Consultation

This page provides guidance on areas that should be consulted in the development of new programmes and in changes to the curriculum. 

Consultation with internal stakeholders is an important element of curriculum development. The Quality Assurance Agency advises that 'continuous engagement with internal and external stakeholders' should inform 'the design and development of courses, ensuring the continuing relevance of curricula, assessment methods and teaching approaches' (UK Quality Code for Higher Education: Advice and Guidance, Course Design and Development, 2018). 

The College Academic Policy Partners will ensure paperwork for new programmes is shared with the relevant expert reviewers listed below (via email currently, and via SharePoint from 2020). However, it is strongly encouraged that, when developing new programmes, proposers engage with the below areas as soon as possible, to enable them to make a meaningful contribution to the programme's design. Similarly, there are certain areas that should be consulted when programmes are changed.

The below sections outline different areas that should be consulted, how they can support the programme development process, who to contact, and where to access more information. 

 

Areas  

Careers Network

Areas of interest: 

  • All new programmes (less so Degree Apprenticeships and commissioned programmes).

Where Careers Network can offer support:

  • Helping to build employability opportunities into curriculum design.
  • Offering support on ways that contextualised employability and enterprise can complement your programme.
  • Ideas for ‘authentic assessment’, and examples of how these approaches have been implemented at the University of Birmingham and elsewhere.
  • Helping programme proposers understand what the labour market looks like for the proposed degree. 

Contact:

Collaborative Provision

Note that consultation with Collaborative Provision is mandatory for any programmes with collaborative elements. 

Where Collaborative Provision can offer support:

  • Supporting and advising on higher education arrangements with other institutions and organisations, in the UK and internationally.
  • Working in conjunction with University staff, including colleagues in Legal Services, to assist in the development, management, and review of collaborative provision arrangements. 

Contact:  

Educational Enterprise

Areas of interest:

  • New distance learning or blended programmes at all levels (Undergraduate, Postgraduate, and Continuing Professional Development, including Massive Open Online Courses).
  • The distance learning strategy and portfolio. 

Where Educational Enterprise can offer support:

  • Supporting the development of new online and blended learning programmes, including business case development where appropriate. 
  • Advising in best practice in online programme design and promoting Technology Enhanced Learning.
  • Advising and supporting in choosing a delivery partner.
  • Facilitating cross-College proposals and development opportunities.

Contact:

External Relations, Marketing, and Admissions

Areas of interest:

  • All new programmes.
  • Programme withdrawals and modifications, especially where current and/or prospective students may be affected. 

Where Marketing/Admissions can offer support: 

  • Writing market reports (Marketing).
  • Contacting prospective students who may be affected by changes to programmes/modules, advising on when Legal Services need to be contacted, and providing general guidance.
  • Leading on the external marketing of programmes to students, including through Open Days, Offer-holder Visit Days, and digital and printed materials.
  • Addressing any queries around student admissions and admissions processes.

Contact:

Finance

Note that consultation with the College Accountant is mandatory for most programme and module paperwork (especially new programmes and modules). 

Where Finance can offer support:

  • Elements of the finance of programmes and modules, including costs and resources for running programmes/modules, fees and programme-related income etc.

Contact:

Higher Education Futures institute (HEFi)

Areas of interest: 

  • Programme and module design.
  • Technology Enhanced Learning. 

Where HEFi can offer support:

  • Educational Enhancement team: assessment design, learning outcomes, aligning learning outcomes to assessment, level of modules, and other areas of curriculum design. 
  • Birmingham Digital Education (BDE): Canvas, blended and distance learning.

Contact: 

International Relations

International Relations have two key areas: International Development and Mobility, and International Strategy. 

Areas of interest:

  • International Development and Mobility: programmes that include a period of study abroad (and student mobility), and whether modules are open to incoming exchange students. 
  • International Strategy: programmes aiming to recruit internationally.

Where International Relations can offer support:

  • Sourcing new partnerships and collaborations with institutions suggested by the School.  
  • Managing study abroad and exchange programmes. 
  • Advising on synergies with existing partners.
  • International recruitment and what Schools should consider when recruiting internationally.

