On Tuesday 20 October Academic Senate held its meeting via Zoom, our 5th fully virtual meeting. The full agenda is on the Academic Senate website and papers are available on Truth.  To streamline holding such a large meeting with over 50 people in attendance we take a ‘flipped classroom’ approach and presentations on some items are pre-recorded. Senators watch these before the meeting which allows 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.  Curriculum Architecture Policy and Principles (ASSC)

Proposed amendments to the undergraduate and postgraduate curriculum principles were discussed with the Academic Standards and Quality Committee (ASQC) at its meeting on 15 September 2020. ASQC convened a working group which considered and endorsed the proposed amendments which were then referred to the Academic Senate Standing Committee (ASSC) for approval. At this meeting, Academic Senate ratified that approval.  

We also considered amendments to the Curriculum Architecture Policy which was reviewed and amended to ensure its alignment with the revised Principles. The PVC (Programs and Pathways) provided a summary of the rationale for the updates and the Chair of ASQC summarised feedback that had been provided by ASQC.

In the discourse on these two matters Senators also discussed the criteria that were used for the viability review conducted by the University Executive, the exemptions process and the importance of short-term and long term-planning.

2. Policy Changes in Response to COVID-19

In light of the progress made by the University to prepare and familiarise students with the current learning environment and the support measures that have been successfully implemented, Senate approved the end date for number of COVID-19 exemptions to existing policies including:

• the use of the Special Circumstance grade

• specific COVID-19 changes to Special Consideration timeframes and guidelines

• reference to COVID-19  in the Assessment Policy Schedule 4 in regards to viewing exam scripts

These exemptions will no longer apply from 1 January 2021.

3. Post-Implementation Review of Support and Recognition for Students involved in Academic Governance

Two of our student representatives, Leanne Frame (Postgraduate Coursework Representative) and Danielle Tonkin (FSE Undergraduate Representative) are the Co-Chairs of a working group to review the outcomes of the 2017 project to Support and Recognition for Students involved in Academic Governance. Leanne provided a verbal update including on her recent presentation at the Student Representative Committee (SRC) and a survey that has been sent to student representatives.

4.  Response to External Review of Academic Senate: Progress Report

I provided a video for Senators that outlined our progress against the implementation plan for this project, as well as a written update in the papers.

The review of the Standing Orders of the Academic Senate and the Standing Orders of the Committees of the Academic Senate has been completed which addresses Recommendation 5 from the external review to provide details on the role of the Deputy Chair with this being extended to also clarify the role of ASQC, SLTC and RRTC Committee Chairs and Deputies.The Standing Orders were also reviewed to ensure consistency of terms and better reflect the virtual space in which many meetings are now being held.

5. Welcomes, goodbyes and new roles

We welcomed Professor Eric Knight, the new Executive Dean of the Macquarie Business School. We also welcomed in absentia Professor Leonie Tickle, who is filling a casual vacancy for the next two meetings as a representative for the Macquarie Business School.

We also noted the retirement of Ms Gail White, the Executive Director Student Engagement and Registrar and acknowledged the work she has done for Senate in her role as Registrar, including sponsoring the external review of Academic Senate and Chairing the working group responding to the external review.

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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