Policy

Collaborative Academic Program Arrangements - Policy

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1.  Purpose and Objectives

This policy provides the strategic framework for developing and managing collaborative academic program arrangements, both within Australia and overseas.

This policy should be read in conjunction with related University policies on International Agreements (PPL 3.30.12), Academic Program Approval (PPL 3.20.01), Curriculum and Teaching Quality Appraisal and Academic Program Review (PPL 3.30.03), and Credit for Previous Studies and Recognised Prior Learning (PPL 3.50.03). Documentation will need to be developed consistent with the requirements of these policies and within the context of the University’s Enterprise Risk Management policy (PPL 1.80.01).

2.  Definitions, Terms, Acronyms

Academic Programs – sequence of study leading to the award of a qualification such as an undergraduate degree or diploma, and/or postgraduate coursework qualification.

3.  Policy Scope/Coverage

This policy applies to all programs at The University of Queensland.

4.  Policy Statement

The University will collaborate in the delivery of academic programs with educational institutions that are consistent with or enhance the University’s reputation, or which are deemed to be of strategic importance to the University. Generally, such institutions are those that have a demonstrated record of academic credibility, particularly in the discipline on which the program is based.

Collaborative program arrangements will be approved by Academic Board and Senate on a case by case basis and will be subject to and meet the rules, regulations, policies, guidelines and standards set by The University of Queensland’s Academic Program Approval policy (PPL 3.20.01) and Curriculum and Teaching Quality Appraisal and Academic Program Review policy (PPL 3.30.03).

All proposals for offering programs with an off-shore partner or on an off-shore basis must comply with relevant legislation and regulatory frameworks, specifically, the ESOS Act (2000), its Regulations and the National Code of Practice; the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991; the Universities Australia Code of Practice; and the Transnational Quality Strategy, and all relevant regulatory requirements affecting both the University and its partner institution.

Custodians
Academic Registrar
Mr Mark Erickson
Director, UQ International
Ms Alison Jenkins

Procedures

Collaborative Academic Program Arrangements - Procedures

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1. Purpose and Objectives

These procedures enact PPL 3.30.07a Collaborative Academic Program Arrangements – Policy and outline the processes for implementing collaborative academic programs.

2. Definitions, Terms, Acronyms

Academic Programs – sequence of study leading to the award of a qualification such as an undergraduate degree or diploma, and/or postgraduate coursework qualification.

Articulation - Articulation pathways facilitate the progression of students from a partner institution (either domestic or international) to UQ. Articulation involves the recognition of a completed award of a partner institution through the transfer of specified credit to a UQ award at a more advanced level (for example, study undertaken in a completed undergraduate diploma at another institution is used as credit towards a bachelor level program at UQ). Although UQ is not responsible for the curriculum or teaching courses in the partner institution’s award, the University assures the quality of students by exercising control over the credit transfer arrangements and admission to its award. This may involve undertaking regular visits to the partner institution and/or regular reviews of the partner institution’s curriculum. UQ also maintains control over marketing the pathway arrangement.

Credit transfer - The University may grant a student specified or unspecified credit for a number of units towards a UQ award on the basis of either previous formal study or recognised prior learning. The type of credit transfer granted depends on the program rules and the structure of an individual program (refer to PPL 3.50.03 Credit for Previous Studies and Recognised Prior Learning).

Linked or joint degree programs - programs for which students are awarded a UQ degree (on the basis of study at UQ and credit for study undertaken at the partner institution) and receive an award from the partner institution (based on study at UQ and at the partner institution). The arrangements for awarding the degree may include:

  • Joint award of a degree: Each institution awards a degree for the same program of work. An appropriate notation is made to this effect on the UQ testamur and is clearly specified in the agreement between UQ and the partner institution.
  • Dual badging: The University (or another institution) awarding the degree recognises the involvement of the partner institution by inclusion of their crest etc on the testamur.

Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) –A Memorandum of Understanding is a document which sets out the parties’ commitment and intentions to collaborate with the intent that further addenda or contracts will set out specific terms and conditions. The MoU provides governance arrangements and a broad direction for relationship development. The MoU does not outline the details of implementation nor is it intended to be legally binding.

Transnational education (TNE) - Transnational education includes the marketing, enrolment processes and delivery and/or assessment of programs and /or study in a country other than Australia by UQ, where delivery includes a face-to-face component, regardless of whether or not the education and/or training leads to a UQ award.

