- 1 Purpose
- 2 Scope
- 3 Procedure Overview
- 4 Procedures
- 4.1 Stage 1 - Due Diligence
- 4.2 Stage 2 - Approval
- 4.3 Stage 3 - Establishment
- 4.4 Stage 4 - Management
- 4.5 Stage 5 - Monitoring
- 4.6 Stage 6 - Reporting
- 4.7 Stage 7 - Review and renewal of agreement
- 4.8 Roles and Responsibilities
- 5 References
- 6 Schedules
- 7 Procedure Information
To provide a framework for arrangements relating to Coursework Program delivery by Third Party Providers that aligns with the University's strategic objectives and is quality assured.
This procedure applies to contractual agreements, including any changes that may need to be agreed by other Third Party Providers, that allow a Third Party Provider, on behalf of the University, to deliver some or all of a USQ Coursework Program that leads to the award of an Australian regulated higher education qualification.
This procedure does not apply to:
- Coursework Dual Awards and Joint Degrees;
- Licensing and other commercial arrangements;
- International and domestic Research and Research training partnerships;
- Study support centres located both within Australia and offshore; and
- Student mobility programs.
3 Procedure Overview
This procedure sets out the processes for assessing, establishing, monitoring and reviewing arrangements for Coursework Program delivery between Third Party Providers and the University.
University programs and Courses may be offered onshore and offshore in collaboration between the University and a Third Party Provider, or programs and Courses may be offered independently by the University.
4.1 Stage 1 - Due Diligence
4.1.1 Initiating a proposal
Proposals may be initiated by any staff member using the Education Partner Application form, available from the USQ Hub, which sets out the minimum requirements appropriate and proportionate to each prospective Third Party Arrangement. For this process, this staff member acts as the Proposal Initiator.
As part of the initiation process, consultation must take place as set out in the table below, and with all academic units expected to be involved in teaching and/or service delivery under the Third Party Arrangement.
Type of Proposed Arrangement
Proposed international arrangements
Proposed domestic arrangements
The Proposal Initiator is responsible for the due diligence process and must complete the relevant section of the Education Partner Application form.
The due diligence process will consider a range of issues, including:
- capacity to enter into a contract with the University;
- ownership, governance, financial and legal structure and probity of the proposed Third Party Provider;
- the Third Party Provider's capacity to deliver programs, Courses and/or services to an appropriate standard and to fulfil obligations under the proposed Third Party Arrangement including appropriate staff qualifications and experience, if relevant, physical resources and facilities, Student support services, risk management and internal quality assurance processes;
- ability to comply with all applicable laws, regulatory requirements and University policies in the provision of services;
- financial sustainability and regulatory status of the Third Party Provider;
- alignment of the proposed arrangement with the University's vision, values and strategic priorities;
- the extent to which the arrangement is likely to enhance the domestic and/or international reputation of the University;
- benefits to the University from the proposed partnership arrangement; and
- possible impact on existing Third Party Arrangements.
Stage 1 partnership requests must be endorsed by the relevant Executive Dean/s prior to submission to ensure all aspects have been adequately considered and appropriate consultation has been undertaken.
Proposals will undergo a documentation review process before progressing to the next stage. The Proposal Initiator is responsible for providing any requested additional documents and evidence to assist those undertaking the review to assess potential risks and make informed decisions.
For international arrangements, offshore and onshore, review of the information provided in the Education Partner Application form is conducted by USQ International Partnerships, in consultation with the relevant Associate Dean/s.
For domestic arrangements, review of the information is conducted by the relevant Associate Dean/s, in consultation with Heads of School.
If any facilities and/or learning resources provided by the Third Party Provider are to be used in the delivery of University programs and Courses, a site visit will be coordinated by USQ International Partnerships at this stage unless there are exceptional circumstances. The purpose of the visit is to establish the appropriateness of facilities and resources and the equivalence of standards compared to University facilities and resources.
4.2 Stage 2 - Approval
Following completion of all reviews, documentation will be collated and forwarded to the Partner Operations Committee (POC) by the committee services officer.
