Course Approval, Change and Discontinuation - Procedures

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Course Approval, Change and Discontinuation - Procedures

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Approval authority
Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor
Responsible officer
Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor
Designated officer
Pro Vice-Chancellor (Students)
First approved
1 May 2015
Last amended
17 June 2016
Effective start date
1 May 2015
Review date
1 May 2020
Status
Active
Related documents
Higher Degree by Research Accreditation - Academic Policy
Higher Degree by Research Accreditation - Procedures
Program Accreditation - Procedures
Program Accreditation and Course Approval - Governing Policy
Program Changes - Procedures
Program Discontinuation and Suspension of Intake - Procedures
Program Review - Procedures
Superseded documents
Course Changes - Procedures|Course Discontinuation - Procedures|Course Approval - Procedures
Related legislation / standards
Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) Act 2011
Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2011

Definitions

Please refer to the University’s Glossary of Terms for policies and procedures.

Part A: Purpose, Timeframes and Scope of Application

A1 Purpose of procedures

These procedures detail the steps that must be undertaken to approve, change an existing course or discontinue a course at the University of the Sunshine Coast. They must be read in conjunction with the Program Accreditation and Course Approval – Governing Policy.

A2 Timelines

A2.1 Faculties plan and progress all proposed new courses, course changes and course discontinuations so that:

New course
  • sufficient time is allowed for informed consideration of, and decision-making based on, the merit and academic integrity of proposed new courses in the context of the programs in which they are proposed for offer and the associated resource and other implications
  • the approval of a new course is no later than two weeks prior to the opening of enrolments for the teaching period in which it is to be first offered.
Change to a course

Tier 1: Course Information required prior to student enrolment

  • the approval of changes to a course is no later than two weeks prior to the opening of enrolments for the teaching period in which it is to be offered.

Tier 2: Course information required prior to delivery of the course

Discontinuation of a course
  • the approval of changes to a course is finalised by no later than four weeks prior to the teaching period in which it is to be offered.
  • the approval of discontinuation of a course is finalised by no later than two weeks prior to the opening of enrolments for the teaching period in which it was to be offered.
A3 Scope of application

When approval is granted for changes to a program that are approved by Learning and Teaching Committee or Academic Board, approval is also given for new courses associated with that change (other than courses documented using only the Course Synopses template).

If a new course is proposed other than as part of the accreditation of a program or as part of changes to a program requiring approval by Learning and Teaching Committee or Academic Board, the procedures given below are followed.

Part B: Course approval

B1 Development of course

B1.1 The relevant School creates a Course Development Team and they develop the course in line with any faculty requirements and processes, ensuring that:

(a) consultations are held with all parties:

(i) with a legitimate interest in the proposed development, including for example other faculties if the course is to be made available in a cross-faculty or double degree program, and professional and registration bodies;

(ii) for whom there may be resource or administrative implications with the proposed developments, including for example Information Technology Services, Information Services, Student Services and Engagement, Asset Management Services, and Marketing and External Engagement;

(b) input is sought from other appropriate sources with relevant expertise, for example academic developers available within the Centre for Support and Advancement of Learning and Teaching (C-SALT);

(c) the course is designed and developed consistent with:

  • any applicable policies and procedures within the University
  • any standards for external recognition, registration or accreditation of any program in which the new course will be offered.
B2 Initial approval documentation

B2.1 The Course Development Team documents the proposed new course including resource needs using:

(a) the Course Proposal template;

(b) the Course Outline/Course Administration Information templates;

(c) resource impact statement template for Asset Management Services, Library, and Information Technology Services (ITS);

(d) Course Synopses (only available for courses that are to be introduced in later years of a new program).

 
B2.2 Course Proposal

The Course Proposal is used when the course is being proposed independently of a new program proposal or a change to an existing program.

B2.3 Course Outline/Course Administration Information

The Course Outline is the description of the proposed new course that is used to assess its academic merit and which forms the basis for provision of information to students, intending students, the University community and the public concerning the course. The Course Administration Information includes data required for the establishment and administration of the course.

