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Offshore Teaching and Learning Activities Vice-Chancellor's Directive


This Directive establishes a framework of responsibility for the overall management and delivery of offshore teaching and learning activities.

The Offshore Teaching and Learning Activities Vice-Chancellor's Directive is also available as a PDF document.

Dates Directive approved 23/02/2012
Directive takes effect 07/03/2012
Directive is due for review (up to five years) 03/2017
Directive amendment approved 23/11/2015
Directive amendment takes effect 20/01/2016
Approved by Vice-Chancellor
Implementation Officer Deputy Vice-Chancellor (International and Advancement)
Relevant to Staff
Related documents
File number UR05/885
Superseded documents Offshore Teaching and Learning Activities Operational Directives
Review notes To be reviewed in conjunction with: Offshore Policy, and Offshore Teaching and Learning Activities Vice-Chancellor's Directive for Offshore Programs Delivered in Modern Standard Chinese


1. Purpose

This Directive establishes a framework of responsibility for the management and delivery of offshore teaching and learning activities, to ensure:

  • that the development and administration of offshore teaching and learning meet all statutory and regulatory requirements
  • that equivalent and appropriate academic standards and quality assurance practices apply for the management and delivery of both onshore and offshore courses
  • that the quality of the student learning experience and the educational value of the course and any award when offered offshore is equivalent to that delivered onshore.

2. Scope

This Directive applies to all UTS staff involved in the establishment and management of UTS offshore courses which include:

  • The teaching and delivery of full award coursework and research degree programs.
  • The supply of teaching and learning services, including the provision of:
    • courseware
    • consultancy services.
  • The management of academic arrangements that allow entry to UTS award courses in Sydney, including dual programs of study.

A Vice-Chancellor's Directive for Offshore Teaching and Learning Activities Delivered in Modern Standard Chinese has been developed separately to outline the additional requirements of those activities.

3. Definitions

means the process of applying for, being made an offer to, accepting the offer of admission and being admitted to an award course or a program of study at the University.
Award course
means an integrated collection of academic subjects which constitute study for the award of a UTS degree, diploma or certificate.
is the UTS student administration electronic information system.
Dual Program of Study
is one that leads to two awards for students: one from UTS and one from a higher education provider outside Australia. The two awards will be in identical or similar disciplines, and combination is facilitated through a formally approved cross-credited arrangement.
External articulation
is the form of articulation (see Admissions Policy) that allows UTS to approve and recognise a program of study taught by an external provider as being equivalent to a component part of a UTS program of study. These arrangements usually, but not always involve exemptions for specific subjects or block credit transfer, and sometimes, but not always, involve guaranteed admission to a specific UTS award course provided the student has achieved specified grades or marks. In some cases, UTS will cooperatively deliver the initial program of study with the external provider.
International student
means a student who is not a citizen or permanent resident of Australia and includes those who have student visas, provisional residency, temporary residency, bridging visas, etc.
is the process whereby UTS assesses the merit and worth of teaching and program delivery on its courses taught elsewhere.
Offshore activity
means an activity where UTS engages in an agreement or operates beyond the borders of Australia, either on its own or in cooperation with one or more international partners.
Offshore partner
means an institution (usually a higher education provider) with which UTS cooperates in an offshore activity.
Offshore program
means a UTS award course or program of study approved for delivery to students at a location outside Australia through cooperation with an international partner. This includes undergraduate and postgraduate coursework study programs and higher degree research master's degree, PhD or professional doctorate delivered by UTS.
Offshore student
means a person who is enrolled in an offshore program, short course or research degree program taught offshore.
Program of study
means a collection of academic subjects or a plan of research studies that may or may not be integrated, and do not in themselves lead to a UTS award of degree, diploma or certificate.
Quality assurance
means the review and improvement of processes and outcomes to ensure a high level of quality is maintained.
means a person who has been admitted to an award course or specified subjects of the University and has an active enrolment in that course or specified subjects.
UTS International
UTS International means the UTS unit responsible for marketing and coordinating admissions of all international students to award courses, study abroad and exchange programs.

