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Roles in the production of academic regulations

Roles in the production of academic regulations

Roles in the production of academic regulations

The process plan shows when and how the various players take part in the process of producing academic regulations and what their roles are, as set out by the various ministerial orders. The revision of academic regulations is a complex process, as it involves many stakeholders and thereby also many different and sometimes opposing attitudes.

Below you can read about the various roles in connection with the production of academic regulations as well as the responsibilities and degree of involvement of the various stakeholders in the work:

Recipients

Recipients: Readers of the academic regulations

The primary readers and recipients of the academic regulations are students, teaching staff, administrative staff, co-examiners and potential employers. In the academic regulations, the recipients will find information on rules, academic and educational practice and descriptions of core content and core competences. The academic regulations are important documents setting out the direction and establishing the academic and educational practice of a degree programme, as well as sending out an important signal to the outside world about the core skills and competences on a given degree programme, and how learning takes place and is assessed on the degree programme. It is important that the academic regulations are addressed to the intended target groups, for example so that co-examiners can easily find information about which knowledge and skills are to be tested at the exam, and students can find information about the course content and the learning outcomes they can expect to achieve on the degree programme.

If you are a student and a member of a working group, you can read more about your role under “Tips for setting up a working group” at the bottom of the page.

Dean's office

Dean’s Office: Approval and quality assurance of academic regulations in relation to strategic goals

The vice-dean contributes to the development and implementation of the faculty’s strategies for education, teaching and learning. The primary task of the vice-dean is to contribute to the development of the faculty’s degree programmes, in cooperation with the directors of studies and boards of studies, by strengthening the existing research-based degree programmes and creating new cross-disciplinary degree programmes, including promoting the development of research-based university pedagogics and didactics as well as the relevance of the degree programmes to society. On behalf of the dean, the vice-dean approves the academic regulations following a recommendation by the board of studies. As the recommendation from the board of studies takes the form of a proposal, the vice-dean may choose to reject the proposal partly or entirely.

Board of Studies

Boards of studies: Academic, cross-disciplinary quality assurance of academic regulations and submission of academic regulations for approval by the Dean’s Office

It is the responsibility of the board of studies to develop and ensure the quality of the degree programmes and the teaching, including preparing proposals for academic regulations and changes to existing regulations. As the boards of studies often delegate the production of academic regulations to the degree programme boards, the boards of studies are responsible for carrying out academic and cross-disciplinary quality assurance of academic regulations. The board of studies submits proposals for academic regulations to the Dean’s Office for approval. As the board of studies includes equal numbers of representatives of academic staff and students elected by and from the academic staff (for a three-year period) and the students (for a one-year period), respectively, the involvement of students takes place here.    

Degree programme boards

Degree programme boards: Production of academic regulations and academic quality assurance

The production of academic regulations is carried out at the relevant department. According to the University Act, the boards of studies have the authority to prepare proposals for academic regulations, but at the Faculty of Arts this authority is often delegated by the boards of studies to the degree programme boards, and is in many cases further delegated by the degree programme boards to a working group set up in the presence of academic staff, students and SNUK. The delegation is a way of ensuring that those who have the greatest knowledge of a task take on the primary responsibility. When the production of the academic regulations has been delegated to a working group, the degree programme board must ensure that the work meets the highest standards and submit it to the board of studies. The production of academic regulations often involves re-discussing the core subject area of the degree programme, as well as preparing and choosing good descriptions of the degree programme and the course objectives, content and relevance and of the forms of examination on the degree programme.    

SNUK

SNUK: Legal and administrative guidance and process coordination

SNUK (Board of Studies Support and Studies Quality Assurance) continuously supports the work carried out at the relevant department to produce and revise academic regulations before submitting them to the Dean’s Office for approval. SNUK regularly participates in working group meetings, degree programme board meetings and board of studies meetings, and helps clarify and determine the scope of the revision.

Furthermore, SNUK provides guidance on the legal, administrative and system-related framework for the development and revision of academic regulations based on close dialogue with the rest of the administration, for example VEST (Student Guidance and Information) and UVAEKA (Course and Examination Administration). SNUK also ensures that key players are involved in the process, such as potential stakeholders, bodies of external co-examiners, special consultants, the school in question and CUDiM (Centre for Teaching Development and Digital Media).

