STANDARDS: MASTERS AND DOCTORAL DEGREE BY RESEARCH AREA 1: VISION, MISSION, EDUCATION GOALS AND LEARNING OUTCOMES

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1 STANDARDS: MASTERS AND DOCTORAL DEGREE BY RESEARCH AREA 1: VISION, MISSION, EDUCATION GOALS AND LEARNING OUTCOMES The vision, mission education goals and learning outcomes of the HEP guide its research planning and implementation as well as bring together its members to strive towards a tradition of excellence locally and internationally. The general goal of higher educational research is to produce broadly trained student through the: provision of knowledge creation, research skills and competency based on scientific process and findings; enhancement of generic skills such as attitudes, ethics, sense of professionalism and leadership skills for societal advancement within the framework of the national vision; utilisation of the analytical and problem solving skills to evaluate and make decisions critically and creatively based on research evidence and experience: further development of the quest for knowledge and lifelong learning skills that are essential for continuous upgrading of knowledge and skills that parallel the rapid advancement in global knowledge; and application of research issues that are relevant to the local, national and international context. Research programmes are the building blocks that support the larger vision and mission of the HEP. Hence, one must take into consideration these larger institutional goals when designing research programmes. The quality of the HEP and the research programme that it offers is ultimately assessed by the ability of its researchers to carry out their expected roles and responsibilities in national and international development. Page 1 of 36

2 STANDARDS FOR AREA Statement of Programme Aims, Objectives and Learning Outcomes A programme s stated aims, objectives and learning outcomes reflect what it wants the student to achieve. It is crucial for these aims, objectives and learning outcomes to be expressed explicitly and be made known to the student as well as the internal and external stakeholders Benchmarked Standards i. The programme must define its aims, objective and learning outcomes and identify its internal and external stakeholders. ii. The department must consult and discuss with relevant internal and external stakeholders, when formulating programme aims and objectives. iii. The programme objectives must reflect the key elements of the outcomes of higher education that are in line with national and global developments. iv. The programme aims, objectives and learning outcomes must be consistent with and supportive of, the HEP s vision and mission. v. The programme aims, objectives and learning outcomes must encompass provision for training or support to enable research students to acquire generic skill such as analytical and problem solving skills Enhanced Standards i. The aims, objectives and learning outcomes of the programme should encompass qualities in the areas of interest such as novelty, knowledge creation and innovation. ii. The internal and external stakeholders should be representative of various areas of research locally and internationally. Page 2 of 36

3 iii. The programme s aims, objectives and learning outcomes should be periodically reviewed in consultation with internal and external stakeholders as well as international peers The Scope of Learning Outcomes The quality of a programme is ultimately assessed by the ability of the student to carry out their expected roles and responsibilities in society. This requires the programme to have a clear statement of the learning outcomes to be achieved. It should cumulatively reflect all domains of learning outcomes which are significant for Malaysia Benchmarked Standards i. The scope of learning outcomes must reflect the competencies that the student should have on the completion of the programme that cover seven (7) out of the eight (8) MQF Domains: Knowledge of Discipline Areas; Practical Skills; Social Skills and Responsibilities; Values, Attitudes and Professionalism; Communication, Leadership and Team Skills; Problem Solving and Scientific Skills; and Information Management and Lifelong Learning Skills. a) Learning Outcomes Masters Degree by Research At the end of the programme, graduates must be able to: (1) master knowledge in the relevant field; (2) apply practical skills in the relevant field; (3) organise ideas related to societal issues in the relevant field; (4) conduct research with minimum supervision and adhere to the legal, ethical and professional code of practice in the relevant field; (5) communicate and work effectively with peers and stakeholders indicating leadership qualities; Page 3 of 36

4 (6) devise solutions to problems in the relevant field using scientific and critical thinking skills; and (7) manage information to develop lifelong learning in the relevant field. Doctoral Degree by Research At the end of the programme, graduates must be able to: (1) synthesise knowledge in the relevant field; (2) adapt practical skills leading towards innovative ideas in the relevant field; (3) provide professional services to society in the relevant field; (4) conduct research independently and adhere to the legal, ethical and professional code of practice in the relevant field; (5) communicate and work effectively with peers, scholarly communities and stakeholders, while displaying leadership qualities; (6) appraise problems in the relevant field critically using scientific skills; (7) integrate information to develop lifelong learning in the relevant field; and (8) contribute on original research that has broadened the boundary of knowledge through an in depth thesis, which has been presented and defended according to the international standards including writing in internationally refereed publications Note: For the industrial PhD programme, in the relevant field should be read as in the relevant industry. b) Minimum Credit Masters Degree by Research Structure A full research (no given credit value) The following should be decided by the university senate: (1) Research methodology (2) The relevant prerequisite module (3) For fulltime candidature, the minimum is 1 year. Generally, maximum would be twice the minimum duration. Page 4 of 36