Following consideration of the proposal by POC, the committee services officer will advise the Proposal Initiator of the outcome. If in-principle approval is conveyed to the Proposal Initiator, the Proposal Initiator may proceed to preparing a detailed business case for a potential Third Party Arrangement. Where the proposal involves development of a new academic program, an academic proposal is also required.
The Proposal Initiator is responsible for the development of the business plan and where required, the academic proposal.
4.2.1 Business Plan
The business plan must be fully costed and include a risk analysis for new Third Party Arrangements and for significant changes to an existing Third Party Arrangement.
The business plan must outline an exit strategy, i.e. appropriate teach-out arrangements for its own Students if the Third Party Provider ceases operations, the agreement is terminated or when the agreement comes to an end.
For guidance on developing a business plan, refer to Financial Services.
4.2.2 Academic Proposal
For Coursework Programs, the development, consultation and approval process of the academic proposal is set out in the Academic Programs and Courses Policy, the Program Accreditation Procedure and the Program Development Team Schedule.
Articulation or Credit Transfer Arrangements that form part of an academic proposal will be managed in accordance with the Credit and Exemption Procedure.
4.2.3 In-principle Approval
Following consideration of the proposed new partnership or proposed significant change to an existing partnership by Markets and Partners Strategy and Management Committee (MAPSM), the MAPSM committee services officer will either return documentation to the Proposal Initiator to make revisions, or forward the proposal to the Vice-Chancellor's Executive (VCE) for in-principle approval before contract negotiation can begin.
Following in-principle approval from VCE, MAPSM reports the decision to commence contract negotiations to Academic Board and Council for noting.
4.3 Stage 3 - Establishment
4.3.1 Agreement content and approval
Legal agreement templates approved by the Legal Office are the basis of all University-initiated Third Party Arrangement contract negotiations and all contracts will managed through the University's centralised contract management system.
The nature of the partnership and the level of risk exposure will determine the scope of the agreement.
As a minimum, the agreement will set out:
- the scope and extent of the functions being undertaken by the Third Party Provider and the rights and responsibilities of the University and the Third Party Provider in respect of the agreement;
- mechanisms enabling monitoring, evaluation and quality control for the arrangement (including the use of comparative data and appropriate moderation processes) that ensure the University retains responsibility for academic standards and quality of the outcomes involved, and that the expected Student Learning Outcomes are equivalent to those for a program delivered solely by the University;
- staffing arrangements, where relevant, including required qualifications and/or professional experience in the relevant discipline;
- arrangements for the regular review of deliverables pursuant to the agreement, including performance measures;
- marketing and promotional activities, and ensuring that representation of the University's educational offerings and charges is accurate and not misleading;
- arrangements for amendments to the agreement, renewal and termination of agreement including provisions for teach-out; and
- the dispute resolution process.
Agreements will be prepared and negotiated as set out in the table below.
Agreement prepared by USQ International Partnerships in consultation with:
Agreement negotiated with potential partner by:
Agreement prepared by USQ International Partnerships in consultation with:
Agreement negotiated with potential partner by:
Once the Vice-Chancellor and the Third Party Provider have signed the Third Party Agreement, USQ International Partnerships will notify MAPSM that the agreement is fully executed and of the commencement date, as stated in the agreement.
The Vice-Chancellor will advise Academic Board and Council at the next scheduled meeting of the execution of the partnership agreement and the commencement date.
4.4 Stage 4 - Management
As part of governance arrangements, the University and the Third Party Provider will appoint a representative at senior management level to liaise regarding operation of the agreement.
For international agreements, the Pro Vice-Chancellor (International) may nominate a staff member who will be the key liaison with the faculties for all matters related to international partnerships. Executive Deans may nominate a staff member to act as the key liaison with USQ International Partnerships for all matters related to international partnership management.
For domestic agreements, Executive Deans may nominate a staff member in their respective faculties who will act as the key liaison for all matters related to domestic partnerships.
In consultation with faculty liaison staff, USQ International Partnerships will collate data from relevant units and develop an Annual Activity Schedule for each Third Party Arrangement, setting out key activity, training and/or information session dates and responsible officers to facilitate regular contact and effective collaboration between the parties.
