University of Otago Review

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1 University of Otago Review Postgraduate Programmes in the Health Sciences and Medicine Suites 29 July 3 August 2010 Report of the Review Panel

2 Table of contents Page 1. Executive Summary The Review Process Preamble Overview Strategic Oversight/Leadership/Programme Development Governance Structures for the Programmes Programme Management Endorsements and Papers Postgraduate Research Treaty of Waitangi Commitment Relationships with Health Workforce New Zealand and Te Pou Physical, IT Resources and Health and Safety Issues Marketing and Promotion APPENDICES APPENDIX A: Suggested Governance Structure APPENDIX B: Terms of Reference Page 2

3 1 Executive Summary 1.1 Summary of Commendations 3.1 Commendation: The staff involved in preparing the Self-Review Reports for the postgraduate programmes in Health Sciences and Medicine, and the staff involved in preparing the subject Self-Reviews. 6.1 Commendation: The development of a staircase approach to progression through programmes (PGCert PGDip Masters) with flexibility to change the major subject and to move between programmes at different levels. 6.2 Commendation: The BoGSHS and its current leadership for the preparation and dissemination of information and guidelines for staff and students related to postgraduate programmes in Health Sciences at Otago. 7.1 Commendation: The administrative staff involved in advising on admission to postgraduate programmes in Health Sciences and Medicine at all three campuses. 9.1 Commendation: The students involved in initiating, developing and completing a postgraduate student opinion survey in preparation for this Review Commendation: The Director of the National Addiction Centre for his strong commitment to Māori health Commendation: The University s Distance Library Service for the excellent service it provides to research students enrolled in postgraduate programmes in Health Sciences and Medicine. Page 3

4 1.2 Summary of Recommendations Recommendations to the Divisional Board of Postgraduate Studies 3.1 Recommendation: That issues and challenges identified in the Self-Review Reports of the Postgraduate Programmes in Health Sciences and Medicine Suites, and that are not discussed elsewhere in this Panel s Report, are considered further by the proposed Divisional Board of Postgraduate Studies (Recommendation 5.3). Recommendations to the University and Division of Health Sciences 5.1 Recommendation: That the University promotes its research-based higher degrees (Masters, PhD) within the relevant postgraduate programmes in Health Sciences and Medicine, and encourages and supports students to enrol in these research-intensive degrees. 5.2 Recommendation: That the University of Otago and the University of Auckland give consideration to the development of a national strategy for teaching evidence-based postgraduate programmes in Health Sciences and Medicine. 8.1 Recommendation: That consideration be given to offering more flexibility in papers required for named qualifications by allowing substitution of one (or more) paper(s), after consultation with the directors of both programmes, and subject to the approval of the proposed Divisional Board of Postgraduate Studies. 9.1 Recommendation: That the University develops a strategic view of postgraduate programmes in Health Sciences and Medicine on whether it, i) offers programmes that do not staircase to a research higher degree, and ii) should actively seek to promote and grow research degrees (Masters). Page 4

5 9.2 Recommendation: That the University considers providing a limited number of fees scholarships for part-time students enrolling to complete a Masters degree by thesis or identifies and approaches industry partners to do so Recommendation: That the University liaises more effectively with Health Workforce NZ and Te Pou, especially pertaining to clinical education and fieldwork placements. This includes the University assigning responsibility at a senior level to manage its relationship with Health Workforce NZ and Te Pou Recommendation: That the University ensures adequate and appropriate provision of IT resources and support, and physical space at its three campuses, especially for research students, and IT resources for all students enrolled in the postgraduate programmes, regardless of mode of delivery Recommendation: That the University improves the visibility and marketing of its postgraduate programmes in Health Sciences and Medicine within New Zealand and internationally. Recommendations to the Division of Health Sciences 4.1 Recommendation: That all postgraduate programmes and qualifications offered in the Health Sciences and Medicine suites be reviewed with a view to optimising the benefits and costs to the University and stakeholders of providing the programmes. Recommendations to the Division of Health Sciences 6.1 Recommendation: That the governance structure of the postgraduate programmes within the Medicine and Health Sciences suites be reviewed with the aim of simplifying their governance. The Panel suggests Page 5

6 there should be at most four or five boards of postgraduate studies for the Faculty of Medicine and that all postgraduate offerings should be overseen by one or other of these Boards of Studies. Recommendations to the Division of Health Sciences 5.3 Recommendation: That a board, or committee, at Divisional level be established for the purpose of strategic planning and governance of the postgraduate programmes in Health Sciences and Medicine. 6.2 Recommendation: That papers and programmes offered throughout the Division of Health Sciences for the training of medical, nursing and allied health professionals be reviewed with the aim of removing duplication, reducing overlap, and enhancing integration of subject content and clinical teaching throughout the Division. 9.3 Recommendation: That the Division takes a strategic overview of the numbers of students entering the Masters thesis programme, and ensures that adequate resources are provided at each campus to support these students. 9.4 Recommendation: That approval of Masters research proposals be devolved to departmental level or Board of Studies for the larger programmes with clear departmental processes for the academic review of these proposals. For the smaller programmes, a collaborative process should be developed to provide academic support and oversight. 9.5 Recommendation: That the Division reviews, clarifies and confirms its requirement for training in research methods and statistics, and ensures that students have access to appropriate training to satisfy this requirement, either on-line or with face-to-face teaching. Page 6

