On Tuesday 25 May Academic Senate held its third 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 third meeting for 2021:

1. Chair’s Report

I used my report to provide Senate with an update on work we have been doing in conjunction with the Office of the DVC (Academic) and the Student Outcomes Group around monitoring student performance.  This is at an institutional level and is distinct from cohort monitoring within courses.  

Indicators of student performance in cohort monitoring reports includes:

  • attrition rates
  • progression rates
  • completion times and rates
  • student satisfaction, and
  • graduate success

with students grouped by educational cohorts, research (HDR) students, diversity groups and entry/pathway groups or other groups identified through more detailed data analysis.

2. Curriculum Management Framework and Course Reaccreditation Policy

The Pro Vice-Chancellor (Programs and Pathways) presented to Senate on the overarching curriculum management framework, the proposed course reaccreditation process and supporting policies.  Draft policies are being released for comment via the Bulletin Board feature of Policy Central. Staff can also contact the Office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Programs and Pathways). The Policies will be discussed at the July meeting of Senate before returning in August for approval.

Professor Brawley also gave an overview of the new module for the Curriculum Management System which will be used to support curriculum reviews. The module will use new templates, including a replacement for the current Proforma A used in moderating results.  Drafts are with stakeholders for consultation and are expected to be considered at the June ASQC meeting.

3. Changes to Special Consideration and Withdrawal due to COVID-19 Pandemic

In 2020, Academic Senate amended the Special Consideration Policy and Procedure in response to the pandemic, with the amendments ceasing on 1 January 2021.  At this meeting we discussed reactivating some of these amendments in response to the rise of COVID-19 cases in a number of countries. Feedback from staff and students prior to the meeting as well as during our discussion was taken into account and amendments were approved specific to students impacted by COVID-19. Further detail is available on the student portal, and the Special Consideration Policy is available on Policy Central.

4. Update on HDR candidates

As a result of a query arising at the April meeting, the Pro Vice-Chancellor (HDR Training and Partnerships) provided an update on the impact of voluntary redundancies on HDR students. 100 students have been impacted to date, with changes affecting their principal supervisor or associate supervisor. A further update will be provided to Academic Senate once the current rounds of change management have been finalised.

The Manager, Student Equity and Diversity provided an update on requests to Wellbeing from HDR students, with 10% of requests over the period January – May 2021 coming from HDR students,  indicating HDR students are over-represented in comparison to total student numbers. The Wellbeing team have developed an iLearn site Wellbeing for Research Candidates in consultation with the Pro Vice-Chancellor (HDR Training and Partnerships) and his team. HDR students can also use the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) if they are employed by the University, although if matters impacts their academic progress it is recommended they talk with Wellbeing.

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

The Deputy Chair presented this report on behalf of former student members of Academic Senate who are conducting this review of Academic Senate’s system of support for its student members.  We were provided with their findings following a survey of staff who have mentored student members, and their suggestions regarding training for future mentors.  A final report will come to the next meeting of Senate.

Our next meeting will be on 20 July 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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