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Academic Development and Standards Committee

General purpose:  A standing committee of Academic Council which is responsible for bringing forward policy and procedures and review policies and procedures to enhance the quality and to maintain standards of UCC awards.  The committee will advise in relation to UCC’s academic framework to support internal and institutional compliance with the National Framework of Qualifications.  The Committee shall also advise Academic Board on the impact of national and international developments on UCC’s arrangements underpinning academic standards.

The Committee provides an important forum for debate on internal, national and European developments, including innovative approaches to academic provision in higher education and their impact on UCC awards and standards, and on curriculum innovation.

The Committee shall consult with relevant University Officers as appropriate in relation to specific items and issues of potential significant impact to the University (particularly in relation to resources). 

ADSC is responsible for review and approval of University Wide Modules.

It is responsible for the University External Examiner Sub-Committee (EESC), the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Directorate and the Digital Badges Sub Committee.

The Committee shall undertake any other appropriate duties or tasks assigned to it by Academic Board or Academic Council from time to time.

Reports to:  Academic Board on matters concerning delegated authority and is advisory to Academic Council on policy matters within its remit

Terms of Reference:

  1. Strategy and Policy
  2. Policy and procedures governing programme approval and review including arrangements for the approval and review of taught programmes offered in partnership.
  3. Proposals for the development of UCC’s academic framework ensuring continuing alignment with national and EU developments in higher education and quality assurance and enhancement of UCC’s taught provision.
  4. Recommendations to ensure the effective operation and implementation of the University’s framework for marks and standards, conduct of examinations and operation of Examination Boards, and, through the EESC, the appointment of external examiners and review of external examiner reports[1].
  5. Proposals to assure institutional oversight of the University’s responsibilities relating to Professional, Statutory and other accreditation bodies.

To bring forward for initial consideration by Academic Board:

 Oversight function

a) Consider nominations for external examiners for taught programmes and recommend nominees ot the National University of Ireland (NUI) for appointment; maintain a register of External Examiners ensuring all UCC taught programmes have appropriate cover.

b) Prepare an annual consolidated report for Academic Board on the outcomes of the examination process and matters as identified by external examiners in their reports, and propose policy or procedural adjustments appropriate.

c) Receive annual reports as follows:

      i.    A consolidated report on the outcomes of the approval of new programmes from the Office of Academic Programmes and Regulations;

      ii.    Periodic reviews from the Quality Enhancement Unit;

     iii.    Professional and Statutory Body (PSBs) reports from the College Offices and recommend action to Academic Board or College Councils as appropriate

Ensure College compliance with examination procedures and marks and standards and that External Examiners are appointed and reports received and responded to as appropriate, alerting the Senior Vice President Academic and Registrar to urgent matters requiring attention, and to receive an annual report from each College on operational matters in this area.

d) Receive reports from sub-committees at regular intervals or periodically as requested, and to evaluating overall performance and opportunities for enhancement in academic standards advising the Academic Board as appropriate.

Other business as required

a) To submit to Academic Board minutes from each meeting of the Committee and to report on specific matters as requested

b) To advise Academic Board and Academic Council on such matters that the Board or Council may refer to the Committee from time to time


Delegation of authority

The Academic Development and Standards Committee retains the overall responsibilities defined in its terms of reference as approved by Academic Council.  The Committee may establish sub-committees to enable it to fulfil its remit and to which it may delegate functions with the approval of Academic Council.  ADSC may also establish working groups from time to time to assist in its work.  Sub-committees and working groups shall operate in accordance with the procedures set down in the University’s Committee Handbook.  

 [1] Consideration of external examiner reports is delegated to the EESC



External Examiner Sub-Committee

Digital Badges Sub-Committee 

Reserved Business
None approved by Academic Council.

Frequency of Meetings
The Committee shall meet up to 6 times per year or as directed by Academic Council.


Appointed by the President

Professor Liam Marnane

Deputy Chair

Professor Laura McAtackney

Ex Officio: 


Deputy President and Registrar

Professor Stephen Byrne

Academic Secretary

Paul O'Donovan

Vice President for Learning and Teaching

Professor Paul McSweeney

Head of Office of Academic Programmes and Regulations

Ms Eleanor Fouhy

Deputy to Head APAR

To be confirmed

Dean of Undergraduate and Postgraduate Studies

Professor Nuala Finnegan 

Dean of Doctoral Studies

Dr Orla Lynch

Director of the Quality Enhancement

Ms Elisabeth Noonan 

Student Records and Examinations Officer

Ms Eleanor Fitzgerald 

Director of Adult Continuing Education

Dr Lyndsey El Almoud

Chair of the External Examiner Sub Committee

Dr Síle Ní Mhurchú

CITRL representative

Dr Anna Santucci

Student’s Union Education Officer

Ms Alison Ní Threasaigh

1 academic staff member from each College with functional responsibility in this area


Professor William O'Brien


Mr Daniel Blackshields, Assurance of Learning (AOL)

Dr Ger Ryan, curriculum matters coming from College.


Dr Colette Hand


Dr Simon Lawrence 

4 members of Academic Council nominated by Academic Council



Co-opted members:
Up to 3 members approved by Academic Council



Committee Secretary:

Provided by Academic Affairs and Governance

 Membership updated 23-05-2024

[1] Consideration of external examiner reports is delegated to the EESC

[2] Delegated to the EESC; the register is maintained by the office of Academic Affairs and Governance

[3] Delegated to the EESC

Academic Affairs and Governance

Gnothaí Acadúla agus Rialú