On Tuesday 26 November Academic Senate had its final meeting for 2019. The full agenda is up on the Academic Senate website and papers are available on Truth.  For a quick run-down, here are the Top 5 items discussed at the meeting:

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1.  Report from the University Discipline Committee

The Chair of the University Discipline Committee (UDC), Professor Dominic Verity provided the background to processes at Macquarie. The Student Discipline Procedure was introduced in Session 1 2016 and provides for the establishment of a central UDC with oversight for all cases of ‘serious misconduct’, and Faculty Discipline Committee (FDCs) having responsibility for low-grade academic misconduct. This procedure has worked well in establishing a discipline process, providing for transparency, reporting and procedural fairness. Professor Verity offered feedback that there is a need for future consideration of the handling of lower-level cases to reduce administrative burden and to provide for more options in the penalty regime. An update was provided on behalf of the Registrar regarding a new online student case management system launching in 2020 that may streamline administration.

Professor Verity outlined the year-to-date data on the type and volume of cases heard by both UDC and FDCs, and aggregated data from 2016 to 2019. He spoke to trends at Macquarie and referred Senators to a paper that outlined trends in Australia:

Bretag, T., Harper, R., Burton, M., Ellis, C., Newton, P., Rozenberg, P., Saddiqui, S. and van Haeringen, K., 2018. Contract cheating: A survey of Australian university students. Studies in Higher Education, pp.1-20.

2.     External Review of Academic Senate

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) provided an update to Academic Senate on the External Review.  The external reviewer, Emeritus Professor Richard Henry AM, met with stakeholders on 15 and 18 November. He has meetings continuing into January 2020 and a report will be submitted to the February 2020 meeting of Academic Senate.

Professor Henry AM is inviting written submissions to be sent to him directly. More information is available on the website. The deadline for written submissions has been extended to 5pm on Friday, 20 December 2019.

3.      Academic Senate Project Planning

The Chair, Professor Herberstein gave an update on the 2019 projects and outlined the result of the planning process for 2020. Feedback was received from Senators, Associate Deans and HoDs and members of the University community, and the Chair videoconferenced with the DVC (A) and DVC (R) to align planning and discuss policies due for review.

The draft list of projects for Academic Senate for 2020 is on the website and will be updated with the final list after approval from the Academic Senate Standing Committee.

A call for expressions of interest in chairing or joining working groups for new projects will be distributed early in the New Year. Any questions in the meantime please email chair.senate@mq.edu.au

4.     L&T strategy

The PVC (Learning and Teaching) presented a final draft of Enhancing student learning to maximise future success: Learning and Teaching Strategic Framework 2020-2024 to Academic Senate for consideration. She highlighted the consultation process she had undertaken in developing the framework. The Office of the PVC L&T has compiled a ‘you said, we did’ document to outline the response to all feedback, which is available upon request. In response to a question about staff development, Professor Parrish outlined work underway to develop a capability framework to inform support for staff.

Academic Senate endorsed the framework. After consideration by the Executive Group, it will be available online.

5.      Rankings

The DVC (Engagement), Professor David Wilkinson provided an overview of how each of the main global ranking systems operate, and the types of data used. 

He outlined the experience of peer institutions which have adopted strategies that optimise their submissions to each system, and spoke to a strategy adopted at Macquarie, including priorities and areas with opportunities for growth.

Reports from the Chair and the Vice-Chancellor

In his oral report, the Vice-Chancellor spoke to the current change initiatives and workplace change proposals and referred staff to his update in ThisWeek . The potential impact of any changes on the composition of Academic Senate was also discussed, including agreement on a desire to maintain the balance between ex-officio and elected members.

In my report, I farewelled two of our student members, Aleksandra Nikolic and Lilian Andolfatto and thanked them for their contributions to Senate, noting Lilly has also been involved with a number of our working groups and has just recorded an interview on her time as an Academic Senate student member which will be used in student communications. I also expressed my appreciation to Governance Services for their support while I have been in the role of Acting Chair, especially noting Zoë Williams for her expertise, drive and commitment to academic governance.

In an update via videoconference the Chair, Professor Herberstein, spoke to the substantial portfolio of work Academic Senate has delivered over the last two years, including examining the purpose and composition of Academic Senate and making relevant changes to the Academic Senate Rules, joint leadership of the Curriculum Architecture project, and delivery of the new Shared Academic Governance structure  in collaborations with the Faculty Boards. She also recognised the support of the staff in the governance team and gave thanks especially to Zoë Williams who leads her team with great energy, care and wisdom.

Why not attend our next meeting?

The first Academic Senate meeting for 2020 will be held on Tuesday 18 February from 9:30am.

All staff and students are welcome to observe, please email us at senate@mq.edu.au to ensure arrangements can be made to have enough seating available. Closer to the date a reminder will also be advertised on the Academic Senate website, in This Week, and on the Campus Facebook page.

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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 Deputy Chair of Academic Senate.

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