On Tuesday 22 March, 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. Our Top 5 items from the meeting were:   

1. The Launch of Macquarie’s MyLearn Tool

The Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic) and Pro-Vice Chancellor (Learning and Teaching) advised Academic Senate on the launch of MyLearn, a resource for students developed by the Learning Analytics team which provides students with information on their progress to help them improve and enhance their learning outcomes. It also helps students to see how they are performing in comparison with their cohort. Since the launch of MyLearn, there have been 7000 visits by around 3000 students across 1000 units of study. 

2. Upcoming Thematic Review: Inherent Requirements and Fitness to Practice Procedures for Practical, Clinical or Professional Courses

Academic Senate approved a proposal to conduct a thematic review of approaches to the implementation of inherent requirements and fitness to practice procedures within practical, clinical and professional courses. The thematic review will generate recommendations on a consistent strategy for implementation of these requirements across the University. The working group will be led by Professor Cath Dean, the Deputy Dean (Education and Employability) of the Faculty of Medicine, Health and Human Sciences (FMHHS), with a recomnedation from Senate to ensure the membership includes students or recent graduates from those groups most affected by inherent requirements. 

3. Amendment to the Composition of Academic Senate

Academic Senate endorsed the proposed amendments to the Academic Senate Rules, which include the following: 

  • formal appointment of two (2) casual academic staff members following the successful pilot scheme, with the selection process to involve a call for expression of interest from casual staff from Faculties on a rotating basis across two year terms, starting in 2022 with the FMHSS and MQBS;  
  • inclusion of the Dean of Students, the Chair of the Student Representative Committee, and the Director of the Macquarie University College as ex-officio members; 
  • changes to the Pro Vice-Chancellors nominated to ex-officio memberships on Academic Senate; 

It was also agreed that no action be taken as a result of the impact of Faculty restructures, where some duplication of departmental representation across elected academic staff members has occurred, with current members able to complete their terms of office. 

4. Policies Under Review / Development 

Consultation on Student Charter, Learning Technologies Policy, and Micro-credentials Policy has been undertaken with staff and students since the last Academic Senate meeting and the following was also considered: 

  • Recommended amendments to the Unit of Study Monitoring and Grade Ratification Policy and the HDR Supervision Policy and Procedure were approved at this meeting; 
  • Review of the Academic Appeals Policy and Procedure is underway, including more clarity on procedural fairness; 
  • the work is being undertaken on the Academic Progression Policy and Procedure, noting the review has focussed on strengthening the support provided to students struggling with their progress and aligning the Policy with the Federal Government’s Job Ready Graduates package; 
  • Special Consideration Policy and Procedure: discussion focused on the continued acceptance of the ‘statement of fact’ as evidence as has been the practice in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, incorporation of ‘predicted’ disruptions to study where these can be anticipated in advance but are unavoidable (for example religious, caring or employment) and the proposal for automatic extensions for students, which will be trialled in a small number of units during Session 2 2022.  

5. Student Performance Report 

The performance of various demographic cohorts of students across the university is being monitored by Academic Senate, considering attrition, retention and graduation rates and benchmarking against other institutions. Work is being undertaken to determine the best way to feed the information through to the Faculties for translation into action. 

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Our next meeting will be on 24 May. 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 senate@mq.edu.au.

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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