CEBTS - Consortium of European Baptist Theological Schools


CEBTS QAA Code of Practice

Postgraduate research programmes – Masters and Doctor of Philosophy

Code of Practice based on some European Union precepts of appropriate national Quality Assurance organisations.

Institutional arrangements

1

Institutions will put in place effective arrangements to maintain appropriate academic standards and enhance the quality of postgraduate research programmes.

  • The Rector has determined this shall be done and the Board of Trustees supports this, not least through the work, policies and procedures carried by the Academic Board and the Joint Research Committee.
2

Institutional regulations for postgraduate research degree programmes will be clear and readily available to students and staff. Where appropriate, regulations will be supplemented by similarly accessible, subject-specific guidance at the level of the faculty, school or department.

  • These are published by the seminary on our web site and available from the Registrar. The Academic Dean and the Director of Post Graduate Research will also advise on specific regulations and requirements, which are reviewed annually.
  • The requirements for post-graduate awards, progression to the awards and specifics of, structure and flow of the programmes are outlined in the Course Handbooks and Research Students' Handbook.
3

Institutions will develop, implement and keep under review a code or codes of practice applicable across the institution, which include(s) the areas covered by this document. The code(s) should be readily available to all students and staff involved in postgraduate research programmes.

  • The Rector and Academic Dean have instructed that this must be done. The elements of the code of practice are incorporated in the Course and Handbooks.
4

Institutions will monitor the success of their postgraduate research programmes against appropriate internal and/or external indicators and targets.

  • Monitoring is done bi-annually on the bases of reviewing student's progress and feedback from students, faculty and funders and through the report of the Directorate to the Board of Trustees and in the regular meetings of the Joint Research Committee.
  • For the monitoring the Directorate collects, processes, distributes widely relevant statistics to all parties involved in the work of the institution (through Directorate's reports to BoT, Examiner's Board, LINK Quarterly, Friends of IBTS networks in the UK and the USA, Rector's public presentations, IBTS website, etc.)

The research environment

5

Institutions will only accept research students into an environment that provides support for doing and learning about research' and where high quality research is occurring.

  • IBTS is committed, through our interdisciplinary Research Institutes, post-graduate seminars, ground-breaking conference programme and rigorous research culture to create, support and develop a demonstrable research achievements, effective learning paradigms, and research environment of the highest international standards.

Selection, admission and induction of students

6

Admissions procedures will be clear, consistently applied and will demonstrate equality of opportunity.

  • IBTS publishes our admissions procedure and great care is taken to ensure no student is entered into the post-graduate research programme without a minimum level of a taught Masters degree or equivalent and without participating in the Orientation, Research and Critical Thinking modules, research seminar programme and the production of a clear, attainable research project.
  • Student's admission is always a result of a collective decision making with careful consideration of all possible sources for funding of student's research work.
7

Only appropriately qualified and prepared students will be admitted to research programmes.

  • IBTS ensures this through the multidisciplinary work of the Directorate and Joint Research Committee in careful review of all applications.
8

Admissions decisions will involve at least two members of the institution's staff who will have received instruction, advice and guidance in respect of selection and admissions procedures. The decision-making process will enable the institution to assure itself that balanced and independent admissions decisions have been made, that support its admissions policy.

  • Admissions procedure involves a minimum of six academic members of staff. The Moderator appointed by the University of Wales has been asked for specific support and training of staff involved in admissions. Academics from two British, one German, one Ukrainian and one Russian institution also participate in this selection process. Additionally extended international network of research tutors is involved in the making of the research student's supervising committees.
  • The research programmes are open to students who have a relevant undergraduate degree and a good knowledge of English. Applicant's English language competency, as outlined in the application materials, is assessed by submitting an essay and by submitting a proof of achieving the Advanced Cambridge Certificate or an official Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score either 550 or 270 according to the scaled used. The school provides additional English language support to the admitted candidates.
9

The entitlements and responsibilities of a research student undertaking a postgraduate research programme will be defined and communicated dearly.

  • All students receive full explanation, individual interviews with the Rector and Director of Research, and guidance from ad hoc committees of faculty members in the student's research filed during the orientation period to meet this specific code of practice.
  • The dynamics of IBTS admission process for MPhil/ PhD, available stand-by modules for improving their research skills are listed in the Research Students' Handbook.
10

Institutions will provide research students with sufficient information to enable them to begin their studies with an understanding of the academic and social environment in which they will be working.

  • The appointment, briefing and support of supervisors is a high priority task for the Director of Research. The Rector takes care to meet regularly with postgraduate students to discuss academic and social environment issues at IBTS.
  • Virtual Critical Thinking, Academic Research and Writing Seminar and weekly exercises in skills of argumentation, qualitative and quantitative research techniques for on campus students.
  • Assistance for working on dissertation proposals by qualified faculty-peer group seminars and e-net support system.
  • Writing Research Dissertation seminars for both MTh and MPhil/ PhD.

Supervision

11

Institutions will appoint supervisors who have the appropriate skills and subject knowledge to support, encourage and monitor research students effectively.

  • The Seminary takes careful note of research areas of the students and then through the Joint Research Committee assigns supervisors who have relevant knowledge, skills, expertise and experience.
  • Annual briefing with the Board of Trustees on all spectrum of supervision and quality assurance.
12

Each research student will have a minimum of one main supervisor. He or she will normally be part of a supervisory team. There must always be one dearly identified point of contact for the student.

