Section R: PGR Partnership Activities

 

R1. Approval of PGR Partnership Activity

These processes apply in instances where a 3rd party is involved in the delivery of PGR provision. The University operates a risk based approach to the approval of partnerships and the type of arrangements normally include:

Type of Arrangement

Level of Risk

Individual Cotutelle (Single Award) (i.e. joint supervision between the University and a member of staff from another organisation)

Low

Multiple Candidate Cotutelles either in single or multiple cohorts

Medium

Off Campus Delivery of PGR provision by members of University staff at a location other than Queensgate.

Medium to High

Dual Awards* where the University may collaborate with another higher education institution in devising a course of studies leading to an award from each institution.

High to Very High

Joint Awards* where a single course devised and delivered jointly between two or more institutions and leading to the conferment of a single award in the name of all partners.

Very High

* Due to the high level of risk associated with Dual and Joint awards, Senate approval is required to progress with developments of these nature. Dual and Joint Awards are normally limited to arrangements of strategic importance to the University and, as such, separate processes are in existence for the validation of these, which will be based in part on the nature of the proposal itself. Schools should obtain advice from Registry before considering such developments.

 

R2. Campus Attendance

Under cotutelle arrangements there remains a requirement for the students to normally attend campus for at least the minimum number of days as defined in the PGR Regulations (including progression monitoring meetings). In relation to Off-Campus, Dual and Joint Awards, attendance on campus may vary according to the operational arrangements with the partner contained within the partner contract.

 

R3. General Considerations:

To ensure that students receive a comparable research student experience to those studying on campus, Schools will need to include the following supporting documentation with all requests to for partnership approval:

  • Confirmation from the Dean that there are adequate human resources (academic & professional services) in place to support the proposed arrangement and that School resources are in place for supervisors adequately to conduct online meetings where necessary.
  • Confirmation from the Head of CLS that there are resources in place including software licences to access to the University’s learning resources/journals etc.
  • Confirmation from the Head of Researcher Environment that there are adequate resources and capacity to provide core training and development opportunities at a distance; and/or for any campus based delivery planned as part of the attendance requirements.

Schools will be expected to monitor the success of all delivery methods as part of normal University processes. In the case of Off-Campus, Dual and Joint Awards these processes will include the procedures defined within Section I and Section J of this handbook.

Students undertaking Cotutelle, Off-Campus PGR provision or Dual Awards will be bound by the PGR Awards Regulations. Joint Awards will normally involve bespoke regulations which will be agreed as part of the development and approval process.

 

R4. Initial Requests

Schools should notify the Quality Assurance team in Registry of potential arrangements. Registry will log the requests and notify the Chairs of Graduate Board and SCCP. Where requests are considered to have increased risk factors, additional advice and guidance will be provided to Schools at this stage.

Partnership arrangements will require a written agreement or contract; however, the type of document used and its content will vary depending on the nature of the proposal. An indication of the type of document needed will be provided by Registry which may involve consultation between the School and the University Legal Officer.

 

R5. Approval of Individual Cotutelle arrangements:

To request approval, Directors of Graduate Education will be required to submit a PGR Cotutelle Proforma signed off by the Dean of their School. The proforma will outline the proposals for delivery and support for students together with methods for monitoring the arrangement. This document will include:

  • A brief rationale for the arrangement together with an overview of the organisation involved in the delivery.
  • Confirmation that offers of study will only be made when Supervisory team members have been established.
  • Confirmation that external supervisors are qualified to undertake PGR supervision.
  • Programme Specification Document.
  • Proposed Duration
  • Consideration of workload issues in relation to the supervisory team and the impact that providing support to students may have on this.
  • Arrangements for supervision and support including skills training, progression, and the examination process.
  • Confirmation of arrangements for maintaining a suitable research environment including when students are at Queensgate.
  • Ongoing Pastoral Support.
  • Attendance/Engagement monitoring.
  • Arrangements for the Student Voice/representation.

The Cotutelle Proforma, together with the supporting documentation will need to be completed by the Director of Graduate Education from the School proposing the arrangement and it must be signed by the Dean of the School. Once completed, the form should be forwarded to Graduate Board for formal approval. Both the Director of Graduate Education and Graduate Board reserve the right to refer the document back to the School for additional clarification as well as to outline conditions of approval (where necessary).