7 10.1 Recommendation: That the Associate Dean (Māori) contributes to the proposed Divisional Board of Postgraduate Studies to ensure that the Division meets its obligations under the Treaty of Waitangi. Recommendations to the Division of Health Sciences and the Schools 6.3 Recommendation: That the roles of Associate Deans of Postgraduate Programmes at all three campuses be clarified and extended to include a strategic role in developing postgraduate programmes at the Schools as well as processes for monitoring student progress and identifying barriers to student progression into research postgraduate degrees. Their role should extend to both suites of programmes and include a process for reporting to the Divisional Board of Postgraduate Studies. 7.1 Recommendation: That better communication be established among the postgraduate programme advisers and administrators in Health Sciences and Medicine across the three campuses, with a view to sharing best practice, ensuring equity and establishing consistency, where appropriate, in student advising, admission, enrolment, progress monitoring and record-keeping. Recommendations to Departments in the Division of Health Sciences 9.6 Recommendation: That criteria and standards for admission to research Masters programmes be refined at departmental level to ensure that students have appropriate training in research methods and writing before embarking on their research projects. Recommendations to the Schools and Departments 9.7 Recommendation: That the availability and quality of research student supervision be enhanced by ensuring that supervisors undertake appropriate training in supervision of on-campus and distance students, and by ensuring that supervisors have appropriate mentoring from senior research active academics. Page 7

8 2 The Review Process The framework and Terms of Reference for the Review of Postgraduate Programmes in Health Sciences and Medicine were finalised in January In March 2010, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic and International) established a panel to review the Postgraduate Programmes in Health Sciences and Medicine. Panel members were: Convenor: Overseas rep: External NZ rep: External NZ rep: Internal Otago: Internal Otago: Postgraduate rep: Review Secretary: Professor Carolyn W. Burns, Department of Zoology Professor Meg E. Morris, Melbourne School of Health Sciences, The University of Melbourne Professor Ross Lawrenson, Waikato Clinical School, Hamilton Assoc Professor Mary Finlayson, School of Nursing, Auckland Dr Natalie Medlicott, School of Pharmacy Dr Bill Anderson, Director, Distance Learning Ms Deborah Snell Ms Megan Wilson, Quality Advancement Unit The Review was advertised in the Otago Bulletin in late June and early July when submissions were invited. Thirty-one written submissions were received. The Review Panel met with postgraduate students and staff, including academic programme co-ordinators, at the University of Otago clinical school campuses in Wellington (29 July), Christchurch (30 July), and Dunedin (2-3 August). The Panel is grateful to all who made written or oral submissions; we were impressed by the energy and commitment of staff involved in organising, delivering and supporting the programmes, and by their frank and constructive discussion of issues raised in the Self Reviews and during interview. 3 Preamble Currently, the University of Otago offers more than 100 postgraduate awards (certificates, diplomas and degrees) within the Medicine and Health Sciences suites. Programmes offered within the Health Sciences suite were reviewed for the first time in 2004; one recommendation of Page 8

9 the 2004 review was that qualifications within the Medicine suite be included in any future review of postgraduate programmes. Accordingly, the scope of the current review included all postgraduate programmes in the Health Sciences and Medicine suites, for which separate Self- Review Reports had been prepared for each suite. recommendations of the previous review in This report reiterates several of the Several weeks before the Review, the Panel Chair and Review Secretary met with key senior staff from the Board of Graduate Studies in Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, and Health Sciences Divisional Office who had been responsible for organising and assembling the Self-Review documents. In the year preceding the Review, academic co-ordinators of all programmes had been asked to prepare critical Self-Reviews of the programme they co-ordinate. Each coordinator completed six templates for the programme related to the Terms of Reference for Programme Management (namely: Programme Management; Programme Structure; Endorsement and Papers; Postgraduate Research (at Masters level); Teaching, Learning and Assessment; Physical, IT Resources and Health and Safety Issues). A CD containing the 32 subject Self-Reviews prepared in this format was provided to each member of the Panel. The Panel was very impressed by the organisation of the Self-Review processes, the extent and thoroughness of the preparation for this Review, and the level of detail provided in the subject Self-Reviews and supporting documents. Because it was beyond the Panel s expertise and the time available to review all programmes in both suites, this review has focused primarily on broad issues of governance, administration and management. The Self-Review Report of the Health Sciences Suite, in particular, identified challenges as well as strengths in the current governance and management processes that were useful to us during our review. As noted earlier, the Panel did not review the subject ( discipline ) Self-Reviews that were included in the supplementary documentation. However, based on the information sought in the six templates ( questionnaires ) for each subject, and the wealth of data provided in the answers, plus summaries of the subject Self-Reviews in the Medicine suite that were included in the Self- Review Report of Medicine, it was clear to the Panel that these responses will provide a valuable resource to inform the direction and management of the postgraduate programmes in Health Sciences and Medicine in the future. Indeed, several programme co-ordinators commented to Page 9

