Program Review - Procedures

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Program Review - Procedures

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Approval authority
Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor
Responsible officer
Pro Vice-Chancellor (International and Quality)
Designated officer
Pro Vice-Chancellor (International and Quality)
First approved
11 November 2013
Last amended
19 September 2016
Effective start date
6 June 2016
Review date
1 October 2018
Status
Active
Related documents
Notification of Material Changes - Managerial Policy
Notification of Material Changes - Procedures
Program Accreditation and Course Approval - Governing Policy

These procedures specify requirements and processes associated with formal reviews of coursework programs as required under the Program Accreditation and Course Approval - Governing Policy, and should be read in association with that policy.

Note: While the standard program review cycle is at least every seven years, in the case of some professionally accredited programs approved for a limited university program review the cycle is at least every five years. (See Part B of these procedures)

Definitions

Please refer to the University’s Glossary of Terms for policies and procedures. Terms and definitions identified below are specific to this policy and are critical to its effectiveness:

Program cluster means programs in a cognate discipline that are grouped for the purposes of a program review.

Note: At USC the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor acts as Chairperson of the Academic Board.

Part A: Program review

1. Program review scheduling and preparation (terms of reference and panel selection)

1.1 The Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor approves the program review cycle developed by the Office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor (International and Quality) in consultation with the Executive Deans. An ‘out of cycle’ program review may be undertaken with the approval of the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor.

1.2 Deferment of a program review to another cycle or cluster is subject to the written approval of the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor. Grounds for deferment include:

  • when a program has recently been reviewed in an ‘out of cycle’ process or
  • a request for exemption is made by an Executive Dean

1.3 The Office of the Pro-Vice Chancellor (International and Quality) publishes the program review schedule annually and at least 6 months prior to the following year.

1.4 The Executive Dean in consultation with the Head of School will appoint a Review Officer at least 6 months prior to the proposed site visit review to lead the review process and facilitate the production of the Review Portfolio. The Review Officer is generally the Program Coordinator.

1.5 The Office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor (International and Quality) provides:

  • the Review Support Officer management of the process
  • support, training and advice on program review processes and
  • secretariat services for the Review Panel meetings and site visit, administrative templates to guide the panel process and conducts administrative processes

1.6 The Executive Dean or nominee will seek approval of the terms of reference from the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor at least six months prior to the proposed site visit.

1.7 The Executive Dean or nominee will nominate a short-list of members for the Review Panel in consultation with the Head of School and seek approval for appointment from the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor at least six months prior to the proposed site visit.

1.8 Selection of panel members is based on their experience, expertise and impartiality. The Review Panel comprises three representatives, at least two of whom will be external to the University, and normally includes the following:

  • a chairperson who currently occupies or has recently occupied a professorial level position in another Australian university in a discipline or field of education pertinent to the programs to be reviewed, and

who has past experience in undertaking program reviews or is a Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) registered expert

  • a member drawn from a relevant industry or professional association or from amongst the employers of graduates from the programs to be reviewed, and who is neither a past nor current employee of the

University and

  • an experienced senior academic from another University in a discipline or field of education pertinent to the programs to be reviewed or a senior professional or academic staff member or a professorial level adjunct member of USC.

The composition or number of panel membership can be varied with the written approval of the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor.

1.9 The Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor appoints the Chairperson and panel members on advice from the Executive Dean and the Pro Vice-Chancellor (International and Quality).

1.10 The Chairperson and members of the Review Panel are:

  • required to enter into an agreement to protect University intellectual property and maintain the confidentiality of any corporate or personal information made known to them during the review process
  • to be reimbursed for all out-of-pocket expenses, and members other than employees of the University may receive an honorarium for their contribution to the review

2. Review portfolio preparation

2.1 The Review Officer, on behalf of the Executive Dean, is responsible for the production of the Review Portfolio within a six month time frame. The process should conform to guidelines and be collegial and consultative involving critical peer review discussions and key stakeholder perceptions to engage all staff associated with the management and delivery of the cluster of programs in a process of critical reflection.

2.2 Where programs apply for external accreditation, work done in preparation should be appropriately utilised in the University program review process.

2.3 The Executive Dean considers and approves the draft Review Portfolio prior to its submission to the Review Support Officer.

2.4 The final draft of the Review Portfolio must be submitted to the Review Support Officer no later than six weeks prior to the site visit.

2.5 The Review Support Officer will provide feedback as required to facilitate finalisation of the Review Portfolio.

2.6 The final Review Portfolio must be submitted to the Review Support Officer no later than four weeks prior to the site visit, for distribution to panel members.

