Academic Quality Handbook
- Full Handbook Contents
- 1 - Teaching and Learning at the University of Aberdeen: An Overview
- 2 - Quality Assurance in Higher Education: An Overview
- 3 - The Assurance and Enhancement of Academic Quality and Standards in Teaching and Learning
- 4 - Student Recruitment and Admissions
- 5 - Student Guidance and Learner Support
- 6 - Teaching and Learning Policies and Academic Administration
- 7 - Assessment and Examination Policies and Practices : Taught Courses and Programmes
- 8 - Research Students
- 9 - External Examining: Taught Courses and Programmes
- 10 - Collaborative Arrangements: Quality Assurance Procedures
- 11 - Academic Support Services and Resources
Section 11 - Academic Support Services and Resources
This Section of the Academic Quality Handbook should be of general interest
- taking an active role in developing all its staff so that the institution performs at the highest levels of professionalism, and demonstrating commitment to the professional development of all those who work for it;
- providing a high quality learning experience for its students.
11.1.2 Activities to achieve these aims will include:-
- developing, managing and delivering programmes to enhance the teaching and learning expertise of staff including the PG Certificate in HE Learning & Teaching;
- co-ordinating educational development support for the development and implementation of the University’s quality assurance and enhancement policies and procedures;
- co-ordinating support to academic Colleges and Schools in the introduction of enhanced approaches to teaching and learning including eLearning.
11.1.3 Further details of the work on professional development for teaching and learning, and teaching and learning innovation can be accessed at http://www.abdn.ac.uk/clt/
All of the support units and facilities available for staff involved in teaching and supporting learning are listed under a single URL at: http://www.abdn.ac.uk/teachingandlearning/
11.2.1 Information Systems and Services encompasses computing, library and related academic and business support services within the University and comprises the University Library and Historic Collections (including Museums), and the Director of Information Technology including Web Management and IT Training units In addition to service provision, the Directorate of Information Technology is responsible for the development and implementation of institutional strategy and policy governing information systems and services.
Directorate of Information Technology
11.2.2 DIT is responsible for the management, operation and support of the University’s wired and wireless networks, server infrastructure, IT classrooms, telecommunications, audio-visual services, software and hardware, email and calendaring, web resources and corporate applications.
11.2.3 An online catalogue of services has been designed to help provide accurate, current and timely information about the service we offer. Further information at: http://www.abdn.ac.uk/dit/servicecatalogue/
11.2.4 The Web Team within DIT is responsible for managing the design and core content of the University Web site and also provides a Web design and authoring service to University Schools and external clients.
11.2.5 The Directorate is located in the Edward Wright Building, where there are 9 computer classrooms and clusters, providing 24 hour access to more than 250 PCs. The main Service Desk is located on the ground floor.
Integrated Service Desks
11.2.6 There are Service Desks located in the Edward Wright Building and in the Polwarth Building on the Foresterhill campus, providing information and assistance with the full range of information services. Staff on the Desks will assist with IT problems and are able to refer complex technical or specialist queries to the appropriate experts within DIT. The Service Desks are staffed from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, outwith these hours we have a 24-hour telephone service on (01224) 273636.
11.2.7 The Service Desk can be contacted via the web, by e-mail or telephone, as an alternative to calling in person. The DIT web site also offers instant access to a collection of frequently asked questions.
11.2.8 The Media Services team are responsible for the provision of a full range of media services which include audio visual equipment in support of teaching and learning and University events, such as graduations and conferences. Other services include video, graphics and photographic image creation. Significant capital investment programs have seen the introduction of permanent audio visual systems, operated from a control panel on the lecturer's podium in most high dependency teaching rooms.
11.2.9 High quality video conferencing is provided in specially equipped studios on the Old Aberdeen and Foresterhill campuses.
11.2.10 To book audio visual equipment, or for further information, contact the Media Services on (01224) (27)2961.
Further Contacts and On-line Information
Library and Historic Collections
11.2.12 Library and Historic Collections (LHC) comprises the staff and resources of all five of the libraries containing both current collections of information resources as well as significant archives and internationally important museum collections. The Library collections include Special Libraries and Archives and the George Washington Wilson Photographic Collection. The museums include Marischal Museum, the University Art Collection, and the Conservation Laboratory, which are unique in their contribution to the University’s position as an international centre of excellence. Special Libraries and Archives provide a unique and internationally significant range of printed, archival and other documentary sources for the benefit of the higher education community and beyond. The richness of these collections extends across all the disciplines of the medieval and early modern university curriculum and across the European world of learning. Full details can be found at http://www.abdn.ac.uk/historic/Intro.shtml. The University has seven Museum collections of national and international importance, each one ranking amongst the finest in the country. They are used for teaching and research at all levels. Marischal Museum and the Zoology Museum have major galleries with changing exhibitions open to the public, as well as talks, events and schools programmes. People wishing to study collections not on display are invited to contact the appropriate curator. In addition, Library and Historic Collections runs the University’s UNIPRINT service, encompassing Design, Print and Bindery services. Library Services
11.2.13 Library & Historic Collections is one of the largest and best equipped in Scotland and employs the latest technology for both staff and student use. A programme to build a new flagship library is underway and is due to complete in summer 2011. See http://www.abdn.ac.uk/newlibrary/
One Library - Five sites
11.2.14 The Queen Mother Library (QML), in Old Aberdeen, is the headquarters of the University library service. The QML has major printed collections in the humanities, social sciences, science, engineering, agriculture and forestry, as well as collections of CD ROMs, maps, music and video. Medicine and medical sciences are catered for at the Medical School Library, within the Aberdeen Royal Hospitals complex at Foresterhill; the Taylor Library and European Documentation Centre, for legal studies, and Special Libraries and Archives are also in Old Aberdeen. The Library of the Rowett Institute for Nutrition and Health is based at Bucksburn.
