Section 11. Glossary

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Academic adviser: Every undergraduate student should be allocated an academic adviser who should be a full time member of academic staff based in the student's home department. The academic adviser has an important pastoral role, as well as one of academic guidance (eg the academic adviser may help his/her students make choices about courses, advise them on progress, help them consider career options, offer advice and refer students to various other support services across the School, etc).

 Academic and Student Affairs Committee (ASC): The committee responsible for determining policy and strategy in the areas of quality assurance and quality enhancement in the school.

Academic Board: The principal academic body of the School. All major issues of general policy affecting the academic life of the School and its development are brought to the Board. Quality assurance issues often feature on its agendas.

Aligning your teaching: The concept of 'alignment' is about organising teaching and assessment methods such that they actively support the 'learning outcomes' you've set for the students. For more detail see the work of John Biggs (references available from Teaching and Learning Centre).

ASC review of departmental provision: A review of a department / institute which is conducted on behalf of ASC every five year. The internal reviews are developmental, and are designed to assist departments in their efforts to improve the provision of their education. The review of educational provision conducted by ASC looks back at recent activity in departments, and looks forward to planned activity.

Audio Visual (AV) support team: Supports teaching rooms and lecture theatres at LSE. From data projectors to visualisers, the AV support team supplies a wide range of audio/visual equipment for the LSE community.


Calendar: This is updated annually and contains the following information: key addresses and dates; about LSE; programmes of study; learning support and career development skills; financial matters; school services; alumni relations; examinations; Library and IT services; disciplinary and other regulations and procedures; diploma programmes; master's programmes; MRes/PhD in political science; research programmes.

Course: A unit of study, usually spread over 20-22 weeks of study (full unit) or 10 weeks of study (half unit).

Course administrator: Takes care of the administrative organisation of the course.

Course co-ordinator: Usually a member of full-time academic staff in a department who has overall responsibility for the academic direction and assessment of a particular course. See also Teacher responsible below.


Dean of Graduate Studies: Has a wide range of duties concerned with relations between the School and its students. They are available to any graduate student who wishes to raise any problem, academic or otherwise. In particular the Dean is available for the counselling of individual students who experience difficulties, and they can help in the reallocation of students to supervisors. The Dean is a supplementary source of help to the supervisor, the departmental research student tutor and the departmental Head of Department / Institute. The Dean will see students by appointment or during open office hours as published outside their office.

Dean of Undergraduate Studies: Has a wide range of responsibilities covering all aspects of the undergraduate experience at the School. The Dean may be consulted by any undergraduate student at the School who wishes to discuss any problem, whether academic or personal. The Dean will see students during 'office hours' or by appointment.

Departmental managers: Manage the administrative functions of each academic department.

Departmental 'mentor' for class teachers: A member of full-time staff designated as the guide/mentor/adviser to GTAs.

Departmental handbooks: Most departments will have separate student handbooks for undergraduate programmes, MSc programmes and PhD programmes. These vary considerably from one department to another and one programme to another, but often include administrative and other information about the programme, codes of practice, advice on study skills, information about course and assessment deadlines, and other interesting departmental and School information that should help students find their way around the School and their particular department/programme.

Departmental tutor: Oversees all undergraduate programmes within his/her department. 

Director of LSE: Professor Craig Calhoun.

Dissertation supervisor: Guides students through the process of writing the dissertation (a common feature of many MSc programmes). Note that on many MSc programmes, students will have a supervisor and a dissertation supervisor (often different people). The supervisor has a more general academic advisory and pastoral role.


Echo lecture capture: The system which enables recording of lectures in some LSE teaching rooms and lecture theatres. This can be useful both as a reviewing/learning tool for new teachers and as a way for students to listen again to your talk or lecture.

Equality Act 2010: The Act which replaces and strengthens previous equality legislation and which is supported by a Public Sector Equality Duty.


Formative assessment: Involves setting assignments that are designed to help students with their studies and provide opportunities for individual feedback This work may well be graded, to give students a feel for how they are progressing, but much more important will be the feedback provided, which should help them to improve and develop. In most cases, the grades on formative assessment do not count towards the students' final degree results.