10 the Panel on how useful they had found the Self-Review of the programme they co-ordinate, and some were already following up on issues raised. 3.1 Commendation: The staff involved in preparing the Self-Review Reports for the postgraduate programmes in Health Sciences and Medicine, and the staff involved in preparing the subject Self-Reviews. The Self-Review Reports of both suites, particularly the Health Sciences suite, identified a number of issues relating to: the management of programmes; fostering internationalisation; communication among distance research students, and between these students and their supervisors; building and sustaining capability; and promotion and marketing. The Panel felt these could best be addressed by the proposed Divisional Board of Postgraduate Studies (Recommendation 5.3). 3.1 Recommendation: That issues and challenges identified in the Self-Review Reports of the Postgraduate Programmes in Health Sciences and Medicine Suites, and that are not discussed elsewhere in this Panel s Report, are considered further by the proposed Divisional Board of Postgraduate Studies (Recommendation 5.3). 4 Overview The postgraduate programmes and qualifications in the Health Sciences and Medicine suites are offered by the University of Otago across three campuses. The Health Sciences suite incorporates 10 programmes across 24 subject areas, offering 3 Masters, 5 Postgraduate Diplomas and 2 Postgraduate Certificates; the Medicine suite incorporates 37 programmes across 15 subject areas, and offers 1 Doctorate, 7 Masters degrees, 1 Bachelor Degree with Honours, 16 Postgraduate Diplomas and 12 Postgraduate Certificates. The Panel found the programmes and qualifications to be aimed principally at supporting the health workforce in postgraduate training and academic study. It formed the impression that rationalisation could be beneficial as there may be too many courses available; several of them had small numbers of students to the extent they appeared to be financially unsustainable. Some of the programmes appeared to have been Page 10

11 developed in an ad hoc fashion over a number of years and whilst some programmes had consistently good numbers of students enrolled and completing qualifications, others had few students and their viability seemed questionable. The Panel saw little evidence of a strong overview from the Division or Faculty of Medicine Board and thought it unlikely that a governance structure that was more focused or unified would support the continuation of such a large number of programmes. The Panel formed the impression that the financial viability of some programmes was hidden because staffing was partly funded through PBRF and research funds, or that staff funded to provide undergraduate teaching were cross-subsidising the postgraduate programmes. It was difficult to ascertain the economic viability of some of the programmes because the financial models were not clearly presented. Six years ago, the Panel that reviewed the Health Sciences Postgraduate suite (2004) also noted the lack of transparent programme-based funding models, and the small role played by any cost-benefit analyses in the planning of postgraduate programmes. Information in the Self-Review Reports of the postgraduate programmes in Health Sciences and Medicine, supporting documents and impressions gained by the Panel during interviews, suggested that it could be appropriate and timely now to review each programme with a view to evaluating, i), the need for, academic quality of, and long-term sustainability of the programme; and ii), the potential for rationalising the teaching in some programmes. The subject Self-Review Reports that were prepared for the Self-Reviews of the programme suites could provide the bases for these evaluations. Where appropriate, the programme reviews should include consultation with relevant counterparts at other tertiary training institutions that provide postgraduate programmes and qualifications in Health Sciences and Medicine, with a view to optimising teaching delivery and contract opportunities, and enhancing academic programme quality. Several of the issues touched on in this overview are discussed in more detail elsewhere in our report. 4.1 Recommendation: That all postgraduate programmes and qualifications offered in the Health Sciences and Medicine suites be reviewed with a view to optimising the benefits and costs to the University and Page 11