5 (4) Dependent on the programme of study / discipline, the length of the thesis expected is as follows: a) The number of pages should not exceed 150 pages for a Masters thesis, excluding tables, figures and appendices. Written permission from the school must be sought before a thesis longer than the prescribed length can be submitted for evaluation; OR b) maximum length (excluding footnotes, appendices, tables and prefaces): 60,000 words Structure B mixed mode (coursework and research)* *Weightage between courses : theses is within the range of 50:50 or 40:60 or 30:70 maximum length (excluding footnotes, appendices, tables and prefaces): 30,000 words Doctoral Degree by Research Structure A full research (no given credit value) The following should be decided by the university senate: (1) Research methodology (2) The relevant prerequisite module (3) For fulltime candidature, the minimum is 2 years (masters entry) and 3 years (1 st class bachelors entry). Generally maximum would be twice the minimum duration. (4) Dependent on the programme of study / discipline, the length of the thesis expected is as follows: a) The number of pages is dependent on the programme of study and should not exceed 240 pages for a PhD thesis, excluding tables, figures and appendices. Written permission from the school must be sought before a thesis longer than the prescribed length can be submitted for evaluation; OR Page 5 of 36

6 b) maximum length (excluding footnotes, appendices, tables and prefaces) 100,000 words Structure B mixed mode (coursework and research)* *Weightage between courses : theses is within the range of 50:50 or 40:60 or 30:70 ii. iii. The programme must demonstrate how the defined research components contribute to the fulfillment of the programme s scope of the learning outcomes. The achievement of the learning outcomes must be continuously assessed throughout the programme Enhanced Standards i. The programme should specify the link between research competencies expected at the completion of studies and those required during career enhancements and future research. Page 6 of 36

7 AREA 2: CURRICULUM DESIGN AND DELIVERY For the purpose of this code of practice for accreditation of programmes offered by higher education providers, the term curriculum design and delivery is used interchangeably with the term programme design and delivery. Programme means research conducted that is structured for a specified duration and learning volume to achieve the stated learning outcomes and usually leading to an award of a masters or doctoral degree by research. STANDARDS FOR AREA Academic Autonomy An academic institution is expected to have sufficient autonomy over academic matters. Such autonomy should be reflected at the departmental or faculty level where the programme is being offered Benchmarked Standards i. The department or faculty must have sufficient autonomy to design the programme structure and to allocate the resources necessary for its implementation to ensure the achievement of learning outcomes. Where applicable, the provision must also cover programmes conducted in campuses that are geographically separated. ii. The academic staff must be given sufficient autonomy to focus on areas of his / her expertise, such as academic supervision of students, research and writing, scholarly activities, academically-related administrative duties, and community engagement. iii. The HEP must have clearly stated rules and regulations on conflict of interests, particularly in the areas of appointment of supervisors and examiners. Page 7 of 36

8 2.1.2 Enhanced Standards i. The HEP should have clearly stated policies on conflict of interests, particularly in the areas of private practice, part time employment and consultancy services. ii. The HEP should have a policy on academic autonomy for the department or faculty and the academic staff to continue and expand, reflecting the intellectual maturity of the HEP. 2.2 Programme Design and Supervision Benchmarked Standards i. The department or faculty must have a defined process by which the programme structure is established, reviewed and evaluated with the involvement of the academic staff. ii. The programme must be considered only after the resources to support the programme have been identified. iii. The programme structure, approach, and supervision must be appropriate and consistent, and supports the achievement of the programme learning outcomes. iv. There must be a variety of academic activities in order to achieve the learning outcomes and to ensure that students take responsibility for their own learning Enhanced Standards i. The programme structure should encourage multi-disciplinary approaches to enhance the personal development of the student through a variety of academic activities and other means, which should be monitored and appraised. ii. The programme should be considered only after a needs assessment has indicated that there is a necessity for the programme to be conducted. Page 8 of 36

