which would allow the generic
       information on areas such as plagiarism, special needs, roles of the Director of
       Studies etc. to be moved from the course handbooks into programme level
       handbooks (para 5.2).

7.40   The review team recommends that the School and the University continue to
       take a strongly collaborative approach to defining appropriate flexible learning
       spaces in the new accommodation that supports the aims of the teaching staff
       including PG tutors (para 5.4).



                                                                                     15
7.41   The review team recommends the appointment of a full-time move co-
       ordinator from within the staff at the School to ease and negotiate the
       transition to the new building (para 5.4).

7.42   The team recommends the School creates a School-wide teaching and
       learning forum to foster a more proactive culture of sharing of good practice in
       teaching, learning and assessment from inside and outside the School and
       encourage the piloting of innovation (para 5.5).

7.43   The Review Team recommends that such creativity in curriculum design and
       delivery (History in Theory, History in Practice, Economic & Social History 2
       and American History ) is encouraged and extended so as to maximise the
       quality of the student learning experience (para 5.6).

7.44   The review team recommends the development of a School Learning and
       Teaching Strategy that aligns with the College strategy (para 5.7).

7.45   The team recommends that the History Subject Area endeavours to strengthen
       its own communications and relationship with its students by considering the
       implementation of good practice from the other areas (para 5.8).

7.46   It was noted that there are a variety of penalties imposed across the histories
       for non-attendance at tutorials and late submission of coursework. The team
       recommends that these inconsistencies are eliminated where there is no strong
       reason for there to be a variance (para 5.9).

7.47   Each student has to submit a research proposal of 1500 words as part of this.
       Students commented that these milestones did not exist in some other Subject
       Areas, and the team therefore recommends that the other Subject Areas
       consider the adoption of this practice (para 5.10).

7.48   The review team recommends the practice of setting up small Taskforces to
       tackle priority areas such as eLearning, Assessment, Feedback and
       Employability (para 5.12).

7.49   The team recommends that the course/programme booklets provide advice
       that students can turn to when considering careers and applying for positions
       (para 5.13).

7.50   The review team commends the willingness of the PG tutors to provide one to
       one feedback to students but recommends that the School publicises more
       firmly and widely that students can and should take advantage of this (para
       6.1).

7.51   The team further recommends that space for private consultations between
       students and PG tutors is provided in the new location of the School to
       facilitate both formal and informal feedback (para 6.1).

7.52   The team recommends that the layout of the coursework feedback form is
       reconsidered to encourage all tutors to provide effective and full feedback, and


                                                                                    16
       that second markers and those monitoring essays ensure that this is the case
       (para 6.2).

7.53   The team recommends that the Histories strengthen and clarify the
       mechanism for acting on course monitoring information collectively and that
       the process and outcomes are transparent to students (para 6.4)

7.54   The team recommends that QA results are published on student webpages.
       Much of this type of analysis could be undertaken by the Undergraduate
       teaching administration (para 6.4).

7.55   The team recommends that the Workload Model be used in allocation of
       effort as well as in accounting for effort in order to move towards equity of
       teaching and administration loads across the School (not to be applied Subject
       Area by Subject Area). To include PGT (para 6.5).

7.56   The review team recommends that the histories review their approach to
       student communications to ensure appropriate systems are in place and are
       monitored to ensure that they work (para 6.6).

7.57   The review team recommends the encouragement of the recruitment of class
       reps by the School and that the importance of their role is communicated
       effectively to the student body (para 6.7).

7.58   The team recommends that the School ensure that SSLC meetings take place
       regularly in all its areas of activity, and that students are made aware of
       information relating to the class rep and SSLC system with minutes being
       published (para 6.8).

7.59   The team recommends the establishment of a Special Circumstance
       committee that would take place before the arrival of the External Examiners
       (para 6.9).

7.60   The review team recommends that the School sets up a small Taskforce to
       consider where consolidation of exam boards could be implemented (para
       6.10).



 Recommendation                   Responsibility of:

 7.25 - 7.37, 7.39, 7.40 – 7.60   School of History, Classics & Archaeology
 7.38, 7.40                       University of Edinburgh




                                                                                      17
Teaching Programme Review of Music, October 2008

Commendations & Recommendations

Commendations
8.1 The review area is commended for the quality of its analytical report, including
the Head of Music‟s overview, which reflected clearly, honestly and concisely on
current issues, and provided the review team with an informative basis for its
discussions. [2.5]

8.2 The review team commends the Head of School‟s vision for the development of
the School as a whole and for the place of Music within these developments. [3.1]

8.3 The review team commends Physics‟ input on both levels [specific teaching input
to Music and activity in the University‟s promotion of the public understanding of
science]. [3.3]

8.4 The review team commends the diversity of Music‟s research strengths. [3.6]

8.5 Music is commended for holding regular away days as an opportunity for
reflection on the future shape of the department. [3.9]

8.6 The review area is to be commended for its dialogue with schools and with the
school-level curriculum development process. [3.11]

8.7 The review area is commended for an approach which allows students to acquire
a secure technical basis as a platform for developing their individual interpretations of
what it means to be a musician. [4.1]

8.8 The review team wishes to commend Music for its approach in this area [support
in bringing students‟ basic music toolkit up to the required standard]. [4.4]

8.9 Music is commended for the quality of its academic staff and the evident passion
which they bring to undergraduate teaching. [4.5]

8.10 The review area is commended for its ongoing consideration of the place of the
Research Methods course in the curriculum. [4.7]

8.11 The review area is commended for the high quality and commitment to teaching
of its postgraduate and external tutors. [4.8]

8.12 Postgraduate tutors in the review area are commended for their engagement with
and reflection on the process of teaching [4.8]

8.13 The review team commends the commitment and enthusiasm of the Studio
Manager. [4.9]

8.14 The review area is commended for career awareness offered to students through
the Music in the Community course. [4.17]



                                                                                       18
8.15 The Student Support Officer is commended for her high level of competence
and sensitivity to student needs. [5.2]

8.16 The review area‟s office staff are commended for their effective operation of the
undergraduate student office. [5.3]

