Educational Quality Assurance
Educational quality assurance at NUS is focused on the following aspects:
The intention is to ensure high quality in all aspects of the undergraduate and graduate programmes and that the programmes are conducted in accordance with the required standards of their awards.
Programme development, modification, review and approval will all have an impact on programme quality. At both the undergraduate and graduate levels, there are various committees and boards established to oversee this process. The committees and boards are:
Both the student feedback exercise
and peer review
are two instruments deployed to help monitor teaching quality.
Outcomes are regularly monitored and evaluated through:
The Graduate Employment Survey and the Postgraduate Employment Survey are conducted annually. The Graduate Employment Survey serves to establish the employment status and job search experiences of NUS graduates approximately six months post-graduation. It is an avenue utilised by NUS to assess its graduates' employability as well as the relevance of the training they received in accordance with the needs of industry. The Postgraduate Employment Survey's purpose is to obtain information on the economic activity status of graduate students and their salaries at the point of registration for commencement.
Employer Feedback Survey
The Employer Feedback Survey is conducted annually and seeks direct feedback from employers in the public and private sectors on the ability of NUS graduates.
The Graduate Alumni Survey and the Postgraduate Alumni Survey are conducted annually. The purpose of both surveys is to track the career development of NUS graduates and postgraduates two and five years after graduation as well as to solicit feedback on the quality of educational and broader NUS experience that they went through.
Faculty and Student Awards
NUS accords a wide range of awards in recognition of excellence. The awards recognise both students and faculty who, through their consistently high performance and resolute commitment, set new benchmarks in the areas of education, research and service.
The University Awards for faculty include:
Department Curriculum Committee
Department Curriculum Committees (DCC) are established in all Faculties for both undergraduate and graduate levels. DCC focuses on both minor and major curriculum changes e.g. proposing new modules, redesigning of modules etc. Approved changes are then forwarded to the Faculty Review Committees. The committee usually comprises a Chair and could involve Deputy Heads of Departments, Undergraduate and Honours Coordinators or Graduate Coordinators. The frequency of DCC meetings varies across departments from ad-hoc to at least once a fortnight.
Faculty Curriculum Review Committee
Faculty Curriculum Review Committees (FCRC) are established in all Faculties for both undergraduate and graduate levels. The committee focuses on all matters pertaining to major curriculum changes, curriculum review, fundamental changes in policy and other undergraduate and graduate operational issues. Issues discussed at the committee level could take the form of a review of newly proposed modules or modules that have been redesigned, minor curriculum changes in undergraduate and graduate modules etc. The committee is usually chaired by Vice-Deans and traditionally involves Assistant Deans, Programme Directors and Department Deputy Heads. The frequency of FCRC varies across Faculties.
Board of Undergraduate Studies
The focus of the Board of Undergraduate Studies (BUS) is to examine and make recommendations to the Senate concerning appropriate action on educational policy with reference to undergraduate studies.
As it is mainly concerned with operational matters, BUS reports to the Provost rather than the Senate. It is empowered by the Senate to:
- consider and approve minor changes to bachelor degree requirements regarding curriculum and assessment as well as to approve new modules within existing programmes;
- set guidelines and procedures pertaining to the administration of undergraduate programmes, examinations and undergraduate student matters;
- approve results of undergraduate students and award degrees to students who meet the degree requirements in accordance with the Statutes and Regulations. The Board of Examiners of each Faculty will publish the results and the Board will review and vet the overall grade distribution; and
- approve the award of University-level Medals/Prizes to undergraduate students.
The Board meets on a fortnightly basis and is chaired by Associate Provost (Undergraduate Education) with representatives from amongst Senate members and the various Deaneries.
Board of Graduate Studies
The focus of the Board of Graduate Studies (BGS) is to examine and make recommendations to the Senate concerning appropriate action on educational policy with reference to graduate studies. The functions of BGS include:
- establish guidelines and procedures pertaining to the administration of graduate programmes and graduate student matters;
- approve new modules within existing programmes and minor curriculum changes to graduate programmes;
- review and evaluate new graduate degree programmes prior to submission to the University Committee on Educational Policy (UCEP) for endorsement and Senate for approval;
- review proposals for discontinuation of graduate programmes prior to submission to UCEP for endorsement and Senate for approval;
- approve examination results of graduate students and awarding degrees/graduate diplomas to students who meet the degree requirements in accordance with the Statutes and Regulations;
- approve the award of University-level Medals/Prizes to graduate students; and
- approve the allocation of the Research Scholarship budget
The Board meets on a monthly basis and is chaired by Associate Provost (Graduate Education). It also comprises the Vice-Deans of Graduate Studies from each Faculty as well as the Executive Director of the NUS Graduate School for Integrative Sciences and Engineering (NGS). The Co-Director of the Singapore-MIT Alliance is usually invited to attend four times a year.
