Review of Generalist Degree Programs - Procedures

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1. Purpose and Objectives

These procedures enact PPL 3.30.03a Curriculum and Teaching Quality and Risk Appraisal and Academic Program Review - Policy.

2. Definitions, Terms, Acronyms

ABSC - Academic Board Standing Committee

Academic Program Review (APR) – A process that ensures the qualitative and quantitative review of generalist degrees every 7 years, and all other teaching programs (or suites of programs) every 5 years.

Curriculum and Teaching Quality and Risk Appraisal (CTQRA) – An annual process designed to:

  1. Support access to data for an annual appraisal of curriculum, teaching and program quality and risk
  2. Determine teaching and learning focused priorities
  3. Meet institutional regulatory obligations.

CTQRA is guided by UQ internal and external quality and risk indicators in conjunction with contextualisation from schools and faculties to manage curriculum and teaching alignment to the University Strategic Plan.

Generalist degree – Degree programs in which students can complete a significant proportion of the degree by undertaking courses offered by faculties other than that administering the program.

3. Procedures Scope/Coverage

These procedures apply to all staff and members of Generalist Degree Review Committees of The University of Queensland.

4. Procedures Statement

As with the review of all programs of the University, the reviews of generalist degrees seek to:

  • examine the structure of the award with a view to attaining best practice;
  • benchmark the quality of the award in relation to comparable programs within Australia and internationally;
  • explore the graduate destinations and employer expectations for the program; and
  • focus on strategic planning matters including emerging national and international trends that may impact on the future development of the program.

The review process is undertaken collaboratively by the faculties responsible for teaching into the program, with the primary responsibility for facilitating preparation of the review submission residing with the administering Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences for the Bachelor of Arts and Faculty of Science for the Bachelor of Science. The review involves self-analysis, benchmarking and an assessment of the program's structure, content and quality in relation to the needs of students and external stakeholders, and by reference to national and international standards.

5. Administrative Procedures

5.1 Terms of reference

The terms of reference for the review of a generalist degree will be approved by ABSC on advice from the relevant Executive Dean(s) and the Vice-Chancellor’s Executive.

The terms of reference provide the opportunity for analysis of the effectiveness of the generalist degree since the previous review and allows for the review committee to make recommendations on future development of the program.

5.2. Schedule for reviews

ABSC will prepare a tentative schedule for reviews to be held in the next seven years. ABSC, in consultation with the Vice-Chancellor’s Executive, will prepare the review schedule for a particular year, no later than the end of first semester in the preceding year. This early advice is intended to give faculties adequate time to plan for the review including preparing their submission.

The Executive Dean(s) will identify a range of dates for the review to be held.

Early steps to secure the services of the external members of the review panel must be taken to give the faculties maximum notice of the exact timing of the review.

Invitations to join the review committee will be sent out by the President and, once availability is established, the final dates for the reviews are determined.

Each generalist degree must be reviewed on a septennial basis. (see section 6 below for administrative details).

5.3. Composition of review committees

The composition of a generalist degree program review committee is:

  • One to three external members with nationally/internationally recognised expertise and knowledge in relevant discipline(s), one of whom is appointed as the chair;
  • Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) or nominee; and
  • President of the Academic Board or nominee.

The membership of each review committee is determined by ABSC in consultation with the Vice-Chancellor’s Executive and the relevant Executive Deans.

If either the President or the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) nominates a member to sit on the review committee in their place, that member would not normally belong to the faculty that administers, or contributes significantly to, the degree program under review.

On the recommendation of the President, ABSC will appoint one of the external members to chair the review committee. In making the recommendation, the President must consider -

  • discipline expertise;
  • impartiality;
  • experience in delivering generalist degree programs of a similar nature; and
  • experience in the conduct of similar reviews.

The review committee secretary will be appointed by the Academic Registrar and will normally be a senior administrative officer. Administrative assistance will be provided in the conduct of the review by the office of the Academic Registrar.

