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Structure and Governance  

The Common Awards Scheme is a partnership between Durham University, the Church of England (and other partner churches), and designated Theological Education Institutions (TEIs). The following pages provide information on the governance arrangements for the Common Awards Scheme and the key roles within Durham University dedicated to supporting the partnership.  

Structure and Governance

Common Awards Management Board

The Common Awards Management Board (CAMB) was established by Durham and the Archbishops’ Council (of the Church of England) to have responsibility and oversight of the Common Awards Framework, including the maintenance of the academic quality and standards of the suite of Common Awards programmes. It formally reports to the University’s Quality and Standards Committee for the purpose of Durham’s quality assurance arrangements, but reports and documents are often shared with the Church of England’s Quality and Formation Panel.

The membership of the Management Board is comprised of representatives from Durham, the National Ministry Team (CofE), the Methodist Church, TEIs and students.

The Management Board meets three times a year, with at least one meeting in each academic term. Meetings are typically held at Durham University and Church House. The Chair is the Professor of Theology and Ministry and the Secretary a member of the Common Awards administrative Team.

TEI Management Committees

Each TEI constitutes a Common Awards Management Committee (CAMC) to oversee the Common Awards programme(s) delivered, as well as any matters relating to the partnership with Durham. Some TEIs may refer to their Management Committee by an alternative name.

TEI Management Committees meet three times a year, with at least one meeting in each academic term. Minutes of TEI Management Committees are considered by the Common Awards Management Board. University Liaison Officers attend meetings of the Management Committee.

Durham (Overarching) Board of Examiners

The Durham Board of Examiners is responsible for receiving the confirmed marks for any students recommended for an award, and for considering and determining, in accordance with the relevant University core regulations and programme regulations, the award and classification of all students registered on Common Awards programmes.

The Overarching Board of Examiners is held in Durham, meets twice a year - typically in August and December - and is administered by the Common Awards administrative Team. The Chair is a senior member of academic staff within the University not involved in Common Awards. University Liaison Officers and the External Moderator attend meetings of the Board of Examiners.

TEI Board of Examiners

Each TEI operates its own Board of Examiners, in line with guidance issued by Durham. TEI Boards of Examiners are organised, administered, and chaired by the TEI. Meetings of the TEI Board must take place in good time for students to be considered for progression and recommendation for award, in line with the Common Awards Calendar. TEI Boards of Examiners report into the Durham (Overarching) Board of Examiners. University Liaison Officers and External Examiners attend meetings of the Board of Examiners.

TEI Forum

The TEI Forum has no formal role in the governance of the partnership between Durham and the Church, or between Durham and TEIs, but it provides an opportunity for all TEIs to meet to discuss common issues and share good practice. Each TEI can nominate up to four members of core staff to serve as members of the Forum, and representatives from Durham and the National Ministry Team attend by invitation of the Chair.

The Forum meets twice a year, usually in April and October. The Chairperson is elected by the representatives of the Forum for a period of three years, and a Secretary is nominated for each meeting.

Continuing Implementation Group

The design for Common Awards programmes and modules was developed by the National Ministry Team in partnership with the TEIs, and in consultation with Durham. Revisions to that design – to programme specifications, module outlines, assessment criteria and various other matters – is overseen by the Continuing Implementation Group (CIG), before being considered by the University Quality and Standards Committee for approval where required. 

The Continuing Implementation Group was established by the National Ministry Team and the TEI Forum to advise on any proposals that affect Common Awards as a whole, not just the implementation of a change within a particular TEI. The Group is made up of TEI representatives appointed by the TEI Forum and National Ministry Team staff, with representation from Durham.

The Chair of the Group is a TEI representative and its Secretary a National Ministry Team staff member.

Senate

Senate is the University's supreme governing body in all academic matters. Senate's role is to promote, oversee and regulate the teaching and research work of the University. The Common Awards Framework, when first introduced, was approved by Senate. Some changes to the Common Awards Framework, such as the Core Regulations, require approval from Senate.

Education Committee

Education Committee reports to the University’s Senate. Some matters require approval from this Committee, most notably the approval of new TEIs to join the Common Awards Scheme. Education Committee is comprised of staff from all Faculties in the University and student representatives from Durham Students’ Union. The Committee meets twice a term, is Chaired by the Vice-Provost (Education) and its Secretary is appointed from the Curriculum, Learning and Assessment Service (where the Common Awards administrative team is based).

Quality and Standards Committee

Quality and Standards Committee (QSC) is a sub-committee of the Education Committee.

It is responsible for overseeing policies and procedures on the assurance and systematic enhancement of quality and standards of undergraduate and taught postgraduate provision at the University. The Committee is also responsible for considering significant changes to the Common Awards Framework – such as policy and programme approval or revision - on the recommendation of the Common Awards Management Board which formally reports into QSC.

The Committee meets twice a term, is Chaired by the Deputy Vice-Provost (Education) and its Secretary is appointed from the Curriculum, Learning and Assessment Service (where the Common Awards administrative team is based).

Quality and Formation Panel

Quality assurance work for the Church of England is managed by the National Ministry Team under the guidance of the Quality and Formation Panel (QaF). The Panel has a role in the oversight of the church’s Common Awards partnership with Durham University, in approving new formational pathways at TEIs, and the consideration of Annual Self Evaluation and Period External Review reports.

The QaF meets three times a year, with at least one meeting in each academic term. Meetings are typically held at Church House and Durham University. The Panel is Chaired by a Bishop and the Secretary a member of the National Ministry Team.

Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Group (DI-AG)

The Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Group (DI-AG) drives and encourages change that promotes good practice within Common Awards TEIs. The Advisory Group offers support to Common Awards initiatives on diversity and inclusion as well as hold Common Awards to account in order to make sure progress is being made and to help shape the development of the Equality and Diversity strategy.