Once approved the confirmation of the arrangement will be noted by the University’s Standing Committee for Collaborative Provision (SCCP).

 

R6. Approval of Multiple Candidate Cotutelles:

In addition to the Cotutelle Proforma and supporting documentation outlined above, Schools will also be required to submit the following:

  • Proposed Student numbers;
  • Outline financial arrangements including, fee arrangements and anticipated income;
  • International office commentary on the proposals (where the partner is located overseas).

Requests for approval and supporting documentation will be considered by both Graduate Board and SCCP, however, this may take place concurrently if practical. Both Graduate Board and SCCP reserve the right to refer the document back to the School for additional clarification as well as to outline conditions of approval (where necessary). These conditions may include the requirement of a site approval visit, which will take place at the School’s expense. The composition of the approval panel will be confirmed by SCCP and Graduate Board in consultation with Registry and VCO.

Approval will be granted for a period of up to 5 years at which point the arrangement will require reapproval.

 

R7. Approval of Off-Campus Delivery of PGR provision, Dual Awards and Joint Awards

Due to the level of risk associated with these types of arrangement, Schools wishing to proceed with these partnerships will be required to Submit a Business Case for consideration by SCCP and Graduate Board. Registry will confirm which level of business case is needed as this will depend on the type of proposal and whether a link exists with the proposed partner. Registry will also confirm whether Senate approval is required.

Indicative approval

The initiative to enter into a partnership arrangement with another institution is taken by the School owning the provision. The proposed financial and resource arrangements must be approved by the Dean of the School. Curriculum or academic matters in relation to collaborative provision must be approved by the School Board. The proposal must receive written confirmation from the Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Pro Vice-Chancellors (Teaching & Learning) and (Research & Enterprise) in order to draft a business case.

Business case

The School will submit the business case template to the University’s Standing Committee for Collaborative Provision (SCCP) and Graduate Board, giving a brief description of the nature of and rationale for the proposal, detailing the general proposals for its costing and resourcing, including the costs of validation and revalidation in addition to any standard annual costs that may apply.

The Business Case will include:

  • Confirmation from the Dean that there are adequate human resources (academic & professional services) in place to support the proposed arrangement and that School resources are in place for supervisors adequately to conduct online meetings where necessary.
  • Confirmation from the Head of CLS that there are resources in place including software licences to access to the University’s learning resources/journals etc.
  • Confirmation from the Head of Researcher Environment that there are adequate resources and capacity to provide core training and development opportunities at a distance; and/or for any campus based delivery planned as part of the attendance requirements.
  • A brief rationale for the arrangement together with an overview of the organisation involved in the delivery.
  • Where the University has no existing links with an external institution, the business case should include explicit references to the institution’s mission, existing provision and strategic aims.
  • Where applicable, confirmation that external supervisors are qualified to undertake PGR supervision.
  • Consideration of workload issues in relation to the supervisory team and the impact that providing support to students may have on this.
  • Arrangements for supervision and support including skills training, progression, and the examination process.
  • Ongoing Pastoral Support.
  • Attendance/Engagement monitoring.
  • Arrangements for the Student Voice/representation.

Where the approval relates to Dual or Joint Awards, the Business Case must be accompanied with confirmation that the proposed partner is legally entitled to award research degrees.

Business Cases should be supported by the following documentation:

  • A financial statement agreed by Financial Services indicating the costs/charges to be borne by each partner must be included.
  • Normally the Business Case must be supported by signed statements from the Pro Vice-Chancellors (Teaching and Learning)/ (Research & Enterprise), the Director of Registry, the Director of Finance and, where the external institution is overseas, the International Office.
  • For overseas institutions, any local or in-country government approvals must be identified as part of the Business Case presentation with an indication of likely timescales and processes. This must be presented as part of the validation report received by SCCP and Graduate Board.

The University reserves the right to require a visit by a representative of its Computing and Library Services at any point if deemed necessary.

Institutional approval and Validation

Where the University has no previous relationship with the proposed partner institution, an institutional approval event shall be organised to establish that the educational objectives and methods of the proposed partner are compatible with the University’s strategy and objectives. Full details of the Institutional Approval process is contained in Section I of this handbook.

A proportionate validation event will be arranged based on the risk factors of the proposal. The arrangements for validation events are contained within Section I and, in the case of Joint Awards, Section J of this handbook.