On Tuesday 1 September, Academic Senate held a meeting, which was its fourth held via Zoom. The full agenda is on the Academic Senate website and papers are available on Truth.  To streamline holding such a large meeting via Zoom we took a ‘flipped classroom’ approach and presentations on some items were pre-recorded. Senators watched these before the meeting which allowed us to focus on questions and discussion during the meeting itself.

For a quick run-down, here are the Top 5 items from our meeting:

1. Upcoming elections

Elections will be held in October to fill staff and student representative positions on Academic Senate.  The notice of election will be issued on 29 September and will contain more information on the process for nominations and voting. This information will also be posted on the Elections webpage

2. Student-led business

Our student members raised several questions about the Student Success Support Package in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Executive Director Student Engagement and Register provided an update on the package in Session 2. She highlighted that support continues to be available with information on the website., noting that the University has provided over $13 million in support to students this year. She also confirmed that students are eligible to apply for support if they receive Services Australia benefits, although these payments will be considered when determining a student’s overall level of need. One student expressed her gratitude for the support she received during Session 1.

3. Moderation of Session 1 exam results

Academic Senate receives reports from Faculty Boards including, at the conclusion of each study period, reports about the meetings that ratify student results. I invited Chairs of the Faculty Boards to speak briefly on how their faculties had managed the impact of COVID-19 on their students. Our discussion included acknowledgment of the hard work of staff in each Faculty in supporting the transition to blended and online delivery, different invigilation needs across the disciplines, the potential for more standardisation in approaches to moderation across the University and the impact of online delivery of support services such as PAL/PASS

4. Updated terms of reference:
for the Academic Standards and Quality Committee (ASQC), Research and Research Training Committee (RRTC) and Senate Learning and Teaching Committee (SLTC).

We approved updated terms of reference for the three major subcommittees of Senate: Academic Standards and Quality Committee (ASQC), Senate Learning and Teaching Committee (SLTC) and Research and Research Training Committee (RRTC), which are now posted on their respective websites.  These were reviewed to ensure they aligned with recommendations from the External Review of Academic Senate, expectations in the Higher Education Standards Framework and alignment between the committees. Many of the changes were to clarify the existing content, rather than to change it or introduce new responsibilities. One change was to explicitly name the relevant Associate Deans in each Faculty in the membership of the ASQC and SLTC Committees.

5. Welcomes, goodbyes and new roles

We welcomed Clinical Associate Professor Jamie Berry as a sessional staff representative, and Danielle Tonkin as the undergraduate representative for the Faculty of Science and Engineering, to their first meeting of Academic Senate.   We said goodbye and acknowledged the contributions of our departing student members Alex Hablutzel, Alex Feofiloff and Koo Abuali. We also congratulated our new co-chairs of the Review of Student Support project – Leanne Freame and Danielle Tonkin.

It was also the first meeting for myself in the role as Chair, and Wylie Bradford in the role of Deputy Chair, although both of us have been members of Academic Senate for a number of years. We are looking forward to working with Senators in our new roles.

Professor Jackie Phillips, Chair of Academic Senate

Associate Professor Wylie Bradford, Deputy Chair of Academic Senate

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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