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Project Blog Year 1 and 2

“Plans are only good intentions unless they immediately degenerate into hard work.” [Peter Drucker]

25 January 2010

Man with puzzled expression  And I guess the hard work starts now, following the approval of the new high-level model for new programme approval by the University’s Academic Standards and Quality Committee on 13th January 2010.  The paper received by the Committee set out the model below, reported on the next stages to be undertaken by the Project, and identified the issues that have arisen from the work conducted to date.


The new Programme Approval process map

At first glance this doesn’t appear to offer a significantly quicker or leaner process.  Indeed, the inclusion of a stage focussed on the business case is an addition.  Schools did however feel it is important that this stage is included, and for the business case to be considered separately from the academic content.  Everyone we consulted with also agreed that there is a need for a more collaborative approach to be taken and for relevant support and guidance to be made available from appropriate directorates at different points in the process.  This will enable the process to be managed more efficiently by and within schools.  Other time savings will be made by reducing the volume of information required to support a new proposal and by ensuring the information collected can be re-used to support a programme’s operation, by reducing the number of approval points to one, and by ensuring that information has to be entered once only.

So, what happens next – well – apart from further revision to the Project Plan, supporting implementation of new programme information templates, revising the Project’s Evaluation Strategy, liaising with JISC and the other projects in our cluster, and looking at ways of disseminating outcomes from the Project – the main task for the Project will be to define all the precise steps in each part of the new process, and to engage and consult with stakeholders to find the best solution for everybody.  This will enable a technical specification for the IT based toolset to be developed in detail (all we all know that the ‘devil’ is always in the detail).

Thoughts or comments welcome



1 comment
  1. Amyas Phillips

    This looks quick and lean to me! Very clear separation of responsibilities both in terms of developing and approving the proposal, plus I think you’ve got the granularity exactly right: this clean compartmentalisation meets the needs of course design while letting everyone work efficiently in their usual milieus. There might be more stages but this means none of them need be slow ones. Any more detail and you’d risk having awkward cross-links thrown in, any less though and it wouldn’t describe the key stages of development and approval. I expect the real test will be whether you can keep the clean divisions when you put it in to practice – that might require reallocation of responsibilities, and in Universities that usually needs some deft negotiation.

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