2.7 The Review Support Officer announces the program review to the University community. A call for confidential submissions to the review panel is also made, including all current students enrolled in the program and relevant external stakeholders specified by the Executive Dean.

2.8 All submissions are confidential to the review panel members and the Review Support Officer and are disposed of appropriately upon receipt of the final review report.

3. Panel site visit

3.1 The site visit schedule will be forwarded to the Review Support Officer with the draft Review Portfolio. The site visit schedule will then be submitted to the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor for consideration and approval.

3.2 The Review Panel usually convene for no more than three days and three nights during a site visit. Normally an entry interview will be held involving the Review Panel and the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor.

3.3 During the site visit the Review Panel:

  • will interview a representative sample of persons with a stake in the programs under review and
  • may inspect the physical teaching and facilities and resources provided to support the programs under review

3.4 At the end of the visit the Review Panel will present their preliminary findings to the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor. The Executive Dean and Head of School may also attend the exit interview at the discretion of the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor.

4. Panel review report

4.1 The Review Panel submits a report to the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor on its findings in relation to each of the terms of reference, including recommendations, by no later than six weeks after conclusion of the site visit. The panel will recommend if the program should continue to be offered in its present form, if the program should continue to be offered only on condition that recommendations for actions are implemented, or that the program should be discontinued.

4.2 The Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor approves the Review Report for release to the Faculty for its action and the Review Support Officer publishes the review report on MyUSC and advises the University community of its availability.

4.3 The Review Support Officer makes the Review Report available to all students enrolled in the program.

5. Program Review Response and Action Plan

5.1 Within eight weeks of receiving the Review Panel Report, a Program Review Response and Action Plan must be developed for submission to Academic Board. The Executive Dean has responsibility for consulting with the Head of School and relevant stakeholders to consider the findings and recommendations and develop the Action Plan. After approval by the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor, the Review Report and the Program Review Response and Action Plan will be presented to the next scheduled meeting of Academic Board for consideration.

5.2 The Academic Board considers the Review Report, Program Review Response and Action Plan from the Faculty, and any associated proposals for continued accreditation or discontinuation and makes a decision whether to:

  • approve the Program Review Response and Action Plan or specify changes required to be made approve continued accreditation of one or more of the programs for a further seven years subject to the completion of the Action Plan
  • approve the initiation of the process for discontinuation of one or more of the programs from a specified date

5.3 Proposals for program amendments or discontinuations resulting from the program review process must be submitted in accordance with the Program Accreditation and Course Approval - Governing Policy and procedures.

6. Reporting on outcomes

6.1 The Executive Dean is to ensure that copies of the Review Report and the Program Review Response and Action Plan are to be forwarded to the relevant Faculty Learning and Teaching Committee and Advisory Committees for noting.

6.2 It is expected that the Action Plan actions will be completed within a two year time frame. Every six months the Review Officer, in consultation with the Head of School and Program Coordinator(s), reviews the Action Plan and writes a Progress Report to be endorsed by the Head of School and the Executive Dean of the Faculty offering the reviewed programs.

6.3 The Executive Dean of the Faculty offering the reviewed programs will present up to three progress reports and a final progress report, at six monthly intervals, for approval by the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor and consideration at Academic Board. The fourth and final progress report should outline how any outstanding actions will be actioned or transferred into operational planning.

6.4 The Office of Pro Vice-Chancellor (International and Quality) is responsible for maintaining a schedule for Program Reviews, Program Review Response and Action Plans, and Progress Reports.

6.5 The Office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor (International and Quality) will publish the Review Response and Action Plan, and Progress Reports on MyUSC.

7. Records and information management

7.1 At the commencement of a program review the Office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor (International and Quality) is responsible for initiating action with Information Management Services to create a new RecFind program review file (linked to the program/s file) and ensuring that key documentation in relation to the program review is recorded and registered in RecFind.

8. Review support material

Program review guidelines, handbooks and templates developed by the Office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor (International and Quality) to assist in the review process can be found on MyUSC (Staff login only).

Part B: Procedures for professionally accredited programs

At the discretion of the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor, programs that are required to undergo rigorous professional reaccreditation procedures at least every five years may be permitted to undertake a limited USC program review process.

The alternative arrangements will only be considered for whole programs that are professionally accredited. They are not applicable to a professionally accredited course or courses within a program.

Approved limited program reviews will be conducted at least every five years to minimise duplication of material and use of resources for the separate reaccreditation processes.

Application for a limited program review process must be made to the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor via the Office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor (International and Quality).

The following procedures are only for those programs approved for a limited program review process by the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor.

9. Program review scheduling and preparation (terms of reference and external expert)

9.1 The Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor approves the five year program review cycle developed by the Office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor (International and Quality) in consultation with the Executive Deans. Reviews of professionally accredited programs will be scheduled to follow the five year professional accreditation process as closely as possible.

