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CONFIDENTIAL AC/P/19/2

QUEEN’S UNIVERSITY BELFAST


____________________________

Academic Council
2 April 2019
_________________________

Provision of Undergraduate and Postgraduate Programmes through the Institute of


Theology

1. Executive Summary

The Institute of Theology (IOT) manages the relationship between the University and
four Theological Colleges. Undergraduate provision of Theology is currently delivered
by one Constituent College, Union Theological College (UTC). The other three Affiliate
Colleges provide postgraduate taught and research provision only, to small student
cohorts.

In July 2015 serious concerns were identified regarding: the structures for the delivery
of Theology; reduced student numbers; the complexity of the current arrangement and
its ability to meet aspirations outlined in Vision 2020; and, the extent that the current
arrangement could deliver a contemporary research-led curriculum. An external panel
of experts carried out a Strategic Review of the educational provision of Theology in
June 2016. The 2016 Strategic Review Panel made a number of recommendations to
address serious concerns regarding the lack of academic diversity and narrow breadth
of subject matter and perspective of the undergraduate curriculum; the lack of exposure
to a wider research environment; and the lack of diversity in staffing.

The IoT took the lead in reviewing the undergraduate curriculum and the nature of the
provision, and while innovations were delivered by the University, this was not
sufficiently matched by UTC. The IoT reviewed postgraduate taught provision and
developed a new Master of Research in Theology to replace the Master of Theology
programme which the Strategic Review Panel suggested was an overly narrow degree
pathway. UTC did not accept the Strategic Review Panel’s recommendation for formal
University participation in appointment processes for College staff teaching on
University validated programmes.

While the IoT Director was actively engaged in driving the required changes, it became
apparent that some issues remained unresolved. Due to the potential impact on the
student academic experience, a follow-up review took place in September 2018. This
second review confirmed ongoing serious concerns regarding the lack of breadth and
diversity in the Theology elements of the undergraduate curriculum and the lack of
agency to affect change to diversify staffing in Theology. Evidence from external
examiners/advisors confirmed that UTC was not in a position to change their modules
to meet the requirements of the Review.

As the Review recommendations have not been met by UTC, rendering the delivery of
appropriate undergraduate programmes in Theology unviable, and with limited student
numbers on the postgraduate Theology programmes, Academic Council is asked to
endorse the following recommendations for Senate approval:

(i) That the collaboration with the four Theological Colleges through the Institute
of Theology be discontinued, subject to safeguards for students;
(ii) That the University no longer awards through the IoT degrees in the subject of
Theology, following completion of current students; and,

(iii) That the Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Theology, Bachelor of Divinity (BD), Graduate
Diploma in Theology and Master of Research (MRes) in Theology be withdrawn
with no further intake of students.

2. Background

Under the 1908 Irish Universities Act, the University was precluded from employing
University staff to teach Theology. Therefore, a non-teaching Faculty of Theology was
established by statute on 16 June 1926 to carry out the administrative functions to allow
the University to award degrees in Theology. It was decided that the theological
teaching should be delivered in some recognised college(s), and that the Senate
should exercise the same control over the courses, examinations, etc, as it did in other
faculties. The University’s responsibility would be confined to ensuring that the
teaching was given by properly qualified persons, in suitable conditions and that, in
both range and quality, it reached degree standard.

Union Theological College (UTC) was approved as a recognised college in 1927. The
Faculty of Theology expanded to include Edgehill Theological College (ETC in 1951);
Irish Baptist College (IBC in 1977), St Mary’s University College (SMUC in 1986) and
Belfast Bible College (BBC in 1994). The Faculty of Theology was led by a Dean, a
member of University staff.

The 1908 Act was repealed by The Queen’s University of Belfast Order 1981 and a
new Charter and Statutes were approved by Privy Council in 1982. Notwithstanding
the Repeal of the 1908 Act, the University decided to continue with the arrangements
for the teaching of Theology through the Theological Colleges.

SMUC withdrew formal membership of the Faculty of Theology in the mid-1990s. In


1998, the University reduced the number of faculties from nine to five. As part of that
process the Institute of Theology (IoT) was formed within the Faculty of Humanities.
The post of Dean of Theology became the post of Director of the Institute of Theology.
In the most recent restructuring, in 2015-16, the IoT continued as part of the Faculty of
Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (AHSS).

The University has ultimate responsibility to maintain academic standards and to


ensure the quality of learning opportunities for all its students. The IoT manages the
relationship between the University and the four Theological Colleges; oversees
undergraduate and postgraduate provision in the subject area of Theology and Divinity;
and ensures compliance with University and Quality Assurance Agency (QAA)
standards in all aspects of the student experience. In response to recommendations
made in the QAA Institutional Audit in March 2009, the Theology Working Group (TWG)
was established in 2009 to review the structures, governance and decision making
processes for the management of the collaboration (TWG, Terms of Reference
attached as Appendix 1). The TWG made a number of recommendations to the
University Management Board in February 2010, namely additional University
involvement in the governance and management of the IoT; the inclusion of an
Independent External Subject-Specialist Adviser on the Theology Management Board;
and a minimum student number threshold to ensure an appropriate student experience.
The TWG continues to meet regularly to provide oversight of the collaboration.

