Upon approval of Law 136 (I) 2015, Alexander College, by decision of the Council (November 2015), established the Internal Quality Committee, which, among others, is responsible for the “Operation of formal mechanisms for the approval, monitoring and periodic review and where necessary review of programs and degrees offered”. The Internal Quality Committee, along with the Academic Council (both institutions are headed by the Head of Academic Affairs, have the authority to periodically review the content of teaching programs and guide their future development.
The new provisions of the law have been incorporated into the internal regulations of the college and have been approved by the Ministry of Education relative authority.
The procedures of approval and operation, of review and internal evaluation of the study programmes, are set according to the law 67 (I) 1996-2013 while guided by the Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in European Higher Education Area and in particular Part I which relates to the Standards and Guidelines for the Protection of Internal Quality .
The Alexander College is bound to apply article 4a of Law 136 (I)2015 and develops an internal quality evaluation policy aiming to improve the education offered.
Heading towards this direction the college prepared an updated plan of operation and mechanisms for the management and improvement.
For the internal approval and operation of a course of study that will be evaluated and certified, a thorough procedure is followed including academics, professionals and relevant officials in the employment industry (professional committees and bodies) based on the Alexander College strategy and educational mission.
The provisions include the evaluation and review of the content of the programme of study, based on the most recent research in order to update the programmes. The changes to the needs of the society, the workload of the students and lecturers and the results of their study.
It also includes the effectiveness of the students’ assessment, the expectations-needs and their satisfaction with the programme offered. The evaluation of the learning environment as well as the support services offered.
Programs are reviewed and revised at least every four years and especially before the review from the Agency of Quality Assurance and Accreditation in Higher Education, which takes place every five years, while every three years a detailed report is prepared by the Internal Quality Committee. Every single change at a programme of study is taken and adopted, taking into consideration the above criteria and is communicated officially while at the right time is published in accordance with the law.
Internal Regulation for the Introduction and Review of Programmes
1. Scope and principles
This section of the Quality Management and Enhancement Framework outlines the purpose of Periodic Curriculum Review, the process of review and the reporting of outcomes.
The College requires that all of its taught provision is reviewed and reapproved at least every four years. Periodic Curriculum Review is a peer-based process which focuses on critical reflection on qualitative and quantitative data to evaluate the academic health of the taught curriculum. The process operates on a rolling four-year cycle and the outcome is the production of a forward-looking action plan in support of the continued enhancement and development of the curriculum.
Periodic Curriculum Review takes place at programme level and each review should encompass a group of related programmes, such as a subject cluster or the provision of a Department. However, reviews should be proportionate and clearly focused, so it may be appropriate for large or complex subject areas.
In exceptional circumstances, specific reviews may be delayed by one academic session on the authority of the Head of Academic Affairs. This might occur, for example, as a result of the annual planning round where a subject is highlighted as an area of concern.
2. Key roles and responsibilities
2.1. Key individuals
a) The Member of the Internal Quality Committee oversees and manages the Colleges Periodic Curriculum Review cycle and is a primary source of advice on the review process and on engagement. Will liaise with the Faculty Associate Dean (Learning Teaching and the Student Experience) and the Head of Department or Program (or nominees) regarding the coordination, preparation and undertaking of review activity and is responsible for assigning a Learning and Teaching Enhancement Team Officer to support each review.
b) The Learning and Teaching Enhancement Team Officer (LTET Officer) will liaise with all those involved in the process to provide advice and guidance; act as a panel member; ensure the smooth running of the activity and coordinate the production of any required documentation.
c) The Faculty Quality Account Manager, in liaison with the LTET Officer, will provide guidance on curriculum approval matters relating to the review activity.
d) The Review Team will be constituted according to the scope and requirements of the review but is likely to include the Programme Leader(s), Head/Associate Head of Department, Module Leader(s) and appropriate Professional Service Staff with the contribution of the Internal Quality Committee. The Review Team will engage with critical self-reflection and analysis of both quantitative and qualitative data in order to assess programme evolution and change over the period since the last review and plan for future enhancement and developments. This will include the production of a Critical Evaluation Document (CED).
e) A Peer Review Panel will be formed to scrutinise the CED and supporting documentation. The Review Panel will provide comments and may request further information for clarification. At the end of the event, the Review Panel will present a judgment of their level of confidence in the provision and make a recommendation to the Curriculum Approval Panel.
a) The Academic Council has an overview of Periodic Curriculum Review activity for the Faculty and will receive notification of the outcome of each review. It is responsible for monitoring action plans resulting from review activity and will highlight good practice or issues requiring enhancement to the Learning, Teaching and Student Experience Committee (LTSEC) as appropriate. Faculty ASQCs will also receive, on an annual basis, a summary of expected reviews for the forthcoming academic year.
b) The Academic Council receives an annual report of all completed review activity in the University and undertakes to identify any themes that may emerge for University action.
c) The Academic Council receives and considers the recommendation of the Review Panel. It will also be asked to consider for approval any updated documentation following appropriate recommendations for amendment to curriculum provision.
d) Internal Quality Committee and the Academic Council have responsibility for setting mechanisms for assuring the quality and standards of provision in the Alexander College and delegate the oversight of review activity.