4. Directive principles

UTS offshore teaching and learning activities must:

  • meet the University's standards of academic quality and advance the strategic and financial interests of the faculties in which they are offered and the University as a whole
  • be in compliance with the legislative and regulatory requirements of the country in which the activities are delivered.

5. Directive statements

5.1 Establishment and approval of an offshore teaching and learning activity

Commercial considerations and approvals

Offshore teaching and learning activities are categorised as commercial activities, therefore governed by the Commercial Activities Approval and Monitoring Framework as follows. They must be run on at least a cost recovery commercial basis and cannot be subsidised by Commonwealth Grants Scheme funds.

Process Delegation
Preliminary evaluation Deputy Vice-Chancellor (International and Advancement), Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Resources) and Courses Planning Committee/td>
Approval and registration Provost
Review and reporting Courses Planning Committee

Academic considerations and approvals

The above commercial consideration and academic consideration processes are embedded in the Award Course Approval and Reaccreditation Policy administered by the Academic Programs Office using the Online Course Approval Process (OCAP).

In-country legislative requirements

Offshore teaching and learning programs cannot commence before UTS approval processes are fully completed and appropriate in-country government approvals have been secured.

5.2 Review and monitoring of offshore teaching and learning activities

Annual review

Annual (January to December) reviews and monitoring reports on each UTS award course delivered outside Australia in the preceding year are to be submitted to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (International and Advancement) at the beginning of each year, in a format specified by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (International and Advancement).

The various aspects of review include:

  • strategic relationship and development with the offshore partner through the offshore course delivery
  • risk management (reputational, financial and legislative)
  • academic management
  • course performance and benchmarking
  • student administration, services and support (equivalency)
  • quality assurance
  • exit strategies, where applicable.

The review report on each offshore course is then provided to:

  • the Offshore Review Group (ORG)
  • the Curriculum and Cohort Review Advisory Group (CCRAG)
  • the Courses Accreditation Committee
  • the Vice-Chancellor and the Academic Board for noting.

Annual reviews are to be complemented by annual visits to all offshore partner institutions by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (International and Advancement) or their nominated delegate.

5.3 Management of offshore programs

UTS International project manages the development of each UTS offshore program. Faculties are responsible for the academic management and delivery of each UTS offshore program within the faculty. The project management of UTS offshore programs in operation prior to 1 January 2005 may remain the responsibility of the initiating faculty unless or until they inform the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (International and Advancement) otherwise.

A summary of the roles and responsibilities of various parties are further outlined in Section 6.

5.4 Offshore partners

UTS is committed to the development of long-term relationships with suitable international higher education providers for the purpose of delivering offshore programs. Partnerships must only be developed where there is clear evidence of mutual benefit and development potential.

Identification of appropriate partners

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (International and Advancement), with consideration of any directives given by the Vice-Chancellor, may approve the development of a proposal for the establishment of a partnership to deliver one or more UTS offshore programs in suitable locations.

Identification of suitable offshore partners must undergo the due diligence process as required for all commercial activities. UTS International has the overall role of international relationship development and is involved in the due diligence check and partner selection process.

Formal agreements

Partnership arrangements with offshore institutions for the delivery of UTS offshore programs must be supported by a series of formal agreements, renewed on a regular basis. A partnership agreement will usually comprise:

  • a Memorandum of Understanding between the partner and UTS
  • a Head of Agreement that deals with the strategic interaction between UTS and the other higher education institution
  • an Operations Manual that details academic, administrative and quality assurance interactions between UTS and its partner higher education institution
  • a Program Schedule for the delivery of each specific program of teaching and learning, and
  • an Annual Operational Plan, that agrees on the operational details for the delivery of each program of teaching and learning in the year ahead.

5.5 Financial management

The financial management of all UTS offshore teaching and learning activities must be recorded in and through the UTS NEO financial management system.