  • The seminary conforms to this element in the code of practice. All research students are supervised by a supervising team with a primary and specialist supervision and each student has a clear point of contact formally advised to them.
  • Supervisory team keeps fluid network of contacts with the student, among the members of the team and with the Director of Research.
13

Institutions will ensure that the responsibilities of all research student supervisors are clearly communicated to supervisors and students through written guidance.

  • The Director of Research is specifically tasked to make sure supervisors receive such written guidance and monitoring.
  • The seminary secures pastoral support through the institution of Personal Mentors and campus Chaplaincy listed in the Research Students' Handbook.
14

Institutions will ensure that the quality of supervision is not put at risk as a result of an excessive volume and range of responsibilities assigned to individual supervisors.

  • The monitoring of supervisory workload is undertaken monthly by the Directorate, regularly by the Director of Research and twice yearly by the Academic Committee of the Board of Trustees.

Progress and review arrangements

15

Institutions will put in place and bring to the attention of students and relevant staff clearly defined mechanisms for monitoring and supporting student progress.

  • All progress is reviewed in both Departmental Academic meetings (once a Trimester) and in the Joint Research Committee (twice a year).
  • Mechanisms of monitoring and supporting student's academic progress are outlined in the guidelines for scheduling, reporting and evaluation student's research work. These are entered in the Course Academic Handbook and publicly displayed.
16

Institutions will put in place and bring to the attention of students and relevant staff clearly defined mechanisms for formal reviews of student progress, including explicit review stages.

  • The seminary has a built in standard review scheme for pre-registered students, at registration, after two years, or after the completion of Part I of MTh research work and then annually.
  • The seminary has a clearly defined policy of termination of student's registration if the progress continues to be unsatisfactory.
17

Institutions will provide guidance to students, supervisors and others involved in progress monitoring and review processes about the importance of keeping appropriate records of the outcomes of meetings and related activities.

  • The seminary is developing a record-keeping pro-forma for all supervisors and the Director of Research is compiling a database for this purpose.

Development of research and other skills

18

Institutions will provide research students with appropriate opportunities for personal and professional development.

  • The seminary seeks to do this through the research and learning environment, guided seminar and communication performance on weekly workshops, seminars, research events and post-graduate seminars, submitting articles to the IBTS Journal of European Baptist Studies, encouragement to participate in relevant academic conferences etc.
  • A special series of seminars on equipping or improving research students' teaching skills and techniques of teaching and communication are offered by the school to all students willing to enrol.
19

Each student's development needs will be identified and agreed jointly by the student and appropriate academic staff, initially during the student's induction period; they will be regularly reviewed during the research programme and amended as appropriate.

  • The seminary seeks to do this in the Orientation/induction process and this forms part of the regular review procedure.
  • The seminary encourages and provides opportunities to MPhil/ PhD students on campus to take part in delivery of undergraduate and taught master's course work.
20

Institutions will provide opportunities for research students to maintain a record of personal progress, which includes reference to the development of research and other skills.

  • The seminary is seeking to establish appropriate Personal Development Planning materials and records. Further advice is being sought from our Moderator.

Feedback mechanisms

21

Institutions will put in place mechanisms to collect, review and, where appropriate, respond to feedback from all concerned with postgraduate research programmes. They will make arrangements for feedback to be considered openly and constructively and for the results to be communicated appropriately.

  • This takes place directly with the supervisor, Director of Research, Course Directors, Departmental Academic meetings, Joint Research Committee, Academic Committee of the Board of Trustees.
  • Student's evaluation forms are collected and analysed annually. The results of the evaluation are communicated back to the faculty and the students.

Assessment

22

Institutions will use criteria for assessing research degrees that enable them to define the academic standards of different research programmes and the achievements of their graduates. The criteria used to assess research degrees must be clear and readily available to students, staff and external examiners.

  • The seminary seeks to abide by the criteria established by the appropriate validating body/ QAA.
23

Research degree assessment procedures must be clear; they must be operated rigorously, fairly, and consistently; include input from an external examiner; and carried out to a reasonable time scale.

  • The seminary seeks to conform fully to the criteria and assessment procedures established by the accrediting body.
24

Institutions will communicate their assessment procedures clearly to all the parties involved, i.e. the students, the supervisor(s) and the examiners.

  • The seminary ensures all post graduate research students have information on the relevant documentation developed by the accrediting/validating body.

Student representations

25

Institutions will put in place and publicise procedures for dealing with student representations that are fair, clear to all concerned, robust and applied consistently. Such procedures will allow all students access to relevant information and an opportunity to present their case.

  • Students are represented at all levels of decision making – Departmental Meetings, regular Rector/student Assemblies, and meetings with the Board of Trustees.

Complaints

26

Independent and formal procedures will exist to resolve effectively complaints from research students about the quality of the institution's learning and support provision.

  • The seminary conforms to the procedures put in place by the accrediting body.

Appeals

27

Institutions will put in place formal procedures to deal with any appeals made by research students. The acceptable grounds for appeals will be clearly defined.

  • The seminary operates the appeal procedures specified by the accrediting body

CEBTS Guideline
June 2007

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