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School of Physics and Astronomy

4. Course Review and Feedback (16/17)

A number of mechanisms are in place to monitor and to improve learning and teaching. Lectures and laboratory work are monitored by student questionnaires which provide valuable feedback to individual teachers and to the school as a whole. The Year Tutors for each year of the course hold regular meetings in which teaching is reviewed by tutors, lecturers and student representatives. Students have academic tutors and personal tutors who can help resolve problems and pass on suggestions for improvement in teaching. Finally, students and staff are encouraged to bring problems and to make suggestions for improvement to the following committees and members of staff with special responsibilities for teaching (see Section 7 for a list of staff currently in these roles).

4.1 The School Board

The School Board meets several times each year and provides a forum for the discussion of any matter relevant to the school. All teaching committees report to the School Board. All full-time members of the academic staff are members of the Board. Representatives of students, technical staff and administration staff attend meetings of the Board.

Chair: Dr. Andrew Markwick ( andrew.markwick@manchester.ac.uk )

4.2 Physics Students Representatives Committee

The student body elects a committee of fellow students to represent student interests. Student representatives attend meetings of the School Board and of the main committees which deal with teaching matters. They play an active role in the regular teaching review meetings of tutors, lecturers and student representatives chaired by the Year Tutors. In addition, joint meetings of staff and student representatives are held to consider issues of broad concern.

4.3 The Teaching and Learning Committee

This committee meets regularly under the chairmanship of the Director of Teaching and Learning. Its membership consists of staff with special responsibilities for teaching, the Year Tutors and the Chair of Examiners for each year of study, the Chair of the Laboratory Committee and the Admissions Tutor. In addition, there are four student representatives. This committee is responsible for the content, structure and organisation of the undergraduate degree programmes.

4.4 The Laboratory Committee

This committee organises and develops the laboratory work component of the teaching programme. Its membership consists of staff in charge of laboratory teaching in each year of the degree, staff with responsibility for particular laboratories and four student representatives.

4.5 Teaching Quality Group

This committee has the responsibility for promoting good practice and high quality teaching in the School. The committee organises peer review of teaching with the aims of improving the quality of the course units, reviews the results of student feedback and develops the teaching skills of staff.

It also assigns, in consultation with the Director of Teaching and Learning, the major teaching duties in the school. Its remit is to ensure that course units are taught effectively by appropriate staff and to develop the teaching experiences of staff.

4.6 Year Tutors

Year Tutors are responsible for the organisation of teaching in each year of the degree programme. Responsibilities include: organising example sheets for tutorials and regular meetings at which teaching is reviewed by tutors, lecturers and student representatives.

4.7 Year Laboratory Tutors

Year Laboratory Tutors are responsible for the laboratory teaching and assessment in each year of the degree programme. The Year Laboratory Tutors report to the Laboratory Committee.

4.8 National Student Survey

Each year, graduating students are asked about their experiences on their degree course, via the National Student Survey (NSS). The University, the School of Physics and Astronomy, HEFCE (the universities' funding body) and the government all put great weight on the results of this survey, and they are also made available for future UCAS applicants.

All students are therefore urged to participate in the NSS if you are asked to do so. Views expressed there are used to improve the course. There are some notes available in the Undergraduate Virtual Common Room on Blackboard (see section 5.3) which may help you to understand the survey questions. Please read them before completing the survey.

4.9 External Examiners' Reports

External Examiners' reports relating to this programme will be shared with student representatives at the Teaching Committee, where details of any actions carried out by the School in response to the External Examiners' comments will be discussed. Students should contact their student representatives if they require any further information about External Examiners' reports or the process for considering them.