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Appointment, Extensions & Resignations/Terminations

How do I find out if I need to appoint a new External or extend an existing one?

The Faculty Academic Enhancement Committee (FAEC) should receive a list of External Examiners coming to the end of their tenure at each of its meetings.  The Quality and Collaboration Unit (QCU) representative on FAEC or Faculty Quality Administrator will be able to advise on whether a new appointment is needed or whether an extension can be pursued (see How Do I Extend an Existing Externals Duties  or Tenure? and What is the Criteria for Appointing a New External?)



What is the University process for appointing an external?

Recommendations for new appointments/changes to contract are made by FAEC to External Examining Sub Committee (EESC) by the end of January for commencement of duties on 1st September. This allows sufficient time for EESC consideration of the nomination/change to contract, formal contracting of the External Examiner and to provide any new External Examiners the opportunity to attend an External Examiner Induction Seminar prior to commencement of their duties. 

A nomination form is completed, Proposers complete parts A and C with the nominee completing part B (see HERE is the form to complete for nominations and extensions).

Process to Appoint External Examiners (PDF 182K, Downloads file) in detail

What is the criteria for appointing a new External?

In inviting nominations for new External Examiners, proposers should provide nominees with information about the subject or courses they are being invited to moderate, an indication of the workloads and the time associated with their duties, and the website address.

Until the FAEC has considered a nomination and the EESC have approved the proposal, a nominee must not have any involvement with the assessment process.

Follow this link for an outline of the External Examiner Nominee Specification (Word doc 26k)

To ensure that the correct board information is supplied on the nomination form please follow these links for the appropriate Faculty Board Structure 

Institutional Requirements

Faculties should seek to appoint External Examiners from across a wide a range of academic and professional organisations as possible.

An External Examiners contract with the University will normally be for a period of four years, from 1st September to 31st December in any given year. The period September to December in the final year of tenure is ONLY to allow completion of previous year’s work / attendance to boards e.g Pg boards that operate later in the year.  Approval may be given for one further year's appointment beyond the four years (See ‘How do I extend an existing external’s duties or tenure’).

If only one External Examiner is appointed to a Board, there should wherever possible be an overlap period of at least one year between the appointment of the incoming external and the retirement of the outgoing external to achieve continuity.   

Where more than one External Examiner is appointed to a Board, appointments should be staggered and, where necessary, overlap, to achieve continuity of membership.

External Examiners who are involved with programmes delivered, either through partners in the UK or overseas, should be prepared to travel to the location where the courses are delivered eg. to meet with students or attend boards if neccessary

External Examiners may be required to visit a cluster of partners on behalf of the University to assess the partnerships’ academic health. External Examiners agreement to undertake this role will be sought in advance of the visit which will be strategically aligned to the University’s Collaborative register. A separate report will be required for this work and an additional fee given. (See ‘Role of an External in a Partner Health Check’).

For collaborative programmes, partner organisations must be invited to nominate External Examiners and to comment on the nominee(s) to be submitted for appointment.  In all cases involving partner organisations, nominations should be processed through the appropriate FAEC. 

If an appointed External Examiner's circumstances change and the changes compromise his/her independence from the process, he/she must resign.  Appointed External Examiners who move institution from which there is an External Examiner currently serving on the same board can complete their period of tenure (see 'What if my External resigns?')


How do I extend an existing External's duties or tenure?

Extensions may cover:

  • The duties of existing External Examiners, (for example to assume additional Assessment Board responsibilities, or to include additional or different modules in their portfolio)
  • The lengthening of the period of tenure by one year up to a maximum of five years or
  • Both duties and the period of tenure.

Extensions to periods of tenure for an additional period up to a maximum of five years’ service should be applied for in exceptional circumstances only. Requests will only be considered if there is evidence that the External Examiner is willing to have his/her duties extended. If the extension involves a Collaborative Partner, the Collaborative Partner must be consulted

Process for requesting an extension:

a)    In all cases the University proposer must request the “Original Nomination” form in order to complete Part D. This will enable the proposer to check that existing details are correct for the external and where extension to duties are sought, confirm that the nominee is appropriate.  The original nomination form is available from the FAEC Officer.

b)    The proposer sends the completed form to the FAEC Officer for FAEC’s consideration.

c)    The FAEC Officer, once the extension has been confirmed  by FAEC sends the signed form to the Officer for EESC.

d)    EESC considers the application.

e)    The EESC Officer circulates decisions made by EESC to the Dean of Faculty, Proposer, FAEC Officer, Assistant Faculty Registrars and the appropriate Student Office Manager

f)     A revised contract and appointment letter are issued by the Quality and Collaboration Unit (QCU)

g)    A copy of the appointment letter is sent to Payroll (Finance) by QCU

What if my External resigns?

Serving External Examiners who wish to resign should notify the Faculty and Quality and Collaboration Unit (QCU).  A minimum of six months’ notice is requested so that the Faculty is provided with sufficient time to secure a replacement.

