Management of programmes


1.1   The following regulations set out the relative functions and responsibilities of the committees and office bearers connected with the operation of programmes, Divisions and Schools. The arrangements for the management of collaborative programmes delivered by partner organisations will follow the principles set out in this chapter, but may differ in certain respects according to the structures and practices operated by these institutions. The University will however ascertain that collaborative partners have effective and equivalent mechanisms for the management of programmes.

The following definitions are used in these regulations:

  • Division is used here in a broad sense to define a range of academic areas. Divisions represent a coherent group of programmes within single or related disciplines. It is recognised that different structures may apply within different Schools.
  • Programme is used to cover courses, schemes and student programmes of study within schemes

Dean of School

2.1  The School is the academic home of several related Divisions. The Dean of School is responsible for the academic development of the subjects encompassed by these Divisions and for the development of staff to ensure that the teaching in these subjects is relevant, current and of a high standard.

2.2  Resources are allocated to Divisions for the prime purpose of effecting the teaching and research functions for which that Division is responsible. This includes the teaching commitment on modules in courses owned by other Divisions. As a resource manager, the Dean of School is accountable to the Principal to ensure that the resources given to the Division are deployed to the best advantage.

Head of Division

3.0  In a Division, the Head has operational responsibility for the quality of the disciplines offered.

Programme Leader

4.1   Each programme is based in a Division and a School. The School provides the framework for administrative support, a focus for student interaction, the source of programme information, and easy contact between the Programme Leader and students. In most cases, the Division within which a programme sits will be easily identified, as the Division providing the major input to the programme. The Dean of School is responsible for determining the home Division and for approving any change thereof.

4.2   A Programme Leader will be drawn from the home Division and be appointed by the Head of Division. In the unavoidable absence of a Programme Leader, an Acting Programme Leader will be appointed by the Head of Division. A Programme Leader is accountable in day-to-day operational terms to the Head of Division and will normally hold office for a full cycle of the programme, and possibly longer.

4.3   The appointment of the subsidiary office-bearers such as year tutors, admission tutors etc is at the discretion of the Head of Division. In the case of very large or complex courses it may be appropriate to appoint an assistant Programme Leader.

4.4    The Head of Division will be guided by the following criteria in appointing a Programme Leader:

  • The role holder will hold an academic qualification relevant to the discipline of study. The role holder’s qualifications will be at least at the same academic level as the programme qualification and normally higher.
  • The role holder will normally have experience of teaching and assessing on the programme or a similar programme taught at another institution. In the case of new programmes, the role holder will have experience of teaching and assessing on a programme in a related field.
  • In the case of professional programmes leading to eligibility to apply for registration, the role holder will normally hold appropriate registration themselves. Exceptionally, a more experienced academic may be appointed as programme leader without holding registration in the discipline but if so they will be supported by appropriately registered colleagues.

4.5   The Head of Division is responsible for ensuring that newly appointed programme leaders have access to mentoring and support to enable them to fulfil their role.

4.6   The Programme Leader will provide the academic and organisational leadership for the programme through the Programme Committee. A Programme Leader can expect the full support and co-operation of the Head of Division and Heads of other contributing Divisions but should recognise that a Head will have to balance a range of Division demands and priorities in allocating staff and resources.

4.7    In particular, a Programme Leader's responsibilities are:

  • as Convener of the Programme Committee to ensure the effective organisation and conduct of the programme within agreed policies and regulations;
  • to lead the academic development of the programme;
  • to monitor the operation of the programme on an ongoing basis, and to co-ordinate its annual evaluation;
  • to negotiate with the Head of Division the allocation of appropriate staff for teaching and other duties required by the programme;
  • to co-ordinate any necessary interaction with professional and external validating bodies through the appropriate internal mechanisms;
  • to work with colleagues in Admissions to ensure that appropriately qualified students are selected for admissions;
  • to keep in close touch with the academic welfare and progress of students in the programme, and to be closely aware of students' views about the programme;
  • in consultation with the Module Co-ordinators to agree an assessment schedule;
  • to present student marks and grades to the main Board of Examiners;
  • to take executive action as agreed by the Programme Committee.

4.8   The Programme Leader will normally be responsible for the co-ordination of all assessments for the programme, for ensuring that the examination papers are dispatched to the External Examiner and the responses addressed, and for presenting the student marks and grades to the Board of Examiners.

4.9   It is permissible for a Programme Leader to take responsibility for all the modules that form a programme, irrespective of the various awards to which the modules contribute. For example, the examination papers for a Psychology module should be the responsibility of the Psychology Programme Leader, irrespective of the number of awards to which that Psychology module contributes. It is the responsibility of the Head of Division to define in writing any such arrangement.

