On Tuesday 6 April Academic Senate held its second meeting of the year in the Arts Function Centre Room along with an 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 second meeting for 2021:

1. Response to Recommendations from External Review of Academic Senate: Final Project Report

It is a requirement of the Higher Education Standards Framework that the governing body undertakes reviews of the effectiveness of academic governance processes at least every seven years. An external review of Academic Senate was conducted in late 2019 and early 2020. 

After the report was received by Academic Senate in February 2020, we established a working group to review the recommendations and develop a response and implementation plan.  The final report was provided to Senators at this meeting with an update on the actions arising. This has included work revising the format of our annual agenda plan, agenda templates and annual report; review of Senate Committees Terms of Reference, a revision to the term of Chair of Academic Senate allowing for a handover period; and the provision of reports to Senate on cohort monitoring which is now being undertaken by the Office of the DVC(Academic) and Student Outcomes Group.

2. Student-Led Business: HDR Student Supervision, Consultation and Support

In the context of expected research staff losses, under student-led business a student representative asked a series of question on behalf of the HDR cohort about supervision policies and procedures that will assist HDR students, how student consultation and feedback is being sought and how issues of HDR student well-being are being addressed. Positive feedback on the candidate extension scheme as a result of COVID-19 was noted, although it was emphasised that the current changing environment associated with staff redundancies was causing uncertainty and stress for students about continuity of supervision.  Increased demand for student support was also discussed. The Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic) and the Pro Vice Chancellor (HDR Training and Partnerships) committing to return to Academic Senate with further information and data on the number of students that have been impacted by changes in supervision and HDR student access of wellbeing services and support initiatives.

3. Amendment to HDR Supervision Policy

Academic Senate approved amendments to the HDR Supervision Policy and Procedure which allow the appointment of Macquarie University Honorary Academics (Emeritus Professor, Honorary or Clinical) as Principal Supervisors for existing HDR students in exceptional circumstances and with the approval of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research). Minor wording changes were also made to the mandatory training requirements for HDR Supervisors. These changes address some of the issues of concern that were raised under student-led business.

4. Research Integrity Report

Professor Lesley Hughes, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research Integrity & Development) presented the Research Integrity Report to Senate, summarising research integrity operations and key changes to the research policy framework at Macquarie University during 2020. These activities operate within the framework of the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research and the Macquarie Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research. Professor Hughes provided a summary of standard operational activities for the research integrity team including conducting preliminary assessments of research misconduct allegations, managing investigations, mediating research integrity issues, and supporting Research Integrity Advisors and Delegates, and she highlighted the key strategic project for the research integrity team going forwards is the development and implementation of university-wide awareness and education programs.  

5. Academic Senate Elections: Chair and Deputy Chair

The Director of Governance Services gave a short overview of the election results. Both myself, as Chair, and Associate Professor Wylie Bradford, as Deputy Chair, were re-elected unopposed to our positions for 2 year terms. I expressed my thanks to Senate members for their support and noted that both Wylie and I are looking forward to working with Senators over the next two years.  We aim to continue to have an inclusive approach to the operation of Academic Senate and to collectively work to provide not only the best quality educational experience for our students, but also to support our staff to achieve their academic pursuits and to continue to build the reputation of Macquarie University.

Our next meeting will be on Tuesday 25 May.

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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