Academic Senate Top 5, May 2018

On Tuesday 29 May we held an Academic Senate meeting. The 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. Curriculum Architecture Project

In early May workshops were held to discuss issues identified from our current curriculum structure, and to request additional feedback. Over 200 staff attended and there was plenty of discussion, as well as further feedback submitted by email.

Overall there was a general appreciation of the broad and complex nature of the issues and agreement that student experience is at the forefront of the desire to make improvements.

Academic Senate approved the project overview for the Curriculum Architecture Project. This included a discussion of the scope, timeline and interdependencies.

Lessons learnt from previous curriculum renewals have fed into the development of the current consultative process. A second round of workshops were held in early June, and a survey is currently open to all staff for comment.

For more information see our Teche post from last week.

2. Purpose and Composition of Academic Senate

The Purpose and Composition of Academic Senate working group presented a paper with the draft revision to the current Academic Senate Rules. The changes include the introduction of a preamble, streamlining of the general and specific functions and a definition of academic matters.

Academic Matters are not defined in the current Rules. The proposed definition is academic matters –  including but not limited to learning and teaching, research and research training, academic integrity and quality assurance, merit prizes and awards, programs of study and measures to safeguard academic freedom.

Academic Senate discussed the definition and provided some comments on the functions of Academic Senate. Further feedback is welcome from all members of the University community to

3. Global MBA

Professor Stephen Brammer, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Business and Economics, spoke to the proposal for a new program, the Global MBA, which was approved by Academic Senate. The program will be online and operated in partnership with online learning platform Coursera.

In 2017 the Faculty and Coursera partnered together on Excel Skills for Business, which has received ratings from more than 40,000 users, and achieved the ‘Outstanding Educators Award for transformation’. Professor Brammer spoke to the feedback received from students that indicates the impact well-designed courses can have in bringing accessible education to diverse student populations across the globe.

He reflected on the alignment between this new project and the purpose of Macquarie as a university of service and engagement, and of the mission of MGSM to develop leaders with a global mindset.

4. Policy Approvals – HDR, Assessment and Unit Guide

As flagged at the previous meeting, three policies came to Academic Senate for approval at the May meeting:

HDR Supervision Policy and Procedure

The changes made since the draft policy and procedure came to Senate in February were highlighted, including:

  • a provision for Conjoint Academics to act as Principal supervisors;
  • wording changes to align with the Higher Education Standards Framework

An update was provided on evidence of the effectiveness of the HDR supervision training program. Academic Senate approved the new policy with immediate effect.

Assessment Policy

The changes made since the draft policy and schedules came to Senate in April were highlighted, including:

  • amendments to the definition of ‘rubric’ and ‘fail absent’.
  • an amendment to clause 3.4, further attempt at a hurdle task, to add “if their performance is otherwise satisfactory”.

Academic Senate approved the amendments with immediate effect.

Unit Guide Policy / Assessment Policy Schedule 6: Unit Guide Requirements

The changes made since the draft schedule and procedure came to Senate in April were highlighted, including:

  • the standardisation of the deadline for publication of unit guides for internal and external units at two weeks prior to the teaching start date of the unit

Academic Senate approved the rescission of the Unit Guide Policy; and creation of the Assessment Policy, Schedule 6: Unit Guide Requirements with immediate effect for Units with a teaching start date of 30 July 2018 or later.

  1. Thank you to outgoing Student Senators!

We farewelled outgoing student Senators whose term concluded on 1 June and for whom this is their final meeting:

  • Audrey Markowskei, our HDR student representative who has also been a member of the Research and Research Training Committee. Audrey, thank you so much for your commitment to RRTC and Senate and for your thoughtful input to our discussions;
  • Cissy Shen, our Faculty of Human Sciences undergraduate student representative. Cissy, thank you in particular for being involved with the development of the Academic Integrity Statement.  This was a key element of our ongoing work on this issue; and
  • Senate would like to pay special thanks to Simon Populin, our Faculty of Science and Engineering undergraduate student representative who has served on two terms of Senate.  Simon has served on ASQC, SLTC and the University Discipline Committee.   He was heavily involved in the development of the Assessment Policy and more recently the review of the Grade Appeal Policy.

Simon spoke during student-led business and thanked Senators for the experience has had during his time on Senate, and encouraged the incoming Senators to take up the opportunities available to them.

Thank you also to Aadi, Bhavana, David and Yvette, our recently co-opted Student members. They each made the most of their short time with us and contributed enthusiastically at  the past two Senate meetings, curriculum workshops and student fora.

The next Senate meeting will be on July 24th 2018, 9:30am. As always, Senate welcomes staff and students to observe the meeting. Please email to let us know you are coming.

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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