8.17 Music is commended for its high standards of academic and pastoral care of
students, and for its attention to the development needs of its staff in student support
roles. [5.3]

8.18 Music is commended for its use of a pro forma for structured feedback on essays
and other written submissions. [6.6]

8.19 The review area is commended for its informative grade descriptions for
compositional studies, cultural studies and performance studies. [6.7]

8.20 Music is commended for its Audit Panels and for its ongoing reflection on its
courses. [7.1]

8.21 Music is commended for its approach to student feedback, which uses feedback
from students in relation to the individual course, and also as a way of informing the
coherence. [7.2]

8.22 The review team commends Music for the initiative of piloting a curriculum
development group with invited members from other departments. [7.3]

8.23 Music is commended for many teaching practices that follow the College
Learning and Teaching Strategy. [7.4]

Recommendations

8.24 The review team recommends that the Music management team give thought to
the optimum strategic partnerships for the discipline both within the University of
Edinburgh and externally. [3.2]

8.25 The team recommends that the University examine the balance between the
needs of research and teaching in its current staffing strategy. [3.3]

8.26 It is recommended that any development of the Music Technology provision
take into account the changes in musical skills being taught at secondary level. [3.5]

8.27 It is recommended that Music consider the introduction of an undergraduate
programme in Intercultural Music. [3.5]

8.28 It is recommended that Music make explicit its four key research areas which
inform undergraduate teaching. [3.6]

8.29 In terms of developing the research strategy it is recommended that Music build
its strategy out of its areas of strength which are productive in research and distinctive
and interesting in undergraduate teaching [3.6]


                                                                                         19
8.30 In the context of possible expansion of degree provision it is recommended that
Music consider whether existing areas should be strengthened: ethnomusicology
within the broad musicological/historical strand is seen by the review team as
important for an expansion into Intercultural Music. [3.6]

8.31 Reflection on the relationship between key research areas and teaching is
recommended as a means of defining a departmental vision for teaching. [3.6]

8.32 While acknowledging that possible future funding is actively under discussion,
the review team recommends that in the light of the importance of these collections
[St Cecilia‟s Hall museum of Instruments and the Reid Concert Hall Museum of
Instruments] and their curatorial resource to the review area, Music should make a
case for proleptic funding of a curatorial post with teaching responsibilities and
potentially a research specialism in Early Music. [3.8]

8.33 It is recommended that Music seeks to derive further value from [away day
events] by summarising the outcomes and feeding them into subsequent strategic
discussions between away day events. [3.9]

8.34 It is recommended that Music carries out a strategic review of the purpose,
intended audience, pricing policy, and publicity and marketing strategy for the
Lunchtime Concert series, potentially drawing on expertise within the University via
the Business School. [3.10]

8.35 It is recommended that Music considers the potential of a higher profile curated
[concert] series in attracting sponsorship and raising the profile of University music
within the city [3.10]

8.36 If progress is made in [the] dialogue [with schools and with the school-level
curriculum development process], it is recommended that the methods, routes and
measures adopted be disseminated widely across the university to address similar
issues elsewhere. [3.11]

8.37 it is recommended that the review area consider how to encourage greater
awareness in Music students of the opportunities of the wider University so as to
mitigate any potential insularity. [4.2]

8.38 In the light of the range of musical skill sets of potential applicants it is
recommended that the review area consider ways in which entrants might provide
evidence of appropriate musicianship skills equivalent to the current keyboard skills
requirement. [4.3]

8.39 The review team recommends that the review area make representations to the
SQA, in particular regarding the skill set with which students are equipped in Higher
and Advanced Higher qualifications. [4.4]

8.40 The review team recommends that Music considers the pace at which elements
such as harmony and figured bass are taught in the pre-Honours years. [4.4]



                                                                                     20
8.41 The review team recommends that Music embraces the practical implications of
the curriculum framework for Project Weeks, and launches them afresh to the student
body with particular emphasis on their purpose and place within the curriculum. [4.6]

8.42 The review team recommends that Music consider the feasibility of re-locating
the Research Methods course to Year 2, while taking into account the already full pre-
Honours curriculum. [4.7]

8.43 It is recommended that the Centre for Teaching, Learning and Assessment
discuss with Music how to provide courses which meet the needs of Music tutoring
staff. [4.8]

8.44 It is recommended that as an immediate step Music identify key rooms in which
high quality speakers and a piano would provide maximum benefit, and present a case
to the relevant budget holder. [4.10]

8.45 In the medium to longer term, it is recommended that group listening space and
speaker quality are specified by Music in identification of facilities requirements.
[4.10]

8.46 It is recommended that the review area consider its estates and facilities
requirements as part of its consideration of longer term strategic academic
partnerships. [4.11]

8.47 It is further recommended that the review area:-
a) Consider the strategic relationships with other schools in the College that are most
critical to the development of teaching and research in Music, aiming to inform a plan
for re-location and possible co-location.
b) Identify, in conjunction with the College and the Estates and Buildings department,
the medium to long term physical requirements of Music and how these can be
achieved within the University‟s estates strategy. [4.11]

8.48 It is recommended that Music reviews the interaction between room booking
policy and course requirements for students. [4.12]

8.49 The review team recommends that the needs of Music students [in access to
practice rooms] should be prioritised by a number of steps: an increase in the annual
permit fee for non-Music students; longer opening hours, facilitated by the recent
installation of swipe card entry to Alison House; and advance booking slots,
potentially prioritised for Music students, to allow forward planning. [4.13]

8.50 It is recommended that the Library make all efforts to maximise the on-line
availability of music within its collections. [4.14]

8.51 It is recommended that the Library carry out an examination of the detailed
customer needs of Music students and staff for implementation as resources allow.
[4.14]

8.52 The review team recommends that Music include library and on-line resources
in its thinking about strategic partnerships and estates and facilities requirements.


