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We are aware that some colleagues might have received the recent correspondence from the University regarding an 'Academic Safety Net' policy. Please note that the guidance included in that email is intended for students and staff at the Durham campus. We are working hard to ensure that all relevant information is translated into practice for TEIs and the Common Awards Framework. Please bear with us as we undertake this work.
This policy will differ from the 'No Detriment' policy used in 2019/20. University Senate has agreed that an across-the-board algorithmic approach to grades and degree classifications (i.e the use of a 'No Detriment' AMW) is not appropriate as we would lack the data needed to create authentic baseline averages. The principle behind the 'Academic Safety Net' policy remains the same as 'No Detriment' and is designed to give students confidence that their grades and degree outcomes will not be negatively affected by Covid-19, and that the integrity of their degree will be maintained. The terminology has been deliberately changed to reflect the different responses required in 2019/20 and 2020/21.
The Common Awards Team is working closely with the National Ministry Team to translate the 'Academic Safety Net' policy for TEIs and the Common Awards Framework and will communicate the Common Awards policy as soon as we are able to do so. We also intend to run training sessions, as we did last year, to outline the approach and the implications for TEIs. These will be scheduled as soon as possible.
In light of the changing situation, and the introduction of the new 'Academic Safety Net' policy, please note that the Frequently Asked Questions on Covid-19 have been updated. We would be grateful if TEIs could continue to review the FAQs regularly. The FAQs have been separated out into matters relating to the 2019/20 academic year and matters relating to the 2020/21 academic year (alongside additional existing guidance on supporting students and changes to any scheduled events). Changes made to FAQs relating to 2019/20 have only been updated to clarify that guidance relates to the 2019/20 academic year in order to avoid any confusion with processes for 2020/21.
Please review the information contained within the Common Awards FAQs in the first instance and contact the Common Awards Team on the general mailing address if you have any questions.
Previous guidance issued on how to take the effects of Covid-19 into account when marking has been formalised and the guidance can be found in the FAQs.
Please note, some members of the Common Awards Team have had to change their working patterns due to the need to provide care or home-school activities for children at home during the current national lockdown. Some members are also experiencing (or have recently recovered from) a period of ill health, which may also affect availability and the time taken to respond to queries. Please note that Dr Eve Parker is now on maternity leave, and that Emma Harrington will be taking maternity leave from April 2021. Please bear with us during these times and we will respond to all queries as quickly as we can. Please continue to contact the team on email@example.com to ensure that your query can be dealt with appropriately.
1st April - Deadline: TEIs to submit student email addresses for the Common Awards Student Survey
22nd April - TEI Forum
29th April - Improving support for students with Specific Learning Difficulties (Event)
We are delighted to announce that our new website has been launched!
Every webpage has been updated and redrafted where necessary. This has been a huge undertaking for the Common Awards Team, and we appreciate your patience while we've been working on the new site. We know that a new website has been on the 'wish list' for a long time, so we really hope it works well for staff and students. All redirects from the old website are working so you should automatically be redirected to the corresponding page on the new website.
You can find the new website at this link: https://www.durham.ac.uk/departments/academic/common-awards/ please note that other pages we may refer to (e.g. Learning and Teaching Handbook) are on the old Durham website.
Each tab in the yellow menu bar has its own landing page which includes information on what each section contains and acts almost as contents page. If you hover over the tab, however, you will be able see a drop-down menu where you can go directly to the relevant section.
Information on the website will now only appear in one place; however, the 'helpful links' section on pages will enable to you quickly direct to the relevant information if it appears in another section. For instance, guidance on concessions is sited under 'Student Support' but it will be easily accessible from pages within the 'Student Records' section as the processes are linked. Each page within a section will also contain a 'Go back' button so you can return the landing page for that section.
As with the old website, we would ask you to link to the information on the website, rather than copy and paste into handbooks etc, to ensure information is kept up to date.
News and Events
Under this tab, you will find the Common Awards Calendar, and important information about Covid-19. We have tried to avoid adding dates into webpages (as these quickly become inaccurate), but you will find a link to the calendar on any page where we have referenced a deadline so you can easily access this information. We have taken a similar approach with any upcoming events. The Bulletins and our social media threads can also be found here and on the Homepage. Consultations will also be found under this header.
Policies and Process
The terminology 'TEI Handbook' is no longer being used but all the information can be found under the 'Policies and Processes' pages. The website is then structured to follow the student life cycle so that we can support you through every stage:
This section contains information designed for a student audience, and includes guidance on serious adverse circumstances, graduation, disability and financial support, complaints and appeals, student representation and information on how students can shape their programme.
This section contains information on the resources provided to TEI staff as part of the Common Awards framework, such as staff development, the TEI Forum, Hub access, and sharing good practice.
