On Tuesday 4 September we held an Academic Senate meeting. 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 two meetings below:

1.      Welcome to new Senators!

This was the first meeting for a number of new elected, co-opted and ex-officio members:

Associate Professor Yvonne Breyer – Yvonne has been co-opted to Senate following her two year appointment to the role of the Chair of Senate Learning and Teaching Committee. Yvonne has worked across a number of different Faculties and portfolios at Macquarie, and her research interests range from student success and global online learning to the digital transformation in the higher education sector. I look forward to Yvonne’s contributions  in her role as Chair of SLTC and also to Academic Senate. 

Associate Professor Matt Bower will fill the residual term in the vacant office of an elected member from FHS, created by Associate Professor Mitch Parsell’s departure.

Dr Florence Chiew has been co-opted to ensure representation from the non-Faculty electorate until an election is held to fill the office vacated by Professor Bill Ashraf. Florence previously held this role in the 2016 – 2018 term and I thanked her for offering her service over the next three meetings.

Associate Professor Judi Homewood has joined Senate in an ex-officio capacity as  Acting PVC (HDR Training and Partnerships).

Professor Bernard Mans has joined Senate in an ex-officio capacity as Acting Executive Dean of the Faculty of Science and Engineering.


2. Curriculum Architecture and MQ2020

The DVC(A) offered a brief final standing update on Curriculum Architecture.  MQ2020 is at a point of maturity and has now become operational – communication is rolling out to students (including on the student website). Professor Jameson proposed his standing update for future meetings focus on the TEQSA re-registration as preparations get underway.

The Chair of the Academic Standards and Quality Committee, Associate Professor Lavermicocca also spoke to several curriculum items recommended to Senate to outline how they were considered by ASQC. The committee endorsed waivers for the curriculum transition; updates to double-degree exclusion lists; updates to the 2020 Schedule and new shell units for international experiences in the Business School. She highlighted that ASQC endorsed these after due consideration confirming the process by which it was ensured students will not be disadvantaged. Catriona also spoke to the role of ASQC  under the recently approved Shared Governance model.

3. Senate Project – Approval of recommendations from Freedom of Speech, Inquiry and Assembly

I invited Ainslee Harvey, the Academic Senate Project Officer supporting this working party, to speak to the methodology of this project. Ms Harvey outlined the membership of the working group and highlighted that they were very engaged. She spoke to the number of policies that were examined, and outlined the structure of the report, which echoes the structure of the draft model code proposed by Justice French.

I outlined each of the 10 recommendations of the working party, many of which suggest amending existing policies. Academic Senate resolved to approve the report and recommendations of the Freedom of Speech, Inquiry and Assembly project.

One of the recommendations relates to a gap in policy around external speakers on campus. I invited the Director of Government Relations, Peter McCarthy, for an update –  Mr McCarthy was a member of the working party, and at the same time was conducting a piece of interdependent work for the University Executive to draft a policy that might address this gap.

He outlined recent consultation included two workshops for students facilitated by two students facilitators, and two workshops for staff facilitated by the Chair of Senate. This Policy will return to Academic Senate for an update after further engagement with groups that offered feedback.

4. Project Planning for 2020 to commence

We discussed our approach to establishing the 2020 projects for Academic Senate. I invited Antonia Dykes, the Academic Senate Project Officer supporting project planning to outline the process. Ms Dykes described that the process will be similar to last year. We will review the list of policies due for review, strategic and external legislative requirements, and status updates from current project, with input from Chairs of Senate Committees, Senators and Student Senators over the next month to identify and prioritise projects.

I charged Senators to begin consulting with their faculties and offices to seek feedback for ideas for projects. The Deputy Chair, Jackie Philips and I have also been meeting with Associate Deans and Heads of Department in each faculty to talk with them about Senate and seek their feedback.

Anyone is also welcome to contact me directly at chair.senate@mq.edu.au with suggestions, or use the feedback form on the Senate projects website.

Academic Senate will discuss a draft list of projects at the October meeting, and finalise the list at the November meeting, to endorse to the Academic Senate Standing Committee in December for their consideration.

Brandenburg Gate

5. Farewell for this year – on OSP to Berlin

The September meeting was the last meeting that I will Chair this year – I have since travelled to the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin on OSP. I will teleconference into meetings for Council and Academic Senate for the rest of this year.

I have asked the Deputy Chair, Professor Jacqueline Phillips, to Chair the next two Academic Senate meetings. She will also attend the University Discipline Committee from September – December 2019. Many thanks to Jackie for taking on these tasks, and for everyone who has supported my research.

Why not attend our next meeting?

The next Senate meeting will be held on October 22nd, from 9:30am onwards. All staff and students are welcome to observe, please email us at senate@mq.edu.au to ensure there are enough chairs in the room.

Dates are also advertised on the Senate website, in This Week, and on the Campus Facebook page.

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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