                                                                                     21
[4.14]

8.53 It is recommended that Music consider the feasibility of giving students some
recognition of extra curricular performance activities, while acknowledging the
laudable desire not to absorb everything into a „credit-bearing‟ culture. [4.16]

8.54 It is recommended that the review area introduce back-up cover for the Student
Support Officer, potentially in collaboration with the School-level administration.
[5.2]

8.55 The review area suggests, and the review team concurs and recommends for
consideration by the Disability Office in discussion with Schools, that the
administrative load on academic staff could be further eased by transferring the
responsibilities of the Co-ordinator of Adjustments to administrative staff. [5.4]

8.56 In order to allow full participation of academic staff in Board of Examiners
meetings it is recommended that Music support staff take on administrative tasks
wherever possible, particularly the minuting of meetings. [6.2]

8.57 It is recommended that Music consider introducing revision sessions in
Semester 2 covering material taught in Semester 1. [6.4]

8.58 It is recommended that Music consider examining subjects such as Acoustics,
which are entirely new to students, at the end of Semester 1. [6.4]

8.59 It is recommended that Music consider how some areas of the programmes,
such as Project Weeks, could be explicitly recognised and valued, potentially through
their inclusion in students‟ Personal Development Plans. [6.5]

8.60 The review team recommends that in order further to enhance its feedback to
students Music monitor the use of pro formas, in particular the variability in depth and
detail of individual textual comments from different markers, and produces criteria for
continuous assessment. [6.6]

8.61 It is recommended that Music make explicit its teaching practices which follow
the College Learning and Teaching Strategy and subsequently take every opportunity
to use the College strategy for guidance. [7.4]

Responsibility for actions

 Recommendation                        Responsibility of
 8.24, 8.26-8.42, 8.44-8.49, 8.52-     Review area
 8.53, 8.56-8.61
 8.54                                  Review area and School
 8.25                                  Vice Principal for Academic
                                       Enhancement, Vice Principal for
                                       Planning, Resources and Research
                                       Policy, Director of Human Resources
 8.43                                  Centre for Teaching, Learning &



                                                                                     22
             Assessment

8.50, 8.51   Library
8.55         Disability Office




                                 23
Postgraduate Programme Review of the School of Law, June 2009

1. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The Postgraduate Programme Review (PPR) of the School of Law was conducted on
16 and 17 June 2009, and consisted of interviews with: members of the Management
(Head of School, Prof Douglas Brodie, Postgraduate Director, Dr Niamh Nic
Shuibhne and School Administrator, Dr Lisa Kendall); key members of teaching,
administrative and technical staff; postgraduate students from both taught and
research programmes; and finally the Library staff. The panel also had a tour of the
School‟s facilities at Old College, South Bridge. The panel were grateful to the staff
and students for their open and honest contributions to the review.
The panel‟s overall view of the School was extremely positive. The School presented
itself collectively as a dedicated, united, dynamic and innovative unit. Several areas
were immediately impressive. In particular, the panel commended the disciplined and
focused Management who had transformed the governance and procedures of the
School and had delineated staff‟s roles within these. Staff appeared to be positively
responsive to change and worked together to consolidate standardised processes. One
member of staff described the School as “centralised federalism”, where leadership
was trusted but staff also felt part of a democratic process. The panel were also
impressed by the academic quality of the taught programmes and the care and
commitment of the academic and administrative staff. The panel also praised the PhD
programme‟s quality, robust structure and the engagement of supervisors. It was
clearly demonstrated in the documentation that the School had responded to the
recommendations of the 2004 QQR Review to improve the monitoring of
postgraduate student progress. It was evident that much thought, time and effort had
been channelled into improving this area under the leadership of the Postgraduate
Director. Her enthusiasm, commitment and hard work impelled progress across the
School and inspired staff. The interviews confirmed to the panel that all staff
members appreciated her contribution and that she would be greatly missed after
demitting office in the summer of 2009.

The School had ambitious plans to expand which were reflected in the bold decision
to employ a local marketing officer. The Marketing Project Officer was effectively
identifying key areas of interest in the market and the School intended to respond to
this in their suite of programmes. The panel were also impressed by the enthusiasm
and motivation shown by the IT team who reacted innovatively to the needs of the
School. The energetic and proactive culture of the School was undoubtedly something
all staff members took great pride in.

Feedback from the external examiners reports for all programmes excluding the
Diploma in Legal Practice (reports were not supplied) was overwhelmingly positive
and indicated that the programmes on offer were of a higher or comparable level to
other programmes across the UK. Another significant indicator of external quality
was the success of the School in the recent AHRC Block Grant Partnership Scheme;
the School had been awarded 10 of the 11 requested awards.

There were, however, certain areas of School activity where there was room for
development; most notably, the apparent degree of fragmentation between the main
School and the Legal Practice Unit, the Distance Learning Team and the Library.


                                                                                    24
The School had attained a high degree of success in the difficult task of bridging the
vocational and the academic with the Legal Practice Diploma and the Head of School
was aware that fully integrating the unit into the School had been and remained a
challenge. The panel were concerned that this lack of integration had led to a lack of
awareness of certain problems, most importantly questions regarding the procedures
for quality control in the Unit. There did not appear to be as tight systematic processes
in place as for the rest of the School. The Legal Practice Unit and its community also
appeared to be separate from the rest of the School. It was felt that mutual benefits
and intellectual synergies could be gained through greater interaction with the main
School community.

The panel were also concerned for the future of the Distance Learning programmes.
The team itself was innovative, enthusiastic, and running high quality programmes but
the question of sustainability, particularly with such low student numbers, had to be
considered.

Another concern was the exact management structure of the Library. There appeared
to be a lack of direction and decisive management resulting in an inability to deal with
relatively small issues effectively.

Finally the panel noted some concern for the financial viability of some of the
School‟s postgraduate programmes. The panel felt it would be useful for the School to
re-examine its “product portfolio” by drawing up business plans for each of its
Masters programmes; in the absence of business plan(s) the School did not seem in
the best position to evaluate the financial implications of some of its decisions.
The specific Commendations and Recommendations from the panel are listed in the
report Summary.