9 iii. The needs analysis for the programme should involve feedback from external sources including stakeholders whose comments should be considered for the purposes of programme improvement. iv. There should be community engagement activities that will enrich students' experiences, and foster personal development and responsibility. v. There should be collaborative participation e.g. joint supervision, student exchange, joint degrees and split programmes with national and international HEPs / research centres. 2.3 Programme Structure The supervision environment can only be effective when the programme structure continually keep abreast with the most current development in the field of study Benchmarked Standards i. The programme must incorporate the appropriate research skills essential for the understanding of the concepts, principles and methods that support the programme outcomes. ii. The programme must be periodically reviewed to keep abreast with scientific, technological and knowledge development of the discipline, and with the needs of the society. iii. The department or faculty must establish mechanisms through the use of the latest technologies and global networking to access real-time information and identify up-to-date areas of importance Enhanced Standards i. The programme should fulfill the requirements of the discipline taking into account the appropriate discipline standards and international best practices for the field. ii. The HEPs should identify niche areas and research strengths. Page 9 of 36

10 2.4 Management of The Programme Benchmarked Standards i. Students must be provided with the most current written information about the aims, outline, learning outcomes, and methods of assessment of the programme. ii. The programme must have an appropriate coordinator with authority and responsible for planning, implementing, evaluating, monitoring and improving the programme using adequate resources through established procedures. iii. The programme must be regularly reviewed and evaluated and the results utilised to assure quality (at level 7 and 8 of the MQF, the review must involve external examiners). iv. The department or faculty must provide its student a conducive learning environment in which research culture is nurtured Enhanced Standards i. Innovations to improve supervision should be developed, supported, and evaluated. ii. The review and evaluation of the programme should involve stakeholders as well as external expertise nationally and internationally. 2.5 Linkages with External Stakeholders Benchmarked Standards i. The department or faculty must have linkages with all levels of stakeholders outside of the department or faculty for the purposes of programme planning, implementation and review. Page 10 of 36

11 2.5.2 Enhanced Standards i. The programme team should obtain feedback from employers and use the information for programme improvement, including for purposes of student placement, training and workplace exposure. ii. Students should be given the opportunity to develop linkages with external stakeholders. Page 11 of 36

12 AREA 3: ASSESSMENT OF STUDENTS Student assessment is a crucial aspect of quality assurance because it drives student learning. It is one of the most important measures to show the achievement of learning outcomes. The result of assessment is also the basis in awarding qualifications. Hence, methods of student assessment have to be clear, consistent, effective, reliable and in line with current practices and must clearly support the achievement of learning outcomes. STANDARDS FOR AREA Relationship between Assessment and Learning Benchmarked Standards i. Assessment principles, methods and practices must be aligned to the learning outcomes and programme content through 2 types of assessments; formative (continuous) and summative (assessment at end of the semester). Formative assessment should include: a) Periodical research progress monitoring (e.g. semester progress, proposal defense) this practice will assess knowledge of students, their practical, technical and professional skills, and students responsibility, thinking, problem solving and scientific approach ability. b) Presentation / Colloquium / Seminar / Workshop this will assess students communication, professionalism, thinking, problem solving and scientific approach ability. Summative assessment is used to assess all learning outcomes of a doctoral or masters programme, and this should include: a) Completion of required courses b) Thesis c) Viva voce Page 12 of 36

13 ii. Assessment of students must be consistent with the levels defined in the MQF and using seven out of the eight domains of learning outcomes. iii. The department must monitor student assessment to reduce curriculum overload and encourage integrated learning. Monitoring student assessment must be carried out through: a) Regular meetings b) Periodical submission of work c) Proposal defense d) Presentation / colloquium / seminar / workshop e) Research progress iv. The HEP must ensure that appropriate attitudes are inculcated and assessed (e.g., respect for socio-cultural diversity, sensitivity to rights of others, cost effectiveness, teamwork, lifelong learning). In order to ensure the appropriate attitudes are inculcated and assessed, the students are required to adhere to research ethics guidelines. v. The student s progress must be monitored by the department. Log book could also be used to monitor the progress of the student Enhanced Standards i. The assessment and learning outcomes should be periodically reviewed to ensure its effectiveness. 3.2 Assessment Methods Benchmarked Standards i. The student assessment methods must be described in terms of its duration, diversity, weightage, criteria and coverage, and how these are documented and communicated to the students. ii. The process and procedures must be documented and made accessible to supervisors and students. iii. To ensure validity, reliability and fairness of the assessment method a Thesis Examination Committee must be set up in accordance to the requirement of Page 13 of 36