B2.4 Resource Impact Statements

Resource Impact Statements detail the resource needs and implications of the proposed course for provision of support and services by Asset Management Services, Library and Information Technology Services (ITS).

B2.5 Course Synopses

B2.5.1 In some circumstances full development and documentation of new courses to be undertaken in the second or subsequent years of offer of a proposed new program may not be possible. In these cases a Course Synopsis can be substituted for the relevant Course Outline when documenting the new program. Consultations should be held with any relevant professional body to confirm the acceptability of this approach for meeting conditions for external accreditation of the program.

B2.5.2 New courses documented only as Course Synopses are provisionally approved by Learning and Teaching Committee on the condition that the course/s must subsequently be fully documented using the Course Outline template. Requests for final approval of Course Outline must be approved by the Learning and Teaching Committee, no later than two weeks prior to the opening of enrolments for the teaching period in which the course is to be offered.

B3 Consideration by Head of School

B3.1 The Course Development Team forwards the proposal and Course Outline/Course Administration Information to the relevant Head of School who considers the documentation.

B3.2 If required, the Head of School advises the Course Development Team to make any needed changes. The Course Development Team makes any needed changes and presents the amended documentation to the Head of School.

B3.3 The Head of School considers the amended documentation, taking into account all matters of relevance, and if they decide that approval for the changes should be sought, they sign the relevant section of the proposal and refer the signed documentation to the Faculty Learning and Teaching Committee.

B4 Consideration of Course Proposal and Course Outline by Faculty Learning and Teaching Committee

B4.1 The committee consider the documentation at their respective meetings and minutes are made of the discussion and any related recommendations.

B4.2 In considering the documentation, the committees take account of matters within their terms of reference and form a view on whether the proposed course meets the requirements of relevant policies and procedures.

B4.3 Faculty Learning and Teaching Committee (FLTC) considers the academic merit of the proposed course on the basis of the documentation and:

(a) resolves to recommend to Learning and Teaching Committee that the proposed course as currently documented be approved; or

(b) resolves to recommend that the proposed course as currently documented be approved subject to identified amendments being made to the associated documentation; or

(c) makes such other resolutions as may be appropriate.

B4.4 If unqualified approval is recommended, the Secretary, FLTC refers the documentation and relevant extract from the Committee’s minutes to the Executive Dean for consideration.

B4.5 If approval is recommended subject to amendments being made:

(a) the Course Development Team is advised to make the amendments and submit to the Chair of the Committee, the amended documentation together with a written response to the matters identified, including a statement detailing the changes made to the documentation (with page references); and

(b) the Chair, FLTC reviews the amended documentation and if satisfied with the revised documentation, then forwards it to the Executive Dean.

B5 Course Codes and Files; Referral of Impact Statements

B5.1 The relevant accreditation officer completes a proforma to request from Student Services and Engagement the allocation of Course Codes for any new courses.

B5.2 Student Services and Engagement allocates the codes and advises the accreditation officer of these.

B5.3 The accreditation officer requests Information Management Services Unit to create a new University file for the proposed course.

B5.4 Information Management Services Unit creates new files and advises the accreditation officer of the relevant file numbers.

B5.5 The accreditation officer updates the accreditation documentation and Resource Impact Statements to include course codes and file numbers.

B5.6 The accreditation officer provides Asset Management Services, Information Services and Information Technology Services with a copy of the Course Outline and Course Administration Information and the completed Resource Impact Statement.

B6 Consideration by Executive Dean

B6.1 The relevant Executive Dean considers the documentation in consultation with the relevant Head of School, taking into account the support or otherwise of the Head of School, the criteria for approval provided in the parent policy and any other matters of relevance.

B6.2 If the relevant Executive Dean is satisfied that approval should be sought, they sign the relevant section of the Course Proposal and also attest that the relevant faculty committee has considered the proposed new course.

B6.3 The Executive Dean arranges for a final check and proofing of the documentation.

