Decision Making Committee Structure

UK Quality Code

Within this section, staff and students should refer to the following Expectation(s) from the UK Quality Code. For additional guidance, reference should be made to the relevant Indicators within the stated Chapter(s) of the UK Quality Code.

Expectation A3.4

“In order to be transparent and publicly accountable, degree-awarding bodies use external and independent expertise at key stages of setting and maintaining academic standards to advise on whether

  • UK threshold academic standards are set, delivered and achieved
  • the academic standards of the degree-awarding body are appropriately set and maintained”.

Indicator(s) can be found in:

Part B:Assuring and enhancing academic quality Chapter B7: External Examining

Expectation B5

“Higher education providers take deliberate steps to engage all students, individually and collectively, as partners in the assurance and enhancement of their educational experience”.

Indicator(s) can be found in:

Part B: Assuring and enhancing academic quality Chapter B5: Student engagement

Committee Structure

It is important that our committee structure is ‘fit for purpose’. The relevant ‘purposes’ are to:

  • ensure the integrity and effectiveness of the management of our academic activities, and in particular the setting and maintaining of academic standards and the assuring and enhancing of academic quality; and
  • fulfil the current and likely future requirements of our academic partners.

We are not a university. This, together with the nature and scale of our current operations, means that it would be inappropriate to replicate the full panoply of committees typically found within a university.  At this stage, therefore, we have created the following four-tier committee structure, supported by the Senior Management and Leadership Team:

  • Academic Committee, the senior committee, with external academic representation, academic partner representation and student representation
  • Quality Assurance and Enhancement Committee (QAEC), the intermediate committee, with academic partner representation and student representation
  • Course Committees which have student representation
  • Student Staff Consultative Forum (SSCF)

The Academic Committee is our senior committee to whom the Board of Directors has delegated responsibility for academic governance.  It combines the responsibilities of an external advisory panel with those assigned to an academic board.  This has the advantage of enabling us to draw upon the experience and expertise of the external academic advisors of the Academic Committee to ensure that the setting and maintaining of academic standards and the assuring and enhancing of academic quality are consistent with those applied by other higher education institutions.  Students are represented on the Academic Committee.

The Quality Assurance and Enhancement Committee (QAEC) is an intermediate committee, sitting above the Course Committees and below the Academic Committee.  The QAEC undertakes a supervisory role on behalf of the Academic Committee, and is under the direct control of the Academic Committee.  It is entirely independent of the Senior Management and Leadership Team (SMLT.  The QAEC contributes to the effective setting and maintenance of academic standards and the assuring and enhancing of academic quality.  Students are represented on the QAEC.

The primary responsibility of Course Committees is to oversee the quality of student learning opportunities and the enhancement of the student experience.  They also contribute to the management and development of the course(s) for which they are responsible.  Course Committees ensure the implementation of our academic and non-academic regulations, policies and procedures and those of our academic partners.  Students are represented on Course Committees.

To ensure effective institution-wide student representation and consultation a single Student Staff Consultative Forum (SSCF) convenes at least once a term.  The SSCF formally considers and actions college-wide issues and also provides a forum through which we can fully consult and engage with students with regards to the development of key strategic and management initiatives.

The Centre for Student Engagement, Wellbeing and Success (SEWS) also supports student representative drop-in sessions through which group-related issues can be raised and actioned.  The aim of these drop-in sessions (which do not form part of our formal committee structure) is to provide student representatives with an accessible and pro-active service, to build relationships with student representatives and to establish clear communication between staff and students.

In addition to the above formal committees and forums, we have established a Senior Academic Leadership Team (SALT) to ensure effective management and leadership throughout the Academic Division.  Information which relates to maintaining academic standards and the enhancement of academic quality will be disseminated and discussed within the SALT.

This structure will be reviewed as and when we expand our provision, become more diverse and as our academic partners delegate more responsibility for course management.  In these circumstances, it may be appropriate to introduce additional intermediate tiers within the structure.

