QMU values collaboration as a key aspect of its academic strategy. The full University policy may be seen here: QMU policy on academic collaboration
There are a number of reasons why QMU enters into collaborative partnerships:
- To reach groups of students who wouldn’t be able to come to the campus to study.
- To share expertise and create programmes in specialist areas.
- To support continuing professional development and lifelong learning.
- To increase QMU’s profile around the world.
Partner organisations may want to work with us because:
- They don’t have degree-awarding powers themselves but want to offer their students a qualification that will be internationally recognised.
- They do have degree-awarding powers in their own country but want to offer a joint or dual award that is more easily transportable around the world.
- They want to share their expertise with ours in order to deliver a degree that neither partner could fully support on its own.
Partnerships work best when both organisations gain something from the arrangement and have a shared commitment to providing a good learning experience that meets students’ needs.
Managing collaborations - overarching principles
The key principle of all regulations relating to collaborative programmes is that the quality and standards of awards should be equivalent to those of comparable awards delivered and awarded by QMU. This means that collaborative programmes are subject to the same quality assurance processes and the same academic regulations as awards delivered solely by the University. (Programme specific regulations may be approved through the validation process in the normal way.) In the case of short programmes, individual modules should be comparable to modules of a similar nature and level delivered solely by the University.
The nature of the student experience will vary from partner to partner but in all cases partners must provide support that is equivalent to that which students studying on campus might expect.
Each collaboration is governed by a Memorandum of Agreement signed by the Principal of Queen Margaret University and a representative from the partner institution. This is a legal document which sets out the rights and responsibilities of each partner institution. The Memorandum must be signed before delivery starts.
Because collaborative programmes are only indirectly controlled by the University, there is an element of risk in every collaborative arrangement. In most cases the risks are small and easily controlled through normal quality procedures. The University will conduct risk assessments for each partner and monitor risks on an ongoing basis. This allows the level of intervention from University staff to be proportionate and targeted where it is needed.
Any doubts cast on the quality and standards of an individual award may damage the reputation of other QMU awards. Therefore, for the benefit of all students and graduates, the University must make quality and standards a priority. If the University feels it is unable to guarantee the quality and standards of a collaborative programme it will not approve the arrangement, or may withdraw from an existing agreement.
Ultimate responsibility for the quality and standards of any programme or short programme offered in the name of Queen Margaret University lies with the Senate of the University.
No student may receive an award without the approval of Senate. This means that all marks must go through a formal Board of Examiners, which makes recommendations for award and submits them to Senate. Similarly, no decisions on student progress or whether or not a student should resit may be made without the approval of the Board of Examiners.