The Role of the UEA Academic Link
The UEA Academic Link role is a two way process with the Academic Link acting in an advisory capacity to the partner institution regarding UEA practices and vice versa.
Where a course has been validated by UEA and it has been agreed to appoint a UEA Academic Link, the Partnerships Office will invite the appropriate UEA School of Study to nominate an individual for the role. S/he will provide an agreed amount of support during the year (nominally accepted to be the equivalent to 5 days work).
The Academic Link will act as the point of academic contact with the University for the course team/s. The objectives of the Academic Link role will be negotiated by the Academic Link and the course team/s annually, and should allow flexibility to recognise the maturity and changing needs of the course/s. The Academic Link role will provide for the sharing of good practice and experience and for involvement in the quality enhancement process, including the self assessment review and evaluation processes and ex-officio membership of Boards of Examiners.
The Academic Link should familiarise him/herself with Chapter B10 of the QAA UK Quality Code: Managing Higher Education Provision with Others, which details the expectation and indicators that degree awarding bodies must be able to demonstrate compliance with when working in partnership with other institutions and organisations.
On appointment the Academic Link will receive a contact name for the course/s leader and documentation relevant to the course/s and information about the partner institution. The partner institution will receive details of the Academic Link nominated for the course/s. The Academic Link will be contacted by the course leader at the partner institution and invited to an initial meeting to negotiate objectives for the role of the Academic Link. The Academic Link will then inform the Partnerships Office of the objectives for the next year. The Academic Link should have an opportunity to meet the course team and discuss the validation and development of the course/s.
Negotiation of the role
At the initial meeting, and from then on annually, specific objectives and priorities for the Academic Link should be agreed by the Academic Link and course leader.
These objectives should reflect the maturity and development of the course and the individual interests of the Academic Link and course team. As a minimum involvement it is suggested that the Academic Link should take part in the annual course review and evaluation processes.
Part of the negotiation of the role may involve decisions, mutually agreed, as to how to work and to maintain liaison. The latter can be via involvement in course team meetings, by e-mail, Skype, video conference or telephone. There is an expectation that newly appointed Academic Links should have had or should have initiated some contact with their partner organisation within four weeks of being appointed. This contact should be initiated by the partner institution.
Activities and areas in which the Academic Link could be expected to be involved in could include:
- taking part in course team/committee meetings
- attending assessment/awards boards
- taking part in meetings with students
- review of assessment arrangements*
- co-operation through research or delivery of some guest lectures
- curriculum development
- reviews of teaching and learning strategies*
- course evaluation and review
- helping to develop staff development initiatives
- helping course team members with preparation for validation or re-validation
* it is important that, in these areas, the Academic Link bears in mind the need to demonstrate that the quality of the courses provided through the partnership is appropriate to meet the aims and objectives of those courses and comparable to the quality of any similar courses at other institutions delivering HE.
Courses in cognate areas might have a single UEA Academic Link but in some cases each course will have a separate UEA Academic Link.
The Academic Link should receive relevant documentation from the partner institution, including:
- validation documents
- External Examiner reports and team responses
- annual course and module review reports
- minutes of any relevant course team meetings, including course committees
- minutes of Joint Board of Study/Joint Committee and other relevant institution level meetings
- prospectus and other publicity material
The Annual Report
At the end of the academic year, Academic Links are required to produce an annual report of their activities on a pro-forma provided by the Partnerships Office. The annual report should:
- review the previous year’s objectives
- record activity over the year
- set out objectives for the forthcoming year
The report should be discussed and mutually agreed with the course team before being submitted to the Academic Director of Partnerships via the Partnerships Office. Any recommendations or specific issues that the Academic Link wishes to raise may be discussed at the Joint Committee/Joint Board of Study established between UEA and the partner institution. A copy of the report should be sent to the Course Team leader at the partner institution at the same time as the report is sent to the Partnerships Office at the University.
A template for the report can be form on the Handbooks, Policies and Forms page on the main Partnerships site.
UEA Academic Links will not be invited to join panels charged with considering the re-validation of the course for which they are UEA Academic Link. They can, however, be involved as part of the Course Team.