An Academic Senate meeting was held on Tuesday 4 September 2018. The agenda 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:

Group of people icon1. Approval of Future Academic Senate Composition

 A significant item for the September meeting was the discussion of the proposed changes to composition of Academic Senate.

We have been through an extensive project to develop the proposed Purpose and Composition, which commenced at the November 2016 Academic Senate meeting.

Our principles when considering composition were

  • size and agility
  • balance between ex-officio and representational positions, and
  • inclusiveness and overlap.

We held a workshop for Senators to provide feedback, received submissions by email and also sought feedback from other Chairs and former Chairs of Academic Senates of peer institutions in Australia.

The new composition endorsed by Academic Senate has resulted in

  • A reduction in Ex officio members of Academic Senate and instituting a limit on DVCs and PVCs – moving from ‘all’ to specified numbers.
  • A corresponding decrease in Elected Members to maintain balance. These reductions allow us room to increase agility of Senate.
  • The requirements for Elected Members were also amended to be less prescriptive, to encourage a wider range of staff to stand for election. The only requirement now is for members elected to represent a Faculty to come from different Departments.
  • A new category of appointed membership (which will used to appoint Chairs of Senate Committees as members of Senate) and amend the category of co-opted membership
  • The category for co-opted members has been updated to demonstrate we co-opt to address expertise, diversity and social inclusion requirements.
  • An ex-officio position for the Head of Department of Indigenous Studies will become an elected Indigenous academic staff representative position.

Scales Icon2. Grade Appeal Policy Review Update

The Chair of SLTC, Dr Mitch Parsell, gave an update on the progress of the Grade Appeal Policy Review Working Party. He outlined the proposed changes:

  • A move from appeal of final grades to review of individual assessment grades
  • A reduction in the deadline to submit a request for review, from 20 working days to 10 working days
  • The grounds would be condensed from the current 5 grounds to 3 grounds for review, for clarity and to better align with how the current grounds are used in practice.

The discussion highlighted that the change to a review of individual assessment tasks would be a significant cultural change from current practice.

An impact assessment is currently being conducted by the Office of the Executive Director, Student Engagement and Registrar.

 3. Curriculum Architecture Update

The PVC Programs and Pathways, Professor Sean Brawley, updated Senate on Curriculum Architecture project. This will be a standing item on the agenda for the next few meetings whilst this project is at a critical point.

At the time of the meeting Sean updated on the number of courses sitting with the curriculum architecture checkpoint and expected to progress to Curriculum Architecture Working Groups. More courses are progressing through each week. For the latest information, follow the Curriculum Architecture updates on Teche and stay in touch with your Faculty Curriculum Architecture Implementation Group representatives.

A question was asked about student-facing communication about this project. A program of work on the migration of students has commenced and an update will be provided at the next meeting.

Academic Senate approved an amendment to the Curriculum Architecture Policy, with the addition of a requirement for all capstone units to have a breadth/maturity prerequisite of at least 60 credit points at 2000 level or above.

Calendar Icon4. Establishing 2019 projects

We discussed our approach to establishing the 2019 projects for Academic Senate. This will follow the process developed last year. To facilitate projects commencing before the first meeting in February, projects will be identified and prioritised by Academic Senate over the next few months.

Governance Services are compiling a list of policies requiring review, strategic and external requirements, and status updates from current projects. Workshops will be held with Chairs of Senate Committees, Senators and Student Senators over the next month to identify and prioritise projects. Academic Senate will discuss a draft list at the October meeting, and then Senators will be charged with seeking feedback from Faculties and Organisational Units. 

Speech Icon5. Chairs report

I gave an update on the most recent Council meeting. At that meeting I provided Council with a report on the Purpose and Composition and Curriculum Architecture projects. Council also approved the recommendation from Academic Senate to award Professor Tony Cousins the title of Emeritus Professor.

I reminded Senators that we may have additional Senate meetings scheduled for this year to facilitate the Curriculum Architecture Project. Senators will receive calendar invitations. For anyone interested in observing a meeting, dates are also advertised on the Senate website, in ThisWeek, and on the Campus Facebook page.

I also reminded Senators of the elections upcoming towards the end of the year. Information will be posted on the Elections page of the website.

The next Senate meeting will be on October 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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