Full unit course: A unit of study, usually spread over 20-22 weeks of study.


General Course students: Students on LSE's Study Year Abroad Programme visiting LSE in their second or third year from another university overseas (mainly, though not exclusively, from the US). It is not a separate programme of study but a fully integrated undergraduate year. Each student is assigned to one of the School's 20 academic departments, in which they will pursue at least one of their four courses.

Graduate handbook: Part of the School Calendar that is relevant to graduate students. See Calendar above.

Graduate teaching assistant (GTA): A member of teaching staff paid by the hour, who is also registered as a PhD student.


Half unit course: A unit of study, usually spread over 10 weeks of study.

Head of Department: Every academic department has a Head of Department (until recently known as the convener), responsible for the academic management of his/her department and its relationship to the rest of the School, Institutes have 'directors', who have a similar remit.

Higher Education Academy: Works with institutions, discipline groups and individuals, to provide the best possible learning experience for all students. They provide an authoritative and independent voice on policies that influence this such as quality and standards, pedagogic research, teaching standards, e-learning, performance indicators and the evaluation of teaching and learning programmes.

Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE): Distributes public money for teaching and research to universities and colleges. In doing so, it aims to promote high quality education and research, within a financially healthy sector. The Council also plays a key role in ensuring accountability and promoting good practice.

Home department: The department within which a student is registered for his/her programme of study. A student may choose courses from departments other than his/her home department.


Individual Student Support Agreement (ISSA): A School ISSA is a summary of the adjustments and resources the adviser to students with disabilities has agreed are necessary to meet the individual needs of a student, based on documentary evidence, in consultation with the student and key academic and administrative personnel. See Appendix 9 for an example.

Institute of Education (IoE): Founded in 1902, the Institute of Education has an international reputation for high quality research, teacher training, higher degrees, consultancy in education and the related aspects of professional practice and the social sciences.

Institutional Review: An external system for auditing the quality of educational provision. For more on the audit process, contact the Teaching Quality Assurance and Review Office, or see the QAA (Quality Assurance Agency) website:| 


Learning Development: LSE's Teaching and Learning Centre offers a series of lectures, workshops and one-to-one sessions on different aspects of study and learning, with tailored provision for undergraduate and masters' students: see These are complemented by the Teaching and Learning Centre's Moodle site Learning World (|) where students can find slides from events and a wide range of further resources and helpful links.


Lent Term: The second term in the academic year running from around the second full week in January until the fourth week in March. For the 2013/14 session term dates are 13 January 2014 to 21 March 2014 

LSE degree classifications:

Undergraduate degree: The examiners for each course will determine a numerical mark for each candidate based on the following scale of honours class or division, pass and fail grades:

First Class Honours

70 - 100

Upper Second Class Honours

60 - 69

Lower Second Class Honours

50 - 59

Third Class Honours

40 - 49


0 - 39

The final degree classification is based on a somewhat complex compilation of individual course results, details of which are given in the Calendar and on the School's website.

Taught Masters: Each paper is given a result as follows:


70% and over 


60 - 69%


50 - 59%


X - 49%

Bad Fail 

0 - X 

LSE for You: An online web environment which contains personal information such as pay information, emergency contact details, and also contains class registers and photographs of students in your class(es).

LSE Library: Founded in 1986 as the British Library of Political and Economic Science, LSE's Library is the largest in the world devoted exclusively to the social sciences. It has been recognised by the Higher Education Funding Council as one of only five National Research Libraries in England and its collections have been designated by the Arts Council as being of outstanding national and international importance. Library services aim to support the needs of LSE students, researchers and staff in their course of study, research and teaching. Of particular interest to teachers will be the Academic Support Librarians who offer specialised support and assistance to academic departments and research centres (see|) and Summon, the Library's primary search engine for its collection..


LSE Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education: A Higher Education Academy (HEA) accredited programme offered by the Teaching and Learning Centre. Participants who successfully complete the programme will receive a Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education, which is externally recognised in the UK.

LSE Teaching Record: A certificate/record of teaching practice provided by the Teaching and Learning Centre. It should provide useful evidence for those wishing to pursue a career in HE in the UK, and may enable you to gain exemptions from some elements of future training in teaching which increasing numbers of HE institutions now make compulsory.