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ETC and IBC withdrew from providing Queen’s undergraduate programmes in 2010 as
a result of not being able to meet the University minimum threshold requirement of 8
students per module. BBC withdrew from providing undergraduate programmes in
2015, also due to falling student numbers. Therefore, the IoT now works with just one
Constituent College, UTC, which offers both undergraduate and postgraduate
teaching. The other three Affiliate Colleges have a MOA permitting admission to
postgraduate programmes only. Therefore, since 2015 the provision of the
undergraduate curriculum has been delivered from the perspective of UTC only.

The Collaborative Provision Group (CPG) carried out a periodic review of Theology
under the University’s normal five-year Periodic Review procedures in March 2015.
Following the appointment of the new IoT Director, and after consideration of the
Periodic Review Report, major areas of concern began to emerge regarding the
provision of Theology. In July 2015 the TWG considered the CPG Periodic Review
report and in following discussions identified serious concerns with: the structures for
the delivery of Theology; reduced student numbers; the complexity of the current
arrangement and its ability to meet aspirations outlined in Vision 2020; and, the extent
that the current arrangement could deliver a contemporary research-led curriculum.

At that point the University agreed to renew the expiring five-year Memoranda of
Agreement (MOA) on a one-year basis for 2015-16 and to appoint an external panel of
experts to carry out a Strategic Review of the educational provision of Theology: that
review happened in June 2016 (Terms of Reference attached as Appendix 2). A
timeline outlining the key decision points is attached as Appendix 3.

3. Outcomes of Strategic Review 2016

The June 2016 Strategic Review Panel was asked to consider:

(i) The current organisational shape and academic operation of the IoT and its fit
for the purpose of delivering a contemporary research-led education in religious
studies and theology.

(ii) The strengths and weakness of the current organisation, and what elements of
a contemporary education in religious studies and theology could enhance the
undergraduate provision.

(iii) The appropriateness of the Postgraduate Research (PGR) student experience.

(iv) What a sustainable model of education and research provision in Theology and
Religious Studies might look like going forward.

The 2016 Strategic Review Panel findings included the following:

(i) The organisational structures and fragmented nature of the collaborative


arrangement, whereby postgraduate provision is carried out in four different
Colleges, has impeded a proper research-led environment.

(ii) The current arrangements for the delivery of the teaching of Theology are
provided by colleges that do not have the same mission or ethos as the
University.

(iii) There was concern about the academic diversity and narrow breadth of subject
matter and perspective of the curriculum, particularly with the undergraduate

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provision concentrated in one College. The quality of the provision is severely
affected by this lack of diversity.

(iv) The denominational constraints; the various forms of fragmentation; and a lack
of academic diversity, work against innovation and interdisciplinary
development. The single denomination providing all the undergraduate
theology provision for a research-based University is highly problematic and not
sustainable in today’s post-conflict Northern Ireland.

(v) Lack of control over staff appointments has resulted in a lack of diversity in
staffing and in the curriculum.

The Panel made a series of recommendations categorised as follows:

3.1 Breadth and Diversity in Undergraduate Curriculum

The study of Christian theology in a university context should be provided in a


pluralist, critical, open environment where Christianity is discussed in-depth and
in the context of religion more generally. The current limitations on teaching are
preventing the IoT achieving this goal. Breadth could be provided in the
undergraduate BTh curriculum by expanding what already exists at UTC and
establishing more links with other areas of the University. To contribute to
achieving this, the IoT was asked to work closely with the UTC to expand
contributions to the curriculum and to shape the nature of the provision along
non-denominational lines which would be open to contribution from the
Colleges.

3.2 Postgraduate Provision and Research Culture

The University should take the lead, through the IoT, in developing areas of
research excellence between Theology and the rest of the University. This
would ultimately help to influence breadth and diversity in PGT and PGR
provision.

3.3 Staffing

There should be an ultimate goal of having a variety of staff (from various


religious backgrounds, as well as people of other faith-identities), nearly all of
whom should be REF-returnable in terms of their research activity and standard.
To contribute to achieving this, the IoT should seek to formalise its participation
in the recruitment of staff to UTC who will be delivering programmes on behalf
of the University.

4. Developments Following The 2016 Strategic Review

The University approved a further one-year MOA for 2016-17 and again in 2017-18 to
allow the partners time to respond to the recommendations of the Strategic Review.
The following developments took place during the two-year period:

4.1 Breadth and Diversity in Undergraduate Curriculum

The IoT took the lead in reviewing the undergraduate curriculum and the nature
of the provision. Following consultation with AHSS Schools, and with approval
of the Faculty Executive Board, a wide range of modules, including those
drawing heavily on areas of strength in Religious Studies in the Faculty, were

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made available to students for a new Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Theology. This
work also included the development and implementation of a new first year
module, delivered by the University with involvement from St Mary’s University
College, entitled ‘Religion, Faith and Society: Perspectives on Belief’. This new
module incorporated a core Religious Studies strand into the new degree,
exposing students to inter- and cross-disciplinary perspectives.

