The involvement of external advisers in the development and approval of new programmes is defined by the Quality Assurance Agency as a core practice in the expectations for standards in the UK Quality Code for Higher Education:
‘The provider uses external expertise, assessment and classification processes that are reliable, fair and transparent. In practice, this means that feedback from external stakeholders is used to inform course design and development’ (from the UK Quality Code for Higher Education - Advice and Guidance, Course Design and Development).
The University’s programme development and approval process therefore requires that during the development and approval of new programmes appropriate advice is sought from individuals with relevant expertise who are external to the University (see below). These individuals are called ‘external advisers’.
As part of completing the external adviser’s form, the external adviser is asked to confirm that s/he has reviewed the new programme proposal form (Parts A and B), programme specification, market research report, assessment matrix, curriculum map, skills audit, and any new module proposals. The external adviser may also withhold comments until further information s/he has requested is provided, unless this information is commercially sensitive.