Linked by Technology
11.2.15 The Library is a primary link to other libraries, documentation centres and information services in the United Kingdom and abroad: see http://www.abdn.ac.uk/library/. As well as traditional paper-based books and journals, the Library provides 24-hour access to a wide variety of online material such as electronic books and journals and databases. The Library Catalogue provides details of all books and journals held. MetaLib, the electronic resource gateway, provides easy access to databases and e-resources such as Web of Knowledge, Scopus and JSTOR. Most electronic resources can be accessed from off campus. An integrated document request (interlibrary loans) service allows material from elsewhere to be obtained at minimal cost.
11.2.16 Instruction, teaching and training on using information resources and bibliographic management software (RefWorks) is provided by the team of subject specialist Information Consultants. In some subject areas this is embedded within academic courses, both undergraduate and postgraduate, and is complemented by bookable optional workshops, one-to-one tutorials and guidance to both students and the academic community. Details of who to contact can be found at http://www.abdn.ac.uk/library/ic/index/shtml
11.2.17 The UNIPRINT service provides design, print and binding services to University staff and students, e.g.:
- Reprographic services include black & white and colour copying, lamination of images, large scale poster printing (up to A0), and thesis copying.
- Binding services offer a fast turn-around service in all heat process binding, comb binding, ring binding and book protection and a full Thesis/Dissertation and Fine Edition Binding service.
- The Copy Shop, located in the QML, sells merchandise derived from the George Washington Wilson and Aberdeen Harbour Board photographic collections as well as library-based prints and images. It also provides a T-shirt printing service.
11.3.1 The Language Centre in the Regent Building in Regent Walk is the University’s dedicated language unit. Its Language Learning Resource Library and facilities are open to all students and staff throughout the University. The Centre houses a state of the art digital language laboratory as well as a variety of other language learning resources. Staff are on hand to advise on language learning strategies and resources and to register students for the conversation exchange scheme.
11.3.2 The University’s English Language Service, based in the Language Centre, supports the academic study of all non-native English speaking students. It runs the annual four-week Intensive Course in English for Academic Study prior to the start of the academic year. Courses, workshops and tutorials on academic writing and communication skills in particular are offered in each semester. In addition, the Centre offers both full-time and part-time courses. Students whose level of English is below the entry requirements of the University can attend a number of pre-entry full-time courses ranging from a year-long Foundation Course to shorter 12-week and 6-week summer school courses. Part-time courses are mainly delivered in the evenings and are offered at a variety of levels.
11.3.3 In addition to English Language courses, the Language Centre offers evening classes in a wide range of languages such as Chinese, Arabic, Japanese and Dutch. For further information and registration details, please see the Language Centre website.
11.4.1 Research and Innovation was set up in late 1999 to provide support to the University’s academic staff. Its main roles are to support academic staff to win more research resources and to add value to the University’s research through commercial exploitation of intellectual property, consultancy and company formations. It has taken over the responsibility for the research support work previously undertaken by the University’s commercial company Aberdeen University commercial company Aberdeen Research and Industrial Services Limited (AURIS).
11.4.2 Research and Innovation’s team can help in a number of ways:
- Identifying sources of finance for research projects
- Providing support for completing research applications
- Assisting in contract development, review and negotiation
- Encouraging protection of intellectual property rights
- Providing support to exploit commercially valuable intellectual property or expertise
- Consultancy and technical services
- Commercial Development of Research outputs via company formation and licensing
- Developing KTP schemes through the North of Scotland Knowledge Partnership Centre
- Advisory and administration support on Continuing Professional Development activities
- Advisory and administration support on Consultancy Services
11.4.3 Research and Innovation work closely with the Research Financial Services Section (RFS) whose staff are based within the University Office and at Foresterhill. RFS staff provide advice on all aspects of costing research projects. Research and Innovation have staff based in the University Office, Foresterhill and the Fraser Noble Building.
