Use of External Specialists

Dispassionate, specialist input is an essential component of the College's quality assurance framework. It is sought routinely through:

  • the use of external advisers in the development and validation of new programmes;
  • the appointment of External Examiners, who are closely involved in student assessment and also advise on curriculum development;
  • the use of external advisers on periodic departmental review panels.

Our aims in using external specialists are to ensure external comparability in the standards of our awards, to seek advice on the extent to which subject benchmarks and professional requirements are being met, and to profit from their experience in evaluating and suggesting enhancements to our programmes and procedures.

External advisers

External advisers must:

  • be able to provide appropriate subject or industry expertise with sufficient authority to command respect in the discipline and/or profession;
  • be familiar with current, national standards and procedures in Higher Education and/or professional training;
  • have an impartial view and have had no involvement in the development of the proposal or other close relationship with the department.

Where possible, academic advisers should have prior experience in validation or review activities.

External advisers are selected by the chair of the validation or review panel, normally from a list of nominees provided by the department, although the Chair may also seek advice and nominations from other authorities, such as the HEA Subject Network or professional body, or a senior discipline specialist at another University of London college.

External advisers on validation and review panels have full access to the documentation and play a full and equal part in the process. They are advisers to the College and cannot overturn any decisions already taken in principle, but their advice would always be seriously considered.

External Examiners

Criteria for the selection and appointment of External Examiners on taught programmes, a full description of their role in the assessment process, and any other requirements regarding guidance and documentation are outlined in the Regulations on the Conduct of Assessment. Advice on all aspects of this, including payment, is available from the Academic Quality and Policy Office.  Information on the appointment and role of examiners on research degree programmes is also available from Student Administration in Registry.

External Examiners on taught programmes are asked to submit annual reports in which they are invited to comment on their input over the year and to identify any concerns or examples of good practice over a range of areas including the curriculum, assessment methods and examining process. They are also encouraged to make recommendations for the academic department or College as a whole to consider. Departmental responses to the reports are monitored by the faculties through the annual review of taught programmes.

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