12 stakeholders of providing the programmes. 5 Strategic Oversight/Leadership/Programme Development It is clear from the Division s Strategic Plan that one of the primary goals is to achieve research excellence through a range of specific sub-goals that include increasing research capacity and research reputation through recruitment and retention of quality research staff, the promotion of research-based learning and teaching, provision of a quality learning environment for postgraduate research students, and increasing the numbers of postgraduate students. Based on interviews with academic programme leaders, the Panel found no clear Faculty of Medicine or Divisional strategy around the development of the postgraduate programmes an observation made also by the Panel that reviewed the Health Sciences Postgraduate suite in 2004 who noted that there appeared to be a lack of shared understanding of a clear strategic direction across the Division with the majority of programmes and individual papers being developed in a reactive rather than proactive manner. Both suites offer students the opportunity of a staircase of qualifications ranging from Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) to Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) and Masters. Students who meet the entry requirements may enrol at any of the three qualification levels, and it is usually possible for them to exit with lower level qualifications should they decide to do so. At the School level it appeared that in some subject areas the key driver was about providing programmes that support workforce development for the health services. In some very specialised programmes this means that the numbers of potential students are severely constrained. It appeared that some of these programmes, which are often delivered only at Certificate or Diploma level, support key parts of the health service and their discontinuation would cause difficulties in ongoing service provision in some parts of the country. Whilst acknowledging the encouragement from the professions and industry partners to continue with such programmes, the Panel was of the opinion that these postgraduate programmes should have a strong staircase structure; all students admitted to them should be capable of Masters level study and should be aiming to exit after completing a research-based thesis. The Panel gained the impression there are too many programmes where students enter postgraduate study Page 12

13 simply with the aim of obtaining a PGCertificate or PGDiploma, and progression to Masters is an exception rather than the norm. The research base for these programmes appeared not to be as rigorous as for programmes producing significant numbers of Masters research theses on an annual basis. The Panel believes that the primary strategic imperative of the Division of Health Sciences to achieve research excellence needs to be pursued more vigorously in relation to some of its postgraduate programmes in Health Sciences and Medicine. A key performance indicator of a postgraduate programme should be the proportion of students enrolling who complete a research-based thesis, or go on to doctoral level study. 5.1 Recommendation: That the University promotes its research-based higher degrees (Masters, PhD) within the relevant postgraduate programmes in Health Sciences and Medicine, and encourages and supports students to enrol in these research-intensive degrees. Based on information gained from the Review documents, submissions, and interviews, the Panel were alerted to the nature and extent of pressures imposed by funding agencies, some professions and external parties on the provision of some of the postgraduate programmes in Health Sciences and Medicine. Moreover, there did not appear to be national strategy for the provision of postgraduate programmes in Health Sciences and Medicine in New Zealand. To ensure that the competitive and short-term nature of contracts offered by Health Workforce New Zealand does not lead to the University of Otago providing programmes for small numbers of students, or programmes that cannot meet targets for progression to a research higher degree, the Panel recommends that the University of Otago and the University of Auckland collaborate to develop a strategy for New Zealand for the provision of postgraduate programmes in Health Sciences and Medicine. This needs to be done in consultation with Health Workforce New Zealand. 5.2 Recommendation: That the University of Otago and the University of Auckland give consideration to the development of a national strategy for teaching evidence-based postgraduate programmes in Health Sciences and Medicine. Page 13

14 There are three areas of considerable overlap between the programme suites in Health Sciences and Medicine: i) the same departments and Schools provide the teaching and research supervision in both suites, e.g., Public Health (PUBH) papers taught by the relevant department in each School can contribute to the Master of Public Health (Medicine suite) and the PGDipHealth Management (Health Sciences suite); ii) as students staircase through their postgraduate programme they can cross from the Health Sciences suite to the Medicine suite, and vice versa; iii) there are seemingly parallel programmes in the two suites in several subject areas, e.g., Occupational and Aviation Medicine group, and Rehabilitation. As highlighted in the Self-Review documents there is no clear link between the Health Sciences and Medicine suites when the issues under discussion are strategic, such as the development of new papers and programmes. For example, recently a programme in Long-Term Condition Management was proposed separately and almost simultaneously by General Practice and Primary Health Care (Medicine, Wellington) and Nursing (Health Sciences, Christchurch). The postgraduate programmes in Medicine were established well before the formation of the four academic Divisions of the University in 1990, whereas those in the Health Sciences suite developed in The establishment of the Divisional structure is likely to have contributed to some of the apparent complexities, discrepancies and inefficiencies in the governance, management and delivery of the two suites of programmes that have been identified in the preceding part of our Report. In reviewing the Self-Review Reports of postgraduate programmes in Health Sciences and Medicine, and during the Review interviews, the Panel became acutely aware of the need to develop and strengthen links between the two suites of programmes for strategic planning and governance. The Panel suggests that a reconstituted committee or board at Divisional level to replace the current Board of Graduate Studies Health Sciences would be best positioned to carry out this function. 5.3 Recommendation: That a board, or committee, at Divisional level be established for the purpose of strategic planning and governance of the postgraduate programmes in Health Sciences and Medicine. [It should be noted that Recommendation 5.3 has implications for the governance structures of the Schools of Dentistry, Physiotherapy and Pharmacy; however, these groups were not part of Page 14