Programme committees

5.1  The Programme Committee will:

  • exercise the overall academic and operational responsibility for the programme and its development within defined policies, procedures and regulations;
  • be responsible for maintaining and enhancing the academic standards of the programme through the:
    1. monitoring and evaluation of the aims, objectives and structure of the programme;
    2. establishment and development of mechanisms to ensure student feedback;
    3. review of academic regulations, admissions policy statements, assessment instruments;
    4. development of teaching and learning methods.
  • ensure that the programme is resourced to agreed levels by recommendations to, and negotiations with, the Dean of School, and the Deans of any contributing Schools;
  • ensure that programme/programme delivery is effectively managed, including programme/year/subject time-tabling, access to teaching rooms, access to specialist facilities, etc;
  • through the appropriate University committees, nominate proposed External Examiner(s);
  • monitor student admission and student progress;
  • be responsible for the formal submission of the necessary documentation for the approval, accreditation or assessment of the programme to the appropriate professional and accreditation bodies, in line with the University’s established procedures.
  • submit minutes of its meetings to the School Academic Board.

5.2   Membership consists of the following:

  • Convener – Head of Division or Programme Leader
  • Ex Officio - Dean of School
  • A representative from each of the contributing disciplines, all of whom should teach on the programme.
  • Staff with specified programme responsibilities such as admissions, clinical supervision and projects.
  • Level co-ordinators.
  • Two students from each level of the programme
  • Exceptionally, external membership may be proposed where directly relevant to the operation of the programme.

5.3   The membership of the Programme Committee will be approved by the Head of Division.

5.4   The Programme Committee will meet at least twice a year and additionally at the request of the Convener, or of one third of its membership, or of the Convener of Senate. For programmes that are substantial in scale, range of modules, outcomes or complexity, a small core executive group defined by, and responsible to, the Programme Committee will normally manage the day-to-day operation of the programme. The group will operate informally, be organised by the Programme Leader and typically include staff with key programme responsibilities. For relatively simple courses, the Programme Leader will normally manage the day-to-day operation of the programme him or herself.


Module Co-ordinator

6.1   Each module belongs to a Division, which is responsible for the quality of delivery of that module. The Module Co-ordinator will be a member of staff of the home Division.

6.2   Responsibility for the quality of delivery of the module extends to the appointment of the Module Co-ordinator and of the staff responsible for teaching the module. Responsibility for the standard of the module and responsibility for the appointment of staff should not preclude mutually advantageous arrangements for the sharing of teaching but the responsibility for the module must not be in doubt.

6.3   The transfer of the ownership of a module from one Division to another is a matter of executive responsibility since it affects the allocation of duties and resources between Schools or Divisions. It is expected that this will normally be carried out only with the agreement of the Deans of all Schools and Divisions concerned.

6.4   The Module Co-ordinator is appointed by the Head of Division responsible for the delivery of the module. Heads will seek to provide continuity of staffing for modules.

6.5   The duties of the Module Co-ordinator are as follows:

  • to advise the Head of Division on the staffing and other resources needed for the module;
  • to ensure that the teaching and assessment of the module complies with the approved module descriptor and that all required sessions are timetabled;
  • to maintain the currency of the curriculum content;
  • in the first week, to provide students with the curriculum, reading lists and assessment schedules;
  • to be responsible for the assessment of the module including the co-ordination of marking and the preparation of examination papers;
  • to provide the Programme Leader, well in advance of the Board of Examiners, with the marks and grades of students who have studied that module;
  • to evaluate the operation of the module and contribute to the evaluation of the programmes of which the module forms a part.

Student-Staff Consultative Committees

7.1  A Student-Staff Consultative Committee will operate for each programme to provide an effective and constructive opportunity for discussion between students and staff, in a context that allows wide student participation.

7.2  Normally, there will be one meeting of the Committee each semester. Meetings will be held face-to-face where possible, but may also be held virtually for fully online or blended programmes.

7.3  The function of the Committee is to provide a forum for discussion of the programme in general terms, of the demands of the programme on students, and of possible developments.

7.4  The Committee will consider any matters directly related to the programme and report or make recommendations, as felt necessary, to the Programme Committee.

7.5   The membership of the Committee shall be drawn from staff teaching on the programme and student representatives; there should be more students than staff.

7.6   The student membership should cover the main subject areas and activities of the programme. It is appropriate for a student to convene the committee and take minutes. Where a student member is not identified to convene or take minutes, a member of the Programme Team will take on this role.

7.7   The Programme Leader, or other designated member of staff, will have overall responsibility to work with students to agree dates of meetings, book rooms, and make other arrangements as appropriate.

Personal Academic Tutoring System

8.1     Aims and purposes

The University recognises that a Personal Academic Tutoring System (PATS), for all students on taught programmes, should operate across the University with the following aims and purposes:

  • The Personal Academic Tutor (PAT) will act as a facilitator and mentor to the student whilst at the University, encouraging the student to optimise their learning opportunities;
  • The PAT is expected to triage, signpost and refer students to other appropriate support services and agencies and fully trained staff either within the University or elsewhere for support and resolution of issues of concern to both Tutor and student.
  • The PAT may, on occasion, act as advocate on behalf of the student, and in this role can be expected to make statements, either written or oral, to the Programme Committee (reserved business), Board of Examiners or others, as requested to do so.

See the PAT Staff Guide for more information.