Academic Committee

The Academic Committee is our senior committee to whom the Board of Directors has delegated responsibility for academic governance.  It combines the responsibilities of an external advisory panel with those assigned to an academic board.  This has the advantage of enabling us to draw upon the experience and expertise of the external academic advisors of the Academic Committee to ensure that the setting and maintaining of academic standards and the assuring and enhancing of academic quality are consistent with those applied by other higher education institutions.  Students are represented on the Academic Committee.

Terms of Reference

The Academic Committee is responsible for all aspects of academic governance, within the framework of the agreements with our university partner(s), and more specifically for (i) the establishment, maintenance and implementation of academic regulations, policies and procedures which relate to the setting and maintaining of academic standards and the assuring and enhancing of academic quality; (ii) making all decisions relating to academic awards; and advising the shareholders, Board of Directors, the Senior Management and Leadership Team (SMLT) and the Quality Assurance and Enhancement Committee (QAEC) accordingly.  In exercising this responsibility, the Academic Committee has regard to relevant external academic and professional standards, regulatory and legal requirements and to the expectations of our students, university partner(s), Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Bodies (PSRBs) and other external stakeholders.

Subject to the prerogatives of our university partner(s), and the responsibilities of the Board of Directors and the Senior Management and Leadership Team (SMLT), the Academic Committee’s responsibilities include:

  • Ensuring the effective setting and maintaining of academic standards and the assuring and enhancing of academic quality, and ensuring the Expectations of the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) UK Quality Code for Higher Education are met
  • Making all decisions relating to academic awards
  • Approving the Annual Planning Cycle and any amendments thereto
  • Recommending to the Board of Directors the approval of our Corporate Plan
  • Approving and monitoring the three-year Academic Strategic Plan and the Annual Academic Business and Improvement Plan
  • Approving our Teaching Excellence Framework provider submission
  • Advising on the development of our academic portfolio and academic partnerships
  • Approving proposals for new courses and amendments to existing courses, and advising on the resources needed to support our academic provision
  • Approving proposals for the withdrawal and suspension of current courses
  • Approving and monitoring our academic regulations, policies and procedures which relate to the setting and maintaining of academic standards and the quality assurance and enhancement of our academic provision, ensuring such are robust and appropriate
  • Determining regulations, policies and procedures for the admission of students and the assessment and examination of their academic performance
  • Determining regulations, policies and procedures for the suspension and expulsion of students for academic reasons
  • Approving and monitoring policies and procedures on general issues relating to staff research and scholarship, and teaching, learning and assessment
  • Receiving reports on the quality and standards of our academic courses, including reports that are provided to or received from our university partner(s) (e.g. External Examiners’ reports)
  • Receiving reports from validating, accrediting, reviewing and other external bodies, including actions taken in response to these reports
  • Establishing committees with appropriate membership to advise and assist the Academic Committee in carrying out its responsibilities, considering reports from these committees and through these reports monitoring and evaluating the work they undertake
  • Advising on such other matters as the Board of Directors, Senior Management and Leadership Team, Quality Assurance and Enhancement Committee or the Head of Quality may refer to the Academic Committee

The Academic Committee will receive the following reports and minutes:

  • Annual Quality Report
  • Corporate Plan [for recommended approval by the Board of Directors]
  • Academic Strategic Plan (for approval)
  • Other Divisional/Departmental Strategies [for information]
  • Annual Academic Business and Improvement Plan [for approval]
  • Other Annual Divisional/Departmental Business and Improvement Plans [for information]
  • Annual Academic Business and Improvement Plan Progress Report [for information]
  • External Examiner Reports and External Examiner Response Forms [for information]
  • Annual Course Evaluation Reports (which will include commentary on External Examiner reports) and Overview Annual Course Evaluation Report [for information]
  • Annual Monitoring and Evaluation Reports (which will include commentary on External Examiner reports) and Overview Annual Monitoring and Evaluation Report [for information]
  • Board of Director minutes [for consideration and action]
  • Senior Management and Leadership Team minutes [for consideration and action]
  • Quality Assurance and Enhancement Committee minutes [for consideration and action]
  • Course Committee minutes [for information]
  • Student Staff Consultative Forum (SSCF) minutes [for information]
  • Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Team (EDIT) minutes [for information]
  • Periodic Course Review Report [for information]
  • Course Approval Proposal [for approval]
  • Document for the Approval of Major Changes to a Course [for approval]
  • Document for the Approval of Minor Changes to a Course [for information]