11.4.4 AURIS Ltd is the University of Aberdeen’s holding company. Its role is to hold shareholdings in companies which have been set-up or based on the University’s expertise or intellectual property.
11.4.5 Currently AURIS has holdings in ten Companies and is looking for further investment opportunities. The expertise or intellectual property being developed by the companies is very varied with examples being petroleum economics and benchmarking consultancy, microbiological products and services, bio-remediation, bio-medical devices and environmental architecture.
11.5.1 CPD Services, within Research and Innovation, is the University’s central focus for externally delivered continuing professional development (CPD) programmes. Its primary remit is to support all University departments to develop and deliver cost-recovery, work-related programmes to people at work. Provision includes postgraduate qualifications, short non credit-bearing courses, conferences, funded programmes, in-company training, professional updating, etc.
11.5.2 CPD Services offers academic colleagues assistance in business planning and budgeting as well as support and advice relating to all aspects of CPD activities, from initial concept through programme delivery to final evaluation. A bank of supporting documentation is in development.
11.5.4 More information about how CPD Services can help is detailed on the Research and Innovation website www.abdn.ac.uk/r&i/business/development.shtml
11.6.1 The University of Aberdeen Development Trust was established in 1982 to help enhance the University’s position as an international centre of excellence by generating funding from individuals, particularly alumni, corporations and charitable foundations. Working closely with the staff across all three Colleges, the Trust is responsible for driving the University’s £150m Sixth Century campaign. With £47m raised in Phase I of the Campaign and £62m already raised in Phase II (to August 2008), the remaining Campaign will focus on raising £30m to help build the new University Library completing the £6m appeal for the Suttie Centre for Medical Teaching and Learning, and enhancing our sporting facilities as well as further investment in teaching, research, the upkeep of our heritage and student support. The Development Trust enjoys the support of a strong Campaign Board and volunteer fundraising committees and supporters.
11.6.2 The Development Trust also maintains the database of University alumni and works with the Alumni Relations team to maintain contact with graduates across the world through direct mail, magazines, e-communications and events. It also operates the Alumni Annual Fund which, through mail and telephone campaigns to alumni, supports areas of need such as student hardship and scholarships. The Development Trust administers around 300 restricted funds from which disbursements are made to academic departments across the University.
11.6.3 For further information on any of these areas, please contact the Development Trust on 01224-272281 or visit the website at www.abdn.ac.uk/devtrust/
11.7.1 The Registry, part of the Directorate of Academic Affairs, is divided into three operational teams which together undertake or co-ordinate many aspects of student and academic administration. The main areas of responsibility of each team are outlined below:-
Academic Services Team
- Committees (Senate / University Committee on Teaching & Learning / Academic Standards Committees / Working Groups / Honorary Degrees Committee)
- Teaching and Learning policy / Academic Quality Handbook
- External Examiners (Nomination, Appointment, Reports, Payment and Queries) [taught]
- Quality Assurance and Enhancement / Internal Teaching Review / Validations / Enhancement-Led Institutional Review
- Course and Programme approval
- Regulations, Programme Specifications, Diploma Supplement
- University Calendar and Catalogue of Courses
- Day-to-day processing of Undergraduate & Postgraduate academic appeals, representations against termination (including Fitness to Practise), student academic complaints, student academic discipline
- Staff side of graduations / honorary graduands / graduation Latin
- Rectorial and Senate elections
- Oversight of Academic legislation
Student Information Systems Team
- Student Record specification, development and management
- Admissions system specification, development and management (in consultation with SRAS and DIT)
- CMIS development and management
- Teaching timetables
- Examination timetables
- Examination arrangements (including resits)
- Disabilities (including special provisions for examinations)
- ID cards (including photographs)
- Student record updates
- Exam result corrections
- Reports and Statistical Returns (including HESA)
Undergraduate Student Services Team
- Undergraduate Student Administration
- Advising and Registration
- Joining Instructions for returning undergraduate students
- Monitoring and student progress
- Student record updates
- Year Abroad
- ERASMUS (including admissions)
Postgraduate Student and Fees Team
- Joining Instructions
- Fees / loans (including US loans and SAAS/SLC lists, and invoicing) / studentships / refunds / graduation debtors
- Postgraduate Taught student progress
- Six-monthly Postgraduate Research forms / progress
- Withdrawals / transfers
- Student record updates
- Postgraduate Research examination (including thesis collection/despatch)
- External Examiner appointments and payment (research)
- Postgraduate Research Scholarships (including ORS
11.7.2 Further details of the Registry’s activities can be found on its Web site.
11.8.1 Booking service for all conferences and events is provided by Conference Office within Campus Services. Facilities are available both during and outwith term and assistance can be given in locating venues elsewhere if required. For more information on our services, including AV, Catering, Accommodation, Meeting Rooms, Poster Board Hire, Computing Facilities and Administration, please visit our web pages at http://www.abdn.ac.uk/confevents