3. Curriculum required to undergo periodic curriculum review
All taught programmes undergo review except where they are subject to rigorous review by a Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Body (PSRB). In this case, the outcomes of the PSRB activity should form part of the evidence base for the review of the programme cluster to which the professionally accredited programme belongs. The CRA Manager advises upon which accredited programmes can be excluded from review.
4. Preparation for periodic curriculum review
The foundation of Periodic Curriculum Review is a critical reflection upon a number of key indicators of quality assurance and enhancement based on European Standards and Guidelines and those of The Cyprus Agency of Quality Assurance and Accreditation in Higher Education (DI.P.A.E.). Documentation demonstrating engagement with these indicators forms an evidence base which underpins this reflection and informs the completion of the CED produced by the Review Team.
The emphasis of the process is upon evaluation and enhancement of student achievement of the appropriate academic standards and of the learning opportunities offered to students so that they are able to achieve those academic standards.
4.1. Critical evaluation document
The CED reflects on the following areas:
- Rationale for the provision
- Planned developments for the provision, including any proposed changes to the curriculum
- Annual monitoring and evaluation
- Recruitment and admissions
- Learning teaching and assessment strategies
- Student support
- Staff development and scholarly activity
- Conclusion and action plan
The CED and the supporting evidence base should demonstrate:
- That academic standards continue to be met;
- That the quality of teaching and learning opportunities remain appropriate;
- Reaffirmation, or details of the required revision, of the subject/programme educational aims and learning outcomes;
- How quality assurance processes have played a part in assuring academic standards and supporting continuous improvement;
- That the provision remains aligned to the Alexander College mission and strategic priorities and to external market needs;
- Evidence of good practice and innovation;
- The strengths of the provision under review and identify any opportunities for enhancement;
- Any areas of the provision in need of change or improvement, together with the steps being taken to address these;
- How staff engaged in the programmes and wider subject area are enabled to evaluate the standards achieved by students and the quality of the learning opportunities offered to them;
- A clearly articulated relationship between research, teaching and learning and links with the College’s policies and strategies;
- Continuing external benchmarking (Including coordination with the DIPAE and or Professional Bodies)
- Continuing validity of programme level educational aims-objectives and learning outcomes
- Analysis and summary of resources and requirements to support a forward agenda;
- That reference has been made to the graduate outcomes identified in the DIPAE guidance.
- That the content and presentation of the programme/module specifications provide adequate, accurate information.
4.2. The evidence base
- Previous curriculum review report and action plan or minutes/report of approval with accompanying recommendations, commendations etc;
- Programme specification(s) with accompanying change logs;
- Module specifications with accompanying changelogs (a representative sample, but all compulsory modules as a minimum);
- Department and programme annual monitoring reports for the last three years;
- External examiner reports for the last three years, including the response to the examiner;
- Programme handbook(s);
- Module handbooks (a representative sample, but all compulsory modules as a minimum);
- Teaching staff CVs;
- Student Rep/Staff forum (or other student forum) minutes;
- Outcome reports of any PSRB activity.
4.3. The review team
The Review Team works collaboratively to:
- Evaluate existing qualitative and quantitative data about the provision to be reviewed;
- Write the Critical Evaluation Document and draw together supporting documents;
- Meet with the review panel at the review event;
- Develop the resulting forward-looking action plan;
- Implement the strategic changes identified in the action plan.
The team comprises representatives from the academics and Professional/Technical Services staff who contribute to the delivery of the programme, collaborative partners (where appropriate) and Academic Services. Membership of the review team can be extended to include specialists from outside the Faculty whose role would be to contribute reflection on specific aspects of the provision, for instance, technology enhanced learning, sustainability, internationalisation, employability or work-based learning. They include the evaluation of: – The content of the programme in the light of the latest research in the given discipline thus ensuring that the programme is up to date; – The changing needs of society; – The students’ workload, progression and completion; – The effectiveness of procedures for assessment of students; – The student expectations, needs and satisfaction in relation to the programme; – The learning environment and support services and their fitness for purpose for the programme. Programmes are reviewed and revised regularly involving students and other stakeholders. The information collected is analysed and the programme is adapted to ensure that it is up-to-date. Revised programme specifications are published.
The advisory role of the Alexander Research Centre into a review team is to bring forth a holistic view of international level and literature discussions of topical changes into the field of the programme under review.