The Academic Committee may refer action points to:

  • Board of Directors
  • Senior Management and Leadership Team
  • Quality Assurance and Enhancement Committee
  • Head of Quality

The minutes of the Academic Committee will be received by the following

  • Board of Directors [for consideration and action]
  • Senior Management and Leadership Team [for consideration and action]
  • Quality Assurance and Enhancement Committee [for consideration and action]

Membership:

  • Managing Director and Academic Principal (Chair)
  • Quality Executive (Secretary)
  • Two external academic advisors (At least one of the external academic members of the Academic Committee should have current or recent experience of quality management at a senior level within a UK higher education institution.)
  • One external academic adviser from each university partner
  • One independent non-executive director
  • Deputy Academic Principal
  • Director of the Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL), or Head of Teaching and Learning (or nominee)
  • Director of the Centre for Research and Enterprise (CRE)
  • Deputy Director of the Centre for Research and Enterprise (CRE)
  • All Course Leaders
  • One academic (excluding the Course Leader(s)) who teaches on our Business courses
  • One academic (excluding the Course Leader(s)) who teaches on our Law courses
  • One academic (excluding the Course Leader(s)) who teaches on our Accounting and Finance courses
  • One academic (excluding the Course Leader(s)) who teaches on our Foundation Year
  • Academic Registrar
  • Head of Quality
  • Head of Academic Administration and Assessment
  • Head of Admissions
  • Director of the Centre for Student Engagement, Wellbeing and Success (SEWS)
  • President of the Student Guild (or nominee – such nominee must be a Student Guild Officer Trustee, Student Guild Student Trustee, or a Student Council student representative)

Quality Assurance and Enhancement Committee

The Quality Assurance and Enhancement Committee (QAEC) is an intermediate committee, sitting above the Course Committees and below the Academic Committee.  The QAEC undertakes a supervisory role on behalf of the Academic Committee, and is under the direct control of the Academic Committee.

Terms of Reference

Within the scope of its responsibilities, the Academic Committee is authorised to hold the QAEC to account.

Subject to the prerogatives of our university partner(s), and the responsibilities of our Board of Directors and Academic Committee, the QAEC is responsible for:

  • Contributing to the effective setting and maintaining of academic standards and the assuring and enhancing of academic quality, and ensuring the Expectations of the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) UK Quality Code for Higher Education are met
  • Approving changes to the Course Committee structure
  • Having oversight of the Quality and Enhancement Manual
  • Having oversight of the quality of teaching
  • Recommending to Academic Committee the approval of our Teaching Excellence Framework provider submission
  • Referring matters to the Senior Management and Leadership Team (SMLT) if the QAEC determines that consultation and engagement with the SMLT is required prior to exercising its decision-making powers
  • Referring matters to the Student Staff Consultative Forum (SSCF) if the QAEC determines that college-wide student consultation and engagement is required prior to exercising its decision-making powers
  • Recommending to Academic Committee the approval and/or amendment thereto of academic regulatory, policy and procedural documents.  Such documents, which will be incorporated within the Quality and Enhancement Manual, include:
    • Assessment and Progression Regulations (Pearson courses)
    • Assessment Methodology and Procedures
    • Assessment Procedures (Validate Degrees)
    • Student Assessment Appeals Procedure
    • Teaching, Learning and Assessment Strategy
    • Attendance Policy (including associated policies and procedures)
    • Research Strategy
    • Peer Observation of Teaching Scheme
    • Managed Observation of Teaching Scheme
  • Approving Annual Course Evaluation Reports and Overview Course Evaluation Report
  • Approving Annual Monitoring and Evaluation Reports and Overview Annual Monitoring and Evaluation Report
  • Considering and responding to Periodic Course Review Reports
  • Considering and approving reports to our university partner(s), External Examiners and other external quality assurance organisations such as the QAA
  • Receiving reports from our university partner(s) and other external quality assurance organisations such as the QAA
  • Receiving External Examiner Reports and  External Examiner Response Forms and to provide an oversight of the completion of any actions and to monitor the responses to these reports by, inter alia, the Course Committees
  • Recommending to Academic Committee the approval of new course proposals in accordance with our Course Approval and Modification Procedures
  • Recommending to Academic Committee the approval of major modifications to existing courses in accordance with our Course Approval and Modification Procedures
  • Approving minor modifications to existing courses in accordance with our Course Approval and Modification Procedures, subject to the Managing Director’s prior written approval to provide any additional resources which are necessary to implement any proposed modifications

