Validation and Approvals - Quality - University of Derby

Validation and Approval

From September 1st a set of transitional arrangements for validation and approval of programme developments (major awards that are either collaborative or non-collaborative in nature) were introduced. The transitional arrangements have been introduced in light of the request by Academic Board, to review further proposed changes to the validation and approval process. Guidance surrounding these transitional arrangements is included below which focuses on outlines of process & key dates / deadlines & arrangements for submission of documentation.

These arrangements will be in place from September 1st until 31st December. It should be noted that arrangements for modification to programmes and validation and approval of programmes other than those covered in the transitional arrangements are available.  Please contact Doug Carr for more information.

*Please note that all other information about processes for programme developments which are not covered by the transitional arrangements can be found on these pages. 

Outline of Transitional Arrangements

The transitional arrangements will essentially comprise four key stages;

Stage 1 Stage 2 Stage 3 Stage 4
Notification / liaison with key stakeholders   Approval by University Executive   Consideration by PDSC   Consideration by Validation Panel

A Panopto presentation that details the background / context to the introduction of the transitional arrangements and provides an overview of the keys stages involved is available.

Stage 1: Notification / Liaison with Key Stakeholders

This stage will essentially involve notification and early liaison / discussion between Colleges and relevant service departments in order to identify potential resources issues.  Informal in nature, no specific documentation is required for this stage but it is important that this early discussion takes place as a precursor to subsequent stages.

Stage 2: Approval by University Executive

This stage will essentially involve consideration of, from a university–wide perspective, the proposed development/s. In terms of process;

  • A short Programme Summary Form is formulated by the programme lead which should cover three core issues of why the programme is needed; why there is a market & what implications does the development have for resources within the College / Department. There is no prescribed form / template for this document but it should ideally not exceed one side of A4
  • Once completed, the summary should be submitted to the College Dean for review and sign-off.
  • On completion of sign-off, the summary should be returned to the admin quality team for archiving and in preparation for review at the next stage
  • The completed detail will then be forwarded to PAs for the relevant DVC in preparation for consideration at the next appropriate University Executive meeting (University Executive meetings are held on Monday of each week).
  • Outcomes of review of the programme summary by Executive will be recorded at each meeting, with these outcomes being forwarded to College Deans; Programme Leads & PAs to Deans

Stage 3: Consideration by PDSC

Programme Development Sub-Committee (PDSC) will play a key part in reviewing further detail surrounding the proposed development. In terms of process;

  • The programme lead / team will complete the Programme Approval Form and submit to the administrative support officer for PDSC (Phyllis Geaney)
  • Submission of this documentation should be made by the following dates;
    • Monday 7th September (for PDSC meeting scheduled for 16th September)
    • Friday 30th October (PDSC meeting scheduled for 13th November)
  • Whilst outcomes of the consideration of the programme development by PDSC will be notified as soon as possible it should be noted that final approval for developments to go ahead can only be confirmed by ADQC (ADQC meetings that follow the PDSC meetings identified above are scheduled to take place on October 1st & December 1st)

Stage 4: Consideration by Validation & Approval Panel

The final stage of approval will remain largely unchanged in terms of process but (like the consideration of documentation by PDSC outlined above) the transitional arrangements will provide a useful opportunity to trial recently revised documentation. In summary;

  • The key differentiation is retained for devolved responsibility for College based events (typically non-collaborative focused approvals) & a centralised University responsibility (resting with Learning Enhancement) for almost all collaborative focused events
  • Documentation supplied for the validation panel will typically comprise;
    • A Programme Specification. We have some guidance material that will help you in developing an effective programme specification.
    • A set of Module Specifications for ALL modules to be utilised in the programme. Some guidance material exists that will help you in developing an effective module specifications.
    • A Programme Matrix which provides a “snapshot capture of all modules used in the programme and their associated assessment breakdown
    • A mapping of Modules (or Module Learning Outcomes if it provides better clarity) against Programme Learning Outcomes
    • Parts A & B of the Programme Approval Form (completed for consideration in stage 3 outlined above)

Please note - other documentation may be required, the nature of which will depend on the focus and scope of the validation event. If you are unsure of whether additional documentation may be required (if the validation panel involves external agencies / bodies or if the validation has a collaborative emphasis e.g.) you should seek advice from your College Lead for Quality Enhancement (CLQE).

Support and Guidance for Transitional Arrangements

A key point of contact for guidance and support for these transitional arrangements rests with colleagues in Learning Enhancement. For queries regarding the revised transitional arrangement as a whole you should contact your College Lead for Quality Enhancement (CLQE). Any specific queries surrounding arrangements for consideration by PDSC can be made directly to Phyllis Geaney.

Whilst it is recognised that some development teams may be at different stages of the process already, the table below sets out the process that should be followed for both current and new developments of major awards.

Stage of DevelopmentHow changes will impact on progress to approval
Your proposal has been considered by a validation panel and you are currently working to address conditions You should continue work to address conditions.  Changes to process outlined should have no impact on your progress
Development approval has been granted by PDSC, but no work has been completed on the validation paperwork

You should proceed to the validation panel stage and use the documentation outlined above including the new formats for both the programme specification and the module specifications

Development approval has been granted by PDSC, some work has been completed on the validation paperwork: You should proceed to validation and continue using existing documentation templates, provided the programme will go to validation in 2015. If your validation date is scheduled for 2016 you should seek to use new documentation outlined above. If there is any lack of clarity about what documentation you should be using, you should consult with your CLQE.
Preliminary approval has been made within Colleges for your development and/or the proposed development has not yet been discussed / considered anywhere You will need to undertake each stage as outlined above using documentation as outlined above

It is recognised (due to the transitional nature of this process) that for some developments there may be some ambiguity about which parts of the above process should ideally be followed (that is largely dependent on how far towards the final validation panel stage a team may be).  In such situations programme leads should discuss optimal routes through to approval with their CLQE

What's Happening ...

Effective Programme Management

14 December 2016

1-2pm (KR) and 4-5pm (Bux)

A session focused on exploring Programme Leadership designed for new in-post programme leaders and programme leaders who would benefit from sharing / developing best practice. 

For more information and to register please view our APP webpage.