As the new BA Theology operated as something of a Major Theology/Minor


Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences programme, the range of modules
available to students was immediately expanded, delivering the potential for
greater depth of learning.

The IoT was also asked to restructure the Bachelor of Divinity (BD) to address
areas of overlap with the BTh and ensure its [the BD’s] distinctiveness from the
new BA.

As part of the restructuring, UTC was asked to provide stage 2 and stage 3
modules that would support and develop the themes in the new first year
module (Religion, Faith and Society; Perspectives on Belief). This did not
happen in UTC.

UTC proposed two new modules available to BD and BA students (albeit that
one of these replaced an existing module on a broadly similar theme), minor
revisions to two out of 26 Theology modules on the BA, and two new modules
specifically for the BD. These constituted only minor changes to the UTC’s
module offerings; and therefore did not provide the required breadth and
diversity needed for a viable University curriculum, as highlighted by external
experts.

4.2 Postgraduate Provision and Research Culture

The IoT reviewed postgraduate taught (PGT) provision and developed a new
Master of Research (MRes) in Theology to replace the Master of Theology
(MTh) which the Strategic Review Panel suggested was an overly narrow
degree pathway. The new MRes aimed to create a Queen’s-facing research-
led context for postgraduate (PG) students in Theology and one in which
research skills are professionalised. Specifically, the MRes followed the AHSS
Faculty model, whereby students were required to take a module provided by
the Graduate School, e.g., ‘Master Your Leadership’, and have another free-
choice module, including from M-level modules across AHSS.

MRes students are additionally encouraged to attend other research seminars


as part of their training, in order to ensure engagement with the research culture
of their discipline. Further, in this instance the IoT also encouraged attendance
at relevant seminars as a requirement for all PG students. However, it emerged
that not all College supervisors and not all students chose to engage with these
parts of the degree pathway, greatly diminishing opportunities to establish a
research-led environment as recommended by external experts.

In order to develop the research culture, the IoT increased efforts to enhance
the visibility of the research opportunities for undergraduate students and for
staff. For example, in collaboration with the Corrymeela Community, the IoT
organised a student development event entitled ‘New Frontiers in Ecumenical
Theology’. Speakers at the event included colleagues from Trinity College
Dublin, Oxford University, St Andrews, St Mary’s University College Belfast,

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Edgehill Theological College, from Corrymeela itself and from Union
Theological College. No undergraduate students in Theology attended and
Theology staff representation was minimal. The lack of encouragement to
students, and engagement by UTC again hindered the development of research
excellence recommended by the Strategic Review Panel.

4.3 Staffing

As noted in 2.2 above, the 2016 Strategic Review recommended that the
University should seek to formalise its participation in the recruitment of staff
who deliver programmes on behalf of the University. This was not accepted by
UTC, and therefore failed to meet the recommendation of the Strategic Review
Panel.

5. Unresolved Issues

While the IoT Director was actively engaged in driving the changes recommended by
the 2016 Strategic Review, it became apparent that some issues remained unresolved.

The key concerns included the following:

5.1 Breadth and Diversity in Undergraduate Curriculum

The new undergraduate degree approved by the University afforded students


the opportunity to engage with other disciplines through modules provided by
the University. This significantly expanded the breadth and diversity of the
programme in both topics available and methodologies utilised, specifically in
respect of Religious Studies, critical thinking, contextual skills, and historical and
cultural studies.

However, the content of the Theology modules that make up the major element
in the new BA Theology had not changed significantly and they continued to be
taught almost entirely from the theological ethos and doctrinal framework of
UTC. UTC’s response to enhancing the breadth and diversity of their offer
appeared to provide very little opportunity for students to gain from other
theological perspectives, which was an essential requirement for the
undergraduate programmes.

In a briefing paper provided for the January 2018 TWG meeting, UTC confirmed
its position as a confessional, denominational College, an identity that shapes
its pedagogic practices.

At that time, UTC also concluded that there may be a need for a more radical
assessment of the place of Theology at Queen’s. The University recognised
the challenge of a single College delivering its part on a contemporary, broad-
based education and, via the IoT Director continued to express concern in
respect of the Theology-specific undergraduate modules offered in the new BA.
It was increasingly clear that UTC, with its primary mission of training ministers
for the Presbyterian Church, was unable to meet the objectives of the new
degree programme by providing the study of Christian Theology in a pluralist,
critical, intellectually-open environment; which was a major recommendation of
the 2016 Strategic Review to ensure the programme remained viable.

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5.2 Postgraduate Provision and Research Culture

Only a small number of colleagues in the Colleges provide PGR supervision.


While some more colleagues might wish to supervise at PhD level, they do not
meet the University research criteria for supervisors: colleagues in the Colleges
are not required to be REF-returnable, but their research practice and outputs
need to have notional equivalence of a REF standard as demonstrated by a
proven research track record.

