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Education Quality and Policy Office


Colleges are responsible for individually monitoring their learning and teaching activities. They are autonomous bodies and do not report to University bodies. The University assures itself that teaching and learning in Colleges is satisfactory via Colleges' representative bodies, chiefly the Senior Tutors' Committee and the Undergraduate Admissions Committee.

College tutorial and teaching arrangements provide critical scrutiny of University performance, and the high degree of personal interaction between students and teachers fosters immediate feedback on the perceived quality of provision at all levels. The University and Colleges are committed to supporting the interdisciplinary nature of the Colleges as a major stimulus to teaching, learning and research, and enhancing the quality of the student experience through joint University and College membership.

This shared approach is evident in a number of ways:

  • substantial overlap in teaching and research personnel, with joint membership of the University and one or more Colleges. The majority of the University's Teaching Officers (UTOs) are also College Fellows, thereby reinforcing the extent to which small group teaching is informed by research activity; and most College Teaching Officers (CTOs) also contribute to the academic activities in a relevant faculty;
  • networks of College advisers (undergraduate Directors of Studies) which feed into the decision-making bodies of both the Colleges and the University;
  • College representation on a number of key University committees;
  • formal joint University-College committees, including the Undergraduate Admissions Committee;
  • the attendance of senior officers of the University at a number of College committees, including the Senior Tutors' Committee and its Standing Committees.

College responsibilities towards postgraduate and undergraduate students differ because of the different needs of postgraduates and the different structure of their academic studies. Postgraduates, on the whole, are admitted by the Postgraduate Committee and supervision of their work takes place in faculties or departments. However, College tutorial support for postgraduates comprises a very wide range of provision, covering graduate welfare in the broadest sense.

Senior Tutors' Committee and its Standing Committees

The intercollegiate body which is responsible for quality assurance matters is the Senior Tutors' Committee, together with its Standing Committees.

Senior Tutors' Committee

The Committee is chaired by the Vice-Chancellor, and has ex officio representation on the General Board's Education Committee (as well as other relevant University committees), thereby providing an opportunity for co-ordination of University and College responses to quality assurance and enhancement. The Committee receives minutes of the various Faculty/Departmental Directors of Studies Committees and follows up any issues which may have a general applicability to learning and teaching.

The Committee consists of the Senior Tutors of all Cambridge Colleges. It meets twice a term and is concerned with educational policy, welfare issues and student numbers, these being dealt with by Standing Committees or reports from other University bodies.

Standing Committees

  • The Standing Committee on Student Welfare and Finance considers all matters of student welfare and student finance and, where appropriate, liaises closely with the Bursars' Committee and the Graduate Tutors' Committee. The CUSU/GU Welfare and Rights Officer and President of the Graduate Union are members.
  • The Standing Committee on Education considers matters of College and University educational policy, including quality assurance. The CUSU Education Officer and President of the Graduate Union are members.
  • The Graduate Tutors' Committee considers matters relating to postgraduate students and where appropriate liaises with the Postgraduate Committee. Sabbatical Officers of Cambridge SU are┬ámembers of the Committee.

The Standing Committees, as well as the Senior Tutors' Committee itself, make nominations for representation on University Committees, so providing College views on central University issues.

The Undergraduate Admissions Committee (UAC) is co-chaired by the Secretary (or Associate Secretary) of the Senior Tutors' Committee and the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Education) and is responsible for oversight of the University and Colleges' policy and procedures on undergraduate admissions and student numbers. The UAC reports to the Senior Tutors' Committee, the General Board and the Council.

The Postgraduate Admissions Committee, chaired by the Pro-Vice Chancellor (Education) performs a similar function to UAC in respect of postgraduates.

Further information