Twinning - University programs offered in conjunction with a partner institution/private provider in which UQ enrolled students undertake specified studies in a UQ program at the other institution. The remaining requirements of the program are completed at UQ and the students receive a UQ award. The specific courses undertaken at the other institution are normally offered/developed by UQ and both the partner institution and UQ provide the teaching staff. UQ is responsible for quality assurance of the overall program, although the program is jointly administered by UQ and the partner institution. Students are normally enrolled as UQ students, although they may be concurrently enrolled as students of the partner institution.

3. Procedures Scope/Coverage

These procedures apply to all students and staff of The University of Queensland.

4. Procedures Statement

The following principles shall guide the University’s academic program collaborations with either an on-shore or off-shore partner.

  • Where a program of study leads to a University award, the University shall usually have sole responsibility and authority in all academic matters and the program and its courses of study must be of an equivalent standard and quality to the University’s other academic programs.
  • Postgraduate programs will normally be offered/delivered from a University of Queensland campus/school. Such programs may be offered off-shore with an approved partner institution where such an initiative is deemed of strategic importance to the University and consistent with the University’s Internationalisation Plan. Such initiatives will be developed in accordance with established University academic rules, regulations and policies.
  • The University will not normally offer undergraduate programs entirely off-shore. It will support, however, undergraduate twinning and articulation arrangements with institutions of appropriate quality.
  • Collaborative program arrangements must be underpinned by effective financial and administrative management procedures and subject to appropriate quality assurance and risk management processes.
  • Proposals to offer programs on a collaborative basis with either a domestic or international partner must be documented by an agreement in accordance with University policies (PPL 3.30.12 International Agreements; PPL 1.10.02 Financial Delegations).

5. Types of Collaborative Program Arrangements

UQ programs may be delivered either on-shore or off-shore with one or more partner institutions. The partner institution may provide facilities and/or teaching staff and/or an on-line component (which may include curriculum) for the program. UQ is responsible for quality assurance of the overall program. The award for the program may be dual-badged as per section 10 of these procedures.

5.1 Transnational education (TNE)

TNE arrangements may be offered in conjunction with a partner institution.

Types of TNE arrangements may include:

  • twinning
  • linked or joint degree programs which may include joint award of a degree or dual badging.

5.2 Credit transfer

The University has a separate policy on Credit for previous studies and recognised prior learning (PPL 3.50.03).

Faculties may seek to document credit arrangements with partner institutions via a Letter of Agreement. Under these circumstances the arrangement would also be recorded in the University’s database of agreements, maintained by UQInternational in addition to being recorded in the University’s Credit Transfer Database.

In addition to the requirements of the University’s policy on credit for previous studies (PPL 3.50.03) which includes provisions for Faculties to ensure that credit transfer guidelines and credit transfer precedents are regularly reviewed, Executive Deans also are required to review activity under the letter of agreement every three years and report the outcome to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (International) and UQ International for those arrangements involving an international partner.

Credit transfer arrangements for academic programs should also be reviewed within the context of an academic program’s curriculum review cycle (PPL 3.30.03).

5.3 Articulation pathways

Faculties must ensure that articulation pathway arrangements comply with the University’s policy on Credit for Previous Studies and Recognised Prior Learning (PPL 3.50.03) and its associated quality assurance processes, including recording such arrangements in the University’s Credit Transfer Database and undertaking an audit every three years of the credit transfer precedents relating to the articulation arrangement.

Articulation pathway arrangements should also be reviewed within the context of an academic program’s curriculum review cycle (PPL 3.30.03).

Consistent with the University’s policy on International Agreements (PPL 3.30.12), articulation arrangements involving international partners will be documented in an MoU or addendum to an MoU between the University and the partner institution in accordance with the University’s International Agreements policy (PPL 3.30.12). Executive Deans are required to report biennially to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (International) on activity under such agreements (Template to be developed by UQ International).

Articulation arrangements with domestic partners will be subject to the review and reporting requirements stipulated by the instrument of engagement which documents the relationship.

5.4 Advanced standing arrangements

Advanced standing arrangements refer to a particular type of credit transfer arrangement, whereby a student may be exempted from having to undertake parts of a University program on the basis of previous study at the partner institution. The student enrols in the partner institution’s program and undertakes its courses. Students may apply for admission to a UQ program, transferring at the same award level. UQ is not responsible for curriculum or teaching courses at the partner institution. UQ assures the quality of students by exercising control over the credit arrangement. UQ also maintains control over marketing the arrangement.

