Section P: The validation of Post Graduate Research Provision

 

In order to progress a proposal for new or amended PGR provision, the proposal, in most cases, will need to be added to the Validation Schedule. Schools should notify the Registry QA team of proposed developments by submitting, via the School’s QA contact:

  • The Validation Proposal Form
  • For new provision only: A supporting statement from the Director of Marketing, Communications and Student Recruitment confirming the provision has been appropriately researched, does not adversely affect the University's funding position and where relevant meets current visa requirements (this is not required for requests to amend existing provision).

Registry will record the details on the Validation Schedule and, in conjunction with the Dean of the Graduate School and VCO, determine the level of scrutiny to apply. Where proposals contain taught elements (e.g. professional doctorates, the taught stages will require assessing by the standard University processes for the QA of taught provision as well as this process).

 

P1. Validation events and Panel Membership

PGR Validation events will be conducted by Graduate Board and the panel will comprise of its membership (excluding those representing the School from which the proposal originates). The panel may include a member external to the University. The involvement of an external member will be determined by Registry in consultation with the Dean of the Graduate School and VCO.

The external panel member from the higher education sector should not only be academically qualified and experienced in a field directly related to the provision under consideration, but should also have knowledge of current trends and practices within quality assurance in UK HE. They should not have had any involvement with the University of Huddersfield for at least the preceding three years or any connection that may compromise impartiality. The general principles under Section M.3 Conflicts of Interest for External Examiners apply (except where specified otherwise in this section).

It is the responsibility of the Registry to ensure that nominated external panel members have not had any connection with the University that could potentially compromise impartiality.

 

P2. Validation Discussions

The University expects that panels will take note as a matter of course of:

  • The relevance of programme aims, learning outcomes, structure, and assessment;
  • If applicable, the relevance of module aims, learning outcomes, content, and assessment (including confirmation appropriate consultation with Disability Services has taken place);
  • The outcome and delivery of the provision including the use of C⁢
  • The relationship of staff expertise (research, consultancy/teaching) and staff development to the provision under consideration;
  • The physical resources available to the provision;
  • The alignment of the provision with the University and School Strategies
  • Inclusivity as identified by the University’s Inclusivity Framework

Panels are encouraged to identify strengths as well as areas for development in the provision under consideration.

Panel members shall be provided with, and will be expected to familiarise themselves with:

  • The relevant sections of the Quality Assurance Procedures for Taught Courses and Research Awards;
  • Relevant University strategy documents
  • Validation documentation as identified in the validation checklist for PGR;
  • The draft programme and administrative arrangements;
  • Any other relevant documentation that has been supplied.

It is the responsibility of Registry to ensure that external members have an accurate understanding of the University's procedures in relation to validation.

In drawing up an agenda for discussion on the day, panels shall indicate any issues which require the attention of members of the senior management or colleagues responsible for central services.

Where matters arise which relate to named postholders it is expected that panels will involve such postholders in discussions.

If panel members are requested to provide specialist reports as appendices, they should be notified in advance of an event and be asked to endeavour to return such reports within 28 days of an event. Such reports will normally be the responsibility of more than one member of a panel.

Report of validation discussions will be drafted by a member of Registry and will provide an indication of the nature of the discussions and of the views of the panel on issues relating to the provision under consideration. Where the panel stipulates conditions which must be complied with and/or recommendations which must be carefully considered, these must be clearly defined in the report.

 

P3. Approving and responding to PGR validation reports

The following procedure applies:

  • The draft report is written and circulated to panel members for confirmation or amendment;
  • The draft report is circulated to the School proposing the provision so that any factual inaccuracies can be addressed.;
  • The University’s Research Committee will receive and note the report as approved by panel members;
  • The report outcomes will be considered by the relevant School in conjunction with the delivery team and a response to any recommendations or conditions will be prepared where appropriate;
  • The response will be presented to the Chair of Graduate Board for approval;
  • The Dean will be responsible for ensuring that matters raised in a report are followed up, and for reporting to the University’s Research when any problems arise;
  • It is expected that the implementation of any conditions and recommendations will feature in the subsequent annual evaluation reports for the provision.

A signed statement from the Chair of Graduate Board will be sent to the Registry to confirm that any conditions set have been met.

 

P4. Documents required for validation

Documentation should be submitted to Registry for distribution to the validation panel a minimum of three weeks before the date of the validation event. A summary of the minimum documentation required for the validation of new PGR provision is provided below.

Planning and resource approval documentation, including:

  • A statement from the Dean confirming that the new provision has been costed and agreed by the Director of Estates and the Deputy Vice-Chancellor;
  • A statement from the Director of Computing and Library Services confirming all necessary computing and library facilities and resources are available;
  • Management and staffing structure, including staff CVs (or a link to a staff profile that includes all the necessary information) for those involved in delivery.

An introduction and rationale for the provision, including:

  • An explanation of how the provision fits into the existing portfolio, how it will support the strategic plan for School and University, and clear evidence of viability.

Completed Programme specification (PSD) for PGR including its Appendices.

In addition:

  • All module specification documents (MSDs) that contribute to the provision (where there are taught elements only).
  • Where applicable, a copy of the report of any related events under the Taught processes as well as confirmation that any conditions have been met (where there are taught elements only).
  • Confirmation that the provision has been considered in accordance with the guidance under the University’s Inclusivity framework
  • A copy of the relevant coursefinder entry with any potential amendments marked-up to confirm of the identification of areas which have been impacted by Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) implications (amendments to existing provision only).

Following validation the programme and module specification/s must be published on the University records management system and declared as a record.

Role of the School Board

School Board has oversight of validation documentation prepared within Schools to ensure it meets the defined requirements and standards necessary for review by a validation panel. School Board must also be satisfied that the design and delivery of proposed provision is compatible with the School and University strategies as well as any other relevant institutional policy and take an inclusive approach, consulting with Disability Services and utilising current equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) guidance as appropriate.

 

P5. Appealing against the outcome of a validation event

If the School Board believes there is cause for appeal against the outcome of a validation event, it may appeal to the University’s Research Committee clearly stating the grounds for appeal. The Committee will establish a small group of different composition to the original panel to consider the matter.

 

P6. Changes to validated provision

Schools may find it desirable or necessary to make changes to programme specifications. Proposed changes should be submitted to Registry using the Validation Proposal Form.

In line with University guidance on the application of consumer law for students, where a proposed change would constitute a material change, Schools must provide evidence that the University’s CMA processes have been followed as part of the approval process.

 

P7. Termination of Provision

Where provision is to be discontinued an exit strategy should be drawn up by the School, which identifies all relevant information relating to the closure. The exit strategy should be approved by the School's Management/ Executive Committee and monitored via the School’s Director of Graduate Education.