15 the Terms of Reference for this Review and therefore they have not been consulted about the proposed change.] 6 Governance Structures for the Programmes In 2009, the Health Sciences suite (10 programmes; 24 subject areas) and the Medicine suite (37 programmes; 15 subject areas) together accounted for approximately 1,100 students (head counts) at postgraduate level (Self-Review Report, Health Sciences suite, June 2010). As noted earlier, several of these programmes offer a staircase of progressively higher qualifications commonly from PGCert to PGDip and Masters, and some offer the flexibility of movement between programmes at different levels. The Panel commends this approach to the pursuit and acquisition of postgraduate experience and qualifications. 6.1 Commendation: The development of a staircase approach to progression through programmes (PGCert PGDip Masters) with flexibility to change the major subject and to move between programmes at different levels. The Board of Graduate Studies in Health Sciences (BoGSHS) is responsible for, i) official sign-off of admissions to its programmes, ii) approval of research proposals, iii) examination of theses and dissertations that contribute to Masters programmes overseen by the Board, and iv) subsequently communicating the outcome of the examinations to the students. Under the current BoGSHS processes, the Board has produced a number of documents for students and staff on policy, procedures and guidelines relating to ethical considerations in research, writing research proposals, marking guidelines, distinctions between research projects, dissertations and Masters theses, approval of research proposals and approval of deferral, common terminology, and Board Members role on BoGSHS. The information in these documents is comprehensive, detailed and clear, and assists in communication and in ensuring the quality of the programmes. 6.2 Commendation: The BoGSHS and its current leadership for the preparation and dissemination of information and guidelines for staff and students related to postgraduate programmes in Health Sciences at Otago. Page 15

16 The Panel found the current governance structure over all the postgraduate programmes in Health Sciences and Medicine was variable and did not always emphasise the importance of research and excellence in research as the basis for evidence-based practice. However, the Public Health programmes within the Faculty of Medicine were a good example where there was a Board of Studies with strong academic leadership provided across all three Schools, significant numbers of students entering the programmes, good supervision, and approximately 20 Masters completions each year. The programmes appeared to have sufficient capacity for supervising Masters theses, and the Board of Studies had a range of experienced academics providing appropriate governance for the programmes. The programmes for General Practice and Primary Health Care appeared to have a weaker governance structure. The offerings in Travel Medicine and Primary Health Care were being supervised through the Board of Studies for Primary Health Care and General Practice led from Wellington, whereas the Masters in General Practice were being supervised, and governance overview provided, through the Department of General Practice in Dunedin and the Faculty of Medicine Board. The numbers of students completing qualifications in General Practice, Travel Medicine and Primary Health Care were not sufficient to convince the Panel that these programmes have long-term viability unless there were to be strong leadership from the Departments of General Practice and Primary Health Care within the Faculty of Medicine. The BoGSHS is providing a governance overview that, in some instances, could be devolved to departments, particularly for the nursing programmes in Christchurch, and some programmes in psychological medicine where there appeared to be good academic overview and supervision at a departmental level. The Panel considered the structures and processes of the BoGSHS to be overly detailed, reflecting, perhaps, the need to provide academic governance for some of the smaller programmes, particularly at PGCertificate and PGDiploma level where the departments running these programmes had little capacity or experience in running high quality postgraduate offerings at the appropriate level. The Panel believes that the governance structure for postgraduate programmes in both suites should be reviewed and that, in future, they should be run along departmental or professional lines such as Nursing, Public Health, Maternal and Child Health. The Panel suggests there should Page 16

17 be at most four or five boards of postgraduate studies for the Faculty of Medicine and that all postgraduate offerings in both suites should be overseen by one or other of these Boards of Studies. It is the Panel s recommendation that all programmes in both suites are managed under these Boards of Studies, all of which are likely to include more than one discipline or subject area. The Panel considers that each of the Boards of Studies should be able to demonstrate that they have sufficient capacity and experience to run Masters programmes and provide supervision for the number of research Masters students entering the programme. Boards of Studies should provide strong administration for the enrolment of all students within their domain, with administration and career planning for students managed at a departmental level; the department and discipline board would be responsible for ensuring that students take appropriate papers to support the qualification they are seeking. oversight of Masters theses should be done at this level. Similarly, the academic The Boards of Studies would be responsible for monitoring the completion rate of postgraduate students within their discipline and ensuring that financial and academic goals are being met. Departments should develop key performance indicators (KPIs) around the numbers of students being enrolled each year, and the numbers of Masters completions by thesis. Other KPIs might include the numbers of Māori and Pacific students enrolled and their completion rates compared with non-māori, and the numbers of Māori and Pacific students completing Masters by thesis. Another aim of the programme should be for an increasing number of students, including Māori and Pacific students, to move on to Doctoral studies. We recommend that the disciplinary Board of Studies gathers this information and reports it annually. 6.1 Recommendation: That the governance structure of the postgraduate programmes within the Medicine and Health Sciences suites be reviewed with the aim of simplifying their governance. The Panel suggests there should be at most four or five boards of postgraduate studies for the Faculty of Medicine and that all postgraduate offerings should be overseen by one or other of these Boards of Studies. A number of staff interviewed by the Panel recommended a Divisional governance structure for the postgraduate programmes. The Review Panel supports this recommendation. In addition, we suggest that there should be an Associate Dean of Postgraduate Programmes in Medicine and Page 17

