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Graduate School of Life Sciences

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  • 1. Graduate School of Life Sciences & Medicine Postgraduate Quality Committee 15 November 2005 Minutes Present Professor Denis Wright (Chairman) Dr Nigel Gooderham (BMS) Dr Janet Haddock (CEP) Dr John Tippins (Cell & Molecular Biology) Professor Anne Soutar (CSC) Dr Mick Jones (IS) Dr Michael McGarvey (Medicine) Professor Margaret Hodson (NHLI) Dr Pat Cover (NMH) Professor Marjo-Riita Jarvelin (EPHPC) Dr Kate Hardy (SORA) Ms Nichola Hawkins (Student Representative) In Attendance Ms Sally Baker (Assistant Registrar, GSLSM) Mrs Sue Stone (Assistant Registrar, Postgraduate Admissions) Mr Tom Purser (PG Admissions, Registry) Ms Bethan Jones (Education Coordinator, Medicine) Ms Beth Parry (Management Trainee, assigned to the Pro-Rectors) Mr Barney Grainger (QA Administrator, Graduate Schools) The Committee welcomed Dr Janet Haddock as the new representative of CEP (Wye campus), Dr Pat Cover as the new representative for NMH, Dr Kate Hardy as the representative of the newly formed Surgery, Oncology, Reproductive Biology and Anaesthetics Division and Ms Beth Parry, the Management Trainee assigned to the Pro-Rectors. 1. Apologies for absence Dr Simon Leather [and alternate, Dr Alfried Vogler] (Biology) Mr Luis Hui (Deputy President, Graduate Students) 2. Terms of Reference and Membership of Postgraduate Quality Committee for 2005/2006 GSLSM/PQC/2005/01 Terms of Reference were received and approved, subject to the inclusion of a bullet point stating the role of the PQC in relation to the Management Committee, and the relocation of points one and two to a lower position. The Membership of the Committee was received and approved, subject to the appointment of the CEP (South Kensington campus) representative. 3. Minutes of the last meeting GSLSM/PQC/2005/02 The minutes of the meeting held on 6 September 2005 were agreed.
  • 2. 4 Matters Arising 4.1 It was reported that following the last Committee meeting, members had subsequently agreed to the Division of Molecular Biosciences’ request for further amendments to the course title and course content of the MSc Bioinformatics. With effect from October 2006 the course title will be MSc Bioinformatics and Systems Biology. Minute 7.3 – MSc in Bioinformatics course title and content amendment request 4.2 It was reported that following the last Committee meeting, members had subsequently agreed to the Division of Molecular Biosciences’ request for further amendments to the course title of the MRes Structural Biology. With effect from October 2006 the course title will be MRes Structural and Molecular Biology. Minute 7.4 – MRes in Structural Biology course title amendment 5. Summary of course review progress GSLSM/PQC/2005/03 The Committee received copies of the GSLSM Senate paper detailing the course review grades of the 2002/2003 and 2003/2004 review rounds. It was agreed to ensure that course evaluations graded between the marking criteria (Good/Satisfactory, Satisfactory/Poor) would be resolved in future. 6. Graduate Schools’ course evaluation form GSLSM/PQC/2005/04 GSLSM/PQC/2005/04.2 The Committee received tabled copies of the single form used jointly by both Graduate Schools for review of the academic year 2004/2005. The members agreed that identifying instances of best practice on the front page of the form was effective, and asked that this same box be removed from the final page of the form. Following concern expressed at the administrative burden for academics that collecting data incurred, it was reported that the new OSS system would allow student data reports to be downloaded, helping to reduce the time taken to complete the form, but that currently the system could only provide figures for the 2004/2005 academic year. It was agreed to include the descriptor for the framework for higher education qualifications to ensure course descriptions and marking criteria met QAA guidelines. The Committee further received a tabled summary list of courses that were to be reviewed in the current session. It was agreed that Reviewers would not assess the same course as in the 2002/2003 review round, and confirmed that courses currently suspended, or about to be suspended, must still be reviewed. It was reported that Reviewer’s Guidelines were being prepared for distribution. Members suggested that the Guidelines should include examples of good practice – such as the provision of Student Handbooks and Staff/Student Committees – to aid Reviewers in its identification. 