3. OVERVIEW OF THE SCHOOL’S POSTGRADUATE PROVISION
3.1 Operational Overview

Since the last review of postgraduate provision in 2004 there have been changes in
administration, office bearing roles and the management. The School is led at present
by Prof Douglas Brodie and Dr Lisa Kendall, with postgraduate matters dealt with by
Dr Niamh Nic Shuibhne. The improvements in the organisational structure and levels
of strategic planning of the School were clear to the panel and the leadership of the
management was to be commended. The members of the Management conveyed a
positive message of the School and its collective sense of purpose. They see the
School as a top class international law school with a depth and breadth of intellectual
substance, which endeavoured to match the programmes of competitor institutions.
The strategic vision for the future sought to expand the portfolio of programmes
further to attract more students and to invest in the existing infrastructure which was
felt to be below the standard students would expect of a prestigious and international
law school.

In terms of general management, it was clear that the School was now operating a
successful governance model, which appeared to be inclusive and democratic yet also
managed by firm leadership. The taught masters programmes reported to the
Postgraduate Taught Committee, issues raised here would be transferred further to the
School Committee, with resource implications reported through Planning and


                                                                                      25
Resources Committee. From September 2009 the Planning and Resources Committee
would be replaced by the Senior Management Group. This group would consist of all
office bearers, Head of School and School Administrator with decisions ratified by the
School Committee. The courses of postgraduate programmes were reviewed by the
Teaching Strategy Group who monitor the uptake on courses over a number of years
in order to make a decision on viability; formal proposals and cancellations of courses
being subject to approval by the Board of Studies.

Research programmes have a student self-governing model which had representatives
from each year and coordinated activities such as the poster event for second years
and the seminar sessions for third years. They also managed a small budget of around
£4,000 to subsidise the organisation of conferences and workshops. The Postgraduate
Director, Doctoral Training Director and LLM (Research) Director sit on the
committee to monitor/advise and report back on issues to the School Committee or to
Planning and Resources Committee when necessary. In addition, separate working
groups are set up on an ad hoc basis by the PG Director to address specific policy
issues which report to the School.

The School also explained its workload allocation model for distributing and
balancing teaching and research across the board. To ensure a consistent and equitable
workload is applied throughout the School, a detailed profile of teaching, research and
dissertation/PhD supervision is applied. The panel noted that the workload allocation
for research was particularly generous which was no doubt reflected in the
outstanding RAE results, but comparatively exiguous where supervision was
concerned. According to the School‟s workload allocation model 30 hours work per
annum was allocated per 1st supervisor and 15 hours per 2nd, the PG Director had also
requested that co-supervision be reflected in the model. Compared to other Schools,
such as the Business School, this figure was comparatively low (for example, the
Business School‟s workload model allocates 50 hours per annum per 1st supervisor).

• The panel commends the academic quality of the Law School‟s programmes and
the care and commitment demonstrated by all academic, administrative and technical
staff.
• The panel commends the governance and leadership of the Head of School and
School Administrator.
• The panel commends the enthusiasm and engagement of the Postgraduate Director
and the exceptional contribution and array of improvements she has made during her
term of office.

3.2 Programmes and Fields of Study

The programmes under review were:
Taught
- Diploma in Legal Practice
- MSc in Criminology and Criminal Justice
- LLM in European Law
- LLM in Commercial Law
- LLM in Law
- LLM in Innovation, Technology and the Law
- LLM in International Law


                                                                                    26
Distance Learning
- LLM in Intellectual Property Law
- LLM in Information Technology Law
- LLM in Innovation, Technology and the Law
- LLM in Medical Law and Ethics
Research
- PhD in Law
- LLM by Research
- LLM in Legal Research
- LLM in History and Philosophy of Law

3.3 Recruitment
The School demonstrated an awareness of the need to focus on recruitment and had
put effort into a recruitment strategy. All members of staff were remarkably engaged
and recognised the important role of recruitment. They had taken steps to continually
review and improve recruitment through the website, through funding opportunities
and, furthermore, had identified the need for a Marketing Project Officer to provide
on-site dedicated School support. The Marketing Project Officer had conducted
market testing and had run focus groups to establish what students actually wanted to
study. She had also produced promotional material to demonstrate the quality and
success of the degree and subsequent career prospects. The Marketing Project Officer
linked with the IT Team to provide valuable up-to-date content for the website. The
IT Team also viewed the website as a valuable publicity tool: news, events, blogs,
media, the local VLE, staff profiles and publications all sought to generate publicity in
a holistic way and promote the vibrancy of the School community. The School might
wish to reflect on whether their efforts on marketing could be further integrated, for
example whether some thought could be given to synergies between the Distance
Learning and on-site programmes for marketing, given that the internet seems central
to both.

There was some discussion during the course of the review as to whether the College
might consider either providing an additional College-level marketing service for
Schools or whether the College could take steps to provide additional resources and
expertise for recruitment and marketing at School level. College-level support could
provide marketing advice generally across the College and specifically for those
Schools which do not have the resources to employ resident marketing support.
The School also recognised the importance of post-offer contact and encouraged all
programme directors to make email contact with offer holders. The panel were
impressed by this personal touch.

• The panel commends the engagement of the whole School towards recruitment and,
in particular, the work of the Marketing Project Officer.
• The panel recommends that the College considers the option of a College-based
Marketing Team

3.4 Postgraduate Administrative Support within the School
The panel were impressed by the achievements of all support staff and praised them
for their dedication, continued hard work and contribution to the School. They were
clearly valued by academic and managerial staff and had responded admirably to the
challenges of the newly-introduced EUCLID system which had significantly


                                                                                      27
increased their administrative workload. The main School PG office dealt with the
majority of postgraduate programmes with the more specialised Diploma in Legal
Practice and the Distance Learning (DL) programmes having their own dedicated
support teams.

3.4.1 Main School Postgraduate Office
The main School PG office consisted of the Head of the Postgraduate Office and two
Secretaries. One of the team was employed on a temporary contract, and with the
current demands on administration it was hard to imagine the office functioning
without that extra level of support. The team dealt with all aspects of postgraduate
provision from linking with the Marketing Project Officer to encourage applications,
through to admissions, on programme support, assessment and examinations.

