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Education Quality and Policy Office


Colleges play a central role, through the supervision system, in teaching in the University. This page outlines the ways in which University and College teaching is fully co-ordinated and the contribution of University institutions to the quality assurance of College-based teaching and learning activities.

On this page:

Senior Tutors' Committee

Most dialogue between the University and Colleges concerning education and its quality takes place through the Senior Tutors' Committee (Raven access only).

Faculties and departments are expected to liaise with the Senior Tutors' Committee to satisfactorily co-ordinate University and College teaching.

The role of the faculty or department

The primary elements of a faculty/department's contribution to the co-ordination of College teaching and learning activities are:

  1. Providing Colleges with accessible, up-to-date information about faculty teaching and learning activities that impinge on College activities, including course descriptions, marking and classing criteria, information about library resources and IT provision, in-house training courses, etc.). Faculties and departments should also circulate to Directors of Studies in good time:
    • Lists of convenors and potential supervisors for each paper, which are made available by the latter for consultation by (but not circulation to) students.
    • Booklists recommended for purchase by College libraries and details of software that should be available in Colleges in order to enable students to succeed.
  2. Facilitating communication between those responsible for faculty/departmental and College teaching, by:
    • Providing a clear statement of aims and objectives for all papers and courses, and adequate information in advance about examination requirements, and assessment criteria. Such statements should be helpful both to teachers and students and provide a basis for enhanced co-operation and communication with Colleges.
    • Designating a University officer or officers (for example the Convenor of the Directors of Studies Committee, if a University officer) to co-ordinate University and College teaching and advise students on teaching matters.
    • Ensuring meetings of Directors of Studies take place on a regular (normally termly) basis and providing Minutes to the Secretary of the Senior Tutors' Standing Committee on Education for note, review, and action. 
    • Encouraging supervisors to attend relevant lectures, and training in supervision teaching. In association with Colleges, they should take necessary steps to enhance the quality of learning and teaching, e.g. by encouraging engagement with relevant in-house or Personal and Professional Development (PPD) training activities, and to encourage the use of appropriate teaching aids.
    • Reviewing and responding to issues relating to the co-ordination of University and College teaching, in consultation with Directors of Studies. This will include satisfactory arrangements for engaging with students individually and collectively in the quality of their educational experience, ensuring students receive advice, and can provide feedback.
    • There are arrangements for College Directors of Studies to be represented on relevant faculty or departmental committees and receive key faculty or departmental documents such as External Examiners' reports.
  3. Giving careful consideration to the following matters concerning supervision, in consultation with Directors of Studies and the Senior Tutors' Standing Committee on Education where appropriate:
    • Agreeing the appropriate volume of supervisions for new or substantially revised courses.
    • Agreeing a normal number of supervisions for each course/paper after consultation with Directors of Studies to enable appropriate arrangements for all students to be established, and to share such information with students.
    • Participating in arrangements for the allocation of supervisors to students, especially for Part II subjects, in consultation and agreement with Colleges.
    • Teaching arrangements falling around the boundary between supervisions and faculty/department teaching. In cases where there is any lack of clarity, faculties/departments should consult the Senior Tutors' Standing Committee on Education.

If a faculty or department, in consultation and agreement with Colleges, takes over a role in organising and/or delivering supervisions there is then clearly a (delegated) responsibility for assuring the quality of those supervisions on the part of the faculty or department.

Training of Postgraduate Students who supervise undergraduates

The Collegiate-University requires that all Postgraduate Students who supervise undergraduates should be trained. Colleges are responsible for satisfying themselves that all postgraduate students who supervise have received some training. The General Board’s Education Committee and Senior Tutors' Committee have jointly agreed the arrangements for what training should be provided and what should be covered.

Avenue for any concerns about College provision

If a Head of Institution becomes aware through whatever route (student feedback questionnaire, comments from staff, etc.) that some aspect of provision in a College is causing concern they should refer the matter in the first instance to the Director of Studies in the College. If no resolution is achieved the matter should be taken up with the Senior Tutor in that College. If the matter still cannot be resolved, the Secretary of the Senior Tutors' Committee will be responsible for resolving the concern.