5.4 The review report

When formulating their report and final recommendations, the review committee must consider the faculty’s submission and other submissions received. The committee must also consider the information sourced through interviews with University staff, students, and other parties (e.g. industry representatives) as it sees fit.

It is expected that:

  • the review committee will produce a penultimate draft report prior to the departure of external members from the University.
  • the report will be finalised within 2 weeks of the review.

Initially, copies of the review report must be given to -

  • the President
  • the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic)
  • members of the Vice-Chancellor’s Executive;
  • the relevant Executive Deans (for distribution to key stakeholders in the faculties); and
  • members of ABSC.

The relevant Executive Deans will be invited by the ABSC to prepare a consolidated written response to the report within 4 weeks of having received the review report.

5.5 Approval

ABSC is responsible for considering the recommendations of the review committee’s report within the broader context of the University, by -

  • consultation with those affected by the review, in particular, by giving the relevant Executive Deans the opportunity to prepare a consolidated written response to ABSC within 4 weeks of having received the final report; and
  • coordination of the adjudication of any particular recommendations.

Following consideration of the review committee’s report, ABSC must prepare a report to Academic Board which accompanies the review report, setting out ABSC’s comments on the recommendations.

The review report, together with a statement from the Academic Board will be sent to Senate for approval.

Following approval by Senate the review report, together with a composite statement from the Academic Board, must be distributed to those people who made written submissions and to other interested parties.

5.6 Implementation

The Executive Deans are responsible for implementation of the adopted recommendations.

ABSC is responsible for monitoring the implementation.

Im doing so, ABSC may request a 6-month implementation plan addressing some (or all) recommendations.

It is expected that all stakeholders, including students, are consulted and involved in the implementation of the recommendations.

Faculties must submit an implementation report to ABSC within 18 months of Senate approval of a review report.

Faculties must submit to ABSC a five year implementation report on the progress made on the implementation of the approved recommendations. This report must focus on the systemic changes that the implementation of the recommendations had achieved.

6. Pre-review Process

6.1 Introduction

The purpose of this section is to provide information regarding the "pre-review" process for generalist degree programs.

The "pre-review" period includes the time between notification of the review and the review itself.

6.2 Responsibility for the conduct of generalist degree reviews

Generalist degree reviews are conducted by ABSC under delegated authority from the Academic Board.

6.3 Role of Assistant Secretary to Academic Board Standing Committee

The role of the Assistant Secretary to ABSC is to –

  • send advice from ABSC to the Executive Deans on the finalised composition, terms of reference and timing of the school review;
  • confirm that members of the review committee, particularly external members, are available to attend the review week;
  • book travel and accommodation arrangements for external members;
  • ensure that external members are provided with relevant information about UQ (including location of UQ in relation to the airport, travel time, currency exchange, pharmacies, etc)
  • book rooms for the review committee meetings and interviews;
  • be readily available during the review week and ensure that adequate documentation and supplies are provided to the review committee secretary;
  • organise catering;
  • provide place cards with the names of review committee members on them to facilitate communication during interviews;
  • write to those people who are being invited to make written submissions;
  • receive the faculty's submission, written submissions from others and distribute these to members of the review committee at the appropriate time;
  • ensure that members expenses' are reimbursed.

6.4 Pre-review briefing

The President of the Academic Board (or nominee) will brief relevant faculties of the review procedure at an open meeting approximately six months prior to the review.

6.5 Consultation

The faculty responsible for administering the program (Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences for the Bachelor of Arts and Faculty of Science for the Bachelor of Science) will be responsible for ensuring that the submission is completed by the due date and contains accurate information from authoritative data sources. All faculties and schools that contribute to the teaching of the program will be involved in the review process. The responsible faculty must ensure that all stakeholders are consulted during the preparation of the submission.

Care must be exercised to ensure that this consultative process is not confused with the general call for submissions to the review which is undertaken by the review committee itself.

6.6 Timetable

The timetable for the review week is developed by the secretary of the review committee in consultation with the Review Committee Chair and the President of the Academic Board.

7. Conduct of the Review

7.1 Terms of reference for conduct for review

The Terms of Reference for a generalist degree review will be determined by ABSC in consultation with the Senior Executive and Executive Deans of the relevant faculties.

7.2 Role of the Chair

The role of the chair of the review committee is to:

  • liaise with the President of the Academic Board regarding the conduct of the review;
  • liaise with the secretary prior to the review week, to determine the review week timetable;
  • delegate report-writing tasks to each of the review committee members;
  • ensure the penultimate draft report is complete prior to departure;
  • present the review committee’s draft recommendations;
  • bring to completion, the final version of the report within two weeks of the review; and
  • grant final approval of the review report before its submission to the President of the Academic Board.

7.3 Role of the members of the review committee

The internal members of the review committee will provide advice on policies and procedures. All members of the review committee should: thoroughly read the faculty submission and supporting documentation in advance of the review week; participate actively in the review; participate in the presentation of the recommendations to the faculties; and contribute to the writing of the report.

7.4 Role of the secretary

The secretary is not a member of the review committee, and therefore does not participate in the review committee’s deliberations. During the review, the secretary will report directly to the review chair in all matters relating to the review.

The secretary's role is to-

  • coordinate, collect and organise documentation for the review committee;
  • act as a resource person for the chair and members of the review committee;
  • provide relevant policy and procedural advice;
  • draft a suitable review week timetable;
  • liaise effectively with Executive Deans and those being interviewed;
  • facilitate and, where appropriate, undertake follow-up action arising from review committee meetings;
  • ensure that recommendations made by the review committee are consistent with University policy and practices and drafted accordingly.

7.5 The review process

The review process must include a review of the faculty submission, consideration of individual submissions, interviews and discussions over a period of five days. The review process must be flexible enough to allow time for early planning, review of progress, consideration of new features, and development of recommendations.

7.5.1 Committee Considerations

In undertaking the review, the committee will consider the submission prepared by the faculties, together with other submissions made by interested persons and organisations, and consult with University staff and students and with other persons as deemed appropriate.

Faculty submissions must be informed by the submission guidelines (see section 8).

Following perusal of the faculty submission and briefings by the senior executive officers, the committee will determine whether there are additional questions to be asked relevant to the review so that the terms of reference are addressed fully. The committee will also identify those areas where answers to relevant questions are not to be found within the submitted material and determine how best to obtain that information.

7.6 Formulating recommendations

It is anticipated that the committee will develop recommendations progressively throughout the review. In formulating its recommendations, the committee must take account of the resource constraints facing the University and its collective goals and objectives, as expressed in its Strategic Plan.

All review recommendations, and particularly those proposing significant change or that impact on other organisational units, University rules or policies, must be well argued, and supported by the reasoning and the facts/evidence from the submissions and interviews that led to their proposal.

Every effort must be made to ensure that statements in the report are factually correct. Review committees are encouraged to include time frames for the implementation of recommendations.

7.7 Preparing and finalising the review report

The report of the review committee will be prepared by the members of the review committee with support from the secretary.

The review committee will present the draft recommendations to a meeting of members of the relevant faculties at the end of the review period.

Following the period of the review, the report will be finalised by the chair in consultation with the secretary and the other members of the review committee. The report should be finalised as expeditiously as possible, but normally within two weeks after the conclusion of the review week.

Appendix 1 to the review report must contain a list of names of all individuals who made written submissions to the review committee and all those interviewed by the review committee. An exception to this requirement is for students: - names must not be listed for either postgraduate or undergraduate students. The number of students in each category who were interviewed or made a submission is sufficient. Written submissions must not be included in the report.

Other appendices follow, if required.

8. Required Elements for Faculty Submissions

8.1 Structure and content of the program

A summary of the degree rules and overall program structure which includes the list of majors/fields of study must be included in this section. Also included in this section must be a brief history of the program and comparative information on the program structure of other Universities.

