On Tuesday 30 November, Academic Senate held its final meeting of the .year, with Senators zooming in from around Sydney, Australia, and the world. Our Top 5 items from the meeting were:
1. Academic Integrity Policy and Academic Integrity Breach Procedure
Senate reviewed and approved the revised Academic Integrity Policy and new Academic Integrity Breach Procedure. The new policy incorporates a division of academic integrity breaches from the Student Discipline Procedure to the new Academic Integrity Breach Procedure.
Key features of the new Academic Integrity Policy and Breach Procedure are:
- Updating of our Academic Integrity Values: honesty, respect, trust, responsibility, fairness, and courage in academic scholarship and scholarly activities
- Revision of Academic Activities in alignment with TEQSA definitions
- Updating the responsibilities of stakeholders across the University in relation to promoting and managing academic integrity.
- Establishment of Academic Integrity Officers being academic staff members within each Faculty and Macquarie University International College (MUIC) who will be responsible for managing low-level academic integrity breaches
- Faculty and MUIC Integrity Committees: Faculty Discipline Committees are being rebranded to align more closely with the terminology that is being used in the sector.
The revised Academic Integrity Policy and new Academic Integrity Breach Procedure are available on Policy Central. As they come into effect from the commencement of Session 1 2022 they can be found under the ‘future versions’ tab.
2. University Medal Policy and Procedure
As part of our cycle of policy review, the University Medal Policy and procedure was reviewed by a working group of Senate who undertook a benchmarking exercise, collected feedback from stakeholders using on the Policy Central Bulletin board, and engaged directly with Heads of Departments/Schools using a Qualtrics survey.
The working group were satisfied University Medal achieves its goal of being the most prestigious academic award offered by the University and has both national and international standing. The working group determined that the eligibility criteria for the University Medal were appropriate however they did identify a need to improve clarity in the wording of the policy.
Notable changes to the revised Policy that was approved by Senate include:
- The addition of a definition for ‘substantial piece of independent work’. Examples of independent work from units in courses currently eligible for the medal were reviewed and a definition has been created that is flexible across disciplines and applicable to Honours and postgraduate coursework degrees.
- Clarification around the possibility for a student to be awarded the medal twice only if they undertake a second degree in a different discipline
- Flexibility around the timing of the award of the medal (no longer restricted to April and September) and the possibility for it to be awarded in absentia.
And in the revised Procedure, a change was made to include Course Authorities and the Graduate Research Academy as key stakeholders in the preparation of nominations.
The working group also recommended a strengthening of communications around the medal, including a revised and simplified nomination template and an increase in the frequency of communication.
3. Post-Implementation Review of Shared Academic Governance: Final Report
Academic Senate commenced a pilot model of Shared Academic Governance in 2019. The original project plan was to review this model of governance after 12 months, however this was extended due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure that there was sufficient data on the operation of the authorisations in ‘business as usual’ situations as well as in extraordinary situations.
After review, Academic Senate has recommended to Council that the authorisations to Faculty Boards piloted under the Shared Responsibility Model for Academic Governance become full delegations and a range of recommendations were made regarding how Faculty Boards engage with curriculum management as part of the process of making decisions and the support that can be provided.
After a decision is made on these recommendations at the upcoming Council meeting, the final outcome including any approved delegations will be communicated to Faculties.
4. Diversity and Inclusion on Academic Senate
The Academic Senate Rules include a provision in the membership for:
“up to four additional members co-opted by resolution of Academic Senate to address gaps in expertise or diversity and social inclusion:
This provision has been used in the past, including to co-opt a representative from the Indigenous staff electorate, whilst a process for an election was developed, and to pilot representation of casual academic staff members on Academic Senate. To enhance Academic Senate’s ability be aware of and react to situations that may benefit from the use of this clause, a working group was formed to investigate Diversity and Inclusion on Academic Senate.
Based on the recommendations of the working group Academic Senate approved a membership attribute matrix that the working group developed using examples of best practice in not-for-profit governance. This will be distributed to all Senators for the first time this year and thereafter to new members at the commencement of their term of membership. Results will be collected and reported anonymously. In the event a gap in the mix of membership capabilities is identified, the Chair of Academic Senate convene a small working group, that includes at least one stakeholder with expertise in the area where the gap has been identified, to provide appropriate consultation.
Academic Senate also approved a Diversity and Inclusion statement which will be published on the Academic Senate website mq.edu.au/senate, incorporated into the induction materials, and promoted to all staff and students considering standing for election for Academic Senate
5. Curriculum Lifecycle Policy Suite: Thematic Review Policy
A presentation on the Thematic Review Policy was provided to the October meeting of Academic Senate. Feedback from Senators was incorporated into the final version of the Policy and was considered by circular resolution in mid-November.
The Policy documents the process by which Academic Senate or the Vice-Chancellor can call for a thematic
review on topical matters related to the University’s academic activities. Thematic reviews are forward-looking and enhancement focussed. They are reserved for issues that cannot be effectively addressed
through other institutional processes.
The Thematic Review Policy informs Stage 4 Monitoring of the Curriculum Lifecycle Framework.
Our first meeting for 2022 will be Tuesday 22 February. Keep an eye out for our ThisWeek notice in early February giving staff an opportunity to observe, or contact the Governance Secretariat by email at firstname.lastname@example.org