Faculties are responsible for managing advanced standing arrangements for their suite of academic programs. Such arrangements are recorded in the Credit Transfer database and are subject to the quality assurance processes detailed in the University’s policy on Credit for previous studies and recognised prior learning (PPL 3.50.03).

For arrangements involving international partner institutions, faculties may seek to document advanced standing arrangements via a Letter of Agreement. Under these circumstances the arrangement would also be recorded in the University’s database of international agreements, maintained by UQ International.

Executive Deans are required to review activity under the letter of agreement every three years and report the outcome to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (International) and UQ International.

Advanced standing arrangements for academic programs should also be reviewed within the context of an academic program’s curriculum review cycle (PPL 3.30.03).

5.5 Student mobility programs

The University strongly supports the concept of student mobility: it is a key priority in the University’s Internationalisation Plan, particularly with regard to providing UQ students with an international experience. Student mobility programs encompass both student exchange between UQ and partner institutions and study abroad programs. In developing such arrangements, Faculties should ensure there are clear academic and/or intellectual benefits to be derived by UQ students from study at another institution.

  • University student exchange programs: Student exchange programs support the two-way flow of students between UQ as a whole and a partner institution. Students enrol in award courses at the respective partner institution. There is an underlying assumption that there will be on average an equal number of inbound and outbound students between the two institutions, hence students enrolled in an exchange program are not required to pay tuition fees at the partner institution.

University student exchange programs will only be developed with partner institutions of strategic importance to UQ. Such programs will be managed and monitored by the Student Exchange Office (link to UQ Abroad) within UQ International, which will be responsible for administering and promoting such arrangements in consultation with the Faculties. Students wishing to participate in a University student exchange program may be eligible to apply for a University student exchange scholarship, Government scholarship or Government loan.

  • Faculty student exchange programs:  Faculties may develop faculty to faculty exchange programs, which support the two-way flow of students between a specific faculty of UQ and a specific faculty at the partner institution. As with University student exchange programs, UQ International manages and monitors the faculty exchange program, and is responsible for administering and promoting them in consultation with the relevant faculty.
  • University study abroad initiatives: Study abroad initiatives may take a number of forms (Study abroad initiatives are distinct from the University’s study abroad program, whereby international students currently enrolled in an accredited university overseas may enrol in UQ courses for one or two semesters). Faculties may develop defined non-award programs of study or other related activity for or in conjunction with partner institutions. Such study abroad initiatives are subject to tuition fees and may require the development of some form of agreement.

As with University student exchange programs, University study abroad initiatives will only be developed with partner institutions of strategic importance to UQ. These programs will also be centrally supported by UQ International, which will be responsible for managing and promoting study abroad programs in consultation with the Faculties.

Procedures for developing student exchange and study abroad programs are detailed in the University’s policy on International Agreements (PPL 3.30.12). Where justified, credit will be granted to UQ students for their study at the partner university. Credit transfer arrangements will be negotiated by the Faculty during the development of the exchange agreement.

5.6 Collaborative research higher degree programs

The University of Queensland highly values international research collaboration and, as a consequence, the University provides opportunities for strategic collaboration for the research training and supervision of research higher degree (PhD and MPhil) students with a designated partner university in another country. Details of collaborative research higher degree arrangements (including their development, approval and review) are provided in PPL 4.60.06 (Research Higher Degree Student International Collaboration).

6. Criteria for Selecting an International Partner

Faculties and Research Institutes seeking to develop collaborative academic program arrangements with an international partner institution will need to ensure that the proposed institution meets the principles to guide the University’s international agreements outlined in the procedures attached to the policy on International Agreements (PPL 3.30.12, section 4).

In summary, the criteria relate to the following aspects of the proposed partnership arrangement: quality of the partner institution; demonstration that the partnership is compatible with University, Faculty/Institute and School/Centre strategic positioning in the region; strength of commitment by the intended partner institution; research collaborations; compatibility of programs; duration of study by students at UQ; number of students anticipated; recognition of qualifications of joint program initiatives. 

7. Development of Proposals

7.1 Collaborative academic programs, including TNE initiatives

Proposals to offer a program on a collaborative basis must be developed in accordance with the University’s policies on Academic Program Approval (PPL 3.20.01) and Curriculum and Teaching Quality Appraisal and Academic Program Review (PPL 3.30.03); and must comply with the ESOS Act (2000) and its Regulations, the National Code of Practice, the Universities Australia National Code of Practice, and the Anti-Discrimination Act (1991).

