On Tuesday 20th February we held the first Academic Senate meeting of 2018. The full agenda is up on the Academic Senate website and papers are available on Truth. For a quick run down, watch the Chair’s vlog and check out the Top 5 items discussed at the meeting below:

 1. Feedback from Academic Senate Members

A survey of Academic Senate members conducted earlier this year found some highlights:

  • More than 90% of Academic Senate members feel authorised to bring matters for consideration to Academic Senate
  • More than 90% felt the work carried out by the Chair and Deputy Chair is transparent to members of Senate
  • More than 75% of Academic Senate members say that colleagues/fellow students in their Unit/Department know they are a member of Academic Senate
  • Written feedback indicated the new induction and training process was well-received by new Senators in 2017

 and some areas for improvement:

  • More than 70% of Senators were unsure about the visibility of the work of Academic Senate to the Macquarie University community or felt it was not visible
  • To increase visibility, we will charge Senators more explicitly to seek feedback on items under discussion and plan a Town Hall meeting.
  • 30% of Senators were unsure about the visibility of the work of Academic Senate support team to the members of Senate or felt it was not visible.
  • To increase visibility, we will increase opportunities for the support team to speak to their work during the meeting.
  • 28% of Senators would like more input into prioritising and planning the Schedule of Business.
  • To increase opportunities to have input, we will run an informal workshop to develop 2019 projects

2. Academic Senate Annual Report

In 2017 Academic Senate completed five projects. Three projects are continuing into 2018, and a further three have been scheduled to commence in 2018. There was broad involvement across the University community in members of steering, working and advisory groups involved in 2017, which Academic Senate intends to continue in 2018. A summary of participation is below:

Steering, Working and Advisory Group Participation 
Senate Member Member of Committee of Senate Broader University community
44 15 87

There were eight new policies, major changes or rescission of existing policies. Thirty five new programs were approved for establishment, and twenty two were disestablished.

Initiatives to improve efficiency in Academic Senate in 2017 included a reduction in the number of Committees by 3 to reflect the Academic Appeals Policy, implementation of decision-based minutes and the development of guidelines for presenters. This resulted in a close to 5% reduction in average meeting duration.

3. HDR Supervision Policy and Procedure

Professor Nick Mansfield spoke to the work of the working party in revising this policy. This included consideration of industry-supported HDR recruitment, performance, experience, supervision, examination and employability.  The new policy fits with the Strategic Research Framework 2015 – 2024. Proposed amendments to the HDR Supervision Policy and Procedure were discussed and will be returning to the next meeting of Senate on 10 April 2018 for final approval.   Staff and students are invited to provide feedback on these items by Friday 16 March 2018.  Contact your local Academic Senate Member to have your say.

4. Academic Integrity Policy and Schedules

In July 2017, Academic Senate established a working group to review the Academic Honesty Policy to ensure fit with the Academic Integrity Values Statement and the Student Discipline Rule and Procedure.  The working group developed a new Academic Integrity Policy, which reflects a modern understanding of academic integrity in higher education, technological developments and emerging trends. After input from the University community, followed by discussion at SLTC and Academic Senate, at the February 2018 meeting the new Academic Integrity Policy was approved.  There will be communication to staff and students including through ThisWeek and MyMQ. This new policy will be available shortly on Policy Central and the Student Policy Gateway (For more about the great new Student Policy Gateway, see this recent Teche Post)

Lab flash icon5. Presentation from the Faculty of Science and Engineering Executive Dean

In 2018, the Academic Senate would like to increase opportunities for Faculty presentations at Academic Senate. At the February meeting, we enjoyed a presentation from Professor Barbara Messerle, the Executive Dean of the Faculty of Science and Engineering.

Our next Academic Senate meeting is on April 10th from 9:30am, and staff or students are welcome to attend as observers – please email senate@mq.edu.au

Posted by Marie Herberstein

I am a biologist and work on the behaviour of spiders and insects here at Macquarie University. I am currently the interim Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic).

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