4.5 Stage 5 - Monitoring
4.5.1 Quality Assurance
In accordance with the Higher Education Standards Framework, the University:
- is accountable for the quality of education and any services delivered by a Third Party Provider on behalf of the University where these are related to the issue of an Australian qualification; and
- must ensure that the Third Party Arrangement meets and continues to meet the requirements of the Higher Education Standards Framework.
The University will conduct financial audits and quality assurance reviews of programs, Courses and/or services as part of the University quality assurance cycle, as specified in the agreement. The purpose of these reviews is to assure academic and business quality in the programs being delivered by Third Party Providers and to monitor any performance improvement activities.
4.5.2 Joint Management Committees
A Joint Management Committee (JMC) will be established for each Third Party Arrangement to provide advice and recommendations and will meet at least three times each calendar year, or as per the relevant Agreement. Semester by semester quality assurance reports and issues identified by the relevant faculty and/or USQ International Partnerships are to be tabled in a timely manner for discussion at the respective Provider JMC meetings.
Any resulting advice and recommendations from the JMC will be included in the annual partner report to POC, and will be taken into account in agreeing on operational key performance indicators and targets in relation to the Provider's delivery of the services for each calendar year of the agreement.
Where a Third Party Provider breaches the terms of a Third Party Arrangement, the Provider must investigate the reasons for the breach and provide the University with a detailed plan for rectifying the issue. Failure to comply with an agreed rectification plan may result in termination of the Agreement, in accordance with the terms of the contract.
4.6 Stage 6 - Reporting
The University may request reports from the Third Party Provider at any time during the term of the agreement in order for the University to satisfy itself that the Provider is performing its obligations under the agreement.
At a minimum, USQ International Partnerships and the relevant faculty will coordinate annual reporting to examine the extent to which each party has fulfilled their contractual obligations for the previous academic year and to inform continuous improvement. This may include:
Load and enrolment data
Academic Quality Unit
POC reviews annual partner reports and makes recommendations, if any, to MAPSM
Student academic performance data
Student Grievances and Appeals
Academic Quality Unit
Student support processes
Provides annual reports to MAPSM on Third Party Provider performance
MAPSM reviews POC recommendations, if any, and endorses to VCE
Provides annual summary report to the Vice-Chancellor, through VCE, on overall Third Party Provider performance
VCE reviews Third Party Provider performance
Reports to Council and its standing committees, as required
Council reviews Third Party Provider performance
Reports annually to Academic Board, via Education Quality Committee, by the date specified in the Academic Board Business Schedule
Academic Board monitors academic quality assurance of Third Party Arrangements
Reports annually to Council by the date specified in the Council Business Schedule
Council monitors academic quality assurance of Third Party Arrangements
Where there are International Students on Student visas accepted or studying in a program delivered by a Third Party Provider, any changes to the agreement with the Third Party must be approved by TEQSA prior to the changes being made.
4.7 Stage 7 - Review and renewal of agreement
Decisions regarding renewal of Third Party Arrangements will be informed by regular semester and annual partner reviews and any audits conducted or authorised by the University regarding the performance of the Third Party Provider's obligations under the agreement, and the benefits of the Arrangement to the University and the Provider.
Where a final review prior to renewal of a Third Party Arrangement is a contractual requirement, this must commence no later than nine months before contract expiry.
Responsibilities and authority to approve renewal of an agreement are the same as for initial establishment, outlined in section 4.3 of this procedure.
4.7.1 Termination of an agreement
Third Party Arrangements may be terminated in advance of the expiry date of an agreement according to the termination or exit clauses incorporated in the agreement.
Termination of an agreement is approved by the Vice-Chancellor, on the recommendation of MAPSM.
Where an agreement is terminated in advance of the agreement's nominated expiry date, appropriate advice, support and transition arrangements must be initiated for currently enrolled Students, as outlined in the agreement.
4.8 Roles and Responsibilities
The key stages and steps for a Third Party Arrangement are set out in the flowchart below.