14 iv. the programme. The department must play a role in ensuring the reliability and validity of assessment by making sure rules and regulations are followed and met. Assessment methodologies must be reviewed periodically taking into consideration feedback from internal and external stakeholders and external examiners Enhanced Standards i. The HEP should make every necessary effort to ensure the internal assessments are comparable to that of external best practices by adopting and implementing best practices as part of its assessment. ii. External expertise, locally and internationally, should be consulted in the review of the assessment system formally and informally. The consultation is performed as required whenever the need arises. In addition, the HEP should utilise ideas and inputs from its visiting professors to provide feedback on the assessment system. 3.3 Management of Student Assessment Benchmarked Standards i. The HEP is responsible for assessment policy and their terms of reference must be described. There should be committees and processes for: a) verification and moderation of summative assessments; and b) benchmarking academic standards of assessment. ii. Supervisors should be given autonomy to supervise, manage and handle the students research progress and assessment. However, the students should be allowed to bring matters to the relevant authorities. iii. The HEP must provide an authority that is responsible for the confidentiality and security of student assessment processes and academic records. iv. The performance and results of summative and formative assessments must be made available to students through appropriate mechanisms. Page 14 of 36

15 v. The HEP should provide feedback to the students on their academic performance to ensure that they have sufficient time to undertake remedial measures. Necessary measures must be undertaken to provide feedback on performance, review and corrective measures to the students. vi. For research mode programme, the students should be examined by at least two examiners, one of which is an external examiner. For mixed mode programme, procedures for assessment of thesis should be established by the HEP. vii. The department should advise the examiners to adhere to a stipulated time for objective assessment so that viva voce could be conducted. viii. The HEP must provide mechanism for students to appeal on their viva voce result. The HEP should have a mechanism to review and implement new methods of assessment Enhanced Standards i. Internal and external stakeholders should be involved in improving the system of student assessment. Page 15 of 36

16 AREA 4: STUDENT SELECTION AND SUPPORT SERVICES In general, admission policies of the programme need to comply with the prevailing policies of the Malaysian Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE). There are varying views on the best approach for student selection. Whatever the approach used, the HEP must be able to defend its justifications and maintain the consistency of its implementation. The number of students to be admitted to the programme is generally determined by the capacity of the HEP and the number of qualified applicants. HEP admission and retention policies must not be compromised for the sole purpose of maintaining a desired enrolment. If an HEP operates geographically separated campuses or if the programme is a collaborative one, the selection and assignment of all students must be consistent with national policies. STANDARDS FOR AREA Admission and Selection Benchmarked standards Masters Degree i. A relevant Bachelor s degree with minimum CGPA of 2.70 (or equivalent) from institutions of higher learning recognised by the University Senate; or ii. Other certificate that is recognised as equivalent to a Bachelor s degree or other relevant professional qualification and experience that are recognised by Senate. Application from candidates with Bachelor s degree whose CGPA is below the minimum requirement but with relevant working experience in respective fields can be considered. If required, for international students, minimum TOEFL score of 500 or minimum IELTS score of 5.5 or equivalent proficiency and recognised by Senate. Page 16 of 36

17 Doctoral Degree i. A relevant Master s degree from institutions of higher learning recognised by Senate; or ii. Other certificates that are recognised as equivalent to a Master s degree or other relevant professional qualifications and experience that are recognised by Senate. If required, for international students, minimum TOEFL score of 550 or minimum IELTS score of 6.0 or equivalent proficiency and recognised by Senate Enhanced Standards Masters Degree i. Applications from candidates with Diploma qualification in the relevant fields, with a minimum of 10 years relevant experience, would be required to undertake and pass a specified number of related final year subjects. Doctoral Degree i. A relevant Bachelor s degree with first class or equivalent and approved by Senate. ii. Applications from candidates without a Master s qualification, but with a Degree qualification with a minimum CGPA of 2.50 in the relevant fields, and a minimum of 10 years experience would be considered. 4.2 Articulation Regulations, Credit Transfer and Credit Exemption Benchmarked Standards Masters and Doctoral Degree i. The information on policies, regulations and processes of credit transfer, credit exemption and articulation practices must be documented in HEP policies and regulations for the programme. Page 17 of 36

18 ii. The document must be accessible to graduate students and staff Enhanced Standards Masters and Doctoral Degree i. The HEP should keep itself updated in regards to the processes of articulation, credit transfer and credit exemptions including national and international collaborative provision. 4.3 Transfer of Students Benchmarked Standards Masters Degree i. The HEP must have well defined and effectively disseminated policies, regulations and processes concerning articulation practices and the transfer of students from one programme to another or from one HEP to another. Doctoral Degree The HEP must have well defined and effectively disseminated policies, regulations and processes concerning: i. articulation practices and the transfer of students from one programme to another or from one HEP to another. ii. articulation practices for conversion of programme from Masters to Doctoral Degree Enhanced Standards Masters and Doctoral Degree i. The HEP should keep itself updated in regards to the processes of conversion. Page 18 of 36