7 Review of current Master’s and Diploma courses 7.1 The Committee considered a request from the Division of Biology to reinstate for at least one further year in 2006/07 the Plant Pathology option of the MSc Crop Protection. GSLSM/PQC/2005/05 The Committee agreed to reinstate the Plant Pathology option indefinitely as it was apparent that the new MRes Molecular Plant Pathology would not be starting as planned. The current Plant Pathology option had continued to be attractive, receiving applications for the 2006/2007 academic year. 7.2 The Committee considered a request from the Division of Biomedical Sciences for amendments to the course title and mode of delivery of the MRes in Animal Science. GSLSM/PQC/2005/06 The Committee approved the request to amend the name of the course to MRes in Animal Systems and Molecular Physiology, to better reflect the change in staff expertise, and allow delivery of the programme over two years part time as well as one year full time. It was further noted that the course would move to the Silwood Campus with effect from October 2006.
  • 3. 7.3 The Committee considered a request from the Division of Investigative Science for amendments to the term and mode of delivery of the MSc in Infection Management for Pharmacists. GSLSM/PQC/2005/07 The Committee requested further clarification of the proposed amendment and asked for the request to be resubmitted to the next meeting of the PQC. ACTION: Dr Mick Jones 7.4 The Committee considered a tabled request from the Division of Investigative Science to withdraw both the MSc in Infectious Diseases and MSc in Haematology. GSLSM/PQC/2005/08 GSLSM/PQC/2005/09 The Committee approved the request to permanently withdraw both courses on the basis that the MSc Infectious Diseases had not run since 2002/2003; the MSc Haematology had not been offered as a course for at least eight years. 7.5 The Committee considered a request from the Division of Biomedical Sciences for amendments to the award title of the MRes in Molecular, Cellular and Physiological Science. GSLSM/PQC/2005/10 The Committee approved the request to amend the award title to MRes in Biomedical Research, to reflect the revised identity of the Division and emphasise the nature of the research undertaken within the Division, with effect from October 2006. The change in award title was further approved for the 2005/2006 session, pending written agreement to the amendment from all affected students. This agreement has been subsequently received. 7.6 The Committee considered a tabled request from the Centre for Environmental Policy for the suspension of the MSc in Environmental Diagnosis in 2006/07. GSLSM/PQC/2005/11 The Committee approved the request and were willing to approve the permanent withdrawal of the course should the Head of the Centre request this. 7.7 The Committee considered a request from the Division of Epidemiology, Public Health and Primary Care for the suspension of the MSc in Drug Use: Evidence Based Policy and Intervention and the permanent withdrawal of the MSc Social Intervention for Public Health in 2006/07 GSLSM/PQC/2005/12 The Committee approved both requests, subject to a formal request from the Head of Division. This request has been subsequently received. 7.8 The Committee considered a report from the Centre for Environmental Policy requesting the suspension of the MSc in Managing Rural Development, the MSc in Agribusiness for Development and the MSc in Agribusiness Management in 2006/07. As a consequence of suspending these degrees, the CEP requested changes to the course curriculum of the MSc in Agricultural Economics, the MSc in Applied Environmental Economics and the MSc in Food Chain Management. GSLSM/PQC/2005/13 The Committee approved the requests, with effect from October 2006. 7.9 The Committee considered a tabled request from the Division of Biology for amendments to the course title of the MRes in Plant Biotechnology. GSLSM/PQC/2005/21 The Committee approved the request to amend the course title to MRes in Molecular Plant and Microbial Biology. Subsequent to the meeting, the Division of Biology submitted a revised request to amend the course title from MRes in Plant Biotechnology to MRes in Molecular Plant Biology and Biotechnology, to more fully reflect the research activities and interests within the new Division and thus the increased scope of the MRes course. The Committee subsequently approved the request. 8. Examinations 8.1 The Committee noted action taken by the Chairman to approve the appointment of Dr John Tippins as Deputy Chairman of the Board of Examiners for the MRes Biochemical Research in 2005.