The submission must contain a critical analysis of the program structure such as identification of fields that are perceived of little relevance (or small numbers of enrolments), whether students prefer taking out the award in named fields (if choice exists), whether flexibility in the program contributes to or detracts from cohesiveness, the students' ability to identify with a cohort and/or whether the current structure of the program enables the aims and objectives to be met.

An analysis of the amount, purpose and effectiveness of compulsory courses, requirements to undertake advanced level/late year study and 'free electives' in the program must also be undertaken. Comparative data from other institutions must be included.

The submission may also explore items that are included in the APR process including program distinctiveness, teaching practices and assessment (See PPL 3.30.05 Academic Program Review).

8.2 Effectiveness and quality of the current program

Information on the effectiveness of the current program must be provided, and must include, at a summary level -

  • Enrolments at the program level including honours, for the previous 5 years, including dual programs;
  • Aims, objectives, and graduate attributes of the current program;
  • Survey instruments and a summary of the most recently available relevant questions and results (eg CEQ Generic Skills scale, UQSES data) against which the effectiveness of the aims, objectives and graduate attributes is analysed

Detailed information may be included in an appendix.

8.3 Graduate destinations

The submission must include information on graduate destinations from the most recently available surveys. Comparison with other universities as well as with other generalist degree programs at this University must be included.

8.4 Entry scores – OP cutoff and first preferences

OP/Rank cutoffs for the most recent 5 years must be included. The data must include comparison with the University; where the program is offered across campuses, the program data must be separated to enable the reader to determine if these data differ significantly. Available comparisons at a national level must also be included.

8.5 The place and form of honours

A description of the honours 'program', enrolment and awards (including class of honours) for the past 5 years (at the program and field of study level) must be included in a summary table. Also included must be a summary, for the same time period, of data on students who proceeded to higher degrees by research (MPhil, PhD).

8.6 Administration and management of the program

A statement of how the degree program is administered and managed must be included. A summary of all faculties and schools that contribute to the teaching of the program as well as details on how faculty/faculties deal with student and academic administration of the program must also be included. A critical analysis of the effectiveness of the administration and management will be a key element.

8.7 Future directions

Proposed future program directions must take into account the strategic directions of the University and the faculties responsible for the offering of the program under review. Relevant objectives, particularly teaching and learning objectives, must be highlighted.

8.8 Core data and benchmarking

At a minimum, the following data must be included in the appropriate section/s of the submission for at least the preceding five year period where available–

  • Graduate Destination Survey data (graduate outcomes);
  • Course Experience Questionnaire (CEQ);
  • EFTSL (formerly EFTSU) for the program;
  • Pass degree and honours enrolments per year of the program (by major/field of study);
  • Number of pass degree and honours graduates (by major/field of study);
  • Number of students in each course offered by contributing schools;
  • Number of graduates who progressed to higher degree by research and postgraduate coursework awards (by major/double major/field of study);
  • SECaT results (or other similar instruments);
  • admission statistics (first preferences, OP/rank cutoffs, entry score means);
  • attrition statistics;
  • retention rates;
  • revenue (Commonwealth supported, international); and
  • program-related recommendations from reviews of schools that teach into the program.

Additional data might include –

  • results of employer surveys;
  • results of focus groups;
  • results of other questionnaires.

8.9 Stakeholder consultation - preparation of the faculty submission

The responsible faculty must ensure that all stakeholders are consulted during the preparation of the submission. Students and the UQ Union could be consulted during this phase through bulk email (which requires approval from the Academic Registrar), focus groups (which might also include current students, recent graduates and/or employers) or other forms of survey instruments.

Care must be exercised to ensure that this consultative process is not confused with the general call for submissions to the review, which is undertaken by the review committee itself, and handled by Academic Services Division (ASD).

Academic Registrar
Mr Mark Erickson


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Academic Registrar
Mr Mark Erickson
Academic Registrar
Mr Mark Erickson