5.3 Staffing

All applications for teacher recognition are initially considered by the IoT.
Despite the recommendation of the 2016 Strategic Review, and the efforts of
the Director, the IoT has no agency in how individuals are recruited for or
selected by the Colleges. This reinforces the University’s concerns over
equality and diversity highlighted by the 2016 Strategic Review. UTC’s
insistence that a clause be inserted in the 2018-19 one-year MOA to state that
the UTC Equality and Diversity Policy applies in relation to the appointment of
staff, which is at odds with the University’s commitment to equality and diversity,
concerned the University. The University agreed to this for one year, as a
means to provide delivery of the programme to existing students, and to provide
an opportunity to further discuss the staffing issue; but it has been confirmed
that UTC is unable to meet the University’s expectations regarding equality and
diversity.

Recent UTC decisions relating to staff deployment, and late changes affecting
the availability of established recognised teachers, highlighted the vulnerability
of the University in assuring the academic quality of the student experience.

The nature of these unresolved issues, and the potential impact on the student
academic experience, resulted in the decision, of June 2018, to carry out a follow-up
review of the Institute of Theology’s Agreement and Relationships for the provision of
undergraduate and postgraduate provision (Terms of Reference attached as Appendix
4). That follow-up review took place in September 2018.

In advance of the 2018 Review, the University engaged with the three affiliate Colleges
(IBC, BBC, ETC) in relation to the limited postgraduate provision under the current
MOAs.

6. Outcome of Review September 2018

The 2018 Review was asked to consider the following:

(i) Following the Strategic Review in 2016, to assure the University of the breadth,
quality and balance of the curriculum content in the Theology degree
programmes in terms of planning for and delivering a contemporary research-
led education in the area.

(ii) The IoT’s ability to assure quality in the delivery of its Theology programmes
and to ensure they are provided in a critical, open, academically stretching
environment.

(iii) The student experience including in respect of breadth of intellectual and


cultural diversity.

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(iv) Oversight of, and adherence to, the institutional quality assurance procedures
as relevant to the IoT, including the process for the appointment of recognised
teachers and the establishment of a Student/Staff Consultative Committee.

(v) The governance, management, delivery and viability of QUB’s academic UG


and PG programmes in line with the current Memorandum of Agreement and
against the University’s policies and procedures.

The Panel findings were as follows:

6.1 Breadth and Diversity of Undergraduate Curriculum

6.1.1 Breadth, Quality and Balance of the UG Curriculum

The BA in Theology (replacing the BTh in Theology) aimed to offer


students an opportunity to engage with a wider range of other
disciplines, staff and students beyond UTC and, to this extent, goes
some way to incorporating diversity into the teaching staff on the
programme.

Whilst the shape of the new programme opened up opportunities for


studies, especially in the space of Religious Studies, that part of the
curriculum concerned with Theology and Theological Studies provided
by UTC remains almost entirely taught from a particular theological and
religious perspective, with very little opportunity for students to gain from
theological (or methodological) perspectives other than those within the
theological ethos and doctrinal framework of UTC. The Review reported
that students are not being exposed to a range of teaching modes and
practices, which would be important for the teaching of Theology within
other university-based programmes; which was recommended by the
2016 Strategic Review.

The 2018 Review Panel concluded that the implementation of the new
BA Theology degree has not delivered sufficient diversification in the
Theology modules (which is the major element of the programme). This,
is contrary to the 2016 recommendations, and therefore, renders the
programme unviable in a post-conflict Northern Ireland.

6.1.2 Delivery of Programmes in A Critical, Open and Academically Stretching


Environment

As noted previously, the IoT managed improvements to the BA in


Theology through the introduction of a Religious Studies element, and
the inclusion of other relevant AHSS modules. However, for the reasons
outlined below, the IoT was not able to ensure that the Theology
elements delivered by UTC were provided in a critical, open and
academically stretching environment.

As independent institutions, the Colleges are responsible for the


appointment, appraisal and career development of their staff. In some
cases, staff appointments are financially dependent on the Churches
with which the Colleges are associated.

Clearly articulated by UTC colleagues during the Review, all full-time


teaching staff at UTC reflect UTC’s commitment to providing

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confessional training. At this time, all were male and predominately from
a Presbyterian background. The job description for the appointment of
lecturing staff includes the criterion that the successful applicant will
‘have a personal Christian faith, and be committed to working within the
Christian ethos and doctrinal framework of the Presbyterian Church in
Ireland’. The criteria for Professorial appointments includes ‘being an
ordained minister of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, or eligible to
become such’.

These requirements are contrary to the University’s Equality and


Diversity Policy. As undergraduate Theology modules are now only
provided by UTC, the Review Panel noted that the learning environment,
whilst supportive, may be too limited and that the students are not
exposed to the necessary diversity of perspective that would be the case
in other university contexts.

The Review Panel concluded that the concern raised by the 2016
Strategic Review remains unresolved, specifically that a single
denomination provider, delivering all the undergraduate Theology
provision for a research-based University is highly problematic and not
intellectually or pedagogically sustainable in today’s post-conflict
Northern Ireland. This again renders the programme unviable.

6.2 Student Experience – Breadth of Intellectual and Cultural Diversity

Student feedback showed that many appreciate the sense of community


fostered by UTC and they described in positive terms a family atmosphere in
UTC. Feedback also reflected on that same environment not providing students
with the opportunity to gain access to the intellectual and cultural diversity of
perspective normally associated with a University undergraduate experience.