19 4.4 Student Support Services and Co-Curricular Activities Benchmarked Standards Masters and Doctoral Degree The HEP must have in place the following: i. An organisational structure that provides support services and graduate students activities that cater for local and international students. ii. The HEP must provide supporting services, which are essential for student wellbeing such as: Health Services Recreation and sports Facilities Security Counseling Services Internet service Enhanced Standards The HEP should provide supporting services, which are essential for student wellbeing such as: Accommodation Health Insurance Financial Aid Transportation 4.5 Student Representation and Participation Benchmarked Standards Masters and Doctoral Degree i. The HEP must have well-defined and effectively disseminated policies, regulations and processes concerning student representation and participation. Page 19 of 36

20 4.5.2 Enhanced Standards Masters and Doctoral Degree i. All student activities should enhance soft skill attributes, such as managerial and leadership experience and community engagement. 4.6 Alumni Benchmarked Standards Masters and Doctoral Degree i. The HEP must have well defined and effectively disseminated policies, regulations and processes concerning development and operation of the alumni. ii. The HEP must foster linkages with its alumni Enhanced Standards Masters and Doctoral Degree i. The HEP should encourage the alumni to play a role in preparing the graduate students for their professional future. ii. The HEP should encourage the alumni to contribute to the development of the HEP. iii. The alumni should be involved in linking the HEP with the community. Page 20 of 36

21 AREA 5: ACADEMIC STAFF The quality of the academic staff is one of the most important components in assuring the quality of higher education and thus every effort must be made to establish proper and effective recruitment, service, development and appraisal policies that are conducive to staff productivity. It is important that every programme has appropriately qualified and sufficient number of academic staff, in a conducive environment that encourages recruitment and retention. One of the functions of an academic staff would be actively involved in research and consultancy. From the postgraduate research point of view, this would require the academic staff to be a supervisor or advisor to research students. In order to ensure that effective supervisory process takes place, sufficient mechanism should be in place to periodically review and also ensure supervisors are exposed to best practices in supervisory skills. It is crucial for the HEP to provide training for its academic staff especially in terms of supervisory skills. Work and its equitable distribution is one of the ways the HEP recognises meritorious contribution for the purpose of promotion, salary determination or other incentives. The equitable distribution of work helps ensure that such training can be done systematically and fairly. STANDARDS FOR AREA Recruitment and Management Benchmarked Standards i. The HEP must have a policy and procedures for the recruitment of academic staff. ii. The terms and conditions of service must be clearly stated in the offer letter and reviewed from time to time. iii. The minimum qualifications of the academic staff must be clearly stated. Page 21 of 36

22 a) To be a supervisor, one must have a minimum qualification of the same level of degree applied by the candidate in the related field. b) In the case where the supervisor is without the minimum qualification, extensive experience in research and supervision must be considered as additional criteria to supervise a candidate subject to approval of senate. iv. The research skills, specialisations and qualifications of the academic staff as a supervisor must commensurate with the research areas of students. v. Recognition and reward through promotion and / or salary increment or other remunerations must be based on appropriate work distribution and meritorious supervision using transparent policies and procedures. vi. The HEP must establish a guideline in relation to a supervisor. a) HEP must have documented roles and responsibilities of supervisors. b) The HEP must establish a guideline that prescribes ethical principles and guidelines for the purpose of assisting academic staff employed by the HEP in the identification and resolution of ethical issues which may arise in the course of their work. c) The HEP has an expectation on academic staff to carry out all activities with academic integrity and in compliance with all applicable laws, rules and regulations. Supervisors should adhere to the rules, regulations, code of practices and policies applicable in the HEP and its Code of Conduct. Failure to comply may result in disciplinary action, including termination of services. d) The HEP must ensure and monitor appropriate supervisor to student ratio as such that the student would receive effective supervision which leads to a successful completion of the degree. vii. The HEP must have a recruitment policy that will ensure quality and sustainability of the programme Enhanced Standards i. The HEP should also have the mechanism for monitoring supervision process and appraising supervision in place. ii. The HEP should initiate and encourage national and international linkages in enhancing the quality of supervision. Page 22 of 36

