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Periodic Review of Academic Programmes Policy

Section 1 - Introduction

Purpose

(1) This policy sets out the principles and requirements for the formal periodic review of a programme. This policy also supports the Development and Approval of Programmes for a Blended or Online Environment Policy and the Ongoing Monitoring of Online or Blended Learning Programmes Policy

Scope

In what situations does the policy apply?

(2) This policy applies to all Hibernia College programmes.

Who is responsible for implementing the policy?

(3) The Academic Board is ultimately responsible for overseeing the periodic review of programmes and for responding to the recommendations in a review report.

(4) The Head of School/Programme Director or nominee is responsible for producing the periodic review report. 

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Section 2 - Context

Legal or Regulatory Context

Quality Assurance Guidelines

(5) This policy is designed with regard to the European Standards and Guidelines and QQI Core Statutory Quality Assurance Guidelines.

Interface with External Quality Assurance

(6) Periodic review also serves as a crucial interface with external quality assurance systems and revalidation and professional re-approval processes.

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Section 3 - Objectives of Programme Review

(7) The objective of a programme review is to review the development of a programme, or suite of programmes, over the previous five years, with particular emphasis on the achievement and improvement of educational quality. The focus is principally on the evaluation of quality and the flexibility of the programmes’ responses to changing needs in light of the programme approval and relevant awards standards. A key question is - does the programme still meet the principles outlined in the Development and Approval of Programmes for a Blended or Online Environment Policy?

Part A - Periodic Review

(8) Programmes are normally comprehensively reviewed, at a minimum, every five years or earlier if required by concerns arising during ongoing monitoring.

(9) Where programmes are externally accredited, the review period for the programme and its accreditation may be specified by the accrediting body. In this case, periodic review happens in line with and in advance of review by the accrediting body.

Specific Objectives of a Programme Review 

(10) The specific objectives of a programme review are to:

  1. Analyse the effectiveness and efficiency of each validated programme, including detail of learner numbers, retention rates and success rates
  2. Review the development of the programmes in the context of the requirements of employers, industry, professional bodies, the Irish economy and international developments
  3. Evaluate the response of the programme to society’s needs and educational developments
  4. Evaluate the feedback mechanisms for learners in respect of the programme and the processes for acting on this feedback
  5. Evaluate the learning environment provided for the provision of the programme(s)
  6. Evaluate the formal links which have been established with industry, business and the wider community in order to maintain the relevance of the programmes
  7. Evaluate feedback from employers of the programmes’ graduates and from those graduates
  8. Review any research activities in the field of learning under review and their impact on teaching and learning
  9. Evaluate projections for the following five years in the programme(s)/field of learning under review
  10. Make proposals in relation to the:
    1. Updating of programmes or modules 
    2. Discontinuation of programmes or modules 
    3. Development of new programmes

Essential Elements of a Periodic Review

(11) A critical self-valuation by the programme team

(12) Use of ongoing monitoring reports

(13) Collation of stakeholder feedback, to include students, Staff, Adjunct Faculty, work placement providers, professional bodies and employers

(14) Conduct of a peer review by a panel of experts

Outcomes of Periodic Review

(15) A report, with recommendations around the programme and, where relevant, a revised programme document. These may include:

  1. Minor changes to the programme
  2. Major changes to the programme
  3. Withdrawal of the programme

(16) A decision by the Academic Board to submit the proposed revised programme for programme revalidation 

Publication

(17) The outcomes of programme reviews should be published and made available to students, potential students and other stakeholders.