The QAEC will receive the following reports and minutes:

  • Interim Course Evaluations [for information]
  • Student Module Evaluation Questionnaires [for information]
  • Annual Divisional/Departmental Business and Improvement Plans [for information]
  • Academic Committee minutes [for consideration and action]
  • Senior Management and Leadership Team minutes [for consideration and action]
  • Course Committees minutes [for consideration and action]
    • To include progress reports on Annual Course Evaluation Report Action Plans
    • To include progress reports on Annual Monitoring and Evaluation Report Action Plans
  • Student Staff Consultative Forum minutes [for consideration and action]
  • Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Team (EDIT) minutes [for consideration and action]

The QAEC may refer action points to:

  • Academic Committee
  • Senior Management and Leadership Team
  • Course Committees
  • Student Staff Consultative Forum

The minutes of the QAEC will be received by the following:

  • Academic Committee [for consideration and action]
  • Senior Management and Leadership Team [for consideration and action]
  • Course Committees [for consideration and action]

Membership

  • Deputy Academic Principal (Chair)
  • Quality Manager (Secretary)
  • One academic representative from each university partner
  • External Academic Advisors of the Academic Committee
  • Director of the Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL), or Head of Teaching and Learning (or nominee)
  • Director of the Centre for Research and Enterprise (CRE)
  • Deputy Director for the Centre of Research and Enterprise (CRE)
  • One academic (excluding the Course Leader(s)) who teaches on our Business courses
  • One academic (excluding the Course Leader(s)) who teaches on our Law courses
  • One academic (excluding the Course Leader(s)) who teaches on our Accounting and Finance courses
  • One academic (excluding the Course Leader(s)) who teaches on our Foundation Year
  • Academic Registrar
  • Head of Quality
  • Head of Academic Administration and Assessment
  • Head of Admissions
  • Director of the Centre for Student Engagement, Wellbeing and Success (or nominee)

 Course Committee

The primary responsibility of Course Committees is to oversee the quality of student learning opportunities and the enhancement of the student experience.  They also contribute to the management and development of the course(s) for which they are responsible.  Course Committees ensure the implementation of our academic and non-academic regulations, policies and procedures and those of our university partner(s).

Our decision on the number of Course Committees ensures that the business of each committee accords with the interests and responsibilities of all our members, including its students. The following Course Committees structure was established in 2016-17:

  • Course Committee: 4-year Undergraduate Degree with Foundation Year
  • Course Committee: HND Business [which is being taught-out]
  • Course Committee: Undergraduate Business [which, dependent upon the number of students, may have a separate Course Committee for the Top-up]
  • Course Committee: Undergraduate Law
  • Course Committee: Undergraduate Accounting and Financial Management [which, dependent upon the number of students, may have a separate Course Committee for the Top-up]
  • Course Committee: Postgraduate Business
  • Course Committee: Postgraduate Law

Course Committee structure

Undergraduate Degree with Foundation Year

During Year 1 (i.e. Stage 0) of an undergraduate degree which incorporates a Level 0 foundation year, the committee which will have responsibility for complete oversight of delivery of the course will be the Undergraduate with Foundation Year Course Committee.

During subsequent academic years the committee which will have responsibility for complete oversight of delivery of the course will be the relevant Undergraduate Course Committee.