UTS offshore teaching and learning activity has its own unique UTS Financial Services Unit (FSU) activity code and all financial management for each specific activity must use its unique code. FSU and UTS Commercial will meet before year end to ensure activity codes are consistent and therefore reports are constructed accurately. Activity code changes are notified to UTS International.

Income and fee administration

Fees for UTS offshore programs are collected by the Student Administration Unit Fees Office.

Income derived from the delivery of offshore programs is managed by and through FSU.

For all offshore programs where project management is provided through and by UTS International, the teaching faculty (or faculties) receive 64.4 percent of the net revenue to UTS generated by that program.

For offshore programs in operation before 1 January 2005 where the teaching faculty (or faculties) also provide project management functions to the operation of the program, the teaching faculty (or faculties) receives the net revenue to UTS, less 16 percent of gross revenue generated by the offshore program.

Payments to staff for their involvement in a UTS offshore program must be in accordance with UTS enterprise agreements, HR policy and procedures.

There will be an annual review and where appropriate adjustment of fees for each offshore teaching and learning activity taking into account changes in Consumer Price Index exchange rates, and market conditions as well as the strategic value of each activity to UTS.

5.6 Recruitment and marketing

As the awarding institution, UTS must retain responsibility for approving marketing and promotional material relating to offshore programs.

UTS must ensure that no inappropriate or misleading statements are used in the promotion of its offshore programs and that its corporate identity is applied in accordance with the Rules governing the use of its logo and emblem.

The appointment of any agents for the purposes of marketing the UTS offshore program or recruiting students for the program must be managed in accordance with the UTS International's student recruitment agent protocols, as approved by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (International and Advancement).

5.7 Quality assurance

All offshore teaching and learning programs must meet the University's criteria for educational quality as set out in its Teaching and Learning Statement of Values and its Course Name and Award Title Nomenclature Policy.

Criteria for the selection and admission of students to offshore programs must be in accordance with the Student Rules and Admissions Policy.

UTS staff must be involved in the delivery of offshore programs of teaching and learning. Where teaching delivery is localised, or where a partner is licensed to provide a UTS course, moderation and quality assurance procedures must involve UTS staff.

All UTS subject and course feedback surveys that are conducted for courses delivered onshore must be available and conducted for UTS offshore program students. The content of these surveys and the tools used for the surveys may be modified to suit specific offshore teaching and learning environments. Such variations must take into account the compatibility of the onshore and offshore surveys to allow meaningful comparison and benchmarking.

5.8 Student learning support

Faculties offering courses offshore must ensure that learning support is provided to enable students to achieve the desired learning outcome in the course. This includes:

  • access to teaching and learning advice from teaching staff
  • access to appropriate library and other learning resources
  • access to advice on other support services available for offshore students in general and specific to students enrolled in that course
  • access to course and other student information
  • access to advice on UTS rules and policies applicable to UTS students in general and specific to students enrolled in that course.

5.9 Records management

The authoritative student enrolment and record system for all students in UTS offshore programs is held in CASS. All UTS offshore students must have appropriate records on that system.

All records relating to UTS offshore students which may be kept by the offshore partner must be maintained at the same levels of privacy and protection as those held at UTS in Sydney. (See Privacy Vice-Chancellor's Directive.)

5.10 Intellectual property

UTS retains and will assert ownership of intellectual property in:

  • course and teaching materials developed for the purpose of the delivery of offshore programs
  • all translations of course and teaching materials, where those translations have been commissioned and paid for by UTS.

6. Roles and responsibilities

Accountable Officer: The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (International and Advancement) has responsibility for coordinating all UTS offshore activities and for ensuring that they are conducted in conformance with this Directive.

Implementation Officer: The Director, UTS International provides executive support to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (International and Advancement) in implementing this Directive.

Other positions and committees

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Resources), supported by UTS Commercial advises the Vice-Chancellor on the financial management of offshore courses, in accordance with this Directive.

