Professor Jacqueline Phillips, and Alexei Feofiloff at the OzCABS conference, October 2019

I recently attended the Australian Chairs and Secretaries of Academic Boards and Senates (OzCABS) Conference. Student Senator, Alexei Feofiloff, was invited to join a panel of student representatives to discuss ‘’academic governance from the student perspective’ and he represented the Macquarie experience very professionally.

On Tuesday 22 October 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, check out the Top 5 items discussed at the meeting below.

1. Welcome and Farewells

We farewelled Professor Jim Denier, who has stepped down from his position on Academic Senate. Jim joined Academic Senate in July 2016. As well as being an active and engaged member of Senate, Jim played a pivotal role bringing his experience and expertise to the Purpose and Composition Working Group of Academic Senate, and most recently he was the Chair of the Review of AQF Working Group. We joined together to acknowledge Jim for his contributions to Academic Senate.

We welcomed:

  • Dr Florence Chiew who has been elected unopposed as the member representing the non-Faculty electorate.
  • Professor Alison Rodger, who is joining Senate from the Faculty of Science and Engineering, replacing Jim as a representative for the Faculty. Alison is the Head of the Department of Molecular Sciences.

We look forward to working with them both!

2. Academic Promotions Update

We welcomed Nicole Gower, the Vice-President of People and Services; and Professor Lesley Hughes, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research Integrity and Development) to present an update on the review of Academic Promotions.

Two full rounds of promotions have been completed since the new scheme was introduced in 2017. The review has considered feedback from both committees and applicants. We discussed the breadth and depth of data that is available, and Professor Hughes highlighted that she is analysing this to prepare a research paper.

Overall the scheme is working well and there have only been minor changes suggested to date. This includes a review of the criteria for demonstrating leadership, clarifying the definitions of “integration” and “application”, how to adjust for different job families and a review of the role of peer referees. The review team are continuing to work on refinements and will incorporate feedback provided by Senators after the presentation.

3. External Review

The Executive Director, Student Engagement and Registrar, Gail White, has called an external review of the Academic Senate, as required under the Australian Higher Education Standards Framework 6.1.3(d).

Gail provided an update to Academic Senate on the external review.  This review will form part of the University’s approach to re-accreditation with TEQSA, as part of a commitment to robust governance. The external reviewer, Emeritus Professor Richard Henry AM, is inviting written submissions to be sent to him directly. More information and the terms of reference for the review are available on the website. Staff and students are invited to make a submission by the deadline of 5pm on Friday, 15 November 2019.

4. Signature Pedagogy Presentation

Lindie Clark, the Academic and Program Director for PACE presented a report from the Practice-based Curriculum Taskforce of SLTC. This taskforce investigated how the University might further include a practice-based approach to education in its program design and pedagogy.

This included suggestions for content to be included at different unit levels, and examples of possible course learning outcomes. The pilot implementation plan suggested a phased approach, which both Lindie and the also DVC(A) emphasised after the presentation. We noted there was an intermission between the report being presented to SLTC and the presentation today to Academic Senate. In this time the report has been updated include alignment with the revised Learning and Teaching strategic framework. However, it was highlighted the Curriculum Architecture project was also completed in this time and may have incorporated some of the suggested work already.

I suggested a working group be formed to consider the report recommendations and report back to Academic Senate. Senators agreed with this approach.

5. Project Planning

I provided an overview on Academic Senate’s consultative project-based approach to planning its work and priorities for each year and presented a status update on current projects including information on the work to be carried forward to 2020.  This list is available on the Academic Senate projects website

We are seeking feedback from the University community on our work for 2020. Given the number of priorities we already have to address I am encouraging everyone to consider suggestions that are aligned with the projects we already have slated, or are time-sensitive and are a priority to address next year.
Any feedback, including suggestions for project scope, how they may relate to existing projects you may have planned or other suggestions please email to, use our feedback form, or discuss with the Academic Senate representative in your Faculty or work area by Friday 15 November 2019 in order for this to be discussed at the next meeting.

Why not attend our next meeting? The final Academic Senate meeting for this year will be held on November 26th, from 9:30am onwards. All staff and students are welcome to observe, please email us at to ensure arrangements can be made to have enough seating available. Dates are also advertised on the Senate website, in This Week, and on the Campus Facebook page

Posted by Jacqueline Phillips

Jacqueline Phillips is a neurophysiologist and Professor of Neuroscience at Macquarie. She worked as a veterinarian before pursuing medical research. She is currently the Chair of Academic Senate.

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