External examiners are appointed to Bath Spa University courses as follows:

  • Foundation degrees - level 5 (year 2)
  • Undergraduate courses - levels 5 and 6 (years 2 and 3)
  • PGCE courses - level 6 and 7
  • Masters - level 7

Appointment procedure

Appointments are for a four year duration covering the following periods:

  • Foundation degrees, undergraduate and PGCE courses - 1 October to 30 September
  • Masters courses - 1 January - 31 December

Exceptionally, and subject to School Board approval, the Academic Quality and Standards Committee (AQSC) will consider a one year extension to contract. An extension to contract form should be completed and sent to Academic Services together with the reasons for the request.

Amendment to subjects examined can be approved for current external examiners to undertake additional external examining duties for either undergraduate or postgraduate taught programmes, or change to another subject or reduce their external examining duties.

When a new External Examiner who has no experience is proposed, the subject leader is asked to identify an appropriate and experienced external examiner who can act as a mentor to the new External Examiner throughout their first year of appointment.

One year before the end of an external examiner's term of office, the Assistant Quality Assurance Officer (External Examining) reminds the course leader that a replacement is required. The course leader is responsible for identifying a suitable replacement. Having identified a replacement, the following process should be followed:

  • Course leader completes the application form as far as possible
  • Course leader sends application form to nominee for completion and signature, advising them of the link to the University web pages on External Examiners
  • Applicant returns completed form to Assistant Quality Assurance Officer (External Examining)
  • Assistant Quality Assurance Officer (External Examining) sends form to Head of School for approval at School Board meeting
  • Once approved at School Board, form is returned to Assistant Quality Assurance Officer (External Examining) for approval by Academic Standards and Quality Committee (AQSC)
  • Once approved by AQSC, Academic Office writes to applicant with further details of appointment
  • Copy letter of appointment sent to subject leader

As application forms are taken to AQSC electronically, please complete forms in electronic format with electronic signatures.

Approval at AQSC

AQSC will wish to be assured that prospective external examiners have appropriate subject and examining expertise, distance from the proposer and a sustainable workload. Therefore approval at AQSC is subject to the following requirements being met:

  • Applicant's level and subject of qualifications are appropriate to the provision
  • Associate or Fellow of Higher Education Academy or member of relevant professional body (this is preferable but not an absolute requirement)
  • Applicant has sufficient range and scope of experience in HE
  • Applicant has experience of examining work at level of award
  • Applicant has previous experience as external examiner
  • New external examiners who do not have previous experience must be mentored by a currently serving external examiner of a University award for the applicant's first year. Such support can be provided by a current external examiner. Alternatively the new external examiner can shadow the outgoing external examiner during their final year of appointment . Academic Services will pay a fee of £100 to the mentor at the end of the year's support.
  • Where there is a team of external examiners, the applicant will provide balance
  • Applicant currently holds no more than one other external examiner post
  • Applicant has no conflict of interests, for example:
    • Reciprocal arrangements between institutions
    • Close personal or professional involvement with a member of BSU staff
    • Recent application for employment at BSU
    • Personal association with sponsorship of students
    • Formal consultant to course team, for example external adviser for approval of new provision in previous five years
    • Involvement in joint academic work or research
    • Former colleague at another institution within last three years
    • Delivering a competitive course locally
    • Appointment of applicant would result in unreasonably high travel expenses

If there is any doubt whether circumstances constitute a conflict of interest, please refer to the Assistant Quality Assurance Officer (External Examining) or Head of Quality.

AQSC will consider the appointment on the basis of the process having been conducted appropriately and will make a recommendation that the applicant is approved or not approved. If the process has been carried out according to the correct procedure, it is very unlikely that AQSC will have a reason not to approve an applicant.

Network accounts and Minerva (the University's virtual learning environment)

Following appointment at AQSC, Academic Services will arrange for a network account to be opened for an external examiner. Academic Services will forward user name details to the subject contact and it is then the responsibility of the subject contact to arrange enrolment onto relevant Minerva modules. Academic Services will forward the user name and log on details to the external examiner.

Termination of contracts

Both parties reserve the right to terminate a contract given sufficient notice. External examiners have the right to resign at any time and would ask that due notice is given to allow the University sufficient time to ensure alternative arrangements can be made in order to safeguard standards.

The University will terminate contracts only as a last resort. Possible reasons for termination include, but are not limited to:

  • Change to an external examiner's circumstances that creates a recognised conflict of interest (as listed above)
  • Relocation of an external examiner which makes attendance at the University impossible or subject to unreasonable expenses
  • Failure to provide annual reports in time for consideration by the relevant course leader, School and AQSC
  • Failure to attend relevant examination boards without sufficient notice and agreement by the University
  • Unprofessional conduct
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