Such proposals must address key academic quality assurance principles (section 8 of these procedures) and undertake business planning and risk management analyses requirements (section 7.3 of this policy), have the appropriate sign-off on resource issues (including appropriate consultation and agreement with service areas eg. Library, Student and Administrative Services Division and UQInternational for proposals involving an international partner) and demonstrate clearly how the partner institution will enhance the University’s reputation.

For those program initiatives developed in association with an on-shore partner, proposals must clearly demonstrate relevance to the University’s Strategic Plan. Consultation with either the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) for coursework programs or the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) for research programs should occur as early as possible, in order to ensure development of such initiatives is consistent with University strategic priorities. In addition, proposals for collaborative research higher degree programs should be developed as per the guidelines provided in PPL 4.60.06. For those program initiatives developed in association with an off-shore partner, proposals must also clearly demonstrate relevance to the University’s Internationalisation Plan, as well as to the University’s Strategic Plan; early consultation with the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (International) and the International Director on such initiatives will facilitate this process.

New and major collaborative program initiatives, including transnational programs (those programs offered either in whole or part offshore) and the offshore offering of existing programs which involve a change in curriculum, are subject to the following approval process as per the University’s Academic Program Approval policy (PPL 3.20.01):

University Senior Management Committee – Notification of new and major program initiative

As early as possible in the preliminary development phase, Faculties should submit a brief summary of the program initiative to the University Senior Management Committee, which will examine the strategic significance of the proposal from the perspective of resource management and corporate direction. As part of this stage, Faculties will be required to develop a business case. For initiatives with a transnational component, business cases will be referred to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (International) who may refer them to the International Policy and Strategy Committee (IPSC).

Committee for Academic Programs Policy (CAPP) –

1. Submission of new and major program proposals

Following initial endorsement of the program initiative by the University Senior Management Committee, CAPP will consider the academic aspects of collaborative program initiatives. Proposals developed by Faculties for transnational program initiatives will need to include the development of an academic quality assurance statement (PPL 3.20.01 provides a template). Given the scope of activities which underpin the academic quality assurance statement, such statements will need to be developed in conjunction with the business case for operating and managing the program.

2. Review of detailed proposals for major and minor program changes

A sub-committee of CAPP will consider the details of program proposals within the framework of established policies.

For transnational delivery of an existing program where no curriculum change is required, Executive Deans are required to submit a business case to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (International) and an academic quality assurance statement to the Academic Board President.

Proposals to offer programs on a collaborative basis with either a domestic or international partner also must be documented by an agreement in accordance with the appropriate University policies: for domestic program arrangements PPL 1.10.02 Financial Delegations and for international program arrangements PPL 3.30.12 International Agreements.

7.2 Other collaborative program arrangements

  • Articulation pathway arrangements will be documented via an MoU or an addendum to an MoU and, for arrangements involving an international partner, agreements shall be developed in accordance with the policy on International Agreements (PPL 3.30.12).
  • Advanced standing and credit transfer are covered by the provisions of the University’s policy on Credit for previous studies and recognised prior learning (PPL 3.50.03). Those arrangements involving an international partner may be documented via a letter of agreement between the Faculty and the proposed partner institution (PPL 3.30.12);
  • University and Faculty student exchange programs and study abroad programs will generally be the subject of a formal MoU or addenda to an MoU between UQ and the relevant partner institution (PPL 3.30.12).

7.3 Business planning and risk management analysis for collaborative academic program arrangements

The following issues should be addressed and documented during the business planning and risk assessment analysis phase of developing collaborative academic program arrangements.

1. Evidence of demand for the program must be provided.

2. The management structures and roles and responsibilities for the collaborative program offering must be clearly defined.

3. Faculty processes for managing quality assurance arrangements for such program initiatives must be clearly articulated, including clear identification of the Faculty officer responsible for managing the academic quality assurance arrangements detailed in section 8 of these procedures and those Faculty committees which will have responsibility for overall review and management of the quality of the program.

4. The financial viability of the program must be assessed, and all direct and indirect overheads costs of the program must be covered by revenue from the program. Costing and fee details including the fee split, management fees or royalty payment, responsibility for covering expenses/loss etc. must be clearly documented in an agreement.

5. Responsibility for marketing, advertising etc in Australia and overseas, including the use of logos (i.e. joint badging for marketing purposes) must be clearly delineated. Marketing materials and collateral used in the marketing of the course/program is to be subject to prior approval by the University.

6. Proposals must demonstrate that University and third party intellectual property will be protected and observed

7. Teaching resources created pursuant to statutory copyright licences and electronic journals and databases accessed pursuant to commercial licence agreements signed by the Library are only available to UQ staff and enrolled UQ students and this fact must be considered carefully in determining the status of staff and students of collaborating institutions pursuant to any proposed collaborative academic program arrangement.