University Committee on Educational Policy
The University Committee on Educational Policy (UCEP) is a committee of the Senate which examines and makes recommendations to Senate concerning appropriate action on educational policy over which the Senate has legislative jurisdiction.
UCEP meets on a fortnightly basis and the specific duties of the Committee are to:
- review, evaluate and recommend changes to the general curriculum structure and continuation and graduation requirements of the various undergraduate and graduate programmes with special attention to integration across disciplines;
- review and evaluate existing and new degree programmes;
- review and evaluate existing and new educational programmes, such as majors, specialisations, and minors; and
- review and evaluate other educational policy issues including admissions and advance placement criteria, calendar, computation of modular credits, issuance of degrees, and rationalisation of teaching across departments.
UCEP is chaired by Associate Provost (Undergraduate Education) with representatives from the various Deaneries as well as those elected by the Senate and the rest appointed by the Provost.
The Senate is the Academic body of the University and controls the general direction of instruction, research, and examination, and awards degrees, diplomas and certificates as well as receive reports from all standing and special committees. For the time being, Senate has delegated its powers and duties to the Senate Delegacy. It undertakes the following:
- approves the organisation of faculties, institutions, and other academic units;
- plans, develops and reviews academic programmes;
- regulates the admission of persons to programmes of study and their attendance at such programmes and examinations;
- appoints and instructs examiners and Boards of Examiners, and oversees examinations;
- awards degrees, diplomas, certificates, and other marks of distinction;
- awards fellowships, scholarships, exhibitions, prizes, and medals;
- approves the organisation of University-level research institutes and centres;
- makes recommendations to the NUS Board of Trustees on all matters not specifically assigned to some authority other than the Senate and the NUS Board of Trustees.
The Senate is chaired by the President of the University and comprises the Provost, Deans of the Faculties, one member from each Faculty, ten tenured full professors, ten tenure-track faculty members elected from among the University-wide tenure track, other University officers or officials as nominated by the President. The Senate meets once per semester while the Senate delegacy meets monthly.
Every academic department and major research unit undertakes an independent external review once every five years. The primary purpose of a Visiting Committee is to help the department review progress, assess its contributions and achievements, and consider long-range goals and priorities, with a focus on maintaining and enhancing quality and excellence.
In general, Visiting Committees are expected to assist in:
- maintaining and enhancing quality and excellence;
- promoting the academic and general well-being of the Department which they serve; and
- fundamentally helping to strengthen the reputation and quality of the Department in question.
Feedback from students is an essential element in monitoring the quality of the programme. At NUS, various elements of student feedback are cohesively organised such that issues arising from the data collected are addressed and subsequently lead to real improvements both in terms of educational strategies and pedagogical styles.
Students on Campus
For undergraduates and coursework graduate students, there is an online student feedback exercise conducted every semester to gather information on students' learning experiences as well as their responses to their course. The online exercise usually begins two weeks before the start of the examination period and ends by 2359 on the day before the first day of the examination period. The evaluation results are computed using the total scores from the responses from all students and are released only after they have received their examination results. Click here for more information
For graduate research students, they provide feedback on the quality of supervision at the point of submitting their thesis for examination. To ensure confidentiality of evaluation, feedback is only released to the Faculties after the results of the thesis exam are finalised.
Students on Student Exchange Programme (SEP)/NUS Overseas Colleges (NOC)
From 2007, feedback from students involved in the SEPs and NOCs will be collected in a regular and systematic manner, once every semester. The objective is to obtain feedback on the modules, teaching quality and overseas educational experience.
Peer Review (PR) is required of all Departments/Programmes at NUS. While the primary function of PR is to provide useful information to the administration for teacher appraisals for re-appointment, promotion, tenure, and teaching awards, it also serves as a monitoring process on teaching quality as it provides useful feedback for the staff to improve his/her teaching. The peer review consists of both quantitative and qualitative sections and covers the entire spectrum of a teacher's contribution to student learning including classroom teaching, curriculum design, teaching materials and assessment tasks. For more details and to access the forms, guidelines or procedures, please login to the education domain of the NUS staff portal.