18 Health Sciences who reports to the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Health Sciences). Any academic Boards of Studies for postgraduate programmes in the Faculty of Medicine should report through the Faculty of Medicine to the Divisional Board of Postgraduate Studies. This Board would report to the Divisional Board of Health Sciences and the PVC (Health Sciences). Representation on the Divisional Board of Postgraduate Studies would be a matter for the Division to decide, but we recommend representation from all disciplines ( Schools ) within the Division including Dentistry, Physiotherapy and Pharmacy, as well as the Faculty of Medicine. Representation on this Board of all the Schools in the Division should facilitate more inter-disciplinary integration of programme and paper content, clinical teaching, and research student supervision. The Divisional Board of Postgraduate Studies would provide strategic overview, monitor the success of the postgraduate programmes within the different Schools and Faculties, and provide key performance indicators for departmental level postgraduate programmes. A task of this Board could be to critically review the efficiency in teaching of postgraduate papers and programmes throughout the Division of Health Sciences, initially focusing on those involving sports, musculoskeletal and rehabilitation science, in order to streamline future offerings to students and promote a united and effective integration of subject content and clinical teaching. Appendix A suggests an alternative to the current governance structure for all postgraduate programmes. 6.2 Recommendation: That papers and programmes offered throughout the Division of Health Sciences for the training of medical, nursing and allied health professionals be reviewed with the aim of removing duplication, reducing overlap, and enhancing integration of subject content and clinical teaching throughout the Division. Governance of postgraduate programmes across three campuses One of the difficulties in providing an academic overview of a disciplinary base is the University s Faculty of Medicine structure where there are three devolved campuses that may be providing similar programmes on different sites. This means that, structurally, there needs to be a way of ensuring integration of departments that have similar interests but are based on the different campuses. To ensure good communication and consistent quality standards across three campuses, we recommend that the roles of Associate Dean (Postgraduate Studies), or equivalent, are retained at each campus, and that these Associate Deans are familiar with the Terms of Page 18

19 Reference and activities of each of the Boards of Studies for postgraduate programmes. The Associate Deans should have administrative support locally who will liaise with the programme administrators of the four or five Boards of Studies for postgraduate programmes within the Faculty of Medicine. It would appear that there is a need for clear procedures to ensure that financial monitoring of all the programmes is undertaken and reported in a transparent way to the (proposed) Divisional Board of Postgraduate Studies. There should also be a transparent distribution of funds for the programmes (after appropriate overheads have been agreed) to the teaching sites on the three campuses, or wherever the teaching takes place. A risk management plan would ensure that the measurements of academic quality and consistency across Schools, and associated matters, are being tracked. Concern was expressed that some students had taken postgraduate papers that they believed were going to count towards their desired qualification, only to discover later that they had been advised wrongly. This sort of problem is a risk that needs better management and overview from both the Division and Faculty of Medicine. These issues, and others, raised in the Self-Review Report for the Health Sciences suite point to the need for collective academic planning and oversight of the postgraduate programmes in the two suites. The need is described in more detail in the Self-Review Report for the Health Sciences suite in the context of suggesting a Health Sciences and Medicine postgraduate forum to, consider new endorsements and new named programmes, parallel programmes, different suites, staircases where students could cross between suites, financial viability of programmes, external engagement and interactions with funders of postgraduate health professional education, IT resourcing to support teaching in the suites, and research method teaching. The Panel believes that Terms of Reference for the proposed Divisional Board of Postgraduate Studies could be framed to allow the purposes of a postgraduate forum to be achieved. An academic staff member has been appointed at each campus as Associate Dean Postgraduate Programmes (or equivalent title). Their role appears to include the provision of academic advice and pastoral care, although it was unclear whether the role of Associate Dean at the Christchurch and Dunedin campuses extended to the provision of academic advice and pastoral care for students in both suites of programmes. Associate Deans do not appear to have a role in the Page 19