8. All formal agreements must include a predefined review period(s) and a termination clause as per the University’s policies on International Agreements (PPL 3.30.12) and financial delegations (PPL 1.10.02).

8. Managing Collaborative Academic Program Arrangements: Quality Assurance Principles

Faculties must establish, manage and review quality assurance arrangements for all collaborative program developments.

The following academic quality assurance principles are to be addressed during the development of collaborative program arrangements on-shore, and proposals to offer programs off-shore and or twinning links with approved partner institutions.

1. Satisfaction of the requirements as set out in the Academic Programs Approval Policy (PPL 3.20.01) noting that part of this process is to ensure appropriate consultation with relevant stakeholders, including the University Librarian and Director of Learning Services, and other service providers.

2. The University retains control over courses and programs (including responsibility for course curriculum) offered in its name. Such courses/programs are subject to the following University policies:

  • entry requirements and standards
  • admission rules and practices
  • credit transfer assessment policies
  • teaching and learning policies and practices
  • program approval and curriculum review policies.

3. University courses/programs are to be taught by persons approved by The University of Queensland. It is important that the University satisfy itself that teaching staff not in its employ demonstrate the appropriate standards of expertise and qualifications through involvement in staff selection and monitoring processes and continued monitoring of staff performance.

4. Where a program is taught off-campus, evidence must be provided of the availability and quality of the necessary infrastructure to support the program and courses (eg. library and other facilities) and the students studying in that program (this would also apply to ("e" or electronic offerings). The University must be able to satisfy itself that such facilities available to enrolled students are satisfactory for the pursuit of the program.

5. Where a program is taught off-campus or off-shore, the University must ensure that the quality of the student experience is comparable to the on-shore student experience. That is, proposals must clearly demonstrate the measures that have been put in place to ensure that the off-shore program student experience remains comparable to the on-shore program, including the arrangements that have been put in place for student orientation and induction, and arrangements for monitoring and measuring student experience and satisfaction.

6. If, for any reason, an agreement should be terminated while students are enrolled in the program, the University will be responsible for ensuring that these students have an appropriate opportunity to complete their studies.

9. Review of Collaborative Program Arrangements

Collaborative program arrangements are monitored and reviewed in the following ways. Aspects of the collaborative program’s curriculum are monitored and reviewed via the normal curriculum review processes which include (1) annual program/sequence of study monitoring by the relevant School Teaching and Learning Committee, (2) triennial program/sequence of study assessment by the relevant Faculty Teaching and Learning Committee and (3) curriculum reviews conducted as part of a School/Discipline review. Full details of curriculum review processes are provided in the policy on Curriculum and Teaching Quality Appraisal and Academic Program Review (PPL 3.30.03).

In association with this, the instrument of engagement that has been developed to document the collaborative arrangement will include provisions for ongoing monitoring and review. For those arrangements with international partners, the instrument of engagement will also be subject to the provisions of the policy on International Agreements (PPL 3.30.12).

10. Principles underpinning Dual Badging of Testamurs and Joint Awards

In collaborative program arrangements, where the University is the awarding institution it will, where appropriate, acknowledge the partner institution(s) on the testamur.

The University will not dual badge testamurs with other institutions unless approved by Academic Board and Senate, in advance, as part of the approval process for the particular program in accordance with the principles and requirements set out in this policy.

In such circumstances, Academic Board will only consider proposals to dual badge testamurs subject to the following conditions:

  • the partner institution is recognised internationally as an institution of high quality; or
  • the program is of such standing that it would enhance the University's reputation.

Faculties must submit their proposal for such a program in accordance with the Academic Program Approval policy (PPL 3.20.01). Proposals must include the exact details of the proposed notations to be included on the testamur.

Collaborative program arrangements that include proposals to dual badge academic programs will be regulated by a formal agreement between the relevant institutions (refer to PPL 3.30.12 International Agreements).  Where a collaborative program arrangement leads to both institutions awarding a degree for the same program of work, an appropriate notation is made to this effect on the UQ testamur and is clearly specified in the agreement between UQ and the partner institution.

The final form of the testamur is approved by the Academic Registrar.

Custodians
Academic Registrar
Mr Mark Erickson
Director, UQ International
Ms Alison Jenkins
Custodians
Academic Registrar
Mr Mark Erickson
Director, UQ International
Ms Alison Jenkins