The admissions for taught postgraduate students over the PPR period were dealt with
jointly by the College and the School Postgraduate Offices. Applications for taught
programmes were first screened at College, then passed to the School for
recommendation, with offers finally being made at College. From autumn 2008, one
programme, the LLM in Commercial Law, was handled exclusively by the School
which the office felt allowed a tighter oversight on the whole process. However,
adopting this model for all programmes would require a large investment in local
resources, which the School presently could not afford. The students the panel
interviewed praised the staff in the office, who were consistently helpful. They also
remarked that the application and admission process had been efficient and
professional and commended the support and commitment of the College Office
which indicated that, overall, the admissions process, though divided, did not appear
to have any adverse effect on applicants.

• The panel commends the dedication and affability of both the School and College
staff and the adaptability and perseverance shown in response to the new EUCLID
system.

From autumn 2008 the School administered all aspects of Research admissions which
had promoted communication within the School and allowed a closer surveillance of
the process. The Postgraduate Director had a general responsibility for overseeing all
applications and made a light-touch initial review of suitability, with consideration
given also to supervisors‟ existing workload, expertise and supervisory experience.
However, one problem had arisen due to the complex nature of the new online and
paperless EUCLID system: the system required a degree of technical engagement
from all research supervisors, but not all staff considered themselves to be technically
competent enough to deal with the system. Consequently PGR applications were
being printed out by the Postgraduate Office and sent internally to academic staff,
which opposed the whole purpose of the paperless system.

• The panel recommends that the School encourages all staff to engage with the
online EUCLID system.

3.4.2 Diploma in Legal Practice
The statistics for the Diploma in Legal Practice revealed that it had almost doubled in
size over the review period but with little change to the permanent staff. The Diploma
was supported by two full time administrative staff, two permanent academic staff


                                                                                      28
(one full time and one 0.6 fte) and numerous part-time tutors. All aspects of
administration were managed separately to the main PG office and the high level of
support given by the administrative staff was evident in the documentation and the
comments made to the panel on the day.

• The panel commends the hard work and dedication of the Legal Practice Unit‟s
administrative staff, which is reflected in the positive feedback from students.
Although the mechanics of administration were working very well, it was understood
that numbers on the Diploma had increased significantly and that a new part-time
Diploma had been introduced which would put further burden on the administrative
staff, who were already stretched. It was felt that the administrative staff could benefit
from closer alliances with other administrative staff in the School, a point which is
discussed further under section 4.3.1.

3.4.3 Distance Learning Team
The School had developed a range of innovative programmes through its Distance
Learning Team. It was evident that the level of support, warmth and care devoted by
the Distance Learning Support Secretary was commendable. The SCRIPT Marketing
Officer had made an invaluable contribution to the School in terms of offering
professional advice that the whole School could benefit from.
• The panel commends the dedication and innovation of the Distance Learning Team.

 3.5 Accommodation and Resources
The location of the School at Old College brought with it advantages and
disadvantages. Although the premises were grand, prestigious and historically
important to the School, the desire to expand physically was limited practically by the
constraints of living in an old building. These constraints were a common complaint
throughout the review. The 2007 Tercentenary Appeal had facilitated the
refurbishment of both the Law Library and the Moot Court Room but the majority of
the teaching space was not of this high quality. The ventilation, poor quality and small
nature of the rooms were constant complaints. A recurrent grievance was that of
social space; the panel heard there was potential for a room in the basement which
was currently soulless and was not owned by the Law School. Efforts had been made
to lever on the room but further negotiation was needed.
• The panel encourages the Law School to continue to investigate the possibility of
procuring the unused space in the basement of Old College from the current owners,
EUSA, with a view to creating social space for the students.

3.6 IT Support for Postgraduates
The panel commended the high quality care delivered by the IT team and the
contribution they had made to administration and postgraduate support. The team
were enthusiastic and dedicated to accommodate virtually any need of the School‟s
staff and students; displaying high levels of innovation and positivity. As mentioned
under 3.3 the website was used as a holistic recruitment tool which provided publicity,
information and news. Taught students were provided with a bespoke VLE which had
evolved to suit the needs of staff and students. Research students had access to upload
information about themselves on their own profiles; they could also set up their own
“communities” for reading groups containing events, a forum and downloads. The
team were always looking for future ways to ease the load on administrative and
academic staff by providing online solutions; the latest project aimed to produce a call


                                                                                       29
management system for the staff to track enquiries and ensure potential applicants did
not slip through the net.
• The panel commends the dedication, innovation and positive attitude of the IT
Manager and Assistant Computing Officer.

3.7 Library Provision
The Law and Europa Library is located within the Law School at Old College. The
panel heard that the Library was owned and managed by Information Services but
regularly and consistently received generous supplementary funding for materials,
databases and, as mentioned above, for its refurbishment from the Law School. The
School staff were passionate about the Library and viewed it as an essential teaching
and research tool. The panel met with the Site and Services Supervisor, who dealt
with the day to day running of the Library, and the two Liaison Librarians, who dealt
with collection management, funding and acquisitions.

From the questionnaires supplied the panel read there were certain areas for
improvement: study space, opening hours, books and noise. In the course of the
interviews the panel were satisfied that the Library opening hours were generous
enough and that the situation with book acquisition, although not perfect, was
satisfactorily gaining the books that appealed to the majority. However, it was
apparent that not enough was being done to reconfigure the space in the Library to
maximise adequate study space and minimise noise interference. Much of the noise
could be alleviated if students had some social space. The configuration of the Library
at present was also a contributing factor, there were series of long tables, which
facilitated the congregation of large groups leading to subsequent noise.
• The panel recommends that the School liaises with Information Services to
investigate the possibility of reconfiguring the layout of the Library and to reduce
noise.

There were concerns that the Library staff were not negotiating effectively with
Central Services to get the support they needed in terms of general management of
resources and the transportation of bulk book stores. For example, the cleaning of
shelves in the Library above a certain height required specialist cleaners, which can be
provided by Estates and Buildings, but the Library had not gone beyond asking the
regular cleaners. The Library should routinely seek advice from the School and from
other departments to identify typical support for their needs.
• The panel recommends that the Library staff take measures to thoroughly
investigate matters of general resources and logistics with departments at an
appropriate level.

