Program Architecture 2

Program Architecture 2 (PA2) aims to improve the student experience and program outcomes by delivering a streamlined, sustainable portfolio of programs and courses underpinned by a set of policies and procedures that are enabling, consistent and transparent.

Anticipated outcomes

PA2 is designed to be a key enabler in support of UQ’s Strategic Plan 2018-2021 and Student Strategy 2016-2020. It will facilitate UQ’s ambition to increase its attractiveness to students in national and international markets by ensuring that UQ’s portfolio offerings continue to deliver maximum value to students, employers and communities. It will create space for innovation, free up capacity and allow UQ to reinvest for the future.

The anticipated outcomes of PA2 will deliver a range of benefits for students, staff and the University:

  • Standardisation of program structures: simpler program structures, which are easily understood and managed by students and staff.
  • Improved governance: an approach to program and course development and introduction that takes account of student and employer preferences, and market trends. 
  • Machine-readable program requirements: program data that can be codified and machine-readable, which will enable automated degree planning, progression checking and graduation checking.
  • Simplification of program rules, policies, procedures and guidelines: students and staff can more easily find and understand the policies and procedures that apply and there is greater consistency between programs.

Scope

The Program Architecture Project – Proof of Concept (Phase 1) examined a subset of UQ’s degree programs and teaching-related policies and procedures to develop tools to allow the University to continue with a University-wide review in 2019 (PA2).

As endorsed by the Vice-Chancellor's Committee (VCC), a university-wide review of all programs, majors, courses, rules, and teaching and learning policies and procedures commenced in 2019. The tools produced as deliverables in the Proof of Concept (Phase 1) are being utilised to inform PA2. These tools will enable the University to implement changes that will facilitate any eventual move toward a more flexible academic calendar, enable greater innovation in teaching and learning, free up time and resources to deliver flagship offerings outlined in the UQ Strategic Plan 2018-2021 and the Student Strategy 2016-2020, and will improve the student experience through automated and embedded program requirements and consistent policies and procedures.

Approach

The work in PA2 has been divided into three distinct projects:

  1. Portfolio sustainability and program design principles – led by Professor Greg Hainge, this project will deliver a program, major and course dashboard to assess sustainability and implement consistent program design principles.
  2. Program management – led by Associate Professor Peter Sutton, this project will deliver an IT solution to support the design, governance, publication and review processes for UQ’s courses and programs as well as the codification of course and program requirements and the automation of related student and staff processes.
  3. Program rules, policies and procedures simplification – led by Professor Stuart Carney, this project will consolidate program rules into policies and procedures, streamline processes, reduce duplication and improve transparency for students.

Organisation and resourcing

PA2 Organisational structure

Frequently asked questions

What are the aims of PA2?

PA2 aims to provide an easier, more streamlined program structure while maintaining flexibility for students.  By delivering a streamlined, sustainable portfolio of programs and courses underpinned by a set of policies and procedures that are enabling, consistent and transparent, the following outcomes are envisaged:

  • Standardisation of program structures: simpler program structures, which are easily understood and managed by students and staff.
  • Improved governance: an approach to program and course development and introduction that takes account of student and employer preferences, and market trends.
  • Machine-readable program requirements: program data that can be codified and machine-readable, which will enable automated degree planning, progression checking and graduation checking.
  • Simplification of program rules, policies, procedures and guidelines: students and staff can more easily find and understand the policies and procedures that apply and there is greater consistency between programs.

How will information about Program Architecture 2 be communicated and what will be the formal process for providing updates on this program of work?

Now that Phase 1 of the Program Architecture Project has moved beyond its Proof of Concept phase, the Vice-Chancellor, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) and project team are planning extensive communication with staff throughout 2019.

Regular email updates from the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) will be distributed to all staff and general announcements and progress updates will be accessible through committees and online via this webpage.

The Program Architecture 2 (PA2) team will be available to present at Faculty and School Teaching and Learning Committee meetings and/or other suitable boards and committees. Please contact the project team with any feedback or if you would like to request a meeting by emailing dvca.academicprojects@uq.edu.au.

