Joint Boards of Studies and Committees
Collaborative programmes fit into the QMU committee structure as follows:
- Student-Staff Consultative Committee. The partner institution should organise regular meetings with students to allow them to provide constructive feedback on their experiences. A Student-Staff Consultative Committee is required only for programmes leading to an award of the University and not for Short Programmes leading to the award of academic credit only.
- Programme committee / programme team meetings. The partner institution should organise meetings of their internal programme team to discuss operational issues. It is good practice to invite the Collaborative Academic Lead to attend some of these meetings. Ideally, the Student-Staff Consultative Committee should take place before the programme team meeting so that any issues raised by the students can be passed to the programme team for consideration.
- Joint Board of Studies. Most programmes will have a Joint Board of Studies (JBoS). Notes of the Student-Staff Consultative Committee and programme team meetings should be reported to the Joint Board of Studies. The JBoS is chaired by the Dean of School or nominee, typically the Collaborative Academic Lead, and a member of Registry staff acts as Secretary. This committee is the key forum for liaison between the partner institution and QMU and discusses all issues relating to the collaboration. Most matters will be dealt with through the JBoS, but if the issue requires input on a School or institutional level it will be reported upwards.
- School Academic Board. The JBoS reports into the School Academic Board which has overall responsibility for conduct of academic programmes within the School. The School Academic Board is the first point of call for quality procedures, such as module approval and external examiner appointments. The Collaborative Academic Lead should advise the partner institution as to how and when to provide documents for the Board.
- Collaborations Operations Group. This group brings together QMU staff with responsibility for various aspects of supporting collaborative provision. It reviews the effectiveness of QMU’s arrangements for supporting collaborations and recommends changes to the University’s policy and procedures accordingly. It reports into the Student Experience Committee.
- Student Experience Committee. This is the senior committee which decides on academic policy and regulations. It has delegated authority to recommend approval of programme-related business on behalf of Senate.
- Senate is the highest level academic committee within QMU. Only Senate can approve the award of degrees to individual students. Only Senate can approve changes to the University regulations.
More guidance on how SSCCs and Programme Committees should work can be found in the SSCC minutes template.
The remit of the Joint Board is to monitor and review the operation of the programme; to receive reports from the external examiner/s, review the annual report and action plan, receive minutes of subsidiary committees; and to submit minutes of its meetings to the School Academic Board. (See sample Joint Board of Studies agenda.)
In drawing up the Memorandum of Agreement, partner institutions should agree with Queen Margaret University whether there will be one or two meetings of the Joint Board of Studies per year.
Some short programmes, including those which form part of other QMU programmes, will not have their own Joint Board of Studies but will be managed through a joint programme committee (e.g. the Post Registration Board of Studies in Nursing). Representatives of the partner institution should be full members of these committees and minutes of programme team meetings reported to the joint programme committee as above.
As time goes by it may become clear that changes are required to the programme. This may be a result of feedback from students, feedback from external examiners or a response to developments in the area. Any changes to the programme as originally validated must be agreed by the Joint Board of Studies and then submitted to the relevant University committee for approval (normally the School Academic Board).
Changes to a single module
Minor changes can be approved by the Joint Board of Studies:
- Change of semester of delivery
- Small changes to the amount of face-to-face contact or the balance of lectures, practicals and tutorials
- Changes to the wording of the assignment
- Minor changes to the wording of learning outcomes
Bigger changes must also be approved by the School Academic Board:
- Change to the weighting of summative assessment components.
- Change to the length, duration or format of summative assessment components.
- Addition or removal of learning outcomes.
- Change of mode of delivery (classroom or distance learning)
The original and revised module descriptor must be sent to the School Academic Board along with a module alteration form explaining the nature of the change and rationale.
Change to programme title
A memo should be sent to the School Academic Board explaining the reasons for the change. The Board will want to be assured that there has been appropriate consultation with students, the external examiner and (where relevant) potential employers of graduates.
Normally, it is not possible to change the title of the award for existing students unless they all agree to it.
Adding or withdrawing a module
The module alteration form, available from the Quality website, should be completed and submitted to the School Academic Board explaining the reasons for the change. Module descriptors should be included as appropriate.
Changes to programme learning outcomes or to a number of modules
Advice should be sought from the Governance and Quality Enhancement, as if you make a lot of small revisions, the effect of these combined might constitute a ‘major change’ requiring scrutiny by the original validation panel for the programme (or most recent review panel). This scrutiny is usually done by correspondence without the need for a further review event.
Change to programme specific regulations
A memo should be sent to the School Academic Board explaining the reasons for the change. It is normally wise to consult the School Manager about the addition or removal of regulations for advice on how this might affect decisions made at exam boards.
Change to admission criteria
Admission criteria are approved by the validation or review panel and set out in the definitive programme document. The addition or removal of any entry requirements must be approved by the School Academic Board. As above, send a written request to the Board with the rationale for the proposed change.
Change to programme leader
The new programme leader must be approved by the Joint Board of Studies.
Change of premises
If the location where the programme is delivered has changed, the new site must be approved by QMU. In almost all cases a fresh evaluation visit will be required.