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Organisational Unit Reviews

At its Meeting 24/08 - 10 December 2008, the Vice-Chancellor's Committee endorsed the introduction of a systematic approach to reviews of both academic and administrative organisational units, based on the paper 'Introduction of a Systematic Approach to Organisation Unit Reviews'.

Organisational unit reviews are focused on their contribution to and alignment with the University's Strategic Plan and, as with Program Reviews, form an integral part of the University's quality assurance processes.

There are two types of centrally-managed organisation unit reviews - those relating to academic units (usually schools) and those relating to administrative and para-academic units (i.e. those units that do not qualify as academic units such as the International Office and Student Support Services).

Academic Unit Reviews Process

Reviews of academic units are coordinated by staff from the Learning and Quality Support unit, who work with Faculty and School staff throughout the process, providing assistance and advice as required. These are overseen by the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Student Learning) (PVC(SL)).

Scheduling of Academic Unit Reviews

The choice of academic units for review in any particular year will be negotiated between Executive Deans and the PVC(SL), taking into account the performance of the unit, the prevailing strategic imperatives of the University and the intention that all units be reviewed at least once over the duration of the cycle. For academic units with accreditation requirements or that have undergone or will undergo any other form of external review, these will be taken into account, with the aim of minimising duplication of effort.

Each academic unit is to be reviewed at least once every seven years. An initial seven year schedule of reviews will be developed in consultation with the Executive Dean. The initial plan will be thereafter updated each year for the following seven years. Where appropriate a School, Faculty or Executive Management may request a review outside the cycle.

Terms of Reference

Reviews of academic units focus on performance of the unit, its organisational structure, the allocation and management of resources and facilities, and the management of strategic plans and priorities of the University, the Faculty and the School itself.

While the value and usefulness of standard terms of reference for reviews of academic units or reviews of academic units and programs are recognised, the Executive Dean has the flexibility to provide modified or alternative terms of reference subject to approval by the PVC(SL). External points of reference provide valuable perspective for further reflection and implementation of improvements; therefore an element to be considered when undertaking academic unit reviews is benchmarking against comparable units in other Go8 universities.

Review Panel

The academic unit reviews are conducted by a Review Panel, which are established with the aim of facilitating independent peer-review, and must include an external reviewer. The composition of the Review Panel will be agreed between the relevant Executive Dean and the PVC(SL). While Review Panels for unit reviews are usually composed of three members, including an internal convenor and two external panel members, the PVC(SL) may approve a variation to this.

Review Preparation

The Faculty will prepare a submission for the Review prior to the Review Panel meeting using the Organisational Unit Review: Faculty Submission to Review Panel template. Note that Faculties are permitted to provide additional information considered relevant to the review.

A limited number of targeted invitations to provide submissions to the Review Panel will be made to internal and external stakeholders. The Faculty, in consultation with Learning and Quality Support, will develop a list of relevant stakeholders, which will include both industry/professional representatives and students. Learning and Quality Support staff will contact the stakeholders to invite written submissions, and may also invite some of the stakeholders to an interview with the Review Panel.

Reporting

Learning and Quality Support staff, in consultation with the Convenor, will commence drafting of the report during the final session of the Review Panel's visit, with a particular focus on developing the recommendations. A draft set of recommendations will be finalised with the Convenor in the week following the Panel's visit. A first draft of the complete Report will be provided to the Convenor of the Review Panel no later than the end of the third week after the Review Panel visit. Draft reports should be considered confidential. The main body of a Review Report will be not more than ten pages in length.

The final Review Report is submitted to the PVC(SL).

Approval

On receipt of the Unit Report, the PVC(SL) will seek the relevant Executive Dean's advice on acceptance, rejection or modification of the recommendations. Following this consultation, the PVC(SL) will present the Report to Academic Board or where relevant to the Vice-Chancellor's Executive.

Academic Board or the Vice-Chancellor's Executive (VCE), where appropriate, is responsible for endorsing the final recommendations (to the extent that they fall within its Terms of Reference), and recommending their approval to the Vice-Chancellor and President. Approved recommendations are available from the Review Reports, Recommendations & Implementation Plans page (Staff only).

Implementation

The Faculty, in consultation with staff from Learning and Quality Support, will develop an Implementation Plan addressing the approved recommendations of the Review Report. A finalised Implementation Plan is to be provided to the PVC(SL) within three months of the VCE's consideration of the Review Report.

The Faculty is required to submit updates on the progress of the actions described in the Implementation Plan to Learning and Quality Support. These updates are required 6 and then a further 12 months after VCE has considered the recommendations in the Review Report.

The PVC(SL) has the responsibility of ensuring that an Implementation Plan is developed, and for ensuring the monitoring of progress of the actions described in the Plan. Implementation Plans and progress reports are available from the Review Reports, Recommendations & Implementation Plans page (Staff only).

Administrative or Para-academic Units

Reviews of these units are overseen and managed by the relevant Division Head who has the responsibility for determining the frequency, process and panel structure for such reviews within their Division.

Each administrative or para-academic unit is to be reviewed at least once every seven years. An initial seven year cycle will be developed by the relevant Division Head and then updated each year for the following seven years.

Reviews of administrative units consider the quality of services and core activities, the preparedness of the area under review to deal with new challenges or priorities and the ways in which the activities support the academic activities and the aims of the University's Strategic Plan. Given the difficulties of such an undertaking, administrative reviews might focus on a small and relatively homogenous area.

Reporting

Learning and Quality Support staff, in consultation with the Convenor, will commence drafting of the report during the final session of the Review Panel's visit, with a particular focus on developing the recommendations. A draft set of recommendations will be finalised with the Convenor in the week following the Panel's visit. A first draft of the complete Report will be provided to the Convenor of the Review Panel no later than the end of the third week after the Review Panel visit. Draft reports should be considered confidential. The main body of a Review Report will be not more than ten pages in length.

The final Review Report is submitted to the PVC(SL).

Approval

On receipt of the Unit Report, the PVC(SL) will seek the relevant Senior Manager's advice on acceptance, rejection or modification of the recommendations. Following this consultation, the PVC(SL) will present the Report to the Vice-Chancellor's Executive.

The Vice-Chancellor's Executive (VCE) is responsible for endorsing the final recommendations (to the extent that they fall within its Terms of Reference), and recommending their approval to the Vice-Chancellor and President. Approved recommendations are available from the Review Reports, Recommendations & Implementation Plans page (Staff only).

Implementation

The Faculty, in consultation with staff from Learning and Quality Support, will develop an Implementation Plan addressing the approved recommendations of the Review Report. A finalised Implementation Plan is to be provided to the PVC(SL) within three months of the VCE's consideration of the Review Report.

The Faculty is required to submit updates on the progress of the actions described in the Implementation Plan to Learning and Quality Support. These updates are required 6 and then a further 12 months after VCE has considered the recommendations in the Review Report.

The PVC(SL) has the responsibility of ensuring that an Implementation Plan is developed, and for ensuring the monitoring of progress of the actions described in the Plan. Implementation Plans and progress reports are available from the Review Reports, Recommendations & Implementation Plans page (Staff only).

 

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South Australia 5005
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THE UNIVERSITY OF ADELAIDE
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dvca@adelaide.edu.au