23 5.2 Service and Development Benchmarked Standards i. The HEP must have clear policy on service, professional development, appraisal and training of the academic staff which match the human resource needs of the programme. ii. The HEP must encourage academic staff to engage in scholarly activities to attain national and international recognition. iii. The HEP must facilitate training in supervision for supervisor Enhanced Standards i. The HEP should encourage and duly recognise participation in professional, academic and research communities at national or international level. ii. The HEP should encourage research activities beyond postgraduate research that will benefit the industry and community. iii. The HEP should have in place a mentoring system for the enhancement of supervision. Page 23 of 36

24 AREA 6: RESEARCH RESOURCES Adequate research resources are necessary to support the research activities. These resources include physical facilities, human capitals, financial allocation, online resources and network & collaborators. Where appropriate, research facilities are included as part of educational resources because a research-active environment improves the quality of higher education. A research culture attracts high calibre academics that engender critical thinking and enquiring mind, contributing further to knowledge advancement. Active students are best suited to interpret and apply current knowledge for the benefit of academic programmes and the community. Active researchers also attract grants that increase the number of research among staff and boost their morale. Interdisciplinary research has positive effects on academic programmes. A research-active environment provides opportunities for students to observe and participate in research through electives or core courses. Exposure to an environment of curiosity and inquiry encourages students to develop lasting skills in problem-solving, data analysis and continuous updating of knowledge. A balanced and proportional increase in the direct and indirect educational resources supports effective teaching-learning. Adequate quantity of physical and financial resources and services are crucial. Equally important, if not more so, is the quality, relevance, accessibility, availability and delivery of such resources and services, and their actual utilisation by students. Page 24 of 36

25 These considerations must be taken into account in evaluating the effectiveness of educational resources. STANDARDS FOR AREA Physical Facilities The physical facilities of a programme are largely guided by the needs of the specific field of research. These physical facilities include the appropriate space, equipment and supporting facilities for administration, teaching-learning and research activities Benchmarked Standards i. The programme must have sufficient and appropriate physical facilities to support research activity effectively. ii. The physical facilities must comply with the relevant laws, and with health and safety regulations. iii. The HEP must have a guideline regarding physical facilities allocation according to the need of the programme. iv. The HEP must have a policy regarding the selection and effective use of electronic devices, internal and external networks, and other effective means of using information and communication technology (ICT) in the programme. This includes coordination with the library services. v. The library or resource centre must have adequate space and up-to-date references. vi. Students must have access to the relevant facilities within and outside the HEP according to their research activities Enhanced Standards i. The physical facilities should continuously be maintained, improved or replaced to keep up with the programmes development. Page 25 of 36

26 ii. iii. iv. Students should have opportunity to be trained on the usage of relevant facilities according their research activities. The physical facilities should be user friendly to those with special needs. The physical facilities should possess accredited laboratory based on national and international standards. 6.2 Human Capitals Human capitals are those who have been trained from various disciplines or with considerable knowledge and experience in the research areas, methodologies, and related matters to the research activities. They would either advice or deal with the problems and provide training on research processes and activities. The human capitals can be provided internally by the HEP or acquired from an external source Benchmarked Standard i. The department must have a policy or guideline on the management of human capitals during the planning, implementation and evaluation of the programmes Enhanced Standards i. The department should monitor the quality of the human capital. ii. The department should recognise the contribution of the human capital towards the programme. 6.3 Financial Allocation Financial allocation refers to disbursement of fund for the management and sustainability of the programme. Page 26 of 36

27 6.3.1 Benchmarked Standards i. The HEP must have a clear line of responsibility and authority for budgeting and resource allocation that take into account the specific needs of the programme. ii. The department must have budgetary and procurement procedures to ensure that its resources are sufficient and that it is capable of utilising its finances efficiently and responsibly to achieve its objectives and maintain high standards of quality. iii. The financial allocation must be adequate to support the programme Enhanced Standard i. Those responsible for a programme should be given sufficient autonomy to appropriately allocate resources to achieve the programme goals and to maintain high research standards. 6.4 Online Resources Online resources refer to services that offer resources for self-access such as e- journals, e-books, patent databases and search engine to support research activities Benchmarked Standards i. Online resources must be available to support research activities. ii. Students must have access and be trained to use the online resources. iii. The HEP must provide mechanism for procurement, disseminating and monitoring on the usage of the online resources. Page 27 of 36

28 Enhanced Standard i. The HEP should facilitate collaboration to encourage knowledge sharing among local and / or international students. 6.5 Network and Collaborators Refer to participating and sharing of intellectual knowledge, facilities and services among researchers and institutions at local and international levels Benchmarked Standard i. The HEP must facilitate networking and collaboration among researchers and institutions at local and international levels Enhanced Standards i. The HEP should have networking and collaboration with other relevant institutions, nationally and internationally, and a clear policy and future planning on such activities. ii. The HEP should provide appropriate facilities and adequate financial allocation for networking and collaboration among researchers. Page 28 of 36