20 strategic development of the postgraduate programmes, perhaps because of the diversity and number of programmes offered in the Health Sciences and Medicine suites; however, the Panel felt that their role should include providing academic advice and pastoral care to students in both suites of programmes and that they should be involved in the strategic development for both. 6.3 Recommendation: That the roles of Associate Deans of Postgraduate Programmes at all three campuses be clarified and extended to include a strategic role in developing postgraduate programmes at the Schools as well as processes for monitoring student progress and identifying barriers to student progression into research postgraduate degrees. Their role should extend to both suites of programmes and include a process for reporting to the Divisional Board of Postgraduate Studies. The Panel is aware that its proposed changes to the academic governance structure for postgraduate programmes within the Division and the Faculty of Medicine will leave some difficult issues to be resolved. However, concern has been expressed over these issues for enough time now to assure us that a revision of the governance structure would provide an appropriate framework in which to review programmes which appear to have sub-optimal academic leadership or marginal numbers of students. For example, one area that needs a strategic review is the interface between Occupational Health and Aviation and Occupational Medicine. The Panel noted that a working party had already been set up to look at the postgraduate offerings in these disciplines. We noted that the Faculty of Medicine offers a PGDiploma of Industrial Health which seems to have a reasonable academic base, whereas the numbers of students appear to be so small as to potentially undermine the viability of the programme. Concurrently, the programmes in Aviation Medicine have a relatively high number of students, most of whom are qualifying at PGCertificate or PGDiploma level, whereas the ability and capacity to supervise the expected numbers of students at Masters level was not immediately apparent. The Panel recommends a disciplinary Board of Studies including Industrial Health and Aviation Medicine, but this would require additional and agreed input into the academic leadership of such a grouping, and the grouping would have to demonstrate high quality research outputs and a sufficient number of Masters completions in order to justify continuation of the programmes. As noted above, the discipline of General Practice and Primary Page 20

21 Health Care is in a similar situation and a major review of postgraduate programmes within that disciplinary area should be undertaken. It would appear that, with the growth in General Practice training, establishment of Rural Hospital Medicine, and the planned development of integrated family health centres, there should be sufficient demand for postgraduate study from the health workforce to make investment in this area worthwhile. The Panel noted the University s intent to appoint a Professor of General Practice at the Dunedin School of Medicine as well as a Professor of Rural Health to overview the rural hospital programmes. Once these appointments have been made, there should be sufficient academic capacity to continue postgraduate programmes in this area of study. 7 Programme Management The Panel was impressed by the knowledge and commitment of the key administrative staff at the three campuses who are involved in advising on admission to postgraduate programmes in Health Sciences and Medicine. Students and other staff spoke highly of the service they received from them. However, in the Self-Review Report of the Health Sciences suite it is suggested that the postgraduate programmes in both Medicine and Health Sciences could make a more effective contribution to achieving excellence in research-informed teaching if the staff involved in developing, advising and coordinating new endorsements and programmes, parallel programmes, different suites and staircasing opportunities, were to establish more contact among themselves. 7.1 Commendation: The administrative staff involved in advising on admission to postgraduate programmes in Health Sciences and Medicine at all three campuses. 7.1 Recommendation: That better communication be established among the postgraduate programme advisers and administrators in Health Sciences and Medicine across the three campuses, with a view to sharing best practice, ensuring equity and establishing consistency, where appropriate, in student advising, admission, enrolment, progress monitoring and record-keeping. Page 21

22 8 Endorsements and Papers Some programmes allow little or no substitution of papers to meet the requirements of the qualification provided. The reasons for the restriction were not always clear and the Panel heard from some students who would like to substitute one paper in the qualification for which they were enrolled with another offered in another qualification, to better meet their own career aspirations. For example, it is currently not possible to substitute one (or more) papers offered in a postgraduate qualification in Hazard Management with one (or more) in a postgraduate qualification in Health Informatics, although some opportunity for substitution between these programmes would appear useful. 8.1 Recommendation: That consideration be given to offering more flexibility in papers required for named qualifications by allowing substitution of one (or more) paper(s), after consultation with the directors of both programmes, and subject to the approval of the proposed Divisional Board of Postgraduate Studies. 9 Postgraduate Research A number of postgraduate programmes in both the Health Sciences and Medicine suites have well developed pathways to higher research degrees (Masters, PhD) in subject areas where there is a research ethos and teaching staff are research-active. The completions data provided to the Review Panel showed a steady growth in Masters thesis completions in Health Sciences to 2006 (20 completions) and 2007 (19 completions), followed by slight drops in 2008 and 2009 (14 per year). In the Medicine suite, there appears to have been a steady rate of Masters thesis completions over the period, (av. 12 per year). However, as noted earlier, the provision of postgraduate programmes in some disciplines appeared to be meeting a workforce need rather than providing opportunities in research and promoting excellence in research. The University may wish to consider the extent to which it offers subjects that meet a sector need for up-skilling health professionals and that do not staircase to research higher degrees. Page 22

