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Course Review Policy

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Section 1 - Preamble

(1) This Policy replaces Chapter 2.20 of the Academic Policy (December 2010).

Section 2 - Definitions

(2) For the purpose of this Policy, refer to the Academic Board's Definitions Policy.

Section 3 - Course Review

Part A - Introduction

(3) An award course of the University shall be subject to review at least every five (5) years. The timing of the review is promulgated in the Schedule of School Reviews and accordingly course reviews will normally take place at the same time and as part of a School review. The Schedule of School Reviews is recommended by the Quality Committee to the Senior Deputy Vice Chancellor (SDVC).

(4) In addition to the School Review process, the Vice Chancellor may initiate a course review at any time following consultation with the SDVC, Head, Planning Quality and Review and the Chair, Academic Board. The Academic Board may initiate a course review at any time.

(5) Course Reviews shall have particular regard to the viability, quality and relevance of the course/s and units offered by the School and alignment with the School Plan , Academic Plan , Learning and Teaching Plan and Strategic Plan .

(6) Reviews will normally include all undergraduate and postgraduate courses offered by the School, including combined and double degrees and Honours awards.

(7) The Course Review will consider resource matters where they may affect the quality of the course offering.

Part B - Objectives

(8) An important role for the Academic Board is to monitor and assure the quality of courses offered by Southern Cross University. This Chapter is intended as a quality assurance mechanism to assure and enhance the quality and relevance of the University's award courses by establishing a process for the rigorous review and reaccreditation of award courses.

Part C - Content and Implementation of a Course Review Being Undertaken as Part of a School Review

Transitional Arrangements

(9) When a course has undergone a course review within the previous two years the Expert will be given copies of all relevant documentation relating to that course review and Course Summary Reports. The documentation relating to the previous course review will include: the Course Review Submission, Report of the Review Panel, Responses to Report of the Review Panel and Minutes of Programs Committee and Academic Board.

(10) Normally in this instance a new course review will not apply and the course will not need to undergo the scheduled course review as part of the School Review. The Chair, Academic Board in consultation with the SDVC may exempt any other course from a course review as part of a School Review in exceptional circumstances.

Stages of a Course Review

(11) The review process shall consist of three stages made up of eight steps:

  1. Stage 1: Annual - Years 1-4
    1. Unit Report (each teaching period)
    2. Annual Course Report
  2. Stage 2: In the 5th Year
    1. Course Summary Report
    2. Course Review Submission
    3. Invitation to and Appointment of the External Course Review Expert
    4. Conduct of the External Course Review and Report of the Expert
      • External Course Review and Reporting Procedures
    5. Response to Findings of the Report of the Expert
    6. Unit Reports and Annual Course Reports to be completed for the next cycle of reviews.
  3. Stage 3: Implementation
    1. Implementation of Recommendations Relating to Curriculum and Course Content

Stage 1: Annual - Years 1-4

Step (i) Unit Report (each teaching period)

(12) Unit Assessors are normally required to review the data in the Individual Unit Performance Report (MIS) and report on the conduct of their units at the end of each teaching period and promulgate the Report as outlined in the Unit Report Template.

Step (ii) Annual Course Report

(13) At the end of each year the Course Coordinator for each course, in consultation with Unit Assessors, shall review the data in the Individual Course Performance Reports and the information in the Unit Reports and report on various aspects of the conduct of units and the overall course (Course Reports - Course Coordinator's Procedures, Annual Course Report Guidelines, Annual Course Report Template).

(14) The Annual Course Report shall be forwarded to the Head of School for distribution as detailed in the Course Report - Course Coordinator's Procedures .

Stage 2 - In the 5th Year

Step (iii) Course Summary Reports

(15) In the fifth year each Course Coordinator shall develop a Course Summary Report detailing the findings of the Annual Course Review Reports and any recommendations. Refer to the Course Report - Course Coordinator's Procedures for further details.

(16) The Course Summary Reports form part of the Course Review Submission.

Step (iv) Course Review Submission

(17) In the fifth year a Course Review Submission shall be produced and provided to the External Expert. The prescribed format and content for this document is specified in the Course Review Submission Guidelines and Course Review Submission Template.

(18) Responsibility for development of this document resides with the relevant Head of School in consultation with School Board.

Step (v) Invitation to and Appointment of the External Expert

(19) A course review in a School will be conducted by one or more experts.

(20) The process for invitation to and appointment of the External Expert is outlined in the External Course Review Expert Invitation and Appointment Procedures .

Step (vi) Conduct of the External Course Review and Report of the External Course Review Expert

(21) The External Expert shall consider the Course Review Submission document, additional reference material and submissions received and conduct interviews as outlined in the External Course Review and Reporting Guidelines .