29 AREA 7: PROGRAMME MONITORING AND REVIEW Unlike the coursework programme, a research programme does not have a specific syllabus for students. Research is performed by a student based on a given problem under the guidance of one or more supervisor(s). The research typically involves solving problem(s) in a topic that normally requires two to three years of research. The problem to be solved is either determined by the supervisor(s) or proposed by the student / sponsor but endorsed by the supervisor, and this problem does not have a prior solution before this. The programme can only be offered in the HEP after an approval has been obtained from the Ministry of Higher Education. STANDARDS FOR AREA Mechanisms for Programme Monitoring and Review Benchmarked Standards i. Each programme at the HEP must be monitored by the department as authorised by the Senate. ii. The HEP must have the mechanism to manage and coordinate the programmes so as to meet all requirements especially with regard to quality assurance. The department, in turn, must monitor the running of the programmes in the interest of the stakeholders. iii. For monitoring and evaluation, the following methods must be used to improve the quality of the programme: a) Student performance (student results) b) Achievement of programme objectives c) Feedback from External Assessors iv. A student performance in a research programme must be measured through the successful fulfilment of all programme requirements, namely: a) The completion of required courses; Page 29 of 36

30 b) A thesis, and c) its successful defence (viva voce) v. The research progress of a student must be constantly monitored through the following mechanisms: a) The student is evaluated through the research proposal and its presentation. b) The student performance is evaluated through the Supervisory Report and Progress Report at the end of every semester. c) Thesis submission and its defence at the end of the study period. vi. Research in a programme must be carried out independently and in compliance to a set of programme guidelines which should be accessible by supervisors and students. vii. Any change or new proposal for the procedures and processes must be approved by the HEP. viii. In producing quality graduates, the HEP must specify the attributes for graduates in the programmes, as follows: Learning Outcomes Masters Degree by Research At the end of the programme, graduates must be able to: (1) master knowledge in the relevant field; (2) apply practical skills in the relevant field; (3) organise ideas related to societal issues in the relevant field; (4) conduct research with minimum supervision and adhere to the legal, ethical and professional code of practice in the relevant field; (5) communicate and work effectively with peers and stakeholders indicating leadership qualities; (6) devise solutions to problems in the relevant field using scientific and critical thinking skills; and (7) manage information to develop lifelong learning in the relevant field. Doctoral Degree by Research At the end of the programme, graduates must be able to: Page 30 of 36

31 (1) synthesise knowledge in the relevant field; (2) adapt practical skills leading towards innovative ideas in the relevant field; (3) provide professional services to society in the relevant field; (4) conduct research independently and adhere to the legal, ethical and professional code of practice in the relevant field; (5) communicate and work effectively with peers, scholarly communities and stakeholders, while displaying leadership qualities; (6) appraise problems in the relevant field critically using scientific skills; and (7) integrate information to develop lifelong learning in the relevant field. Note: For the industrial PhD programme, in the relevant field should be read as in the relevant industry. ix. In producing these attributes, a set of criteria for master and doctoral degree by research from Malaysian Qualifications Framework (MQF) must be drawn (MQF, Appendix 1) as follows: (1) show a systematic comprehension and in depth understanding of a discipline and mastery of skills and research methods related to the field of study; (2) show capabilities to generate, design, implement and adopt the integral part of research process with scholarly strength; (3) contribute to the original research that has broadened the boundary of knowledge through an in-depth dissertation, which has been presented and defended according to the international standards including writing in internationally refereed publications; (4) make critical analysis, evaluation and synthesis of new and complex ideas; (5) communicate with peers, scholarly communities and society at large concerning the field of expertise; and (6) promote the technological, social and cultural progress in a knowledgebased society in the academic and professional contexts. Page 31 of 36

32 x. Any change to the existing programme or a new proposal must be discussed thoroughly according to the process. The feedbacks from any committee involved must be taken into consideration if required. xi. The department must establish review committee(s), which the structure and term of references are clearly defined Enhanced Standards i. Structure and terms of reference of the programme review committee will facilitate in identifying weaknesses and improving the programme. ii. The main contribution from a graduate research student is the thesis. Besides thesis, publications in journals and conference proceedings, copyright, patent, and commercialisation are other indicators of a good research. iii. Post-graduation performance should be assessed through longitudinal / tracer study. iv. Every programme in the HEP should have its own mapping according to its learning outcomes, and might differ from one another. v. The department should review and analyse the overall achievement of the programme objective (PO) of the programme and from this analysis; the review of the implementation of the programmes will take place if required. 7.2 Involvement of Stakeholders Benchmarked Standard i. Stakeholders must be consulted in reviewing the programme Enhanced standard ii. Research programmes at the HEP normally does not involve professional bodies and associations. The department should form a Programme Advisory Panel, appointed by the relevant authority. Page 32 of 36