9.2 The Office of the Pro-Vice Chancellor (International and Quality) publishes the program review schedule annually on MyUSC and at least 6 months prior to the following year.

9.3 The Executive Dean in consultation with the Head of School will appoint a Review Officer at least eight months prior to the proposed date for receipt of review documentation by the Office of the Pro-Vice Chancellor (International and Quality). The Review Officer is generally the Program Coordinator.

9.4 The Office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor (International and Quality) will map and identify gaps in the professional accreditation criteria/standards with the USC program review standard terms of reference at least eight months prior to the proposed date for receipt of review documentation.

9.5 The terms of reference identified as requiring a response from the Faculty will be forwarded by the Office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor (International and Quality) to the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor for approval. Following this they will be forwarded to the Executive Dean and Review Officer for action.

9.6 The Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor will generally appoint a single external expert to conduct an assessment of the review documentation. This appointment will be made on advice from the Executive Dean and the Pro Vice-Chancellor (International and Quality).

9.7 An external expert is:

  • required to enter into an agreement to protect University intellectual property and maintain the confidentiality of any corporate or personal information made known to them during the review process
  • to be reimbursed for all out-of-pocket expenses, and may receive an honorarium for their contribution to the review

9.8 The Office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor (International and Quality) provides:

  • the Review Support Officer
  • management of the review process
  • support and advice on the program review process and
  • administrative templates and support

10. Review portfolio preparation

10.1 The Review Officer, on behalf of the Executive Dean, is responsible for the production of the Review Portfolio addressing identified terms of reference within a six month time frame. The process should conform to guidelines and be collegial and consultative.

10.2 The Executive Dean considers and approves the final draft Review Portfolio prior to its submission to the Review Support Officer.

10.3 The final draft of the Review Portfolio must be submitted to the Review Support Officer by the agreed specified date.

10.4 The Review Support Officer will provide feedback as required to facilitate finalisation of the Review Portfolio.

10.5 On the date advised by the Office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor (International and Quality), the Faculty will provide the Office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor (International and Quality) with the following:

  • submission to the professional body for reaccreditation
  • report from the professional body and any recommendations for action
  • brief review portfolio addressing the terms of reference approved by the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor

10.6 The Review Support Officer forwards the review portfolio and associated documents to the external expert and announces the program review to the University community. A call for confidential submissions to the external expert is also made, including all current students enrolled in the program and relevant external stakeholders specified by the Executive Dean.

10.7 All submissions are confidential to the external expert and the Review Support Officer and are disposed of appropriately upon receipt of the final review report.

11. Site visit

11.1 A site visit by the external expert will not always be necessary. Some follow-up will be able to be completed via email or teleconference. Where a site visit is considered necessary a schedule will be submitted to the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor for consideration and approval.

11.2 A site visit should be for no more than one day.

12. Review findings and report

12.1 The external expert will submit a written report to the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor of findings in relation to each of the terms of reference, including recommendations, by no later than six weeks after receipt of the documentation or the conclusion of a site visit if this has been required. The recommendations will include whether the program should continue to be offered in its present form, if the program should continue to be offered only on condition that recommendations for actions are implemented, or that the program should be discontinued.

12.2 The Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor approves the Review Report for release to the Faculty for its action and the Review Support Officer publishes the review report on MyUSC and advises the University community of its availability.

12.3 The Review Support Officer makes the Review Report available to all students enrolled in the program.

13. Program Review Response and Action Plan

13.1 Within eight weeks of receiving the Review Report, the Executive Dean, in consultation with the Head of School and relevant stakeholders, considers any recommendations from the USC program review process undertaken by the external expert and develops a Program Review Response and Action Plan to address these. After approval by the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor, the Review Report and the Program Review Response and Action Plan will be presented to the next scheduled meeting of Academic Board for consideration.

13.2 Where it is also necessary to address recommendations in response to the professional reaccreditation process, the Executive Dean, in consultation with the Head of School and relevant stakeholders, considers the findings and recommendations and determines what actions will be taken to address these. After approval by the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor, the response and actions addressing recommendations are forwarded to the accrediting body.

13.3 Any response and actions addressing recommendations developed for the accrediting body will be clearly identified as an appendix and attached to the Program Review Response and Action Plan developed following the USC limited review.

13.4 The Response and Action Plan, together with appendix, are then presented to the next scheduled Academic Board meeting for consideration, in order that the Board is made aware of any specific issues identified that require monitoring.