Mentoring: One-to-one support preferably in a situation where no obvious power relations exist. At LSE there are various student mentoring schemes in place, whereby students volunteer to act as mentors to each other (usually second and third years acting as mentors to first years). Similar systems are in place for staff. New full time academic staff should be allocated a mentor who is a more established colleague and can advise on a diverse range of School-related matters. Some departments now also have a designated mentor for graduate teaching assistants.

Michaelmas Term: The first term in the academic year running from around the first week in October until the third week of December. For the 2013/14 session it runs from 3 October 2013 to 13 December 2013.

Moodle: The School's Virtual Learning Environment, Moodle is a web space that contains course materials, announcements, electronic readings, quizzes, assignment submissions, discussion areas and other tools. 


Office hour: Weekly or fortnightly hour of support for each course on which GTAs teach, used as a way of providing additional support for individual students. Most class teachers timetable a mutually convenient time with their students and stick to the same hour each week. Ideally it should be timed on the half hour (eg, 10:30am -11:30am) to avoid timetable clashes for the greatest number of students.


Pigeon hole: A small open compartment for keeping letters or documents, based in the department where you teach. Each GTA will either have their own pigeon hole or might have a shared GTA pigeon hole. Check this regularly for post, student work or other communications from the department.

Programme: Each student is registered on a programme either leading to an undergraduate or masters degree, or involving study at the School for a set period, eg the one-year General Course. This is the total combination of courses taken.

Programme co-ordinator: Oversees a single masters programme (rather than the one departmental tutor who oversees all programmes in a department at undergraduate level).  


Quality Assurance Agency (QAA): In 1997, the QAA was established to provide an integrated quality assurance service for UK higher education. It is an independent body funded by subscriptions from universities and colleges of higher education, and through contracts with the main higher education funding bodies. The Agency's mission is to safeguard the public interest in sound standards of higher education qualifications and to encourage continuous improvement in the management of the quality of higher education.


Research Excellence Framework (REF): This has replaced the RAE (Research Assessment Exercise) as the mechanism for enabling the higher education funding bodies to distribute public funds for research selectively on the basis of quality. For more information see the HEFCE website (|).


Student feedback questionnaires: Each year the Teaching Quality Assurance and Review Office (TQARO) conducts two main surveys of students' opinions of teaching. The Michaelmas survey considers teaching by hourly-paid class teachers, and is conducted in Week 7 or 8 of the Michaelmas Term.

Summative assessment: Takes place after a period of teaching and is designed to evaluate the student's current level of academic achievement. Each LSE course will be summatively assessed or examined, most often by sit-down two- or three-hour examination, though some departments use some more varied assessments, including essays, projects, dissertations, portfolios and practicals of various kinds.

Summer Term: The third and last term in the academic year running from around the fourth week in April until the second week in July. For the 2013/14 session it runs from 28 April 2014 to 4 July 2014.


Teacher responsible: A member of full-time academic staff in a department who has overall responsibility for the academic direction and assessment of a particular (usually undergraduate) course. See also Head of Department and Course co-ordinator above.

Teaching, Learning and Assessment Committee (TLAC): The committee responsible for determining policy and strategy in the areas of quality assurance and quality enhancement in the School.

Teaching observation: Teaching in HE is often a very 'private' affair, between the tutor and students. The main feedback staff get is from students. Teaching observation brings in a new perspective, and also can trigger off ideas both within the observer and the person being observed, focused on teaching process - the 'how' of teaching, rather than the content. It enables individuals to identify strengths and weaknesses, and highlight areas for development. Where colleagues observe each other both within and across departments, this can promote sharing of good practice, and can increase awareness of teaching/learning approaches - and course content.

TQARO: Teaching Quality Assurance and Review Office, which is the support office to the Teaching, Learning and Assessment Committee (TLAC). TQARO works closely with the Teaching and Learning Centre.


Voice trainer: The Teaching and Learning Centre offers one-to-one voice training with an experienced voice trainer, along with a small group workshop on voice training for speaking to large audiences. The Language Centre offers longer small group courses, tailored to specific needs.

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