The current student body in UTC consists of 143 registered students, 62 men
and 81 women. Typically, the undergraduate population in Theology contains
more women than men but that trend reverses at postgraduate level.
Discussion within the IoT suggested that the lack of female role models in
Theology staff may do little to encourage women moving from undergraduate
to postgraduate study.

The Review Panel concluded that the lack of action in increasing the diversity
in UTC staff may impact negatively on the student experience and is
inconsistent with the University’s Equality and Diversity Policy.

UTC has no action plan to address the lack of women teaching staff in full-time
or permanent roles.

6.3 Staffing

Adherence to Quality Assurance Procedures – Appointment of Recognised


Teachers

College staff appointed to deliver Queen’s programmes are required to submit


an application for recognised teacher status. Such staff who also supervise
PhD students are eligible to apply for the University title of Honorary Lecturer.
Recognised teachers are encouraged to attend the University’s staff
development courses and programme, subject to the availability of places.

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Renewal applications for recognised teacher status within UTC often indicate
little or no such engagement with Continuing Professional Development (CPD)
activities.

The University’s Collaborative Provision Group is tasked with ensuring that


equivalent standards for recognised teachers are maintained and seeks to
assure applicants’ ability to teach and supervise is taken into consideration.
College processes for the selection of applicants seeking teacher recognition
are not transparent and, as reported by the IOT, often the levels of teaching
load for some Teaching Assistants are excessive (to the extent that the student
experience may be compromised).

The Review noted that Colleges had put forward staff for PGR supervision roles
who do not have the same (or equivalent) research profile as that required by
the University. Whilst, at this time, Colleges do not make a submission to the
Research Excellence Framework (REF), the University’s criteria in respect of
being research active still apply when awarding honorary lecturer status.

As the University does not have a formal role in the appointment of College
teaching staff, there are insufficient mechanisms to resolve these quality issues.

The Review Panel concluded that variability in staff profiles that are not
consistent with University standards has the potential to impact negatively on
the student experience.

6.4 Governance, Management and Viability of UG and PG programmes

The 2018 Review Panel agreed with the assessment of the 2016 Strategic
Review Panel that the current arrangements for the delivery of the teaching of
Theology are provided by Colleges that do not have the same mission or ethos
as the University.

The University’s arrangement for the delivery of Theology programmes through


the Theological Colleges for a Queen’s award is a historical legacy of the
requirements outlined in the 1908 Irish Universities Act. This unusual context
for the provision of the teaching of Theology has resulted in the development of
a hybrid model of collaborative provision: it neither operates under a franchised
nor as a validated model of collaborative provision.

The Review Panel concluded that the organisational structures for the delivery
of the teaching of Theology and the lack of agency in staff appointments
continues to limit diversity in staffing and in the curriculum. As these
recommendations from the 2016 Strategic Review were not met, this again
renders the delivery of the programmes unviable.

7. Conclusion of the Reviews

The University has ultimate responsibility to maintain academic standards and to


ensure the quality of learning opportunities for all its students.

During both recent reviews, there has been limited evidence that UTC can provide the
required resources, or has the ability to provide a breadth of teaching of Theology, to
include other faith perspectives. UTC colleagues proposed that radical change, change
that could not be delivered by UTC, is required. During the 2018 Review, UTC leaders
confirmed that its primary mission is to train ministers for the Presbyterian Church. The

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2018 Review Panel concluded that, given UTC’s main priorities, UTC is unable to
develop the required broad based teaching provision of Theology that is required of a
university-level programme in this post-conflict Northern Ireland. Evidence from
external examiners/advisors confirmed that UTC was not in a position to change their
modules to meet the requirements of the Review. In addition, the disengagement of
the other Colleges from undergraduate teaching and the lack of expertise in Theology
at the University further limit possible interventions, rendering the programmes
unviable.

The two most recent reviews have concluded that serious concerns remain unresolved
and are contributing to an increasingly unsustainable and unsatisfactory position. As
a result, the University suspended entry to all undergraduate programmes through the
IoT for September 2019 entry.

Given the range of issues identified during the review, it is recommended that the
University disengage from the current arrangement for the delivery of Theology.

All undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in Theology should be withdrawn and


no further intake of students should be permitted.

Arrangements can be made to deliver the appropriate teach out of programmes and to
extend the recognition of teacher status in order to provide the teaching out
arrangements.

8. Implications and Proposal for Future Arrangements

8.1 Applications 2019

In the context of the 2018 Review, the University had already suspended any
proactive recruitment activities for 2019 intake. However, the undergraduate
programmes were listed in UCAS for 2019 entry and the University has
communicated with all applicants to provide support to find an alternative
programme of study at the University or at an alternative university. All
applicants who applied to Queen’s with alternative course choices have been
accommodated.

8.2 Interim Quality Assurance and Teaching-out Arrangements

The MOA requires both parties to continue to operate the programmes for
students enrolled on the programme at the date of the termination. Both parties
are required to agree the necessary support to allow currently enrolled students
to complete their programmes within a reasonable time.

