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Programme management

Bhutan's First and Only A+ Accredited Institution      Inspiring Education in Bhutan

The roles of the Programme Leader, the Programme Committee, the Head of Subject/Department, the Head of the College/Institute, and the Institute Academic Committee are as defined in the RUB Wheel of Academic Law Sections A7.6, A7.7, and F6. Briefly:

The RTC Academic Committee (AC) is chaired by the Dean of Academic Affairs. Members of the committee include the President, Registrar (Head of Student Services), Associate Dean, Senior Advisors, faculty representatives (all programme leaders and department heads), three representatives of non-teaching staff, the head librarian, and three elected student representatives. The AC is the overarching authority on all academic issues and the ultimate guarantor of standards and quality at the college-wide level and for the University. All programme management committees and examiners report to the AC. The AC should be consulted at the beginning of each semester to approve minor changes to modules in the programme under guidelines specified by the University on allowable changes.

Each programme is run by a relevant department and managed by a Programme Committee responsible for the effective conduct, organisation, and development of the programme. The committee comprises all teaching faculty of the core (host) department as well as a Programme Leader who is also the Head of the host department and provides the academic and organisational leadership for the programme. Representatives of other departments teaching within the programme are also committee members. Additionally, the committee includes elected class representatives (CRs) of each section of students in the programme at all levels. Student involvement in the monitoring of the programme is thus done at this level as well as the level of the AC. In addition, student-staff consultation is done regularly through meetings with CRs across all programmes with the Dean, as well as within the programme with the Programme Leader. In addition to addressing general programme-independent concerns, the consultations seek to incorporate constructive discussion of the programme, its demands on students, and possible improvements.

The authority for matters regarding assessment and progression is delegated to the Programme Board of Examiners (PBE). The board includes a Chair from outside the programme's management and teaching faculty, the Programme Leader, each faculty teaching within the programme, and an external examiner on a regular basis as and when appointed by the Academic Board of the University. Each semester's results are declared after the endorsement of the PBE. The PBE is accountable to the AC.

Additional quality assurance mechanisms within the College

  • Quality Assurance and Enhancement Committee – In addition to RUB quality assurance requirements, the College has instituted a Quality Assurance and Enhancement Committee (QAEC) with representatives from the Academic Affairs Department (Dean, Associate Dean, three senior faculty), the Student Services Department (Registrar), and the Finance and Administration Department (Department Head). The QAEC is responsible for providing a strategic view, guidance, and recommendations on overall institutional quality at RUB standards and in line with the Bhutan Accreditation Council (BAC) framework, principles, and specific guidelines and criteria.
  • Faculty performance management and enhancement – Faculty performance is monitored regularly and evaluated at the end of each semester. Each semester, programme leaders sit in on and complete observations of faculty in-class performance (quality of the teaching), and out-of-class performance (quality of the conduct of general faculty duties, student advising). Where issues affecting teaching-learning are identified, these may trigger specific action plans for the concerned faculty member to pursue to improve in targeted areas. Each faculty also completes a self-appraisal at the end of each semester, coupled to further feedback from the Programme Leader and Dean. In addition to general faculty meetings, the College's Academic Affairs Department also holds regular Continuous Professional Development (CPD) sessions for all faculty, incorporating guest presentations, teaching development workshops, and peer strategy sharing. These are held approximately every two weeks within a semester. Past topics have included: strategies for advising students, utilizing peer-tutoring to enhance learning among students, the art of statistics, workshops on plagiarism, navigating information and information literacy, and various presentations on strategies for formative assessment, asking questions, and strategies for effective Guided Study Halls.
  • For diversification, stability, and sustainability, and to improve the programme quality to a level at par with international standards, RTC may recruit more senior faculty, including some who may be older/retiring, from other universities on a contract basis. The College also recruits national adjunct/visiting lecturers (who are experienced in certain subject modules) on a part-time basis. The college also has been using the resources and expertise of some agencies to enhance the knowledge and skills of the students, and this will be continued with proper formality and networking.
  • On the other end of the spectrum, to improve programme quality and make the programme relevant to changing times and needs, training will be provided as necessary to upgrade the expertise of faculty members who are in need of it. Moreover, faculty members new to teaching are asked to join the College's Teaching Development Group that works to enhance core teaching skills among its members through activities such as peer observation partnerships and teacher training programmes. The College also sends early-career faculty to the Samtse College of Education to participate in its Post-graduate Certificate/Diploma programme in Higher Education.
  • Module coordination – Any module for which multiple sections are taught has a module coordinator who organizes and synchronizes the teaching-learning for the module across sections. For assessments that involve testing (quizzes, class tests, midterm, and semester-end examinations), question papers are made jointly. Where possible, cross-grading techniques are also employed. In certain modules wherein the content is found to be modular (the order of teaching certain units can be switched around without affecting the logical flow of the syllabus), cross-teaching of specific units across sections is also employed to maintain maximum consistency.
  • Student information systems – The curriculum, class schedules, and mode of assessments and marks thereon are made transparent and available to students and other stakeholders such as parents/guardians through the RTC Classes database system.
  • Student feedback – A system is in place in the College whereby each student evaluates each module taught and the tutor at the end of each semester in order to help programme leaders and teachers monitor the success and effectiveness of the delivery of the programme and make future improvements.
  • Peer review – The College institutes peer-review mechanisms within and across programmes for its examinations. The use of college-wide formal midterm examinations, with the same quality assurance mechanisms that go into semester-end examinations, helps ensure that continuous assessment in all programmes is proceeding on track and provides an opportunity for peer review and moderation at the halfway point in a semester. All question papers are peer-reviewed and moderated (involving the module coordinator and other tutors of a module, and at least two other reviewers). In addition to ensuring the overall quality of the question paper itself, this mid-semester event involves a review of the progress of continuous assessment to date in each module. A similar peer-review and moderation are conducted for semester-end examination question papers and continuous assessment progress approximately two to three weeks prior to the start of semester-end exams.
  • Module repeats – If a student has failed a module (but not the whole semester) and has also failed in the reassessment of that module, the student must meet all assessment requirements, essentially repeating the module as per section D1 of The Wheel of Academic Law. However, as he/she has already progressed (albeit with a prior module failure), attendance in lectures is not mandatory. At RTC, a standardized mechanism has been instituted for conducting module repeats. Students must formally register for the repeats at the beginning of any semester in which the failed module is being re-offered. A module repeat tutor will be assigned (usually the same tutor teaching the module in its regular offering in the current semester). A schedule of meetings will be set in which the tutor and repeat student(s) must meet a minimum of two hours per week. A work plan is also set in which the coverage of syllabus topics and assessments are organized. Assessments are to be on par with what students would have to do in the regular course of that module.
  • Student Advising – All first years students will have faculty advisors support and advice on their studies, food, lodge, transport, and any other personal problems. Each tutor has five-ten students to guide. Additionally, weaker students in the second or third year who have un-cleared prior module failures will be paired with an advisor to guide and motivate them. The advisor and advisees meet in groups and individually four to eight times in a semester as necessary.