4. PROVISION OF TAUGHT MASTERS PROGRAMMES
4.1 Review Arrangements
The panel conducted interviews with the Head of the School, the Postgraduate
Director, a group of Programme Directors, and a group of Taught MSc/LLM/Diploma
students.

4.2 General Comments
The panel were impressed by the professional attitude from the reflective and self-
critical team of programme directors. The panel were pleased to hear that the
postgraduate community was not just seen as a bolt-on segment of the large


                                                                                      30
undergraduate population. On the contrary, the postgraduates saw themselves, and
were appreciated by staff, as being at the heart of the school. The panel heard positive
remarks about the way in which the staff had reacted and responded to student
feedback.

• The panel commends the dynamic and self-evaluative nature of the programme
directors and their ability to take on board student feedback.
The Law School tries to cap class sizes at 25, in order to maximise the learning
experience of the students. This was seen as a unique selling point, giving a
competitive advantage; this was certainly corroborated by the students.
The external examiner reports of the LLMs and MScs read positively, and there was
evidence that where problems or criticisms had been highlighted, efforts had been
made to address them.

One of the prime concerns of the Postgraduate Director was that of student
progression when a course is failed. The regulations for the Credit Weighted Average
are ambiguous and the Law School would welcome guidance from the College and
University.

• The panel recommends that the College creates and implements a uniform policy
on the consequences of failing a course for the whole College.
The panel heard that programme directors were not budget holders and did not seem
to know whether their programmes/courses were running at a profit or deficit. The
School may wish to reflect on whether this is the intended outcome of their
accountability and governance structures. The panel felt that the introduction of
annual business plans would enable the Head of School to fully evaluate programmes
so decisions as to what is successful, to what extent programmes have to be cross-
subsidised etc, can all be considered.
• The panel recommends that the School composes a business plan for each
programme with a view to conducting these annually in future.
Generally the students appeared to be satisfied with the programmes and with the
facilities offered. More specific issues are raised separately in the following sections.

4.3 Course Provision

4.3.1 Course Provision – LLM/MSc
On the whole the students appeared to be happy with the way the programmes were
being run. Most of the handbooks supplied to the panel were well laid out and
followed a standard template with uniform formal rules for assessment. Some
overviews, however, were more substantial than others, such as the MSc in
Criminology and Criminal Justice, whose programme and course handbooks
contained more detailed information. The course handbook for International Criminal
Law was comparatively brief; for example, it did not contain any preliminary reading
material.

• The panel commends the informative and structured handbooks for MSc/LLM
programmes, whilst noting there is room for further consistency.
Some general issues were raised by the students: they were surprised that applicants
did not require to have a first degree in Law in order to be accepted onto an LLM. In
some class discussions the differentiation of perspectives gave for lively debate,


                                                                                       31
however, in other discussions time had to be spent first explaining the definition of
some legal terms. For those with legal backgrounds some discussions risked lacking
depth or that the legally trained had an advantage. The students suggested that those
without a first degree in Law should be given the opportunity to do a legal primer
course before the Masters began.
• The panel recommends that the School try to ascertain how great a problem not
having a first degree in Law poses and whether the introduction of a primer course for
the non-legal applicants would be beneficial.
There appeared to be a degree of variation when it came to feedback on essays. On
some courses feedback on assessed projects was only given after hand-in. The
students on the MSc in Criminology and Criminal Justice were very happy with their
essay feedback; they were allowed to submit anonymous draft essays and implement
the feedback before the assessment so that they could improve – for that reason the
panel interpreted this practice as “feed forward” rather than feedback. Though the
panel were not informed of the extent nor detail of the feedback given it did raise
questions of fairness, particularly when students of other programmes did not receive
the same guidance. The School might wish to reflect on whether this practice is
wholly equitable and whether this posed any conflict with the Postgraduate
Assessment Regulations (Taught).1 The School of Education, for example, does not
allow the submission of draft essays, therefore highlighting varied practice in the
College.
• The panel recommends that the College investigates current practice on giving
advice and feedback on draft assignments with a view to composing guidance.
The panel noted that the School had moved from 40 credit courses to 20 credit ones in
line with practice elsewhere in the College. The panel assumed the changes were a
reflection of University wide policy based on the foundations of the Scottish Credit
and Qualifications Framework (thus the reduction from 400 hours of student effort to
200 hours per course would be significantly noticeable). It was also noted that the
change was not yet presented in all handbooks; for example, the change was not
reflected in the description of the structure of a part-time degree and 40 credit courses
were still referred to in the International Law handbook.

4.3.2 Course Provision – Diploma in Legal Practice
The teaching of the Diploma relied heavily on tutors from the legal profession. It was
pointed out repeatedly to the panel that the way the teaching operated was not
consistent in terms of quality; the panel were not informed as to how tutors were
monitored to ensure minimum standards of teaching were maintained. The students
remarked that the Director and Deputy Director were “great” and that some courses
were exceptionally good (Conveyancing), but that others were exceptionally poor
(Practice Management). Though a student feedback system was firmly established, it
appeared to be the only quality procedure in place. Furthermore, it was unclear where
this feedback ultimately was reported. The Diploma is subject to accreditation by the
Law Society of Scotland but it was unclear what other types of quality control
procedures were in place. No external examiner reports were submitted to the Review,

1
    See the Postgraduate Assessment Regulations (Taught) “3.6: Students are only permitted one
assessment attempt for courses at Scottish Credit and Qualification Framework level 9 and above…
(See also… 8.2)”




                                                                                             32
thus making it difficult for the panel to gauge external quality assurance. As a
University programme it should be following all standard quality assurance
requirements; the panel were concerned that the procedures in place for quality
assurance were not transparent enough.