Contact:

International Student Team (IST)

Areas of interest:

  • Programmes that can recruit international students (both EU and Tier IV). 
  • Programmes with an agreement with an international partnership institution (e.g. 2+2 courses). 

Where IST can offer support:

  • Advising on the creation of any of the above types of programmes. 
  • Recruiting and teaching Tier IV students.
  • Elements of programme design that may have implications for visas (e.g. irregular programme lengths). 

Contact: 

Library Services

Areas of interest:

  • All programmes, particularly those with high projected student numbers.
  • Distance learning and transnational education.
  • New modules (note that a Resource List should be created for new modules as soon as possible, and at least 2 months prior to the module running).
  • Withdrawn programmes and modules.

Where Library Services can offer support:

  • Providing support with academic and digital skills, including offering embedded academic skills training
  • Ensuring there are sufficient library resources for students; resources that students may require include physical copies of text books, scanned copied of books for online learning, ebook licenses (including for learners in other countries), and subscription material.
  • Note that many of the above resources have associated costs; Library Services needs to be informed as soon as possible if additional resources will be required so they can work with you to develop a business case to bid for available funds. 

Contact

Planning

Note that consultation with the College Planning Partner is mandatory for most programme and module paperwork, especially new programmes and modules. 

Where Planning can offer support:

  • Providing constructive challenge and advice on College strategy and portfolio.
  • Sourcing and interpreting data to support College decision making.
  • HECoS codes. 
  • Tuition fees and other costings.

Contact

Research Student Administration (RSA)

Areas of interest: 

  • Postgraduate research programmes and PGR programmes with taught elements (e.g. PhD with Integrated Study).
  • Withdrawal/modification of programmes/modules with research students registered on them 

Where RSA can offer support:

  • Queries around the administration of research programmes, e.g. programme structure, or whether students will be affected by the withdrawal of a module.

Contact:

Student Conduct, Complaints and Appeals

Areas of interest: 

  • New/existing programmes that are subject to fitness to practise regulations. 
  • Programmes with professional accreditation. 
  • Collaborative programmes. 
  • Any programmes with an agreement with an international partnership institution (e.g. 2+2 courses). 
  • Non-College programmes.

Where Student Conduct can offer support:

  • Aspects relating to fitness to practise (note that all fitness to practise programmes are listed on Student Conduct's website so it is essential they are informed when new FtP programmes are approved).
  • Ensuring that the ownership of the responsibility for student conduct, complaints and appeals is clear for programmes that are delivered with partnership institutions.

Contact:

Taught Student Administration (TSA)

Areas of interest: 

  • Withdrawal/Modification of programmes/modules that may have students registered on them.
  • New programmes with non-standard elements, e.g. programmes that do not go through Admissions, where fees are not charged through Banner, or that have regulatory exemptions. 

Where TSA can offer support:

  • Advising on programmes with any of the above elements. 
  • Ascertaining if there are students who may be affected by a programme/module withdrawal/modification (e.g. students on a leave of absence). 
  • Any queries relating to taught student administration.

Contact:

Students (Prospective, Current, and Alumni)

The Quality Assurance Agency states that universities 'should engage students individually and collectively' in 'design, development and approval processes to ensure the student voice is actively represented'. 

Mechanisms for engaging students in curriculum development and approval could include: 

  • Student Staff Forums, e.g. discussing new programmes or proposed changes in a meeting or circulating proposals to Student Volunteers.
  • Referring to data from student surveys such as Module Evaluation Questionnaires and the National Student Survey in programme and module forms, e.g. citing MEQ data when changing an element of a module.
  • Emailing students and asking for feedback on proposals or arranging a focus group. 
  • Ensuring there is student membership on approval panels, e.g. ensuring College Student Representatives attend College Education Committee (or equivalent).

If prospective or current students will be affected by a change to the portfolio (e.g. programme/module withdrawal/modification) it is essential they are consulted with - please refer to the Competition and Markets Authority guidance.

 

Colleges

Professional Services