In cases of unexpected changes in professional and/or personal circumstances, for example, illness, the External Examiner is asked to notify the Faculty and QCU. In these circumstances a new or existing external may need to be appointed or extended (See ‘What is the process for Appointing a new External? and or ‘How do I extend an existing External’s duties or tenures?’)

What is the University process for terminating an External's contract?

Changes to Course:

In circumstances where academic development involves changes to courses, the Faculty may wish to amend the remit of an External Examiner or phase out his/her contract prematurely.  In such cases, the Faculty will ensure that the External Examiner is given a minimum of six months’ notice.  It is the Faculties responsibility to inform

a)    the External Examiner of its intentions and

b)    the Quality and Collaboration Unit (QCU) to phase out the External Examiner’s contract.  On being informed, QCU will make the necessary administrative arrangements for the cessation of the contract.

Changes to Examiner Circumstances:

Contracts may also be terminated if there are changes to circumstances that have occurred since appointment, or were not disclosed on appointment, which contravene the requirements of appointment.  The Chair of EESC will write the letter of termination.

Serious Contraventions of Contract:

The Faculty may wish to terminate an External Examiner’s contract because of a serious contravention of the terms of the External Examiner contract.  Examples of serious contravention include continual non-attendance at Assessment Boards without good reason; repeated failure to submit an adequate report or to undertake other contracted duties; proven professional misconduct or the emergence of a compromising relationship with the subject or course team or with another institution, for example, a reciprocal arrangement with a new or existing examiner; failure to submit evidence of the right to work in the UK within 14 days of receipt of contract.

The decision to terminate a contract should be agreed by FAEC and the FAEC’s decision should be sent to the EESC, outlining the reasons for the termination of the contract and the action being taken to nominate a replacement examiner.  If EESC confirms the FAEC’s decision, the termination of the External Examiner’s contract will take effect from the date of the EESC meeting.  The Chair of EESC will write the letter of termination.

Does my External need a Mentor and who mentors?

In proposing nominees without external examining experience, the Faculty must indicate how it intends to support the nominee in their first year of tenure. In the majority of cases an External Examiner from the Faculties existing pool of externals will be approached to agree to act as mentor. Where it is not possible a member of staff may be proposed to fulfil this role. At the time of appointment the mentee will be advised of their mentor and vice-versa. The Mentor / Mentee then establish contact and agree a mutually suitable way of working together. It is expected that most of the support will be provided during the summer visit, but there may be times when contact is required via email or telephone to discuss matters throughout the year.

Areas of advice may include:

  • Approaches to moderation including applying criteria, assessing consistency of marking, sampling across grade boundaries, dealing with borderlines, fails
  • Dealing with draft assessment briefs and examination papers, in terms of coverage of topics, learning outcomes, level of challenge, rigour, ambiguity and fairness
  • Role and perspective of the external examiner in assessment boards
  • The context of verbal and written reports
  • Clarifying details, providing support, building confidence, reassuring
  • Communicating with staff members and students 


Will my External have an induction to University processes?

The Quality and Collaboration Unit (QCU) organise the University induction seminars and call new External Examiners to the first available date.  The induction seminar covers:

  • The University Overview
  • Structure and purpose of boards
  • Role of the External Examiner
  • Undergraduate and Postgraduate Regulations & Grading Criteria
  • IT Access
  • Finance: Claims
  • Faculty Induction
  • Useful Contacts

It is the expectation that the Faculty also provides an induction (normally taking place on the same day as the University Induction), which covers:

  • A calendar of events; such as assessment board dates, meetings to take place with Students, modifications to modules/course, semester one boards if necessary;
  • Confirm the process for approval of draft assessments for the following academic year/semester or block;
  • Course documentation such as module guides, assessment criteria, course guides;
  • Process for the receipt of samples of student work, feedback to students, grades etc. and whether this will be done via WOLF, samples sent out to EE or sampled in-house;
  • Collaborative courses/ modules, explaining what the expectation will be, will the examiner be expected to undertake visits to partners and how often?
  • Confirm modules/courses where students may still be in transition and/or out of sync with Academic Regulations / Academic Framework;
  • Examiner to keep Faculty/QCU informed of any changes to personal circumstances or any changes to email/ address corresponding address/ changes to institute via e:Vision. (only for those EE’s who have not attended the EE Induction Seminar);
  • Duties and what will be expected from them regarding assessment boards, (Module Results Boards and/or Award and Progression Board) – part of examiner’s contract to attend assessment boards and complete an annual report. To provide a list of modules / courses allocated to them;
  • Mentoring details/arrangements if applicable.

HERE is the form to complete for appointing and extending Externals.

For all new nominations please download the External Examiner Nomination Form (Word doc 217k), the University proposer completes Section A and C and asks the nominee to complete section B, as noted in the 'Process for appointing a new external'. CVs should not be submitted with the nomination form unless requested by FAEC or EESC as supporting information.

If you are considering changing the contract of an existing external please download the External Examiner Change to Contract Request Form (Word doc 147k)