• The panel recommends that the Diploma in Legal Practice complies with all the
School‟s standard quality assurance mechanisms: each course should be monitored
via course monitoring forms, an annual business plan should be conducted, external
examiners should be appointed via the College Postgraduate Office and the reports of
external examiners should be responded to by the Head of School and retained by
College.
• The panel recommends the School considers employing more permanent teaching
staff on the Diploma.
• The panel recommends that the School improves the oversight, review and
coherence of the external tutors by considering ways to systematically monitor and
maintain the quality of their teaching.
The panel heard that the Diploma students are charged approximately £5,000 in fees
on top of which there is an additional charge of circa £400 for materials, which
exasperated the students who felt they had already paid a premium fee.
• The panel recommends that the Legal Practice Unit considers an alternative method
to charging this fee on arrival, such as incorporating it into the core fee or setting it as
a compulsory additional programme cost.

The panel were disappointed to hear that the Diploma students felt separate from the
School community as a whole. Though it was understandable there might be
intellectual disparities, the panel felt the students would benefit from being
incorporated into the wider community. It appeared that the whole cohort had been
discouraged from using the Library, as their sheer number would strain its capacity.
They had also been denied after-hours access to Old College, which was granted to
the regular Masters students.

There were two main reasons that the Diploma should be recognised as postgraduate:
firstly, the Diploma had been incorporated under the remit of College Postgraduate
Office, (SCQF Level 11, 120 credit programme) and; secondly, the Diploma students
were de facto postgraduates and should be treated as such.
• The panel recommends that the School recognises the Diploma students as
postgraduate students and that they are granted the same rights and privileges as other
postgraduates.

The panel accepted that the professional and vocational nature of the Diploma
dictated that the structure of the programme was different from other postgraduate
provision. They also appreciated that the Diploma was an extremely important part of
the School, which was offering a quality product; nonetheless this could be
overshadowed if the systematic maintenance of quality was not addressed. The quality
control of the Diploma would be augmented if brought into line with the existing
School procedures and could benefit considerably from being under the oversight of
the Main School. When asked about the evidence presented to the panel by the
students, the members of the Management revealed they were unaware of these
specific problems. The panel felt problems were more likely to be related to the Head
of School and School Administrator if there was closer physical proximity between


                                                                                         33
the Unit and the School. The panel felt that greater coherence could be gained if the
administrative staff were integrated into the main School.
• The panel recommends the School considers co-locating the Diploma‟s
administrative staff with the main School.

4.3.3 Course Provision – Distance Learning
The range of programmes offered as distance learning were an exciting and
groundbreaking development within the School and discipline. The panel were
impressed by the innovation and high quality of the programmes. However, the panel
were surprised by the low student numbers and recommended that before
concentrating on expansion the School should investigate and strengthen the business
model of the distance learning programmes.
• The panel recommends that the School creates a business model for the distance
learning programmes to ensure future financial sustainability.

4.4 Dissertation Arrangements and Supervision
The general arrangements for dissertations and supervision of taught programmes
seemed to be well arranged and well understood by the students. Titles for
dissertations were set in May and submitted online in the summer. Where possible,
the School tried to allocate internal examiners who were not the dissertation
supervisor. The students were able to meet with supervisors and have their drafts read
and commented upon, which was greatly appreciated.
The students felt informed and prepared for their final assessment.
• The panel commends the structure of the dissertation period and the helpful attitude
of staff towards reading and giving feedback on draft dissertations.

5. PROVISION OF RESEARCH DEGREES

5.1 Review Arrangements
The panel conducted interviews with a group of Postgraduate Research Directors, a
group of Postgraduate Research Supervisors, and a group of Postgraduate Research
Students.
5.2 Student Support and Training
The students who met with the panel formed a strong and vibrant community and
presented a very encouraging view of the School‟s postgraduate research community.
Most had experienced very positive admissions processes, with help and advice given
by administrative staff at the School and College and had established early
relationships with their prospective supervisors. The students are also supported
through the Doctoral Training Programme (funded through Roberts funding and by
contributions from the SCRIPT centre). The programme aims to encourage student-
led reading groups, encourage participation in Transkills courses, encourage students
to organise events, conferences and workshops. The students also participate in the
self-governing Postgraduate Research Committee, with devolved budgetary
responsibility for certain aspects such as organising conferences. Specific allowances
for conference attendance are issued by the Postgraduate Office (£100 per year for
attendance; an additional £200 for each 2nd year student for dissemination of their
work e.g. paper presentation). All reading groups are funded £100 per year in
administrative costs automatically.




                                                                                        34
Dedicated office space in Old College was reserved for all PhD students up to third
year (space for fourth years was provided at Buccleuch Place), the largest office of
which was recently redesigned and refurbished to make better use of space. However,
the question of social space was once again brought up. As there was nowhere for the
students to socialise, the PhD room consequently functioned as social space in
addition to a study space.

Once PhD students had successfully completed their first year review they were
encouraged to tutor in order to acquire valuable professional training for academia. At
the time of the review, it was not evident that sufficient additional training for tutoring
was given. The students mentioned that they were not evaluated on their teaching
performance; such evaluation might provide important feedback. A mentoring system
might be an insightful source of advice for student-tutors. The recruitment for tutoring
positions worked on an ad hoc basis, where supervisors identified potential tutors
from their supervisees. The panel felt this was not an impartial and equitable way of
offering the work and that it should be made more transparent.
• The panel recommends the School ensure adequate training is in place for all
student-tutors, and considers the possibility of introducing a mentoring system.
• The panel recommends that the School makes sure all tutoring posts are advertised
to all PhD students.

The panel were interested to hear that the students had consulted the academic staff
about themselves designing an honours seminar course for the next session and hoped
it proved to be a success.

5.3 Supervision, Progression and Assessment
The normal amount of supervisees allocated per supervisor was three students, with a
desired ceiling of five, though in some cases this figure was exceeded. As discussed
under 3.1 the workload allocation model sought to ensure the workload was balanced
but the time allotted to supervision in the model was relatively low. The School might
wish to reflect on how variations in supervision are accounted for in its workload
allocation model, in order to ensure that those with high volumes of supervision are
not undertaking significant teaching and administrative roles.