(22) The Report of the External Course Review Expert shall include any commendations, affirmations and recommendations for change and a recommendation regarding accreditation. Where recommendations are made a rationale must be included. The prescribed format and content for this document is specified in the External Course Review and Reporting Guidelines .

Step (vii) Response to Findings of the Report of the Expert

(23) The Secretary of the Course Review shall distribute the Report as outlined in the External Course Review and Reporting Guidelines .

(24) The Report and the Responses shall be included in the documentation for the School Review.

Step (viii)

(25) In the year of the course review Unit Reports and Annual Course Reports need to be completed for the next cycle of reviews.

Stage 3 - Implementation

Step (ix) Implementation of Recommendations Relating to Curriculum and Course Content

(26) The Head of School, in consultation with the School Board, shall develop a five year Implementation Plan for all aspects of the course delivery and curriculum addressed in the School Review.

(27) One year after receipt of the Report by the Academic Board the Head of School through the School Board shall provide an update on the course delivery and curriculum aspects in an Implementation Plan to Academic Board as outlined in the Course Reports - Response and Implementation Procedures.

Double Degrees

(28) The Review of a degree within a double degree will take place when that single degree is reviewed in the School responsible for the single degree.

(29) When a Unit Assessor or a Course Coordinator is conducting a review and compiling a report they must keep in mind the linkages with other Schools regarding double degrees. When the Head of School is compiling the Course Review Submission they must consult with relevant Schools to ensure that all the issues relevant to the double degrees are reviewed.

Combined Degrees

(30) Combined degrees are reviewed by the School that has responsibility for managing the course.

(31) When a Unit Assessor or a Course Coordinator is conducting a review and compiling a report they must keep in mind any linkages with other Schools regarding combined degrees. When the Head of School is compiling the Course Review Submission they must consult with relevant Schools to ensure that all the components of the combined degree are reviewed.

Reaccreditation

(32) Following a School or course review Academic Board may approve a course be reaccredited; advise University Council that a course not be reaccredited and be removed from the offerings of the University; or that other action be taken. The accreditation period is linked to the Schedule of School Reviews. Nevertheless a course will remain accredited until it is formally disaccredited by Academic Board or withdrawn by University Council.

Roles

Title Role
Academic Advisory Committee - Discuss and comment on the Annual Course Reports - Note Course Summary Reports
Academic Board - Receive School Review Report - Approve or make recommendations regarding accreditation of courses - Call a course review outside of the review schedule
Chair, Academic Board - Consult with the SDVC regarding selection of the external expert - Select External Course Review Expert - Consult regarding the VC calling a review outside of the five year schedule
Course Coordinators - Compile Annual Course Report - Compile and provide Course Summary Report to Head of School, Academic Advisory Committee and School Board
Senior Deputy Vice Chancellor - Promulgate the schedule of School reviews - Consult regarding the VC calling a review outside of the five year schedule - Consult with the Chair, Academic Board regarding selection of the external expert
External Expert - Consider the Course Review Submission document, additional reference material and conduct interviews as deemed necessary - Conduct the course review - Compile the Report of the External Course Review Expert - Forward the Report to the Secretary of the Course Review
Head of School - Compile and provide Course Review Submission to the external expert - Provide names of possible external expert/s to Chair of Academic Board - Invite the External Course Review Expert - Report on Annual Course Reports to the Academic Advisory Committee and School Board - Consult with School Board about Implementation Plan - Develop Implementation Plan - Compile update on the Implementation Plan
Planning Quality and Review - Ensure provision of relevant data to Unit Assessors and upon request from other parties - Consult regarding the VC calling a review outside of the five year schedule - Consult regarding the Course Review Submission
Accreditation Committee - Make recommendations regarding reaccreditation of courses - Monitoring of School Implementation Plan
Quality Committee - Recommend schedule of School reviews to the SDVC - Receives the Implementation Plan and subsequent annual updates
School Boards - Action the Annual Course Reports - Note Course Summary Reports - Consult regarding the Course Review Submission - Consult regarding proposed names for external expert recommendation to the Chair of Academic Board - Consult with Head of School about Implementation Plan - Provide update on the Implementation Plan to Academic Board
Secretary of Course Review - Invite external expert - Assist Head of School with compilation of the Course Review Submission - Assist the External Expert with compilation of the Report - Receive and distribute the Report of the External Course Review Expert - Assist the Head of School with compilation of a response to the Report - Forward the responses to the Report to the Secretary of Academic Board
Unit Assessors - Conduct unit reviews after each offering of a unit - Compile and provide Unit Report to the Course Coordinator - Consult with Course Coordinators regarding the Annual Course Report
Vice Chancellor - Call a course review outside of the five year schedule

Section 4 - Procedures

(33) Procedures for organising and conducting a Course Review are detailed in the Unit Report Template and the Course Review in School Review Flowchart.