Academic collaboration policy

1.1        Context

Academic collaborations are an important element of QMU’s provision. Through collaborations, QMU can offer programmes to students in a wider range of geographical locations and professional contexts. The establishment and operation of collaborative partnerships is a key strategic goal as set out in the University’s overall strategic plan.

This policy on academic collaboration is designed both to focus and facilitate the development of relevant and appropriate academic partnerships within the UK and internationally. These include, but are not limited to, UK educational providers (both FE and HE); UK organisations (both public and private sector); international educational providers; and international organisations. Further detail on the types of partners that are considered relevant and appropriate is set out in Section Four.

1.2        Policy Statement

As indicated above, QMU values academic collaboration as a key aspect of its academic strategy, and recognises the benefits of such collaboration, both to the institution and to its students.

In this context, QMU will seek to engage with a range of relevant and appropriate national and international partners whose work is complementary to that of QMU, whose values match those of QMU, and which bring benefits to staff and students of both partners.

In seeking academic collaboration, QMU emphasises the importance of establishing and maintaining partnerships in which relationships are balanced, with collaborative partners encouraged to derive equal benefit from the partnership and to contribute fully in joint decision-making processes.

Working with UK based educational partners will enable QMU to: develop stronger articulation links and joint educational programmes with Further Education in pursuit of its access policies; strengthen and diversify educational programmes through the synergies developed across partnerships with Higher Education; and develop routes to CPD and life long learning through partnerships with other organisations involved in training.

Partnerships with public and private sector organisations in the UK will allow QMU to work at the interface of professional research-led practices and contemporary approaches to pedagogy.

Partnerships with international organisations will facilitate the internationalisation of QMU’s educational programmes and research.

The scope, complexity and volume of collaboration bring new challenges and intensify existing ones. Principal amongst these are the need to safeguard the broader cultural, social and economic contributions of higher education and research; protect the interests of students while facilitating their mobility and preserving cultural diversity within higher education.

QMU believes that academic collaboration can make an important contribution to enhancing higher education if it is developed and delivered responsibly and effectively. It should strive to contribute to the broader economic, social and cultural well-being of communities, and in the case of international collaboration, should be sensitive in its approach and content, strengthening local higher education capacity by, for example, cooperating, with local institutions. It is recognised therefore that such collaborative activity may be time limited.

It will also provide comparable standards of academic quality no matter where it is delivered, and will expand the opportunities for mobility of staff and students.

QMU also recognises the benefits to students of academic partnership through: the promotion of articulated access, lifelong learning opportunities and CPD routes. International collaboration supports the internationalisation of its educational programmes. Collaboration with public and private sector organisations supports the development of awards that are relevant to research informed professional practice.

1.3        The Selection of Relevant and Appropriate Partners

QMU recognises the benefits and risk associated with academic collaboration. Success depends upon working within available resources, managing risks, and identifying synergies with the potential UK or International partner. Considerable emphasis is placed on the selection of relevant and appropriate partners.

In approving a collaborative partnership, the institution requires to be assured of the following principles:

  1. that the activities of the proposed collaboration provide a close fit with the vision and strategic plan of QMU and with the operational plan of the School, Institute or Centre;
  2. that the proposed collaboration contributes to strategic targets related to academic provision, research or knowledge transfer;
  3. that the proposed collaboration supports the operational plan of the relevant School, Institute or Centre;
  4. that the discipline or subject area of the proposed collaboration falls within QMU’s current or developing areas of expertise;
  5. that the educational mission and aims of the partner are consonant with the mission, aims and values of QMU;
  6. that entering into the partnership would not have any negative impact on the reputation of the University;
  7. that the partner is of good academic standing and financially stable;
  8. that the partner is in a position to contract legally with the University;
  9. that the partner institution either has robust and complementary systems of academic regulations, quality assurance and staffing policies or is fully willing and able to comply with QMU regulations and procedures;
  10. that the partner institution has sufficient facilities to ensure that appropriate arrangements for student support are in place, broadly equivalent to those provided at QMU.

The above points should be covered by the Risk Assessment and Evaluation Report (see below).

In addition, before final approval can be given to proceed to validation, the Academic Planning Board must be satisfied that:

  1. the expectations and requirements of both QMU and the proposed partner are clearly demonstrated and appropriately costed;
  2. the collaborative programme can be delivered on the basis of an income stream that supports full-economic costs.

Where these principles do not apply in totality, the collaboration may still be approved. However, the basis of that approval must be minuted by the Academic Planning Board, which should also provide details of the basis on which the collaboration can achieve the spirit of the mission/vision statement and the steps which are to be taken to ameliorate the impact of any aspects of the above principles with which the proposal is not fully compliant.

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