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Preparing reports and papers for the 
University Teaching Committee

Overview

Overview

University Teaching Committee (UTC) considers and approves a large number of reports, papers and policies. It is essential that all business is presented in a clear and concise manner, avoiding lengthy narratives, providing succinct recommendations and detailing the implications and implementation plans, where appropriate.

Authors should be aware of the audience and understand that a substantial volume of UTC business has to be considered and approved by senior committees e.g. the Senate. All business must be carefully proof read and  sent to the UTC secretary by the appropriate meeting deadline.

Submission deadlines

Teaching committee

Papers should be sent to aso@york.ac.uk

Please see the following page for submisson deadlines

Missed deadlines

If, for good reasons, you cannot make the deadline for papers, please contact the Secretary of Teaching Committee for advice.

Planning approval by the relevant Faculty Learning and Teaching Group must be obtained prior to submission of a new programme proposal to UTC (to consider the academic case).

Paper type

Is the paper a report, policy document or a review?

Report

A report is usually an update on business provided at regular intervals (termly, annually, biannually or biennially). A report will usually update UTC on developments, work-in-progress and future plans.

Review

A Review of current business would be undertaken on the direction of UTC:

  • To address new initiatives
  • To address areas where there is scope for enhancement, which might arise from  feedback on teaching and learning provision, national developments, or strategic priorities (e.g. the Review of Undergraduate Supervision)
  • As recommended within an institutional audit
  • When a timely update on provision is deemed appropriate

UTC will recommend that a Chair and a Secretary support a Review team. It is essential that the Secretary and the Chair understand the terms of reference, ensure the Review addresses the terms and that the findings of the Review are clearly presented. When the terms of reference cannot be achieved, the report should indicate this and propose a way forward outside of the realm of the Review. An example of when this may occur is where there are resource implications requiring decisions which cannot be made by the members of the Review team.

UTC is responsible for developing, monitoring and implementing University policy relating to teaching and learning. The UTC terms of reference detail where the responsibility for policy is delegated to UTC or subject to Senate approval. Consulting the UTC terms of reference and the UTC Secretary will ensure the recommendations for action of UTC and the senior committee are correct.

Alongside policy documentation, UTC considers and approves guidance documentation. Guidance documents are intended to support the application of policy. Such guidance documents usually undergo the same consideration as a policy document. 

Consultation

Consultation

When preparing papers and reports consultation with relevant stakeholders is necessary. In planning such consultation, allow sufficient time (especially for meetings such as focus groups where diary clashes can lead to delays), working back from the date at which recommendations need to be presented to UTC.  The frequency of working group meetings also needs careful consideration: some may only meet once per term if some work can be conducted by correspondence.

If consultation with a working group or sub-committee is necessary, be aware that:

  • Approval from the Chair of the working group will be needed to include an item of business
  • You will need to contact the Secretary of the working group in advance of the meeting and ask that an item be added to the agenda
  • The paper deadline for the meeting may be up to two weeks in advance of the meeting date

There are a number of stakeholders who may need to be consulted:

  • Academic departments
  • Fora such as the Distance Learning Forum
  • Graduate Students Association (GSA) and York University Student Union (YUSU)
  • Standing Committee on Assessment (SCA)
  • Central services
  • Sub-groups
  • Working committees

Diverse group membership helps achieve strong dynamics, ensuring full consideration has been given to the relevant equality strands when completing the Equality Impact Assessment.

Presentation

Presenting papers, reports, policy and Reviews

Download the cover sheet

Cover sheet

It is essential that a cover sheet accompanies all papers, reports, policy documents, guidance material and Reviews. The cover sheet is an important part of the business being considered and should provide context for the discussion. It is important that it is concise and provides an instant overview of the content. The executive summary should be brief, the recommendation for action of both UTC and the senior committee (eg the Senate) should be clear, including timescales, and resource implications should be outlined.

Presentation

Reports, papers, policy, Reviews and guidance documents (hereafter, papers) must be presented to UTC in a clear and structured manner (see: structure of papers).

When writing papers for UTC it is important that the author is clear about:

  1. The purpose of the document
  2. Who the paper is for
  3. The structure of the paper

The report should:

  1. Summarise the main points
  2. Avoid (or explain) higher education jargon and acronyms
  3. Set out the various different options that were considered before bringing forward a recommendation
  4. Outline the consultations held
  5. Indicate the author (normally the person with responsibility and authority for the matter in hand).

Ensure the paper is succinct, logical, accurate and clear. UTC members have a number of papers to read through and overloading papers with unnecessary content may slow down the process of approval.

Structure

Download the template

The paper should have three main parts to it:

  1. Introduction
    An introduction which provides the purpose of the paper and the consultative route that has been taken
  2. Context
    The context which provides the background, any new information which has been identified, the identified problems, the facts which have been gathered and the arguments for and against actions/options/recommendations
  3. Conclusion
    A conclusion, including the recommendations for action and the associated resource implications, key risks should be highlighted within the conclusion

The report should follow the standard template.

Implementation

Where changes to usual business are recommended, a timeline for such implementation should be included within the paper. Authors having consulted with the relevant stakeholders (student representatives, academic departments and support services) will be aware of the appropriate timescales associated with the recommended change. Including an implementation plan of the timeline for change will assist UTC in the decision to approve any recommendations. In some circumstances, an implementation plan will not be necessary, for example rolling out a new set of guiding principles which all departments have to adopt by the following academic year.

Policy papers

When preparing papers which relate to policy additional questions need to be considered:

  1. How does the policy fit with University priorities and objectives (e.g. as expressed in the Learning and Teaching strategy)?
  2. What are the benefits of different options (consideration should be given to resources)?
  3. What consultation has been undertaken?
  4. What is the impact, if any, on other existing policies (consider guidance documents and whether they will need updating)?
  5. Has an Equality Impact Assessment been completed? (this will need to be appended)
  6. What are the key risks associated with the policy and how is it proposed that they be managed?
  7. How/when should the policy’s effectiveness and contribution to University objectives be reviewed? What evaluation systems and performance targets are needed?
  8. On whose authority are the changes to be made? (refer to the UTC terms of reference or the UTC secretary)

Approval

Approval

Papers should be approved by the relevant Chair (e.g. of the working group) before being submitted for circulation to UTC (or by the Chair of UTC in the case of UTC reports to Senate).  Significant policy papers from within the Academic Registry should also be forwarded to the Academic Registrar for approval.

Further advice

For further advice on writing papers please contact the Academic Support Office.

Chair

Who to contact

Departmental contacts

For academic advice on programme proposals/modifications, contacts must also attend departmental APR meetings.