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’.
Utilising external expertise in programme design is also another way in which the University ensures its curriculum remains relevant, up-to-date, challenging, and equips students with the skills they need.
As part of completing the external adviser’s form, the external adviser is asked to confirm that they have 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 they have requested is provided, unless this information is commercially sensitive.