The agenda for the Academic Senate meeting on Tuesday 24 July is 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

Curriculum Architecture has been the hot topic across campus over the past few months. This recent Teche post provides a wrap up of the Town Hall (including a chance to win $250!).

At the 23 July Academic Senate meeting, the Curriculum Architecture Policy was approved in principle for courses delivered from 1 January 2020. The Undergraduate, Postgraduate and Micro-credentials principles were also endorsed. These are key related documents of the policy, published on Policy Central.

2. Purpose and Composition of Academic Senate

The final recommendations for revisions to  Academic Senate Rules describing the purpose of Academic Senate were presented and endorsed. These included revisions to take into account feedback received at the May Senate meeting.

The next stage of the project, to review the Composition of Academic Senate was outlined. As Chair, in discussion with the Working Group, I have proposed four broad principles for discussion – overall size, balance, agility and inclusiveness and overlap.

Senators discussed the importance of an Academic Senate that is large enough to have voices from across the campus represented, whilst small enough to remain agile. We also noted that at Macquarie, the ratio of elected to ex-officio staff members is 50:50 (excluding the Chair, Deputy Chair, appointed, co-opted and student members) and discussed the importance of maintaining this balance if the size of Senate were to change.

We discussed the idea of explicit wording to highlight the ability of Senate to co-opt in order to meet equity and diversity standards, and to encourage short-term appointments to increase expertise needed for short-term projects. We also discussed the idea of reserving a Faculty elected position for an Early Career Academic. Currently our Senate rules specify that Faculty elected members must include at least one Head of Department or Professor.

Finally, we talked about overlap in membership between Senate itself and its committees – too much overlap reduces the independence of Senate, whilst a lack of overlap may reduce communication and lead to an undesirable divergence in scope and mission of a piece of work.

The Working Group are going to use these principles to review and make recommendations for the composition of Academic Senate.  Feedback on your ideas for the composition of Academic Senate is welcome from all members of the University community to chair.senate@mq.edu.au

3. Senate Projects – Mid-Year Traffic Light Report

We discussed the current projects of Academic Senate, and reviewed a traffic light report of progress to date. Whilst there has been some re-organisation of deadlines to align with the Curriculum Architecture Project, the majority of projects are on track. Academic Senate agreed to postpone the External Review to 2019. This will allow the review to consider Academic Senate after the changes to the Rules from the Purpose and Composition project have been implemented.

4. Academic GPA and English language requirements 

The DVC (A) spoke to a proposal to streamline the Academic GPA and English language requirements. There are numerous different combinations of IELTS and GPA entry scores across degrees and disciplines at Macquarie. This proposal put forward four different categories for IELTS entry scores, and a standard admission requirement for GPA. Exceptions for accreditation and other reasons were discussed and outlined in appendices.

Academic Senate approved the proposal, effective for offers commencing from 2019.

5. Welcome to Incoming Student Senators!

We welcomed our incoming student Senators, who have been elected for a term from 1 June 2018 – 31 May 2020.  Emily, Ariel, Alexei, Alexander and Sayantani told us a little about themselves and their motivations for joining Senate. We look forward to working with them over the next two years.

Earlier this month, we held an induction where the student Senators heard from:

  • Professor Kevin Jameson, the DVC(A)
  • Associate Professor Catriona Lavermicocca, Chair of ASQC
  • Professor Sakkie Pretorius, Chair of RRTC
  • Dr Mitch Parsell, Chair of SLTC
  • Dr Wylie Bradford, an Academic Staff Member of the University Council
  • Zoë Williams, Governance Services

as well as myself and Jackie, to learn about the governance structure at the University and understand the role of Academic Senate.

They also had a careers support and mentoring session with Julie Doherty and Lena Corzo Neiiser from Careers, Carol Thompson from Vocus Group and Shaneil D’Hary, a peer advisor in FBE.  As part of the Academic Senate project; Partnership with and Recognition of Student Members, student members who complete induction, participate in ongoing support and mentoring sessions and fulfil the requirements of their role receive recognition on their AHEGS when they graduate. Thanks to all staff who got involved in training and supporting the student Senators for their new role!

One of their first initiatives was to suggest an O-week stall to increase awareness of Academic Senate amongst the student community. Alexei, Alexander, Sayantani and Ariel volunteered their time at the start of this semester, enjoying the great weather at O-week and speaking to a wide variety of students.

Sayantani, Jackie, Alexei and Alexander at the Senate Stall

Posted by Marie Herberstein

I am a biologist who works on the behaviour of spiders and insects here at Macquarie University. I am currently the Chair of Academic Senate.

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