UCA’s Quality Handbook sets out the mechanisms and processes that enable the University to deliver it’s Quality Strategy. The University’s Quality Strategy supports and is aligned with UCA’s Strategic Vision 2013-18.
The Quality Handbook contains a lot of information, so it’s helpful to know what you’re looking for. If you need to ask a question relating to any aspect of the Quality Handbook, your first point of contact is the Faculty Quality Officer (FQO). There are two FQOs, and each is based in Farnham and Rochester Campus Registries respectively.
The Quality Handbook is divided into several sections:
A) Approval of New Qualifications: details the procedure for submitting a proposal for a new course at UCA.
B) Portfolio Planning: explains how decisions regarding the courses that UCA offers are made, and the role of the Leadership Team, Academic Board, and Academic Planning Committee in these decisions.
C) Validation of courses: describes the principles and process for validating new courses and revalidating existing courses. This section also provides information about the documents that need to be completed, the timescales, and what happens during and after a (re)validation event.
D) Arrangements for Professional, Statutory & Regulatory Body Recognition: details the process and sequence of events that need to be followed if a course is seeking accreditation by a professional body external to UCA, for example RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects).
E) Modifications to Courses: explains the steps that course teams need to follow if they wish to make minor or major changes to the validated content or structure of their course.
F) Annual Academic Monitoring (AAM): describes the AAM cycle and explains how the data is used to inform the continuous improvement of all courses at the University.
G) External Examiners: explains how External Examiners monitor and independently verify the academic standards of qualifications awarded by UCA. This section also provides information regarding the criteria that must be used to identify a suitable External Examiner for a course.
H) Periodic Course Review: indicates the purpose of the course review in ensuring that all aspects of a course are current and relevant. This process involves a thorough scrutiny of the course curriculum, aims, learning outcomes, and learning, teaching and assessment strategies.
I) Accreditation of Prior (Experiential) Learning (APEL/APL): describes the ways in which students can be awarded credits for learning they have undertaken at an educational institution external to UCA.
J) Collaborative Provision: explains the rules and regulations that ensure the effective operation of any partnerships between UCA and other institutions. For example, Collaborative Provision regulations affect arrangements with feeder institutions, student exchanges and study abroad units.
There are also six useful appendices in the Quality Handbook and these can be found by scrolling down to the bottom of the page. These are:
- Annex 1 – Quality Strategy: sets out the high-level objectives for Quality Assurance at UCA
- Annex 2 – Academic Committee Structure: illustrates how each committee at UCA feeds into the main Academic Board committee.
- Annex 3 – Committee Terms of Reference: sets out the terms of reference for every committee at the University
- Annex 4 – Glossary of Acronyms used in Quality Assurance: Higher Education is full of acronyms, and this useful document provides an explanation of the most common terms you will hear used at UCA.
- Annex 5 – Course Documentation Requirements: provides empty templates for all the course documentation that is required for a course such as Unit Descriptors, Subject Benchmark Mapping, and Course Handbook contents.
- Annex 6 – Student Engagement Strategy: sets out the mechanisms through which students can influence the continuous improvement of UCA’s academic provision, and the roles of both students and University staff in these mechanisms. The strategy has bee written to comply with the UK Quality Code for Higher Education.