Procedures for validation and accreditation

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1 Procedures for validation and accreditation Published by the Quality and Academic Support Office, Directorate of Students and Education Support Latest Edition (March 2002, updated August 2009 and 2013 factual )

2 1. DEFINITION OF TERMS 1.1 The following definitions are used in this document: Accreditation is the process whereby an institution without its own degree awarding powers is given wide authority by the College to exercise powers and responsibility for academic provision. The College will exercise only limited control over the quality assurance functions of the other institution but will remain ultimately responsible for the quality and standard of the award(s). Validation is the process whereby the College judges that a programme of study developed and delivered by another institution or organisation is of an appropriate quality and standard to lead to an award of the College and University. The College will determine the extent to which it exercises direct control over the quality assurance aspects of the programme s management. Partner institution describes the institution or other body with which the College enters into an agreement to collaborate and it refers both to institutions that are given powers under an accreditation arrangement and institutions that have one or more of their programmes validated by the College. 2. CONTEXT 2.1 An institution s arrangements for collaborative provision should comply with the indicators contained in the QAA Quality Code, Part B10: Managing higher education provision with others 1. The College s Procedures should therefore be read in conjunction with the Code. 2.2 These Procedures should also be read in conjunction with the College s Procedures for programme and module approval and modification and Procedures for the approval and monitoring of collaborative provision. 3. OBJECTIVES OF VALIDATION AND ACCREDITATION 3.1 The objectives of the validation and accreditation process are to ensure that: (iii) programmes meet the requirement for the relevant award and are of the appropriate standard; resources in relation to IT, library, staff and facilities are appropriate to allow delivery of the programme to the required standard; appropriate quality assurance mechanisms are in place to guarantee the operation of the programme at the required standard 4. APPROVAL BY THE COLLEGE 4.1 In cases where validation is requested for a programme(s) of study the College will refer the matter to the School for advice. This reflects the likely subsequent operation of a validated programme whereby it becomes the responsibility of a School to monitor and assess via the usual routes of the School Education Committee or equivalent and the relevant School Board of Examiners. 4.2 This initial request should be considered by the School Education Committee or equivalent and should consist of a document prepared by the potential partner institution covering the following: 1 Available at Part-B.aspx 1

3 (iii) (iv) programme rationale, aims and objectives outline curriculum structure rationale, schedule and methods of assessment outline of the learning resources available at the partner institution 4.3 If the School Education Committee gives initial approval to the programme(s) the document from the potential partner institution, together with the Collaborative Provision proposal form (see Procedures for the approval and monitoring of collaborative provision) and a supporting statement from the School, should be submitted to the College Programme Development and Approval Committee. 4.4 In cases where a potential partner institution is seeking an accreditation arrangement for some or all of its programmes, the documentation described in 4.2 above will be submitted direct to the College Programme Development and Approval Committee. 4.5 If the College Programme Development and Approval Committee approves a request for either a validation or accreditation arrangement a validation/accreditation event with the potential partner institution will then take place. 5 INFORMATION REQUIRED FOR THE VALIDATION/ACCREDITATION EVENT 5.1 Approximately six weeks before the agreed date of the event the potential partner institution should forward to the Quality and Academic Support section of Directorate of Students and Education Support six copies of the validation/accreditation documentation. The exact format of the submission is a matter for the potential partner institution and may make use of existing documentation. The submission should contain the following information: Background information a short introduction on the institution seeking accreditation or validation for its programme(s) description of the context of the programme(s) in terms of institutional policies and plans and of local and/or national demand High Risk Partner profile and checklist form Admissions entry criteria admissions policies and procedures equal opportunities monitoring Programme content and organisation aims and objectives of the programme(s) outline curriculum structure syllabus for each year of the programme(s) broken down by module or unit if appropriate contact hours per year broken down by type eg lectures, seminars, practical work teaching and learning philosophy and methods arrangements for outside placements, if appropriate, to include briefing, monitoring whilst on placement and de-briefing management arrangements for the programme(s) programme specification and regulations Assessment arrangements for monitoring students progress to include feedback given to students on their progress 2