Here, you can find information on the Common Awards research network, the research themes, guidance on seedcorn grants and research projects. Information on the Annual Theological Educators Conference will be available here, but registration will be via the Events page.
This new section provides helpful resources to navigate the website, and to complement the information contained in some of our webpages (e.g a guide to acronyms and a glossary).
A search function limited to the Common Awards website was not possible unfortunately; however, we encourage you to look at the new 'A-Z' function which has direct links to key pages. It may help to take note of the URL to see where the information is sited on the website.
Our new Templates and Forms page collects all the templates and forms used in the Common Awards framework in one place. You will be directed to this page to download the relevant form if you are on a webpage where a form or template is referenced; however, this also means that you can navigate directly to this page if you know which form or template you wish to use. Please could we ask you to use those available on the new website (as some have been updated) and ensure that this request is communicated to staff as needed.
Diversity and Inclusion
This section includes information on the Diversity and Inclusion Strategy and information on the Advisory Group. Information on previous Diversity and Inclusion webinars will also be found here; but registrations for new webinars will be found under events.
The landing page here is designed to ensure that staff and students know who best to contact depending on their query. From this page you will also find contact details for the Common Awards Team, TEI Key Contacts, ULOs, the National Ministry Team and the Chair of the TEI Forum.
We hope you enjoy the new website. Of course, we understand that it may take some time to get used to. We would encourage you make good use of the 'A-Z' if you are unable to navigate immediately using the new 'Policies and Processes' structure. If you still cannot find the information you are looking for, please get in touch - we will be able to direct you to the correct page and update our A-Z with new links. There are one or two pages still under construction (clearly highlighted on the page) - if you require the information on these pages, please get in touch. Please also note that we are still working closely with some TEIs to finalise programme documentation so not all may appear at this time.
All TEIs should have received invoices at the beginning of March. The invoices are based on a snapshot of student records data from 1st December; all changes communicated to us before 1st December will have been reflected in the invoices. Please note that payments are expected within 30 days.
If there are any questions or queries regarding invoices, please contact the team as soon as possible.
The Common Awards Team would like to thank TEIs for running the recent election process to appoint the 2021/22 student representatives to the Common Awards Management Board, which took place between 5th February – 5th March 2021. We’d also like to thank those students who stood for election, and those who took the time to vote in the election.
We are pleased to announce that the 2021/22 CAMB student representatives are as follows (in alphabetical order):
Abigail Harris, Cambridge Theological Federation
Claire Finlay, St Mellitus College
Neal Terry, Lindisfarne College of Theology
Further information on how students can engage with the student representatives will be circulated to students via TEI key contacts in due course. In the meantime, please contact the Common Awards Team if you have any questions.
The TEI Forum is due to be held virtually on April 22nd.
Registrations to attend will now close on April 15th. Whilst we migrate to our new website, please register your attendance using our email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
When registering via email, please provide your full name, TEI name and email address.
Please also contact Steve Summers (Chair) directly with any agenda items.
The 2020/21 Common Awards Student Survey will run from Tuesday 4th May – Friday 28th May 2021. The survey will be entirely managed and analysed by Durham, with TEI-specific results shared with each TEI over the summer. The survey will be available to all students registered on Common Awards programmes in 2020/21.
TEIs are reminded of the following deadlines in relation to the Student Survey:
Sharing information with students: ASAP
Please contact your students using the email text provided in the previous email (dated 5th March), to give them the opportunity to confirm if they do not wish to have their email addresses shared with us.
Providing student data to Durham: 1st April 2021
At the upcoming Common Awards conference there will be opportunities to share our experiences of developing our pedagogies in a context shaped by the pandemic, by new modes of teaching and learning, and by our ongoing work on diversity, inclusion and belonging.
As part of this exploration of experiences, we are looking for staff members who would be happy to talk to Dr. Frances Clemson about their teaching practice over the past year or so. In particular, Dr Clemson would like to speak to staff members who are able to share:
If you have something to say about one of the above points, we would be very grateful if you could reply to Dr Clemson directly (email@example.com) so that she can contact you about some ways to share your thinking and experiences at the conference. Please respond by 31st March 2021. Responding does not mean you are committing yourself to any role at the conference or to any significant investment of time. Dr Clemson will ask you to meet with her once via zoom in advance of the conference and possibly (where colleagues are willing) to record a 5-10 minute video with her (again via zoom) at a convenient time.
TEIs already do a lot to support students with Specific Learning Difficulties. This is, however, an area in which we can all keep on developing.
We want to enable staff from different TEIs to learn from each other, and from good practice elsewhere in the churches and in the Higher Education sector. We also want identify and share useful resources.
We are therefore running an initial meeting, on Zoom, to begin scoping what might be possible in this area. The meeting will be an opportunity for some initial identification of good resources and examples of good practice. It will also be an opportunity to discuss how in practice we might go on identifying and sharing such examples and resources.