The University has engaged with the Principal of UTC regarding the teaching
out arrangements for current undergraduate students, and where necessary,
arrangements can be made to extend the recognition of teacher status in order
to provide the required teaching delivery.

Appendix 5, which presents Timeline and Teaching-out Arrangements, also


provides current student numbers registered on undergraduate, postgraduate
taught, and postgraduate research programmes in Theology.

For the undergraduate programmes, the AHSS Faculty has reviewed the
module provision, working with the IoT Interim Director and UTC, in relation to
interim arrangements.

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Seventy-six students will be continuing/completing undergraduate Theology
programmes in 2019-20. Students entering Level 2 and Level 3 in 2019-20
have already selected their modules for that academic year [2019-20], and UTC
has committed to delivering these modules. The University will offer students
an expanded selection of optional modules to build on the range of learning
possible on the programme.

UTC has committed to delivering up to eight modules – including four research-


based modules – for students entering Level 3 in 2020-21: students would be
required to select four. Again the University will offer an expanded selection of
optional modules, with the possibility of delivering one-off modules, not subject
to normal enrolment limits, if required.

Five students will be completing postgraduate taught Theology programmes in


2019-20. Seventeen students will be continuing postgraduate research
programmes in 2019-20. The majority of PGR students are enrolled part-time,
with projected submission dates extending up to 2024-25. As part of the
planning process to support PhD completion, the IoT Interim Director and the
AHSS Dean of Graduate Studies will shortly meet with the HAPP Director of
Graduate Studies to review supervision arrangements and Annual Progress
Review processes, with a view to ensuring appropriate University supervision
or oversight of all projects.

The University has engaged with each of the Principals of the three Affiliate
Colleges following the review to consider potential scenarios. The University
has also engaged with current students through the Staff Student Consultative
Committee and addressed concerns including, the possible teaching out
arrangements, published statements in the media regarding Breadth, Quality
and Balance of the UG Curriculum and the inputs of students to the review
processes.

8.3 Longer Term Future of Teaching of Theology and/or Religious Studies

The University has ongoing interest in the academic study of Religion, including
the promotion of research in this area, across a range of Schools and via the
Global Research Institute – The Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global
Peace, Security and Justice. The AHSS modules offered on the new BA
Theology are not specific to that programme and will continue in other
programmes, within History, Philosophy, Politics, English and Sociology. In line
with wider Faculty initiatives to offer greater multidisciplinary opportunities for
students, these modules may, in due course, be grouped as a minor pathway
in Religious Studies.

The degree of MRes is currently available through the School of Arts, English
and Languages and PhD study with Religious Studies themes will continue to
be supported by the Faculty of AHSS where a University-based principal
supervisor is identified. Any additional supervisors required involving staff in
the Theological Colleges could be considered on a case-by-case basis: such
an arrangement would not require a formal MOA.

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8.4 Financial Arrangements

The University will work with the Colleges to agree an appropriate financial
arrangement which will allow them to operate the teaching out of programmes
for current students.

9. Recommendations

Pursuant to Statute XIV Recognition of Institutions, and the associated Regulation


Governing the Recognition of Institutions (Appendix 6), and in accordance with clause
22 (a) (Duration of the Agreement) outlined in the MOA between the University and the
four Colleges, Academic Council is asked to endorse the following recommendations
for approval of Senate:

(i) That the collaboration with the four Theological Colleges through the Institute
of Theology be discontinued, subject to safeguards for students;

(ii) That the University no longer awards through the IoT degrees in the subject of
Theology, following completion of current students; and,

(iii) That the Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Theology, Bachelor of Divinity (BD), Graduate
Diploma in Theology and Master of Research (MRes) in Theology be withdrawn
with no further intake of students.

Should the above recommendations be approved:

(i) The current MOA with the four Theological Colleges will not be renewed at the
end of its current term, i.e. 31 August 2019, and notice of the decision not to
renew the MOA will be communicated to the four Colleges forthwith.

(ii) A temporary Memorandum of Understanding will be developed to outline each


party’s commitments to providing the necessary support to allow currently
enrolled students to complete their programmes within a reasonable time.

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CONFIDENTIAL Appendix 1

QUEEN’S UNIVERSITY BELFAST

Theology Working Group – Terms of Reference

Terms of Reference:

a) To review structures, governance and decision making processes for the


management of the collaboration in light of recommendations made in the QAA
Institutional Audit.

b) To review the operation of current practices within the Institute in relation to


Education and Research programmes.

c) To propose appropriate structures for the management of Theology through a


collaborative arrangement.

d) To develop a new Memorandum of Agreement.

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CONFIDENTIAL Appendix 2

QUEEN’S UNIVERSITY BELFAST

Strategic Review 2016 – Terms of Reference

Terms of Reference:

a) To review the current organisational shape and academic operation of the Institute of
Theology and its fit for the purpose of delivering a contemporary research-led
education in religious studies and theology.

b) To consider the strengths and weakness of the current organisation, and what
elements of a contemporary education in religious studies and theology could
enhance the undergraduate provision.

c) To consider the appropriateness of the Postgraduate Research (PGR) student


experience.

d) To consider what a sustainable model of education and research provision in


Theology and Religious Studies might look like going forward.