B6.4 The Executive Dean arranges for a PDF copy of the complete approval documentation to be submitted to Academic Secretariat and for the “master” signed set of approval documentation to be registered and recorded in the relevant course file on the University’s Records Management System.

B7 Progression to Learning and Teaching Committee (LTC)

B7.1 Academic Secretariat checks the documentation for completeness and clarity, accuracy, internal consistency and liaises with relevant faculty staff in order for appropriate actions to be taken to address any issues and for amended documentation to be submitted where needed.

B7.2 Academic Secretariat includes information on the proposed new course in a summary sheet of program and course developments that are provided in support of the curriculum documentation considered by the University’s committees.

B7.3 The Chairperson, Learning and Teaching Committee can determine that the accreditation documentation is incomplete or under-developed and delay the consideration of the proposal by Learning and Teaching Committee until such time as the faculty has responded to the Chairperson’s concerns regarding the quality of the accreditation documentation.

B7.4 Learning and Teaching Committee considers the academic merit of each proposed new course on the basis of the related documentation and:

(a) resolves to approve the proposed new course as currently documented or

(b) resolves to recommend that the proposed new course be approved subject to identified amendments being made to the course and associated documentation; or

(c) makes such other resolutions as may be appropriate.

B7.5 If approval is recommended subject to amendments being made under item B7.4(b) the relevant faculty is advised to make the amendments and submit to the Chairperson of the Committee, through Academic Secretariat, the amended documentation together with a written response to the matters identified, including a statement detailing the changes made to the documentation (with page references).

B7.6 The Chairperson, Learning and Teaching Committee, reviews the amended documentation and if satisfied that the required amendments have been made and attests to this in writing and forwards the attestation to Academic Secretariat.

B8 Post-approval matters

The Secretary, Learning and Teaching Committee provides written advice to all relevant parties of the outcome of final considerations concerning proposals for approval of new courses.

Part C: Course Changes

C1. Proposed changes that cannot be approved

C1.1 A proposal for any of the following cannot be progressed as a change to a course:

  • a change of course code (See C1.3 for exception)
  • any change that would result in the need for a different Field of Education to be assigned to an approved course
  • any change to the unit value of an approved course.

C1.2 Any change of the type listed above requires the development of a New Course Proposal and an associated Proposal to Discontinue a Course. (Refer to Part B and D respectively).

C1.3 A change of course code can be approved under these procedures providing that there are only administrative changes associated with the change in code.

C2. Timing of changes to courses

C2.1 The procedures recognise that some elements of course data (Tier 1) are required to be approved in advance of student enrolment in the course, these data fields are identified in Appendix 1. The entire Course Outline is required to be approved four weeks prior to the delivery of the course.

C2.2 The Faculties establish timelines annually covering all teaching periods to ensure timely progression of course change proposals to meet the identified deadlines.

C3. Course changes and approval authorities

Approval of changes to existing courses is the responsibility of the relevant Head of School.

C3.1 Consultation

When considering making changes to a course, the relevant Course Coordinator undertakes consultations with parties:

(a) that have a legitimate interest in the course, including the Program Coordinator (the course’s homed program), other Program Coordinators if the course is a compulsory part of the program, Associate Dean (Learning and Teaching), and Course Moderator,

(b) seeks input from other appropriate sources within the University, for example the Centre for Support and Advancement of Learning and Teaching (C-SALT);

(c) seeks input from other appropriate sources external to the University, for example relevant professional bodies and industry

(d) ensure the course is redesigned and developed consistent with:

  • the resource limitations identified in consultations with Information Technology Services, Information Services and Asset Management Services
  • any standards for external recognition, registration or accreditation of any program in which the course is offered, and
  • any applicable policies and procedures within the University.

C3.2 Documentation

The Course Coordinator documents the proposed changes to the course using the appropriate templates (including an appendix that summarises all resource issues and implications identified in consultations with Information Technology Services, Library and Asset Management Services, and agreement reached in relation to those matters) and a Course Outline, which is a revised version of the existing Course Outline incorporating the proposed changes.

