These standards define minimum levels of provision that students can expect in the areas of Transition and Induction, Learning, Teaching and Assessment, Supporting Student Progress and the Evaluation of Student Opinion. MMU staff are asked to take these standards into account in the planning and delivery of all taught programmes. Local practices may be diverse in meeting these standards so rather than being a tool to develop uniform approaches, programmes should be able to demonstrate the methods they use to meet (and often,exceed) the threshold standards.
The quality of our students’ learning experience is at the heart of our concerns at MMU. That core commitment is the driver for this document, which sets out minimum threshold standards for the quality of the student learning experience across the university. Once they are fully implemented these standards will be recognised as an important step forward and a clear demonstration of MMU’s values.
I am sure it is a positive move to set minimum standards for various aspects of the academic provision and care that we provide to students. As such, these standards are part of our shared aim of achieving positive improvements in student success and retention, as well as improving students’ perceptions of their academic experience with us. They have been drafted by building directly upon recent enhancement projects and existing good practice across the university.
Following extensive consultation, the principles have been approved by Academic Development Committee and Academic Board, and so their principles constitute binding expectations for the delivery of all taught provision within MMU. However, there will be circumstances where the specific details of implementation will differ in ways appropriate for the programme (for example, in distance learning or CPD). In such cases, course documentation, especially the information issued to students, must demonstrate how the principles and spirit of the thresholds are being satisfied by local means. As the target dates in the document show, not every aspect of the thresholds can be implemented overnight, but once we have done so these are likely to become regarded as student entitlements. This may then lead us to look again at the current Student Agreement.
Of course, the whole idea of thresholds is that they only form a starting point - all of us will wish to enhance beyond this base-line, adapting and improving our practice in ways that are appropriate to particular courses, subject areas or groups of students.
I am very grateful to all those who have contributed to drafting and consultation, and I thank colleagues in advance for the further work that will be needed to follow through on implementation. As ever, this will necessitate close and professional collaboration between academics and professional and administrative colleagues as we refine our processes, information and procedures to deliver these standards and move beyond them.