The meeting is open to any member of staff (academic or administrative) from any TEI who has an interest in this area.
The meeting will be held on Zoom, on Thu 29th April, from 2–4pm.
To book a place, please use this Eventbrite link.
The latest in the series of Common Awards Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging webinars is now available on our website.
Hear Ruth Harley and Al Barrett in conversation with Sanjee Perera (recently appointed as the Archbishops' Adviser on Minority Ethnic Anglican Concerns) about their book of the same title - Being Interrupted: Reimagining the Church’s Mission from the Outside In
Here's the publisher's description of Being Interrupted:
"Beginning with a ‘Street Nativity Play’ that didn’t end as planned, and finishing with an open-ended conversation in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Being Interrupted locates an institutionally-anxious Church of England within the wider contexts of divisions of race and class in ‘the ruins of empire’, alongside ongoing gender inequalities, the marginalization of children, and catastrophic ecological breakdown.
"In the midst of this bleak picture, Al Barrett and Ruth Harley open a door to a creative disruption of the status quo, ‘from the outside, in’: the in-breaking of the wild reality of the ‘Kin-dom’ of God. Through careful and unsettling readings in Mark’s gospel, alongside stories from a multicultural outer estate in east Birmingham, they paint a vivid picture of an ‘alternative economy’ for the Church’s life and mission, which begins with transformative encounters with neighbours and strangers at the edges of our churches, our neighbourhoods and our imaginations, and offers new possibilities for repentance and resurrection.”
Though rooted in a Church of England context, this is a book which has a challenging message for many other church contexts as well.
Please note that TMM2601 Christian Worship - Learning through Tradition has now been reclassified and now covers Christian Tradition as well as Mission and Ministry.
Please also note that TMM3381 Denominational History and Principles is now listed as both a Christian Tradition and Ministry and Mission (previously just listed as the latter).
TMM43320 - This module has always contained the text: Subject Specific Knowledge [SSK 1, 2, 4]. However, under this the SSK4 learning outcome was not out written in full. This discrepancy has now been rectified. Please could we ask that TEIs take note of this amendment.
All T5 documentation correctly lists the module as covering SSK1, 2 and 4 so no amendments are needed to these documents.
Amended versions of the Programme Specifications have been approved and are now available for use. They can be found on our website here; Programme Specifications - Durham University
They replace any previous versions so please could we ask that you ensure these are shared with all staff and students. The appendices have been removed in consultation with CIG and the approval of Quality and Standards Committee at Durham University. The information contained within the appendices has been added to our website.
The Programme specifications for the new Postgraduate Programmes in Chaplaincy Studies have also been published on the Programme Specifications page.
There are 6 new modules which have been approved for delivery from September 2021. They are:
There are several new module proposals currently being considered by CIG and we will provide an update on these in due course.
All modules and marks should be registered in the year the student completed the final assessment. Please let us know if any module registrations should be changed as a result of a resit or extension. Where the original module was attended in 2019/20 but the final assessment was taken in 2020/21 due to a resit for example, the module/mark would be moved to 2020/21. We recognise that in cases where the student has been required to resit/resubmit the final assessment for a 2019/20 Covid-affected module, the assessment should still be considered to be Covid-affected, therefore please do let us know if this is the case when advising that the module registration should be moved. In cases where a module is moved to another year due to a resit and this results in the student having less than 40 credits in the original year, you do not need to submit a concession request, as we recognise that the teaching and original assessment was taken in that year; the resit assessment has just meant that the module registration is moved to another year. Please contact Ken Farrimond if you have any questions on how to do this in Moodle.
The Overarching Board of Examiners are due to be held on September 2nd (Summer) and December 2nd (Winter).
We therefore ask that TEIs hold their own Board of Examiners no later than 6th August (Summer) and 5th November (Winter). This allows the Common Awards Team enough time to process the data received from TEIs, and resolve any queries, before the Overarching Board of Examiners.
Following a consultation with TEIs and discussions at the Common Awards Management Board, revisions to the handling of TEI Research Ethics policies have been made. Thank you to everyone who responded to the consultation.
The first is the development of a new process for checking that all TEIs have an appropriate Research Ethics policy in place, and that it covers all necessary matters. By the end of the 2020/21 academic year, please ensure that you have adopted a research ethics policy if they have not already done so. TEIs will be required to share their policies with the University if (and only if) you are not using the model policy available on our website.
The second is a new policy on the academic implications for students of failures to follow TEI Research Ethics policies. Please ensure that you familiarise yourself and students with this policy.
Please note that the Common Awards office will be closed from 1st April - 6th April (inclusive). University staff have been granted an additional two days leave over the Easter weekend.
The full 20/21 academic calendar is available here.
Mike, Frances, Eve, Alyson, Emma, Deborah, Rhianne and Adam