The Deans of the faculties that offer offshore courses are responsible for the overall delivery, academic management and quality assurance of the respective courses offered offshore.

Academic Board, on the advice of the Courses Accreditation Committee has the authority to approve the accreditation of the offshore award courses.

The Offshore Review Group is an advisory group to the Vice-Chancellor to advise on the strategic direction and management of all offshore courses.

The Curriculum and Cohort Review Advisory Group is an advisory group to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education and Students) to advise on the academic performance of all award courses including offshore courses.

The Courses Accreditation Committee (CAC) is a standing committee of Academic Board whose terms of reference include advice on reaccreditation of UTS award courses. The provision of the offshore review reports to the CAC will facilitate the consideration of course reaccreditation by Academic Board.

Summary of roles and responsibilities for offshore program management

Function Detailed activities Lead responsible administrative unit
Initiative Opportunity identification / Partner identification Faculty / UTS International*
Relationship development Depersonalisation of contacts Faculty commitment Faculty / UTS International*
Development of shared values, trust, mutual respect and common expectations Faculty / UTS International*
Program design Academic Aims and Structure
Teaching pattern
Academic partnership details
Business planning Market intelligence
Due diligence
UTS International*
Financial plan and sensitivity analysis
Legal, tax and insurance environment
Funds repatriation
Commercial Director
Risk management Commercial Director / UTS International*
Contract and management Negotiation of terms, responsibilities, performance indicators and revenue distribution
Legal advice, signage of agreement and renewal
UTS International*
Annual review of relationship
Fee review and reset
Exit strategy
UTS International / Offshore Review Group
Course Approval process Initial Strategic Assessment
Course Planning
Course Accreditation
Academic Board
Government registration Seeking registration with local government through cooperation with the partner Faculty / UTS International
Australian registration on AustList Registration of the offshore courses on offer on AustList UTS International
Program management Promotion
UTS Library access for offshore staff
UTS International*
Academic management and Program delivery Physical location and facilities for teaching and learning Faculty / UTS International
Staffing arrangements and orientation
Course coordination
Subject coordination
Materials development
Assessment and moderation
Academic structure and administrative procedures
Report and review
Student administration Application
Faculty / UTS International
Enrolment and Study Package Record Faculty / Student Administration Unit
Student orientation Faculty
Student learning support Faculty
Student appeals/grievance Faculty
Graduation Faculty / Student Administration Unit / Governance Support Unit
UTS International
Fees management Collection
Transfer to UTS
Student Administration Unit Fees Office
Revenue tracking and reporting Financial Services Unit / Commercial Director
Allocation Provost
Quality Assurance Subject Feedback Survey and review Faculty / Planning and Quality Unit
Course Survey and Report UTS International / Planning and Quality Unit
Management Committee and/or Strategic Management Group meeting with partner Faculty / UTS International
Annual visit to partners UTS International
Annual Course Reviews Faculty / UTS International / Offshore Review Group
Annual report to Academic Board and Council UTS International
Course review and reaccreditation Annual offshore course review UTS International / Planning and Quality Unit
Curriculum and Cohort Review Advisory Group
Reaccreditation of offshore courses Faculty
Phasing out and discontinuation of an offshore course Notice by Faculty to Deputy Vice-Chancellor (International and Advancement)

Submission to Academic Board for phasing out and discontinuation arrangements, in particular, transitional arrangements for students
Faculty / UTS International / Academic Programs Office
Termination of Agreement and Partnership Notice by Faculty to Deputy Vice-Chancellor (International and Advancement) Formal notice to partner by Deputy Vice-Chancellor (International and Advancement)

* Faculty, for programs established before 1 January 2005, are dealt with as provided for in Section 5.3 of these directives.

7. Acknowledgements

None applicable.

8. Version control and change history

Date Version Approved by, resolution no. (date) Amendment
26/08/2005 1 Vice-Chancellor New
23/02/2012 2 Vice-Chancellor
23/11/2015 2.1 Vice-Chancellor Amendments following the external articulation process review.