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Educational and Student Policy

 

It is expected that each faculty and, in the case of faculties divided into departments, each department will have a committee whose main remit is to oversee teaching and learning issues. In smaller institutions, it may prove feasible for a body such as the Faculty Board or main departmental committee to dedicate a part of its agenda to regular discussion of teaching and learning issues, rather than establishing a separate committee to do so. In inter-departmental or inter-faculty courses it may be more appropriate to have a course management committee made up of members of several institutions to oversee the functioning of that course.

It is expected that the teaching (or course management) committee will report to the Faculty Board or, in a department, to a major departmental body such as a Staff Committee or Head of Department Advisory Group. There should be a clear line of reporting and responsibility for acting on issues raised at the teaching committee. Formal minutes should be kept. Reporting lines and remits of responsibility are particularly important for inter-faculty or inter-departmental course management committees.

The Teaching Committee or similar body should undertake an annual review of teaching, learning and assessment practices, including the content of the curriculum and student handbooks. While in the main this will take the form of a reasonably succinct health check, in some instances the process could lead to a more detailed review of specific aspects of teaching and learning by working party or subject group.

Example 1: a faculty (without departments) Teaching Committee

The Teaching Committee consists of the Chair of the Faculty Board, Academic Secretary, Lecture List Secretary, the Administrative Officer, Chair of Directors of Studies Committee, representative of Junior Research Fellows, four other members appointed by the Faculty Board and a Language Teaching representative. Junior members are invited for specific items. The Committee meets at least once a term and reports (by sending minutes) to the Faculty Board. Issues raised are either acted on by the Faculty Board, or referred to other faculty bodies for action or discussion as appropriate.

The remit of the Teaching Committee is to take a broad view of teaching and learning quality assurance issues by keeping under review all aspects of undergraduate and MPhil teaching. The Committee carries out an annual review of the teaching programme; reviews initial consideration of new course proposals and any reforms to the Tripos; reviews stints; considers arrangements for the co-ordination of College-University teaching. The Committee aims to foster a culture in which comments or complaints can be made and acted on as appropriate.

Example 2: a departmental Teaching Committee

The Teaching Committee is chaired by the department's member on its parent Faculty Board and consists of course co-ordinators for Part IB and Part II of its Tripos, and a representative course co-ordinator for Part IA. It meets termly. It has principal responsibility for quality assurance of the department's undergraduate teaching. It reports by sending minutes to the departmental Staff Committee. It receives minutes from course management and consultative committees and annual reports on course questionnaires provided by its parent Faculty Board. Its remit also includes substitute teaching arrangements, discussion of funding arrangements for teaching, recruitment receptions and the Lecture List. It also carries out an annual review of teaching, learning and assessment in the department.

Where the deliberations of a teaching committee, Faculty Board or other body lead to proposals for changes to the Regulations for a Tripos or paper, these proposals should be discussed at an early stage with an officer of Educational and Student Policy, and with the University Draftsman. Please see:

It is important that there is provision for reflection on both undergraduate and graduate teaching activities. In some instances, for example where graduate provision is large, complex or interdisciplinary, it will be appropriate to have separate teaching committees for graduate and undergraduate matters. Please see: