Academic Planning and Quality

Academic Planning

The department’s approach to programme planning and renewal (academic strategy) takes the following points of departure:

  • The review, renewal and development of programmes must be based on sound academic principles; 
  • The navigational markers of quality, relevance, diversity and financial sustainability are key tools and drivers in the on-going processes of curriculum and programme change; 
  • Inquiry-led curricula and approaches to teaching must be derived from and reinforce the research-intensive identity of the University, thus also the importance of what is taught; 
  • Approaches to teaching, learning and assessment that are aligned with ‘best practices’ at research-intensive universities; 
  • Graduate attributes - at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels - aligned with the human capital needs of the economy and society, need to encapsulate both universal and particularly South African demands and develop in students critical citizenship. 

The University endorses the HEQC’s Framework and Criteria for Programme Accreditation (2004). These criteria are applied institutionally when compiling and considering proposals for the introduction of new undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. However, it needs to be noted that the HEQC criteria for programme accreditation indicate minimum standards for academic programmes, and therefore need to be used as guidelines, supplemented by the University’s academic mission and plan.

Academic Planning meet frequently with academics, faculties’ teaching and learning committees and deans to ensure the implementation of the University’s academic strategy. In this regard, the function assists faculties in on-going curriculum revision, renewal and change in line with international best practice.

Quality Promotion

This function strives to ensure excellence in the Quality Management through supporting and co-ordinating the quality assurance processes in teaching and learning, research and community engagement aimed at achieving the University goals.

The UP guidelines and procedures for external evaluations require that departments/faculties submit progress reports on the implementation of improvement plans approximately twelve months after an evaluation. The reports have to be submitted annually over the duration of the improvement plans with the first report being submitted a year after the approval of the improvement plan and the last report after the last improvement activity has been finalised. The department has embarked on revitalising the processes for monitoring the implementation of improvements identified through evaluations, reviews and accreditations.  

The main reasons for monitoring the implementation of improvements are to take stock of where things are on a regular basis, reflect on the various activities that we are implementing to enhance quality arising from reviews and accreditations (and how we are implementing them), ensure continuity whenever there is a change of departmental or faculty leadership and help us 'learn as we go'. The process will also assist in identifying new issues that may require attention, measure success, strengthen the effectiveness of external evaluations and accreditations and further enhance continuous quality improvement as an institutionalised practice at UP. The department will work closely with deans and heads of departments to refine the process further, and share lessons across the university. To strengthen this process, the department will prepare an annual report on key trends from external evaluations and accreditations, and the progress reports.

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