This procedure must be read in conjunction with its subordinate schedules as provided in the table below.
7 Procedure Information
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic)
Pro Vice-Chancellor (International)
Educational Partnerships Policy
Related forms, publications and websites
Terms defined in the Definitions Dictionary
A defined pathway that allows a Student to progress from a completed program of study with another education provider to a University program. Admission to the University program may be with or without Credit....moreA defined pathway that allows a Student to progress from a completed program of study with another education provider to a University program. Admission to the University program may be with or without Credit.
The basic unit of study and assessment for which a Student may be awarded a grade, and may accumulate credit units towards completion of a Program....moreThe basic unit of study and assessment for which a Student may be awarded a grade, and may accumulate credit units towards completion of a Program.
A sequence of study consisting predominantly of Coursework....moreA sequence of study consisting predominantly of Coursework.
Credit may be granted towards Courses in an Award Program based on recognition of prior studies. Credit may count towards a Student's Grade Point Average....moreCredit may be granted towards Courses in an Award Program based on recognition of prior studies. Credit may count towards a Student's Grade Point Average.
A negotiated agreement with another educational institution or accrediting authority that provides Students with agreed and consistent Credit outcomes for components of a qualification based on identified equivalence in content and learning outcomes....moreA negotiated agreement with another educational institution or accrediting authority that provides Students with agreed and consistent Credit outcomes for components of a qualification based on identified equivalence in content and learning outcomes.
A partnership arrangement involving one or more Coursework Programs that leads to two separate Awards, one awarded by University and one awarded by the partner institution. There is usually a mutual recognition of Credit between the institutions to allow Students to complete both Awards in a shorter time than if they were completed separately....moreA partnership arrangement involving one or more Coursework Programs that leads to two separate Awards, one awarded by University and one awarded by the partner institution. There is usually a mutual recognition of Credit between the institutions to allow Students to complete both Awards in a shorter time than if they were completed separately.
A Student who is not an Australian citizen, a New Zealand citizen, an Australian Permanent Resident or the holder of an Australian permanent humanitarian visa....moreA Student who is not an Australian citizen, a New Zealand citizen, an Australian Permanent Resident or the holder of an Australian permanent humanitarian visa.
The awarding of a single qualification which is jointly conferred by the University and one or more partner institutions. In such arrangements, each institution delivers their own courses/content....moreThe awarding of a single qualification which is jointly conferred by the University and one or more partner institutions. In such arrangements, each institution delivers their own courses/content.
Research is the creation of new knowledge and/or the use of existing knowledge in a new and creative way to generate new concepts, methodologies, inventions and understandings. This could include the synthesis and analysis of previous research to the extent that it is new and creative....moreResearch is the creation of new knowledge and/or the use of existing knowledge in a new and creative way to generate new concepts, methodologies, inventions and understandings. This could include the synthesis and analysis of previous research to the extent that it is new and creative.
A person who is admitted to an Award Program or Non-Award Program offered by the University and is: currently enrolled in one or more Courses or study units; or not currently enrolled but is on an approved Leave of Absence or whose admission has not been cancelled....moreA person who is admitted to an Award Program or Non-Award Program offered by the University and is: currently enrolled in one or more Courses or study units; or not currently enrolled but is on an approved Leave of Absence or whose admission has not been cancelled.
An arrangement made by the University with another party (in Australia or overseas) to deliver some or all of a higher education program that leads to the Award of an Australian regulated higher education qualification....moreAn arrangement made by the University with another party (in Australia or overseas) to deliver some or all of a higher education program that leads to the Award of an Australian regulated higher education qualification.
A party with which the University has a Third Party Arrangement for the purposes of delivering some or all of a higher education program that leads to the award of an Australian regulated higher education qualification....moreA party with which the University has a Third Party Arrangement for the purposes of delivering some or all of a higher education program that leads to the award of an Australian regulated higher education qualification.
The term 'University' or 'USQ' means the University of Southern Queensland....moreThe term 'University' or 'USQ' means the University of Southern Queensland.
Definitions that relate to this procedure only