On Tuesday 23 February Academic Senate held its first meeting of the year.  To accommodate physical distancing we met in the Arts Function Centre Room retaining the option for members to attend by Zoom.  The agenda is on the Academic Senate website and papers are available on Truth

Here are the Top 5 items from our first meeting for 2021:

1. Welcome to new Members

This meeting was the first for our 2021 – 2022 cohort of Academic Senators. We welcomed the staff and student representatives commencing their two year terms on Academic Senate. New Senators had also had a chance to meet and discuss the role and responsibilities of Academic Senate at an induction held earlier in February.

2. Approval of revised Assessment Policy and new Procedure

The Chair of SLTC presented the revised Assessment Policy and new Procedure, which came to Academic Senate for consideration after being endorsed at the February 2021 meeting of the Senate Learning and Teaching Committee.

She highlighted that the major aim of the review was to simplify the Policy into a shorter, high-level document outlining the aims and principles of assessment, and combine procedural content from the previous Policy and  Schedules into a single Procedure, in a structure that aligns with the stages of the assessment lifecycle to make it easier to navigate.

Professor Parrish advised that staff in her portfolio will provide support for implementation, which links with the Professional Learning and Capability Enhancement (PLaCE) framework, and teaching and learning goals in the Operating Plan.  

3. Academic Senate Annual Agenda Plan for 2021

Academic Senate approved the final version of its Annual Agenda Plan for 2021. This follows the agenda planning process for Council and its committees and identifies and schedules reporting requirements across the calendar year based on the Academic Senate Rules, Delegations of Authority and other key documents including the Higher Education Standards Framework (TEQSA Act) and the National Code of Practice for Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students (ESOS Act).

4. Post Implementation Review of Shared Academic Governance, and report on Savings Cases

Data from an initial desk audit was presented which examined decisions made under the pilot model of Shared Academic Governance. The discussion included the proportion of endorsements and approvals made by a Faculty Board, ASQC or Academic Senate at a meeting or by circular resolution, compared with those made under Executive Action by the relevant Chair and ratified at a later meeting of the relevant group. It was acknowledged that this data does not represent business as usual as it includes periods impact by both the curriculum architecture transformation and COVID-19. A further audit will be conducted later this year.  The project is also collecting feedback from the DVC(A), Faculty Boards, Academic Senate and Committees of Academic Senate on the implementation of the Shared Academic Governance model.

5. Annual Student Discipline Matters Report 2020

The Executive Manager, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) provided an annual report to Academic Senate on student discipline matters. She highlighted a new system for managing cases which has been introduced called Simplicity Advocate.  Training for staff in this new system is being rolled out. A review of the Student Code of Conduct has commenced and a review of the Student Discipline Procedure will be conducted this year.  Other initiatives underway include the new Academic Integrity Module for staff and the Academic Integrity Taskforce.

Our next meeting will be on 6 April 2021.

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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