The documentation demonstrated that considerable effort had been devoted to
improving the structure of the PhD programme and the monitoring of student
progress. The main aim had been to ensure that submissions rates were scrutinised
and adhered to. All first year students (starting in autumn) were expected to have
completed their first year review by the end of June. The supervisors, along with two
internal colleagues and the PG Director then conducted the assessment and gave
feedback. All the students interviewed had found the process valuable in terms of
feedback on work done so far and recommendations for future work. Other
motivational sign posts for the research students included a poster presentation in
second their year and a seminar presentation in the third year. Having specific goals at
specific milestones was a beneficial aid for the structure of the degree, meaning the
students always had the timetable in mind. First year students also had to embark on a
methodology course and many of the social scientists took courses with the Graduate
School of Social and Political Science. There was also praise for the LLM in Legal
Research as research training in preparation for PhD study aimed specifically at legal
research.


                                                                                        35
• The panel commends the extensive work and improvements implemented by the
Postgraduate Director.

Students were also asked to complete a reflective statement detailing how each year
progresses in terms of the research itself, feedback received, and any other experience
they wish to comment on. The statements are submitted to both supervisors and the
PG Director simultaneously. By constantly reflecting on the project as a whole the
statement aimed to help students, supervisors and the PG Director pick up on potential
problems at an early stage.

As regards the PhD examination itself, the School again operated a structured format;
all vivas were required to have a non-examining chair to monitor due process and to
advise on regulatory/procedural matters. The School operated an “apprenticeship”
model for internal examiners to gain experience of the examination process; they
would be teamed up with appropriately experienced external examiners and non-
examining chairs. One point noted by the School in its documentation and during
interviews was that the actual organisation of the viva was divided between the
College Office and the School which risked miscommunication and scope for error
with the arrangements.
• The panel commends the structure and direction of the PhD programme.
• The panel recommends the College considers how best to rationalise the split of
responsibilities between College and Schools with regard to viva administration.

6. Reflections on the review process
The paperwork submitted was of an exceptionally high standard and the panel extends
their thanks to all programme directors, supervisors, the Postgraduate Director and
particularly to the Academic Administrator for the collation and early submission of
the documentation. The panel would also like to thank everyone who took time out to
attend the interviews and contribute to the process.

7. Summary

7.1 Commendations
• The panel commends the academic quality of the Law School‟s programmes and
the care and commitment demonstrated by all academic, administrative and technical
staff.
• The panel commends the governance and leadership of the Head of School and
School Administrator.
• The panel commends the enthusiasm and engagement of the Postgraduate Director
and the exceptional contribution and array of improvements she has made during her
term of office.
• The panel commends the engagement of the whole School towards recruitment and,
in particular, the work of the Marketing Project Officer.
• The panel commends the dedication and affability of both the School and College
staff and the adaptability and perseverance shown in response to the new EUCLID
system.
• The panel commends the hard work and dedication of the Legal Practice Unit‟s
administrative staff, which is reflected in the positive feedback from students.
• The panel commends the dedication and innovation of the Distance Learning Team.



                                                                                    36
• The panel commends the dedication, innovation and positive attitude of the IT
Manager and Assistant Computing Officer.
• The panel commends the dynamic and self-evaluative nature of the programme
directors and their ability to take on board student feedback.
• The panel commends the informative and structured handbooks for MSc/LLM
programmes, whilst noting there is room for further consistency.
• The panel commends the structure of the dissertation period and the helpful attitude
of staff towards reading and giving feedback on draft dissertations.
• The panel commends the extensive work and improvements implemented by the
Postgraduate Director.
• The panel commends the structure and direction of the PhD programme.

7.2 Recommendations
• The panel recommends that the College considers the option of a College-based
Marketing Team
• The panel recommends that the School encourages all staff to engage with the
online EUCLID system.
• The panel encourages the Law School to continue to investigate the possibility of
procuring the unused space in the basement of Old College from the current owners,
EUSA, with a view to creating social space for the students.
• The panel recommends that the School liaises with Information Services to
investigate the possibility of reconfiguring the layout of the Library and to reduce
noise.
• The panel recommends that the Library staff take measures to thoroughly
investigate matters of general resources and logistics with departments at an
appropriate level.
• The panel recommends that the College creates and implements a uniform policy
on the consequences of failing a course for the whole College.
• The panel recommends that the School composes a business plan for each
programme with a view to conducting these annually in future.
• The panel recommends that the School try to ascertain how great a problem not
having a first degree in Law poses and whether the introduction of a primer course for
the non-legal applicants would be beneficial.
• The panel recommends that the College investigates current practice on giving
advice and feedback on draft assignments with a view to composing guidance.
• The panel recommends that the Diploma in Legal Practice complies with all the
School‟s standard quality assurance mechanisms: each course should be monitored
via course monitoring forms, an annual business plan should be conducted, external
examiners should be appointed via the College Postgraduate Office and the reports of
external examiners should be responded to by the Head of School and retained by
College.
• The panel recommends the School considers employing more permanent teaching
staff on the Diploma.
• The panel recommends that the School improves the oversight, review and
coherence of the external tutors on the Diploma in Legal Practice by considering ways
to systematically monitor and maintain the quality of their teaching.
• The panel recommends that the Legal Practice Unit considers an alternative method
to charging the additional fee on arrival, such as incorporating it into the core fee or
setting it as a compulsory additional programme cost.



                                                                                     37
• The panel recommends that the School recognises the Diploma students as
postgraduate students and that they are granted the same rights and privileges as other
postgraduates.
• The panel recommends the School considers co-locating the Diploma‟s
administrative staff with the main School.
• The panel recommends that the School creates a business model for the distance
learning programmes to ensure future financial sustainability.
• The panel recommends the School ensure adequate training is in place for all
student-tutors, and considers the possibility of introducing a mentoring system.
• The panel recommends that the School makes sure all tutoring posts are advertised
to all PhD students.
• The panel recommends the College considers how best to rationalise the split of
responsibilities between College and Schools with regard to viva administration.




                                                                                    38

				
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