  • 4. 8.2 The Committee considered nominations for Boards of Examiners for Advanced Courses in the year 2006. GSLSM/PQC/2005/14 Discussion reported in appendix I [not published with minutes]. 8.3 Reports by Visiting Examiners on Advanced Courses 2004 & 2003 GSLSM/PQC/2005/15 The Committee considered reports by Visiting Examiners 2005. Discussion reported in appendix I [not published with minutes]. 9. Joint Marking Schemes/ECTS Working Party Members were reminded that the Graduate Schools’ Marking Schemes Working Party had recently been given the task of advising on assigning ECTS credits to PGT courses, with a view to including ECTS on all programmes specifications by October 2006. The Committee noted that the next meeting of the Working Party was expected to take place before Christmas 2005. 10. Reports from Committees 10.1 Senate, 2 November 2005 It was reported that Senate had approved the MPH in Public Health and approved the change in course title of the MSc Bioinformatics to MSc Bioinformatics and Systems Biology, and the MRes Structural Biology to MRes Structural Molecular Biology. 10.2 QARC, 4 November 2005 It was reported that Minutes would be available at the next PQC meeting. 11. Arrangements for Start of Session 2005 Members were invited to give feedback on the GSLSM welcome talk for new taught and research postgraduates. It was noted that the talks had been further stream-lined following comments from the previous year’s event. As such, the event began with an opening welcome from the Rector, followed by an introduction and welcome to the GSLSM and the College from Professor Mary Ritter, and an introduction and welcome from the Student Union. The talks had been followed by a reception in the Senior Common Room which had provided a good opportunity for students to meet College & Graduate School staff. It was suggested that next year the departmental and divisional stalls should be marked with the names of the courses so that students could locate their Course Organisers more easily. 12. GSLSM Winter Lecture 2005 Members were reminded that the GSLSM Winter Lecture would this year be held on Tuesday 22 November. The speaker would be Professor Richard Dawkins, FRS - his lecture would be taking place in room G16, Sir Alexander Fleming Building, South Kensington Campus, starting at 5.30pm. 13. Postgraduate Studies Opportunities Open Day at Imperial College Members were reminded that the College Postgraduate Open Day would be held on 14 December, from 12pm – 3.30pm in the Great Hall, Sherfield Building. 18. Any Other Business 18.1 Members received a tabled note from the Assistant Registrar (Postgraduates) detailing a proposal from the External Programme of the University of London to change a number of the General Regulations for External students. Due to the detailed nature of the proposal and the short amount of time that members had had to assimilate the information, the Committee agreed to defer a decision until the response from the external programme was available. The response from the external programme would be circulated by email for comments. GSLSM/PQC/2005/22 18.2 Members were asked of their experiences of accepting ERASMUS students into Master’s programmes. It was agreed that admission of ERASMUS students was the Department’s responsibility and noted that it was not possible for these students to gain any credits for their
  • 5. attendance on the course. 18.3 The Committee heard feedback from the Assistant Registrar (Postgraduate Admissions) on the OSS system. Research and Tanaka Business School students had been given the opportunity to register online. Although the process had not run as faultlessly as hoped, it had provided the Student Records team with valuable data and feedback. It was further reported that the plan to implement online admissions for all postgraduate students (currently available to Tanaka Business School students only) had been delayed due to an upgrade to the OSS software. It was noted that the facility to allow all departments to download admissions reports was fully functional. 19. Date of next meeting The next meeting will be held on Tuesday 17 January 2006 at the St Mary’s campus from 9:00am. 20. Reserved Business - Appendix A (not circulated to student members)