4 rationale for the assessment methodology and how it allows achievement of the programme s objectives details of assessment methods both formative and summative details of marking schemes terms of reference, constitution and mode of operation of examination boards Information given to students examples of student handbooks Student welfare personal tutor system health and welfare facilities and advice available for students careers advice available for students procedures for student appeals and grievances Management and monitoring details of the committee structure of the institution together with terms of reference, constitution and mode of operation of committees concerned with the programme(s) and/or teaching in general arrangements for students to provide feedback arrangements for reviewing the programme(s) both annually and periodically involvement of peers external to the institution in the design, delivery and review of the programme(s) use made of management information eg progression, withdrawal and success rates details of first destination returns Staff list of academic, technical and administrative staff involved with the programme(s) brief CVs of academic staff to include qualifications, current position and teaching responsibilities, previous teaching and other relevant experience, research, consultancy and other scholarly activity relevant to the programme(s) with dates policy on and details of staff development and training Resources description of library, computing, laboratory, workshop and other learning resources appropriate to the programme(s) description of how the provision of learning resources is related to the needs of the curriculum 6. FORMAT OF THE VALIDATION/ACCREDITATION EVENT 6.1 The validation/accreditation event will be conducted by a panel, the composition of which will normally be as follows: (iii) (iv) (vi) (v) the Principal or nominee, who will Chair the panel the Head of Administration and College Secretary or nominee the Director of Finance or nominee the Chair of the College Education Committee a Chair of a School Education/Teaching Committee in the case of a validation event, the Head of the relevant School or Chair of that School Education/Teaching Committee 3

5 Administrative support for the event will be provided by the Quality and Academic Support section. 6.2 The panel will have received the validation/accreditation documentation six weeks in advance of the event but may request additional information or clarification of issues from the potential partner institution in advance of the event. 6.2 The event will be conducted at the institution seeking accreditation or validation. The timetable will be agreed in advance between the College and the potential partner institution and is likely to follow the model described below, although the length of sessions will vary depending on the number of programmes to be considered and the nature of the event ie validation or accreditation: hour two hours hour hour preliminary meeting of panel tour of facilities meeting with programme team(s) lunchtime meeting with students meeting with support staff eg librarian, student welfare providers, personal tutors meeting with senior managers of the institution private meeting of panel feedback to institution 6.3 The feedback to the potential partner institution will indicate whether validation of the programme(s) or accredited status can be recommended or whether certain conditions will have to be fulfilled before such a recommendation can be made. In the case of the latter a timeframe will be agreed within which the conditions have to be met. 6.4 A written report of the proceedings will be produced, normally within three weeks of the event. A copy of the draft report will be forward to the potential partner institution for comments on issues of factual accuracy. The final version of the report will then be submitted to the College Programme Development and Approval Committee for approval. Approval will be for a specified period not normally exceeding five years. Should a proposal for validation/accreditation not be approved, the College will give reasons for this decision and suggest ways in which the proposal could be improved, although this does not imply that a re-submission would necessarily lead to validation or accreditation. 7. MEMORANDUM OF AGREEMENT 7.1 Following a successful validation/accreditation, College officers will draw up a Memorandum of Agreement to be signed by the College and the partner institution. The Memorandum will set out the arrangements within which the collaboration will operate. The specific details of the Memorandum will vary according to the nature of the partnership but Appendix A gives an indication of the likely areas that will be covered. A draft of the Memorandum will be sent to the partner institution for comment. If there are disagreements between the College and the partner institution over any aspects of the Agreement it may be necessary to convene a meeting of the validation/accreditation panel and the institution to resolve such issues. 4

6 MEMORANDUM OF AGREEMENT Appendix A All collaborative arrangements will be covered by a Memorandum of Agreement drawn up by the College and signed by the Principal and the head of the partner institution. The purposes of the Memorandum are to: define the means by which the academic standards of the programme will be maintained; ensure that the nature of the collaborative arrangements are clearly set out, operate smoothly and that channels of authority and accountability are clearly identified The specific details of the Memorandum will vary according to the nature of the collaboration but the following gives an indication of the areas that will be covered. 1. The respective responsibilities and obligations of the College and the partner institution in respect of the oversight and maintenance of the academics standards of the programme(s), the delivery of programme(s) and the management and monitoring of the programmes(s). 2. Responsibilities for the recruitment and selection of students. 3. Responsibilities for the enrolment and registration of students and for the maintenance of student records. 4. Assessment and examination arrangements to include the appointment and role of external examiners. 5. Responsibilities relating to student discipline, complaints and appeals. 6. Responsibilities for the issue and secure control of award certificates. 7. Responsibilities for the issue of transcripts. 8. Reporting and communication requirements, including arrangements for the provision of regular and sufficient information to enable the College to be confident that the responsibilities of the partner institution are being met and arrangements for feedback from the College to the partner organisation. 9. Intellectual property, Data Protection and Freedom of Information considerations. 10. Publicity and promotional material. 11. Financial arrangements and responsibilities. 12. The duration of the agreement, arrangements for reviewing the validation/accreditation arrangement, procedures for resolving differences and for termination of the arrangement. 5

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