How will this program of work affect projects currently underway at UQ?

We understand that there are already a number of important activities underway to improve the student experience across the University. PA2 is not intended to duplicate work already in progress and it is envisaged that alignment of activities will be an important component of the project. The outcomes of the Proof of Concept (Phase 1) were achieved with substantial contributions from students, Executive Deans, Associate Deans (Academic), Student and Academic Administration Managers, central team members, School Teaching and Learning Chairs, Faculty Teaching and Learning Committees and ITS team members to test outputs and ideas. Similarly, PA2 will involve a high level of engagement with multiple stakeholders as the program of work progresses.

PA2 commenced in Q1, 2019 and is a transformational piece of work, which has been endorsed by the Vice-Chancellor’s Committee. Recommendations from this program of work will pass through UQ’s normal committees and approval processes.

Have students been consulted and will they continue to be consulted in Phase 2?

During the Proof of Concept (Phase 1) students were engaged to gauge their interest in and ideas for cross-cutting courses through a Students as Partners project. Additionally, given the emphasis on improving the student experience, student focus groups were undertaken to provide insights into various policies and procedures from a student perspective.

Engagement with the student body will continue in PA2 through a range of mechanisms including focus groups and online surveys. The UQ Union Executive has been briefed on the program of work and will be provided with regular updates and opportunities to provide input and feedback.

How will the outcomes of this program of work place a greater emphasis on graduate learning outcomes?

As part of the program of work of this project, much work is being devoted to the design principles that underpin our programs and the high-level program learning outcomes that will orient the experience of our students through their degree structures. By rethinking the way that we build degree programs and ensuring some consistency in approach across the University there is a desire to ensure that all of our programs adopt a holistic view to graduate learning outcomes that will contribute positively to the future success of our graduates.

Have stakeholders been engaged with this program of work and will they continue to be consulted in Phase 2?

The PA2 team is working with the DVC(EE) to ensure that the outcomes of this program of work meet employer, student and market expectations.

The PA2 team is also working with the Office of Marketing and Communications to ensure that the outcomes of this program of work support the strategy of the University, including communications to a broad range of stakeholders.
 

Has benchmarking been undertaken?

Direct consultation was conducted in Stream 1 of the Proof of Concept (Phase 1) with multiple stakeholders at Macquarie University, University of Sydney and University of New South Wales where similar programs have been implemented. Program design principles and IT enhancements/requirements necessary to support this program of work featured prominently in these discussions.

In addition, benchmarking with a select group of institutions was undertaken in Stream 3 with the following universities, selected by the Academic Registrar:

  • University of Sydney
  • University of New South Wales
  • University of Newcastle
  • Queensland University of Technology

The project team will continue to engage and benchmark with other institutions as part of the project.

Will flagship courses/offerings be developed as part of this program of work?

PA2 is designed to be a key enabler in support of UQ’s Strategic Plan and Student Strategy and will facilitate UQ’s ambition to increase its attractiveness to students in national and international markets by creating space for innovation and freeing up capacity to allow UQ to reinvest for the future.

A flagship courses working party has been set up to make recommendations on the best approach to develop and embed such courses in our programs. It is envisaged that these flagship courses will complement our students’ discipline-specific study, concentrating on skills in high demand from employers and/or serving as a mechanism to bring together many learning initiatives already in place across UQ (i.e. work integrated learning, entrepreneurship activities, long and short-term mobility experiences, etc.).

Download the membership and terms of reference of the flagship courses working party (PDF, 141KB) (PDF, 140.2 KB)

Will all students be required to do flagship courses as part of their degree program, even in accredited programs?

Again, this is a question for the flagship courses working party and the University’s various committees once recommendations have been made; however, it is important to note that there is no intention to put the accreditation of any program at risk and careful consideration will be required before any changes are made to such programs.

More information

Refer to the Frequently asked questions (below) or contact:

Program Architecture 2 Team
E: dvca.academicprojects@uq.edu.au
P: +61 7 344 31350