33 AREA 8: GOVERNANCE, LEADERSHIP AND ADMINISTRATION There are many ways of administering a programme and the methods of management differ between HEPs. Nevertheless, governance that reflects the leadership of a programme must emphasise on excellence and scholarship. At the departmental level, it is crucial that the leadership provides clear guidelines and direction, builds relationships amongst the different constituents based on collegiality and transparency, manages finances and other resources with accountability, forge partnerships with significant stakeholders in educational delivery, research and consultancy and dedicates itself to academic and scholarly endeavours. Whilst formalised arrangements can protect these relationships, they are best developed by a culture of reciprocity, mutuality and open communication. STANDARDS FOR AREA Governance Benchmarked Standards i. The policies and practices of the department must be consistent with the statement of purpose of the HEP. ii. The department must clarify its governance structures and functions, the relationships with internal and external entities, and their impact on the programme. These structures and functions, and relationships must be communicated to all parties involved based on the principles of transparency, accountability and authority. iii. The department must clarify its academic authority such as senate committee. iv. The department committee must be active in policy-making. Page 33 of 36

34 v. Mechanisms to ensure functional integration and comparability of research quality must be established for programmes conducted in campuses that are geographically separated Enhanced Standards i. The department should have a comprehensive, interconnected and institutionalised committee system responsible for programmes that takes into consideration, among others, internal and external consultation, feedback, current issue, networking and collaboration. ii. The governance principles should reflect the representation and participation of academic staff, students and other stakeholders. 8.2 Leadership of The Programme Benchmarked Standards i. The criteria for the structure, appointment and the responsibilities of the leadership for the programme must be clearly stated. ii. The leadership of the programme must be held by those with the appropriate qualifications and experience, and with sufficient research background. iii. Mechanisms and processes must be in place to allow for communication between the programme and the HEP leaderships in relation to matters such as human resource management, graduate student management, allocation of research resources and decision making processes. iv. The quality of service and the leadership must be evaluated at defined intervals Enhanced Standard i. The leadership should take on the responsibility of creating a research environment that generates innovation and creativity. Page 34 of 36

35 8.3 Administration of The Programme Benchmarked Standards i. The administrative staff of the department must be qualified, appropriate and sufficient to support the implementation of the programme and related activities, and to ensure good management and deployment of the research resources. ii. The procedure and related document must be made available for the administration of the programme. iii. The department must conduct regular performance review of the programme s administration Enhanced Standard i. The department should have an advanced training scheme for the management and administrative staffs to fulfill the specific needs of the programme, for example, risk management, maintenance of specialised equipment, and additional technical skills. 8.4 Academic and Research Records Benchmarked Standards i. The departmental policies and practices concerning the nature and security of records related to the programme must be consistent with that of the HEP, fund provider and also comply with the relevant law and regulation. ii. The department must implement policies that have been established by the HEP on the rights of individual privacy and the confidentiality of records Enhanced Standard i. The department should continuously review policies on security and efficient retrieval of records including increased use of electronic technologies and its safety systems. Page 35 of 36

36 AREA 9: CONTINUAL QUALITY IMPROVEMENT HEPs are responsible for quality postgraduate programmes regardless whether they are research based, or mixed mode based. The Malaysian Government targets 60,000 PhD holders by the year Hence HEPs must ensure PhD holders graduated are world class researchers, knowledge workers with the ability to provide solutions to future problems and issues. In order to do so, HEPs must be continuously engaged in constant quality improvements of their postgraduate programmes amidst a dynamic environment. STANDARDS FOR AREA Quality Improvement Benchmarked Standards i. The department must have a strategic planning session which encompasses targets set by the HEP for the year and mechanisms to reach the targets. ii. The department must have staff who are responsible for continual quality improvement. iii. The department must engage internal and external stakeholders in activities that can contribute towards the continual improvement of the programme Enhanced Standards i. The HEP should have a quality unit to ensure compliance of the stated policy, processes and procedures. ii. The HEP should have a rewards-and-sanctions system to cultivate quality culture. iii. The HEP should have periodical review for continual quality improvement of the programme. Page 36 of 36

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