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CONFIDENTIAL Appendix 3

Timeline - Key Decision Points

2009 QAA Institutional Audit recommended that it would be advisable for the
University to review the memoranda of agreement and current
arrangements, including its own structures, for the management of
collaborative provision in theology.

Feb 2010 Theology Working Group recommended to University Management


Board, additional university involvement in the governance and
management of the Institute (2 Associate Directors Institute); the
inclusion of an Independent External Subject-Specialist Adviser on
Management Board; and a minimum student number threshold to ensure
an appropriate student experience.

March 2015 Collaborative Provision Group carried out Periodic Review under normal
University procedures. Noted the appointment of a new Director of the
Institute the Periodic Review panel agreed that the Institute should
conduct a review of the curriculum during 2015-16.

July 2015 TWG noted Periodic Review report and raised potential issues
particularly the structures for the delivery of Theology; reduced student
numbers; the complexity of the current arrangement and the value added
by the relationship with the Colleges through the Institute; the aspirations
outlined in Vision 2020; and the possibilities for modernizing and
enhancing the curriculum to include Religion and Global Cultures. TWC
recommended Strategic Review and a one-year MOA 2015-16.

Aug 2015 BBC withdrew membership of the Institute of Theology.

May 2016 TWG agreed a further One Year MOA approved 2016-17.

June 2016 Strategic Review of Theology: Panel concluded that diversity in the
provision of Theology at Queen’s needed to be greatly improved in the
teaching staff, student body, teaching methods and programme content.

May 2017 University Approval of new BA Theology, MRes and restructured BD.

June 2017 TWG agreed a further One Year MOA approved 2017-18 to allow time for
recommendations of Strategic Review to be addressed.

June 2018 It was agreed that a comprehensive follow-up review to the 2016
Strategic Review should be carried out.

Sept 2018 One Year MOA approved 2018-19.

Sept 2018 Follow up Review of Theology – Panel acknowledged changes but


reiterated that the concerns of 2016 Strategic Review remained
unresolved.

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CONFIDENTIAL Appendix 4

QUEEN’S UNIVERSITY BELFAST

Review of Institute of Theology’s Agreements and Relationships for the provision of


Undergraduate (UG) and Postgraduate (PG) programmes

Terms of Reference:

a) To review the governance, management, delivery and viability of QUB’s academic


UG and PG programmes in line with the current Agreement and against the
University’s policies and procedures.

b) To review the Institute’s ability to assure quality in the delivery of its Theology
programmes and to ensure they are provided in a critical, open, academically
stretching environment.

c) To review oversight of, and adherence to, the institutional quality assurance
procedures as relevant to the Institute of Theology, including the process for the
appointment of recognised teachers and the establishment of a Student/Staff
Consultative Committee.

d) Following the Strategic Review in 2016, to assure the University of the breadth,
quality and balance of the curriculum content in the Theology degree programmes in
terms of planning for and delivering a contemporary research-led education in the
area.

e) To review the student experience including in respect of breadth of intellectual and


cultural diversity.

f) To take into account such other matters which may come to light in the review.

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CONFIDENTIAL Appendix 5

Timeline and Teaching-out Arrangements

This appendix presents current student numbers registered on undergraduate, postgraduate


taught, and postgraduate research programmes in Theology, and provides an indicative
timeline for teaching-out arrangements to enable students to complete their programmes of
study.

1. Summary Timeline*

June 2020 With exception of 2 students, all students BTh and old BD
programmes to have completed
June 2020 All postgraduate taught - MRes and Grad Dip students to have
completed
June 2021 All undergraduate students on BA and new BD to have
completed
June 2023 One part-time student on old BD to have completed
June 2023 One part-time student on old BTh to have completed
September 2025 All postgraduate research students to have submitted
*assuming all students complete within the normal timeframe

2. Teaching-out Required

The following tables summarise teaching requirements by academic year, for


undergraduate and postgraduate taught programmes, to enable students to complete
their programmes of study.

2.1 2019-20: Undergraduate Students

Stage 2 Programme Delivery

Student
Programme Modules to complete
Numbers
80 CATS Theology modules -
BA in Theology 17
40 CATS AHSS - all optional modules
120 CATS Theology Modules -
BDiv 12
40 CATS which are core modules
120 CATS Theology Modules -
Old BD 1*
40 CATS which are core modules
120 CATS Theology Modules -
BTh 1+
all optional modules
TOTAL 31

Stage 3 Programme Delivery

Student
Programme Modules to complete
Numbers
History: 6
60 CATS Theology modules; 60 CATS
BA Joint Degree English: 3
AHSS - all optional modules
Philosophy: 3
Old BD 5 120 CATS Level 6 modules - all optional

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modules
BTh 28 120 CATS Level 6 modules - all optional
TOTAL 45

2.2 2019-20: Postgraduate Taught Students

Five students are expected to complete PGT programmes in 2019-20. Three


individual students are registered in UTC, BBC and IBC for the MRes
programme, and two are registered in UTC for the Graduate Diploma.