C3.3 Referral of documentation for information

If the Course Coordinator believes that the proposed changes have an impact on Information Technology Services, Library and Asset Management Services, they should email a copy of the proposal, the revised Course Outline and Resource Impact Statement to the relevant persons in these units.

C3.4 Referral of documentation for quality assurance

The Course Coordinator forwards the proposal and Course Outline to the relevant accreditation officer. The accreditation officer checks the documents for accuracy and completeness and provides the Head of School with advice regarding the proposed changes.

C3.5 Approval by the Head of School

C3.5.1 The relevant accreditation officer forwards the proposal and Course Outline to the relevant Head of School who considers the documentation, taking into account all matters of relevance, including any comments that may have been received from Information Technology Services, Library and Asset Management Services in response to the proposal and Course Outline.

C3.5.2 The Head of School advises the Course Coordinator to make any needed changes.

C3.5.3 The Course Coordinator makes any needed changes and presents the amended documentation to the Head of School.

C3.5.4 The Head of School considers the amended documentation, taking into account all matters of relevance, and if the Head of School decides that approval for the changes should be sought, they sign the relevant section of the proposal and forward it to the accreditation officer.

C3.6 Post-approval matters

Following approval by the Head of School, the relevant accreditation officer arranges for:

(a) written advice to interested parties, of the approval of changes to the relevant course;

(b) all documentation related to the faculty’s development, consideration and decisions related to the proposed changes to be recorded and registered in the relevant official University file for the course and in RecFind;

(c) information on the course on the University’s Website to be updated; and

(d) the new Course Outline to be made available to students and staff through a central repository.

Part D: Course Discontinuation

D1. Preliminary consultations

D1.1 The relevant Head of School undertakes consultations with all parties with a legitimate interest in the course, any relevant professional associations and Program Leader(s) if the course is compulsory or part of a required study component in a program or programs.

D2. Proposal to Discontinue a Course

D2.1 The Head of School documents the proposed discontinuation using the proposal to Discontinue a Course template.

D2.2 The Head of School checks the proposal for accuracy and completeness and then refers the documentation to the Executive Dean for consideration.

D3. Executive Dean

D3.1 The relevant Executive Dean considers the documentation taking into account the support or otherwise of the Head of School, and other matters of relevance.

D3.2 If the relevant Executive Dean decides that discontinuation should be approved, they sign the relevant section of the proposal.

D3.4 The Executive Dean arranges for a copy of the signed documentation to be recorded in the relevant course file (if one has been established) and all relevant program files and registered on the University’s Records Management System.

D4. Post-approval matters

D4.1 The relevant accreditation officer provides written advice to Student Services and Engagement and other relevant parties of the outcome of final considerations concerning proposals for discontinuation.

D4.2 The accreditation officer:

(a) updates or removes information concerning the course that is posted on the University’s Website and update any Website information on programs that are affected by the discontinuation; and

(b) updates the relevant Program Outline/s available to students and staff through central faculty locations on the Staff and Student Portals in consequence of the discontinuation.

Part E: Reporting

Annual summary reports are required to be submitted as follows:

  • Learning and Teaching Committee to Academic Board on all new courses approved
  • faculty office to Faculty Learning and Teaching Committee on all course changes approved
  • faculty office via Executive Dean to Faculty Learning and Teaching on all course discontinuation approved

The reports should be submitted to the first meeting each year and include all changes approved in the previous year.

Templates are available from Skip Navigation LinksMyUSC > Teaching > Program Accreditation and Course Approval > Courses > Course Templates.

END

Appendix 1:

Course information changes - Tiers
Tier 1: Changes to the following Course Outline fields
Data
Course Title
Faculty/School
Teaching Session/ Year offered
Year
Course description
“Am I eligible to enrol in this course?”
Directed Study Hours
Course Administrative Data
Centrally Scheduled Exams
Tier 2: Changes to all other data fields in the Course Outline

Appendix 2:

Flowchart: Course Approval, Course Change and Course Discontinuation

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