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Educational and Student Policy

 

Research degree provision in a Faculty, Department or Institution should be overseen by a Director of Graduate Education, or similar role-holder. He or she will usually be supported by a Graduate Education Committee, or equivalent body. The remit of this committee will vary according to whether issues concerning research students, taught graduate students, or both, are dealt with. Some institutions have MPhil Committees which deal with applications from and progress of MPhil students, while in other situations this business is dealt with by the Degree Committee along with research student issues.

There should also be an opportunity for reflection on the curriculum, teaching, learning and assessment of taught courses. In some institutions this takes place at meetings of the Teaching Committee and/or student-staff liaison committee, but there may be an argument for having a separate graduate teaching committee if the taught provision is large or complex. It is useful to have student representatives on committees discussing general graduate teaching issues. In this case, unreserved and reserved agendas might be necessary if the progress of individual students is discussed by the same committee.

It is important, particularly in faculties divided into departments, that responsibilities in graduate education matters, between the Faculty Board, Teaching Committee, Degree Committee, any Graduate Education Committee and (where applicable) departmental bodies, are clearly understood by all bodies concerned.

Further guidance is available in the Code of Practice issued by the Board of Graduate Studies.

Example: a Departmental Graduate Education Committee

Members: four academic staff plus the Departmental Secretary. Members are appointed by the Head of Department.

Roles:

To provide support to graduate students, especially by supplementing the guidance provided by the first and second supervisor. This is especially useful in cases where an independent arbiter is needed.

To monitor progress of graduate students, individually and collectively. This is achieved by:

  1. Considering termly assessments by supervisors, who indicate whether progress is satisfactory, unsatisfactory or not clear.
  2. Considering termly self-assessments by students, who indicate whether they consider their own progress to be satisfactory, unsatisfactory or not clear. Any response other than 'satisfactory' in either of these two reports triggers a meeting between the student and the student's GEC supervisor.
  3. Organising assessed presentations by research students.

By means of such monitoring, to ensure that the department's submission rate within four years is as high as possible.

To organise training for graduate students.

To organise recruitment of graduate students.