CUDiM

CUDiM: Didactic guidance

The Centre for Teaching Development and Digital Media (CUDiM) acts as a sparring partner in the development of academic regulations and offers didactic guidance to the departments in the form of either feedback on specific course descriptions or meetings on specific didactic opportunities and challenges. SNUK continuously seeks guidance from CUDiM in the production of specific academic regulations, and CUDiM offers competence development to SNUK in relation to producing academic regulations of a high didactic quality. SNUK can encourage the departments to contact CUDiM for advice and guidance in specific cases. For example, CUDiM often advises on the formulation of specific academic objectives, on the didactic planning of forms of examination and on ensuring coherence between purposes, academic objectives, forms of instruction and forms of examination.

Schools

Schools: Approval of resources for academic regulations and ensuring students’ well-being and study progress

The director of studies is part of the school management and refers to the head of school. The primary responsibility of the director of studies is to ensure a high quality for the school’s degree programmes. The director of studies is responsible for the school’s allocation of resources for educational activities and therefore has to approve the use of resources in connection with academic regulations. Since students’ well-being and study progress have an impact on the use of resources and the running of degree programmes, the director of studies is also responsible for ensuring that the planning of academic regulations promotes the students’ well-being and study progress. In practice, SNUK handles the regular coordination with the school on whether the use of resources in connection with the production of academic regulations can be approved.

External parties

External partners: External quality assurance of academic regulations

In the production of academic regulations and substantial changes thereto, the university is obliged to have discussions with employer panels and special consultants, to obtain opinions from the body of external co-examiners and to coordinate with other universities on profiling and procurement.

  • Potential employers and special consultants contribute to ensuring a high quality for the degree programme’s competence profile and relation to the labour market, as well as establishing which forms of instruction and examination reflect the types of work that the students will undertake on the labour market.
  • The body of external co-examiners ensures that the examination system meets the highest standards, including its form and content, and that it fulfils its purpose and is in accordance with the objectives of the degree programme or the central subject and the teaching. Ensuring the quality of the academic objectives and forms of examination of the academic regulations is of great value, as the body of external co-examiners may detect vital errors and deficiencies in the examination systems, securing the legal rights of the students before the academic regulations take effect.
  • Coordination with the other universities ensures cross-disciplinary coordination of related degree programmes, thereby making sure that the universities educate students for the same labour market, or that they profile themselves differently on different labour markets, when relevant.

Tips for setting up a working group

Working groups in connection with academic regulations are typically set up by the head of department at which the degree programme is based or jointly by the degree programme board and the head of department. It is recommended to start setting up a working group as early as possible to make sure that the right people are available.

rience gained by working groups shows that it is an advantage if the working group consists of:

  • Members of the academic staff from the relevant research areas on the degree programme – academic staff members do not have to be members of a board
  • Members of the academic staff who have the necessary time to take on the work and who are available during peak periods
  • Members of the academic staff with different attitudes to the development of the academic regulations, ensuring that all relevant opinions are represented in the working group
  • Members of the academic staff with previous experience with academic regulations
  • Students – students do not have to be members of a board
  • The group is ideally composed of 4-6 members depending on the size of the degree programme and the scope of the revision

There will typically be a head of the working group in the form of a chair. The chair may be the head of department or the chair of the degree programme board, but the role can also be performed by a member of the academic staff on the degree programme.

The role of the working group

The role of the working group is to manage the actual development of the academic regulations based on the guidelines provided by the degree programme board, the board of studies and the vice-dean. The working group regularly reports on their work to the degree programme board. The degree programme board will finally comment on and submit the working group’s proposal for academic regulations to the board of studies, after which the board of studies will submit the proposal to the vice-dean for approval. The working group is to be regarded as experts advising the boards on good solutions for the academic regulations. The working group does not have decision-making authority, but is dependent on decisions made by the degree programme board, the board of studies and or the vice-dean.

Your role as a student in the working group

As a student, your role in the working group is to discuss how various solutions will be received by you and your fellow students. In other words, your role is to represent the student perspective in relation to the development of the academic regulations through your own experiences as a student under the existing academic regulations.

As a student, you can affect the development of the academic regulations by ensuring that the content of the academic regulations and the way it is communicated meet the students’ needs.

For example, you can try to answer the following questions regarding the academic regulations:

  • Do the course titles on the degree programme seem exciting to you, and do the titles meet your expectations in relation to course content?
  • Are the course descriptions (course purpose, academic objectives and form of examination) formulated in a language that is clear to you and other students?
  • Are the academic objectives formulated in such a way that you know what is required of you at the exam?
  • Is the selected form of examination suitable for the way the course is taught?
  • Does the course description seem to be consistent with the indicated workload?
  • Will it be possible for you as a student to plan the different exams in the various semesters?