23 9.1 Recommendation: That the University develops a strategic view of postgraduate programmes in Health Sciences and Medicine on whether it, i) offers programmes that do not staircase to a research higher degree, and ii) should actively seek to promote and grow research degrees (Masters). The Self-Review documents were accompanied by the results of a recent student-initiated, online opinion survey (questionnaire) covering aspects of students experience in the postgraduate programmes in the Health Sciences. The results were informative and showed strong student support for the programmes. The Panel commends the student (based at the Christchurch campus) who initiated the on-line survey and the students who completed it. 9.1 Commendation: The students involved in initiating, developing and completing a postgraduate student opinion survey in preparation for this Review. The Panel noted that 98.7% (total 509; Masters 98) of all students enrolled in postgraduate programmes in Health Sciences were completing their qualifications part-time and 88.5% (total 500; Masters 44) were distance students. These numbers indicate a significant pool of students enrolling in postgraduate programmes across both suites and a strong preference, particularly in programmes in Health Sciences, for completion of study on a part-time basis. While it is accepted that part-time students take longer to complete their qualifications, there is an opportunity here to increase the numbers of research-motivated students. The issue of incentives and financial support available to students who are undertaking research higher degrees, part-time and often over several years, was raised in the Health Sciences Self-Review Report and several submissions. The current University policy of limiting scholarship support to full-time students was identified as an opportunity cost in this regard. The Panel appreciates the difficulties and constraints to extending the current scholarship scheme to students enrolled part-time. However, the Panel heard that the attractiveness of undertaking a research higher degree in some areas of the Health Sciences and Medicine might increase if students were eligible to apply for partial support of some kind, for example, the payment of the course enrolment fees. Page 23

24 9.2 Recommendation: That the University considers providing a limited number of fees scholarships for part-time students enrolling to complete a Masters degree by thesis or identifies and approaches industry partners to do so. A large proportion of Masters thesis students are studying by distance as they remain in employment throughout the period during which they conduct their research. This is a potential strength for the University in that this research is often done in the clinical setting and increasing the numbers of research postgraduates in the clinical setting can strengthen research-informed clinical practice and increase the pool of future clinical researchers and research supervisors. With distance research there is a potential for students to feel isolated and/or unconnected to the University. Although the Panel saw no evidence of this during the review they heard anecdotal evidence and it appeared that staff involved in distance supervision were conscious of this potential and appeared to have developed strategies to minimise the risk of this occurring. When on campus, the distance research students appeared well resourced with IT and access to library resources and computer software needed to undertake their research. However, as space at all three campuses is limited it was noted that distance research students, when they do spend time on site at any of the three campuses, may not be allocated sufficient space. Whilst the Panel recognises the constraints on space and the difficulty in predicting the time-needs of distance students when on campus the Panel considered it important that adequate space be available for this group in order that they have the opportunity to engage in a research-active environment when on campus. The need to expand capacity to supervise students at a distance, and isolation of supervisors from their colleagues were also identified in the Self-Review Report as potential challenges. 9.3 Recommendation: That the Division takes a strategic overview of the numbers of students entering the Masters thesis programme, and ensures that adequate resources are provided at each campus to support these students. The procedures for approving Masters research project proposals in the Medicine suite differ from those used for programmes in the Health Sciences suite. For example, in the Medicine Page 24

25 suite, the Masters projects in Public Health are approved at the Public Health Board of Studies level. The Review Panel suggests a similar approach should be considered for Masters thesis projects in the Health Sciences suite. Masters research proposals in the Health Sciences suite are currently approved by a subcommittee of the BoGSHS with the aim of ensuring academic rigor and consistency in quality of research at Masters level across the suite of programmes. The effort put into the role by a small number of people is highly commendable but, in the Panel s opinion, is not sustainable in terms of the time and work entailed, especially if the numbers of research students in Health Sciences and Medicine are to increase in the future. The Self-Review Report for the Health Sciences suite and many submissions (both written and verbal) indicated a need for this role to be devolved from the BoGSHS. 9.4 Recommendation: That approval of Masters research proposals be devolved to a departmental level or Board of Studies for the larger programmes with clear departmental processes for the academic review of these proposals. For the smaller programmes, a collaborative process should be developed to provide academic support and oversight. Whilst all students undertaking a Masters degree in the Health Sciences suite are expected to have completed 30 points of approved research methods prior to the research component, the Panel heard of inconsistencies in the application of this requirement, difficulties experienced by students in finding an appropriate distance-taught paper in the semester they wished to study, and increasing demands on biostatisticians employed by the University. More flexibility in the format of the delivery of papers on research methods and biostatistics would encourage and support a growing number of research postgraduate students, and help to alleviate some of the demand on biostatisticians. Concern was also raised in some submissions about the level of statistical knowledge and ability of students entering the Masters thesis programme and the resulting workload on biostatisticians to support them. 9.5 Recommendation: That the Division reviews, clarifies and confirms its requirement for training in research methods and statistics, and ensures that students have access to appropriate training to satisfy this requirement, either on-line or with face-to-face teaching. Page 25

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