8.2    Policy

8.2.1  Each Head of Division is expected to:

  • provide each student with a PAT throughout their academic studies at QMU;
  • ensure that details are provided about the PATS at QMU in Student Handbooks, including detail of the expectations which the student may have of the system and the expectations the academic and other staff have of the student;
  • establish a system for recording the nature and outcome of the interaction between student and PAT;
  • have a named person within each Division who is responsible for co-ordinating the PATS and provide an effective evaluation and monitoring process;
  • establish regular opportunities for staff development and training for academic and other staff in order to support the System.

The overall responsibility for an effective PATS lies with the Dean of School.

It is expected that:

  • the PAT will meet with their tutee at least once per semester;
  • all students new to the University will meet with their PAT during the first four to six weeks, and ideally earlier, of their studies at QMU;
  • all students returning to QMU will meet with their PAT in the first four to six weeks;
  • all students will be informed at an early stage who their PAT is and how to contact their PAT;
  • information on PATs allocations will be held centrally and will be easily accessible.

8.3    Implementation of the PATS policy at QMU

It is expected that the Dean of School will make explicit to both staff and students the nature of the PATS, its purpose and its boundaries. A named person will be appointed and a system for monitoring and evaluation established within each Division. It is expected that the Dean of School and Heads of Division will, through Performance Enhancement Review, acknowledge the role which staff are expected to undertake commensurate with the responsibilities of a successful PATS.

It is acknowledged that for part-time students meetings may not always be easily arranged. However, it is vital, and perhaps more so, for part-time students, that an effective PATS is maintained. The PATS policy allows for a defined explicit system to be devised for part-time students. PAT meetings may be held in-person, or remotely, or through a combination of these modes, to be determined by the PAT and student.

8.4    Expectations of the PAT

8.4.1 It is expected that PATs will be familiar with key resources, including the PAT Staff Guide and Guide to Supporting Distressed Students.

8.4.2  PATs are expected to participate in initial and refresher training around signposting and the broader expectations of the role.

8.4.3  PATs will refer students to Student Services, where appropriate, including where a student is in crisis and/or at risk. An information sharing agreement is in place to cover these circumstances.

8.4.4   The PAT will be the direct link between the student and the University and plays a key role in the support network for the student offered by the programme and the University.

8.4.5  The PAT will make clear to the student the boundaries of their supporting role and encourage the student to make use of other facilities, including academic support offered by Module Co-ordinators.

8.4.6  A PAT can expect to remain with the same student for the duration of their time at the University. In some cases, the student or the Tutor may request that a different Tutor is assigned.

8.4.7  The PAT must initiate a meeting with their academic tutee at least once a semester.

8.4.8  Some PATS may choose to offer group PAT meetings. In such cases, the group meetings will be additional to the individual PAT meetings.

8.4.9  The PAT will keep an agreed record of each meeting with the student, the format of which will be agreed between the PAT and student. Ideally, the meeting record will indicate areas for action. It will be filed centrally in the School with the confidential records of the student.

8.5    Expectations of the student

8.5.1  The student must expect to meet with their PAT at least once a semester. Tutees may request further meetings but it is the responsibility of both student and staff that at least one meeting takes place.

8.5.2   In the event that a student chooses to decline an invitation to meet with their PAT, it is expected that the student will advise their PAT of this in writing.

8.5.3   The student, during their studies at QMU, is expected to accept the responsibilities of autonomy and independence. This includes acknowledging and using the PATS in a responsible manner and with sensitivity.

8.5.4   The student can expect to take responsibility for any agreed course of action which may result as an outcome from the meetings.

8.5.5   Students who consistently fail to attend meetings initiated by the PAT, without advising the PAT that they do not wish to take up the offer to meet, can have this non-attendance notified to their Head of Division. Any such notification would be in the interests of ensuring the student is aware of the PATS and can benefit, as appropriate to their circumstances, from the support that is available.

8.6   Confidentiality

8.6.1  Meetings and discussions with PATs may raise confidential issues. PATs and students must be aware of the Tutor’s duty of confidence to the student, whilst recognising that where there is risk of harm, confidentiality will be overridden. An information sharing agreement is in place for the sharing of information between PATs and Student Services when there are concerns for a student’s health and safety. The student must also be aware that, in some cases, the law requires that issues concerning criminal behaviour may need to be revealed.

8.7   Expectations of the Dean of School

8.7.1  The Dean of School must establish a system for effective Personal Academic Tutoring based on the Policy and is responsible for communicating the System to all who work and study in the School including Visiting Lecturers.

8.7.2  The PAT has a role significantly different from that of the Programme Leader and this must be made clear to both staff and students.

8.7.3   The PAT will be a member of the academic staff, normally within the Division which is responsible for the programme on which the student is registered for an award.

8.7.4   The Dean of School, as resource manager, must acknowledge the vital role of the PAT during reviews of resource deployment in the School.

8.7.5   PATs must have the opportunity to attend appropriate training sessions and discussions concerning their role at School and University level.

8.7.6   The allocation of PATs, must be made known to PATs and students in the School within one week of the start of the semester and preferably before.

8.7.7   Each School may wish to add additional responsibilities to the role of the PAT. This is a matter for internal discussion and resource allocation. The roles and responsibilities of the Academic Tutor and tutee must be clearly articulated to students through their handbooks.