Terms of Reference

Course Committees are accountable to the Academic Committee and QAEC for their exercise of the following responsibilities in relation to the courses within their remit:

  • Contributing to the effective setting and maintaining of academic standards and the assuring and enhancing of academic quality, and ensuring the Expectations of the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) UK Quality Code for Higher Education are met
  • Monitoring and evaluating the delivery and assessment of courses and their constituent modules, giving full consideration to External Examiners’ Reports
  • Receiving External Examiner Reports and External Examiner Response Forms and monitoring the completion of any actions
  • Advising the Managing Director and Academic Principal, the Deputy Academic Principal and other managers on the effective management and operation of courses
  • Ensuring that appropriate arrangements are made for the evaluation of courses by staff and students to ensure their continuous enhancement
  • Receiving and considering Interim Course Evaluations and Student Module Evaluation Questionnaires
  • Considering and recommending to the QAEC the approval of Annual Course Evaluation Reports and Annual Monitoring and Evaluation Reports, and monitoring implementation of the associated Action Plans
  • Considering and recommending improvements to courses, whether in accordance with the terms of their validation or by formally proposing modifications to them
  • Considering Periodic Course Review Reports
  • Receiving the minutes of the Quality Assurance and Enhancement Committee for consideration and action
  • Ensuring that our academic and non-academic regulations, policies and procedures and those of our university partner(s) are appropriately reflected in the organisation and delivery of courses
  • Advising the Managing Director and Academic Principal, the Deputy Academic Principal and other managers on the resources available to and required for their courses
  • Evaluating and making recommendations on the guidance and support available to students

The Course Committee may refer action points to:

  • Senior Management and Leadership Team
  • Course Leaders
  • Quality Assurance and Enhancement Committee

The Course Committee minutes are received by:

  • Academic Committee [for information]
  • Senior Management and Leadership Team [for consideration and action]
  • Quality Assurance and Enhancement Committee [for consideration and action]
  • The relevant university partner (as required by the university partner)

Membership

  • A Course Leader for the course(s) within the remit of the Committee (Chair)
  • The other Course Leader(s) for the course(s) within the remit of the Committee (if applicable)
  • Quality Executive (Secretary)
  • Deputy Academic Principal (or nominee)
  • Director of the Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL), or Head of Teaching and Learning (or nominee)
  • Programme Leader(s) (if applicable)
  • Module Leaders and Module Tutors for the course(s) within the remit of the Committee
  • One member of the Learning Technology Team
  • Head of Quality (or nominee)
  • Deputy Director of the Centre for Student Engagement, Wellbeing and Success
  • Academic Administrator(s) who administer the course(s) within the remit of the Committee
  • Student Staff Liaison Manager
  • The Student Council student representatives who are enrolled on the course(s) within the remit of the Committee

Student Staff Consultative Forum (SSCF)

To ensure effective college-wide student representation and consultation a single Student Staff Consultative Forum (SSCF) convenes at least once a term. The SSCF formally considers and actions college-wide issues and also provides a forum through which we can fully consult and engage with students with regards to the development of key strategic and management initiatives.  The SMLT and QAEC can refer items to the SSCF if they determine that college-wide student consultation and engagement is required prior to exercising their decision-making powers.  The minutes of the SSCF are formally considered and actioned by the SMLT and QAEC.  It is anticipated that some issues raised within the SSCF will be actioned and resolved without the need for formal consideration and action by a committee.

The Centre for Student Engagement, Wellbeing and Success also supports student representative drop-in sessions through which group-related issues can be raised and actioned.  The aim of these drop-in sessions (which do not form part of our formal committee structure) is to provide student representatives with an accessible and pro-active service, to build relationships with student representatives and to establish clear communication between staff and students.