134.5 The Executive Dean will ensure that copies of the professional accreditation report and approved actions addressing recommendations, and the approved Response and Action Plan to the USC limited review, are forwarded to the relevant Faculty Learning and Teaching Committee and Advisory Committees for noting.

14. Reporting on outcomes

14.1 The Faculty may be required to conduct ongoing reporting to the accreditation body as per an agreed timeline.

14.2 The Faculty will be required to conduct ongoing reporting to the Academic Board on implementation of recommendations contained in the external accreditation review report and in the USC program review report.

14.3 It is expected that the USC Action Plan will be completed within a two year time frame.

14.4 Every six months the Review Officer, in consultation with the Head of School and Program Coordinator(s), reviews the Action Plan and writes a Progress Report to be endorsed by the Head of School and the Executive Dean of the Faculty offering the reviewed programs.

14.5 The Executive Dean of the Faculty offering the reviewed programs will present up to three progress reports and a final progress report, at six monthly intervals, approved by the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor, for consideration at Academic Board. The fourth and final progress report should outline how any outstanding actions will be actioned or transferred into operational planning.

14.6 Actions being taken to address recommendations made by the professional accreditation body should be included, and updated as appropriate, as an appendix to the Progress Report for Academic Board.

15. Records and information management

15.1 At the commencement of a program review the Office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor (International and Quality) is responsible for initiating action with Information Management Services to create a new RecFind program review file (linked to the program/s file) and ensuring that key documentation in relation to the program review is recorded and registered in RecFind.

15.2 The Office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor (International and Quality) must provide the Academic Board, at the first academic board meeting of the year, a schedule of all impending external accreditations, external reaccreditations and a status report on programs that have undergone external accreditation and reaccreditation in the previous year.

15.3 The Office of Pro Vice-Chancellor (International and Quality) is responsible for maintaining an up to date list of full, provisional and pending external accreditations and external reaccreditations for the University, and for making it available to all USC staff.

END

Appendix A - Standard Terms of Reference – Program Reviews

Review of the <Insert name of cluster> Programs Offered by the Faculty of <Insert name>

The School of <Insert name> offers the following program/s:

  • Xxxx
  • Xxxx
  • xxxx

In line with the University’s commitment to ongoing quality assurance and quality improvement, and also to monitor compliance with the Higher Education Standards Framework 2015, the review panel is asked to consider, evaluate and make recommendations on each program, with specific reference to the following criteria. The review panel is also asked to make recommendations on the accreditation status of each program.

1. Strategic Alignment

i. The program aligns with the goals and imperatives of the University’s Strategic Plan 2016-2020.

2. Program Design

i. The curriculum is coherent and represents the most current knowledge and scholarship, skills, values and practices of the discipline.

ii. The curriculum supports students to achieve the program’s learning outcomes, regardless of place of study or mode of delivery.

iii. There is a systematic, regular process for updating the curriculum.

iv. The curriculum aligns with the University’s curriculum design principles.

3. Learning and Teaching

i. The learning and teaching activities promote and support students in a progressive and coherent achievement of the expected learning outcomes for the program.

ii. Assessment practices in the program are appropriate and align with the program learning outcomes.

iii. The overall quality of learning, teaching and assessment in the program reflect best practice.

iv. Quality engaged learning and assessment opportunities are provided, including Work-Integrated Learning (WIL).

4. Program Outcomes

i. Graduates of the program are suitably prepared for entry into the workforce, career progression or for postgraduate opportunities.

ii. The program’s performance and learning outcomes are regularly reviewed against discipline standards and similar programs at other Australian universities via external referencing or other benchmarking activities.

5. Student Support

i. Appropriate orientation into the program is provided for domestic and international students.

ii. Effective processes for identification and support of at-risk students are in place.

iii. Academic staff are appropriately available for students seeking academic assistance.

6. Feedback

i. The observations and experiences of students, graduates and external stakeholders are sought and acted upon.

7. Student Success

i. The admission criteria and procedures for entry into the program are appropriate, including the processes for granting credit.

ii. The overall trends in retention, progression and graduation rates for students in the program are in line with University goals.

8. Staffing

i. The qualifications, experience, levels of appointment, and administrative and technical support of academic staff are appropriate, in terms of their capability to deliver the program now and in the context of possible future developments.

ii. Academic staff are appropriately and sufficiently engaged in research and professional development activities.

9. Learning resources

i. The provision of learning support resources (library, laboratory facilities, studios, software, learning management system, technology) is appropriate and adequate.

10. Viability

i. The program is viable in the short and long term.

The review panel will provide a written report to the University within six weeks of the site visit. Among other things the panel will recommend if each program should continue to be offered in its present form, should be offered on condition that specified changes are made, or should be discontinued.

END of APPENDIX A

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