Chapter 2 - Faculty Management of Education: Code of Good Practice

[Partner Institutions: All partner institutions delivering programmes validated by the University of Exeter are required to observe this code of good practice.]

  1. Introduction
    1. It is good practice for a Faculty (or delegated School) or other academic teaching unit to possess a forum to advise the Pro-Vice Chancellor and Executive Dean of Faculty (or delegated School) on the maintenance and development of taught academic provision and of its quality. This forum will normally take the form of an Education Strategy Group (ESG) or an equivalent committee, although in very small units a separately structured committee may be inappropriate. Additionally, in some instances such as certain partnership arrangements, a board of studies may take on the role.
  2. Faculty (or delegated School) ESGs
    1.  Faculty (or delegated School) ESGs (or their equivalent) are likely to:

      • implement the aims, policies and procedures of the University as they apply to learning and teaching;
      • monitor, maintain and enhance academic standards in the Faculty (or delegated School);
      • monitor, maintain and enhance the scope and coherence of the curricula of the Faculty (or delegated School’s) programmes;
      • monitor teaching quality by a range of indicators, and formulate and disseminate policy that will assure and enhance the quality of learning and teaching activities in the Faculty (or delegated School);
      • develop and maintain mechanisms for the support of students in learning;
      • consult students formally about learning and teaching matters in the Faculty (or delegated School), and ensure that, wherever appropriate, students participate in decisions about learning and teaching;
      • co-ordinate the development of expertise in teaching and learning pedagogy by the Faculty (or delegated School’s) staff;
      • advise the Pro-Vice Chancellor and Executive Dean of Faculty (or delegated School) on the effective deployment of the Faculty (or delegated School’s) resources in learning and teaching activities. 
    2. These terms of reference lead to the business of the ESG (or equivalent) falling within the following areas of activity:

      - University codes and other advice
      - Faculty (or delegated School) Education Plans
      - The development and approval of new programmes and modules
      - The discontinuation of existing programmes and modules
      - The annual monitoring of programmes and modules using appropriate statistical indicators
      - The response to external examiners' reports
      - Preparation for, and response to, internal University reviews
      - Preparation for, and response, to external review and accreditation
      - Student evaluation of the quality of provision
      - Student/Staff Liaison Committee business
      - Student Engagement activity
      - Student support
      - Staff development and training
      - The deployment of learning and teaching resources by the Faculty (or delegated School).
    3. This wide range of business should be reflected in the group’s membership, which should include academic staff with major teaching organisation responsibilities and student representatives reflecting the range of Faculty (or delegated School) provision. Given its role to advise the Pro-Vice Chancellor and Executive Dean of Faculty, often via a Faculty (or delegated School) meeting, it would not normally be appropriate for the committee to be chaired by the Pro-Vice Chancellor and Executive Dean of Faculty.
    4. Given the scope of business, it is anticipated that ESGs (or equivalent) will meet at least three times per year.
    5. The place of the ESG (or equivalent) should be clearly defined within Faculty (or delegated School) academic management structures.
    6. In order to ensure important items of business do not escape attention, the adoption of a default agenda for each meeting is recommended. Depending on what is appropriate to the individual Faculty (or delegated School), the following items could appear on each agenda:

      University codes, TQA Manual and other advice:
      - Recent internal developments
      - External feedback (including QAA, Ofsted, PSRBs, etc)
      - Implications for the Faculty (or delegated School)
      - Implementation matters

      Programmes and modules:
      - Review of existing curricula
      - Development and approval
      - Discontinuation
      - Annual monitoring
      - Boards of Studies reports
      - Quality enhancement
      - Dissemination of good practice
      - Other general issues

      Student evaluation of provision:
      - Summary of student evaluation
      - Student/Staff Liaison Committee business
      - Other matters for attention

      External examiners:
      - Annual reports (reserved business)
      - Annual University review of external examiners' reports
      - Recommendations for improvement

      External audit:
      - University subject review
      - QAA/Ofsted review
      - External accreditation

      Staff matters relating to learning and teaching:
      - Staff development opportunities
      - Peer review

      Student support
      - Handbooks and other information provided to students
      - Personal Tutors System
    7. Business should be transacted and recorded such that the papers for meetings make a constructive contribution to internal and external academic audit processes.
  3. Boards of Study

    Where a programme contains core modules from more than one Faculty (or delegated School), the establishment of a formal Board of Studies is required to ensure a consistent and accountable level of educational provision.

    1. A Board of Studies will be required to oversee each of the following types of programme:

      - Undergraduate Combined Honours programmes involving two Faculties (or delegated Schools)
      - An undergraduate inter-Faculty Single Honours programme requiring modules from two or more Faculties where the minor partner provides more than 25% of the credits for the programme;
      - Any other taught programme, at undergraduate or postgraduate level, involving input from more than one Faculty where the minor partner provides more than 25% of the credits for the programme;
      - Any taught programme validated by the University delivered either wholly or in part at a partner institution.
    2. The responsibilities of Boards of Studies shall include the following:

      - setting appropriate and coherent objectives in teaching and learning for the programme;
      - ensuring the provision of the intellectual, managerial and material resources to support those objectives through the participating Faculty (or delegated Schools) or partner institution;
      - monitoring the success of the modules provided for the programme in meeting teaching and learning objectives;
      - monitoring the admissions position and considering the implications for the promotion and design of the programme;
      - monitoring student progression;
      - evaluating student feedback on the programme and modules for which the Board is responsible;
      - accounting for the management of the programme to the relevant Faculty (or delegated School) and Education Board, including the nomination of the Assessment, Progression and Awarding Committee (APAC);
      - demonstrating the highest standards to external examiners and other external agencies;
      - preparing, where appropriate, for professional accreditation.
    3. Membership of Boards of Studies shall comprise:

      For Faculties and other delegated Schools:
      - The Pro-Vice Chancellor and Executive Deans of the participating Faculties (or delegated Schools)(ex officio);
      - A minimum, usually of four members, of the academic staff, drawn from the principal participating Faculty (or delegated School) in approximate proportion to the number of credits contributed to the programme by each;
      - The Chair and membership of the Board shall be formally approved by the Faculty (or delegated School) ESG. The Board shall appoint a secretary from among the members of the participating Faculty (or delegated Schools);
      - Additionally, the students on the programmes concerned shall be represented at meetings of the Board by student representatives who are recruited in accordance with Chapter 11 - Taught student/staff liaison committees: code of good practice.
    4. A Board of Studies shall normally meet not less than termly. Each meeting should include on its agenda the following default items of business:

      - Learning and teaching matters
      - Admissions and marketing
      - Scheduling arrangements for both classes and assessments
      - Student evaluation of individual modules and the programme
      - Student progress.
    5. Formal minutes of Board meetings must be kept. The minutes of each meeting should be submitted to the next meeting of the relevant Faculty (or delegated School) committee responsible for Education or, in the case of validated/franchised programmes, to the next meeting of the partner institution’s teaching committee (or equivalent).

Last updated September 2023

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