MRes (p/t) Grad Dip (p/t)


UTC 1 2
BBC 1
IBC 1

2.3 2020-21: Undergraduate Stage 3 Programme Delivery

Student
Programme Modules to complete
Numbers
80 CATS Theology modules; 40 CATS
BA in Theology 17
AHSS - all optional modules
BDiv 12 120 CATS Theology Modules
Old BD** 1 120 CATS Theology Modules
Old BTh** 1 120 CATS Theology Modules
TOTAL 31

**At this time there are two undergraduate students studying part time, with a
projected completion date of 2022-23. The Interim Director of the Institute of
Theology, along with colleagues from UTC and AHSS, will continue to meet
with these students with a view to planning an appropriate curriculum, for
example front-loading UTC modules before AHSS modules. Where required,
bespoke modules may be delivered on a one-off basis and not subject to
normal enrolment limits if required for these and other students.

3. Postgraduate Research Students

Seventeen students are registered on PGR programmes; 14 at UTC and three at IBC.

Student
Expected Submission***
Numbers
2018-2019 3
2019-2020 4
2020-2021 2
2021-2022 1
2022-2023 -
2023-2024 4
2024-2025 3
(***within maximum period of study, without temporary withdrawal)

4. Teaching and Supervision

Students are advised in the programme specification that not all optional modules
will necessarily be offered in each academic year. Also, the delivery of a module
may be subject to a minimum number of enrolments as well as unforeseen

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circumstances (e.g. illness of a member of staff). The choice of optional modules
may also be limited due to timetabling constraints.

The Collaborative Provision Group will be required to approve extensions to


recognised teacher status for the delivery of the modules in Theology until the
end of 2023.

The Honorary Titles Group may need to extend the Honorary Titles for those
supervising PhD students until September 2025.

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CONFIDENTIAL Appendix 6

Statute XIV

Recognition of Institutions

1. The Senate may, on the recommendation of the Academic Council, recognise any
organisation as an institution in which registered students of the University may
pursue a course of study or part of a course of study leading to a Degree, Diploma,
Certificate or other award of the University, and any such recognition shall be subject
to such terms and conditions as the Senate may determine by Regulations.

2. Where the associations between the University and the Institution meet criteria
established from time to time by the Senate, the Institution may, with the approval of
the Privy Council, be accorded the title of University College.

REGULATION GOVERNING THE RECOGNITION OF INSTITUTIONS

1. Pursuant to Statute XIV, the Senate may recognise any organisation as an institution
in which registered students of the University may pursue a course of study, or part of
a course of study leading to a Degree, Diploma, Certificate or other award of the
University. Such recognition will be subject to such terms and conditions as the
Senate may determine by Regulation.

2. Under this Regulation, Academic Council will be responsible for recommending


organisation(s) to the Senate for recognition as an institution.

3. When making a recommendation(s) to Senate, Academic Council shall give due


consideration to the following requirements with regard to the quality and standard of
awards:

(i) That the academic standard of awards are equivalent to those of comparable
awards delivered at the University.

(ii) That the academic standard of awards comply with the Quality Assurance
Agency Framework for Higher Education Qualifications and any relevant
Quality Assurance Agency Subject Benchmark Statements.

(iii) That the quality of student learning opportunities and experiences are
comparable to those in the University and adequate to enable students to
achieve the appropriate academic standards.

4. In addition, the Academic Council will apply the following key principles with regard to
all proposed collaborative arrangements:

(i) That it will consider collaboration only with organisations which have the ability
to successfully deliver programmes to appropriate academic standards, the
financial standing to sustain them, and the legal standing to contract to their
delivery.

(ii) That it will approve programmes taught, in whole or part, only in collaborative
organisations which can meet appropriate academic standards and which
offer the learning opportunities and experiences necessary for students to
attain those standards.

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(iii) That it will negotiate arrangements for collaboration only with organisations
which will enable it to effectively discharge its responsibilities for the academic
standard of awards.

(iv) That it requires that these arrangements should be set out in the form of a
legally binding agreement or contract.

(v) That collaborations which have met (i) to (iv) above will only be approved for
entry onto its Register of Collaborative Provision, normally for a five year
period.

(vi) That, during the five year period, it will monitor the provision and, if it
perceives that standards are at risk, it reserves the right to suspend or
terminate the collaboration subject to safeguards for students.

(vii) That, at the expiry of the agreement, there will be a full review of the
standards and quality of the collaborative provision leading to a
recommendation as to whether it should be re-approved and continued on the
Register, or terminated and discontinued, subject to safeguards for students.

5. The Academic Council shall have the power to recommend to the Senate the
approval of:

(i) Individual courses of study provided in such recognised institution(s) as


equivalent to the whole, or defined part, of an approved course of study of the
University.

(ii) Programmes of study validated by the University, which have been developed
and which are delivered by a recognised organisation.

6. Where the associations between the University and a recognised Institution meet
criteria established, from time to time, by the Senate, the Institution may, with the
approval of the Senate and the Privy Council, be accorded the title of University
College.

25 November 2014

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