Terms of Reference

The SSCF is responsible for providing a forum through which we can consult and engage with students with regards to, inter alia:

  • Effectiveness of the student representative drop-in sessions
  • College-wide issues relevant to the student body
  • The development of key strategic and management initiatives (including those referred to the SSCF by the SMLT or QAEC)

The SSCF minutes are received by:

  • Senior Management and Leadership Team [for consideration and action]
  • Course Committees [for consideration and action]
  • Quality Assurance and Enhancement Committee [for consideration and action]
  • Academic Committee [for information]

Membership

  • Director of the Centre for Student Engagement, Wellbeing and Success (Chair)
  • Quality Executive (Secretary)
  • Deputy Academic Principal
  • Head of Quality
  • Deputy Director of the Centre for Student Engagement, Wellbeing and Success
  • All Student Engagement, Wellbeing and Success Advisors
  • Student Staff Liaison Manager
  • Student Guild Manager
  • All Student Council student representatives

Senior Academic Leadership Team

In addition to the above formal committees and other forums, the Senior Academic Leadership Team (SALT) ensures effective management and leadership throughout the Academic Division, and provides a forum through which information which relates to maintaining academic standards and the enhancement of academic quality is disseminated and discussed.

The SALT does not report to the Senior Management and Leadership Team (SMLT), although it can refer matters to the SMLT for consideration and action.

Meetings of the SALT are minuted.  However, these minutes are not formally received, considered or actioned by any other committee or forum.  As part of its minutes, the SALT develops its own action plan. If the SALT determines that an action requires the input of the Senior Management and Leadership Team (SMLT), Academic Committee (AC), Quality Assurance and Enhancement Committee (QAEC), Course Committees (CCs) or Student Staff Consultative Forum (SSCF), the SALT will designate one of its members to: (i) request the action to be included as an agenda item on the relevant committee; and (ii) report back to the SALT.

Terms of Reference

The SALT is responsible for

  • (Subject to the authority of the Academic Committee), contributing to the effective setting and maintaining of academic standards and the assuring and enhancing of academic quality, and ensuring the Expectations of the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) UK Quality Code for Higher Education are met
  • Ensuring effective operational management and leadership throughout the Academic Division
  • Reviewing resource requirements across the Academic Division
  • Ensuring effective management and leadership of the Annual Planning Cycle, as applicable to the Academic Division, to include receiving and recommending the approval of:
    • Academic Strategic Plan (final approval to be provided by the SMLT and Academic Committee
    • Academic Strategic Plan (final approval to be provided by Academic Committee following a recommendation of the SMLT)
    • Annual Academic Business and Improvement Plan  (final approval to be provided by Academic Committee following a recommendation of the SMLT)
    • Annual Course Evaluation Reports (final approval to be provided by the Quality Assurance and Enhancement Committee (QAEC) following a recommendation by the relevant Course Committee)
    • Overview Annual Course Evaluation Report (final approval to be provided by the QAEC)
    • Annual Monitoring and Evaluation Reports (final approval to be provided by the Quality Assurance and Enhancement Committee (QAEC) following a recommendation of the relevant Course Committee)
    • Overview Annual Monitoring and Evaluation Report (final approval to be provided by the Quality Assurance and Enhancement Committee (QAEC))
  • Receiving academic regulatory policy and procedural documents for information
  • Receiving relevant non-academic regulatory policy and procedural documents for information
  • Monitoring the implementation of:
    • Academic Strategic Plan
    • Annual Academic Business and Improvement Plan (to include a monthly update)
    • Teaching, Learning and Assessment Strategy
    • Learning Technology Strategy
    • Research Strategy
  • Receiving and considering Interim Course Evaluations and Student Module Evaluation Questionnaires
  • Receiving and considering reports (every two months) from the Deputy Academic Principal, the Director of the Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (or nominee), and the Director of the Centre for Research and Enterprise (or nominee) to enable a ‘collated’ Academic Report to be submitted to the Senior Management and Leadership Team (SMLT)
  • Receiving the Corporate Report (every two months) from the Senior Management and Leadership Team (SMLT)

Membership

  • Deputy Academic Principal (Chair)
  • Quality Executive (Secretary)
  • Director of the Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) or Head of Teaching and Learning (or nominee)
  • Deputy Director of Centre for Research and Enterprise (CRE)
  • Programme Leader(s)
  • All Course Leaders
  • Head of Academic Administration and Assessment
  • Assessment Manager (or nominee)

 

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