Macquarie University’s Academic Senate convened for its second meeting of the year on March 28th. Here are the top five takeaways from the meeting:

1. Research Quality Assurance Policy

The Academic Senate reviewed the draft Research Quality Assurance Policy. This policy outlines how our university ensures the quality of its research activities, acting as a comprehensive guide that includes foundational principles, strategic documents, governance structures, and a thorough quality assurance cycle. This helps guarantee our research practices align with both our university’s strategic objectives and the rigorous external standards. Feedback has been gathered from the Research and Research Training Committee as well as from the broader academic community via the Policy Central Bulletin Board.

Academic Senate endorsed the draft Research Quality Assurance Policy for approval by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research).

2. Annual Report on Student Misconduct and Discipline Matters

The 2022 Annual Report of Student Discipline and Misconduct Matters was provided to Senate for discussion, addressing new measures the University is using to address academic integrity issues. This includes the development of an automated detection system using meta data to assist in the detection of commercial contract cheating and will allow staff to contact students and advise against using these services. The Dean of Students highlighted the introduction of an informal process called Courageous Conversations as part of the process used to manage cases of misconduct, and allows students the opportunity to discuss their actions and to make an admission in a less formal setting.

3. English language tests

During COVID-19, Academic Senate had approved the temporary use of “at home” English language tests. The Director of the Macquarie University College recommended a return to business as usual now that test centres have re-opened and Academic Senate approved the proposal to expire the approval of the IELTS Indicator, IELTS Online, TOEFL at home edition and PTE Academic Online for award, Standard Foundation and Intensive Program coursework students with effect from 1 May 2023 and Duolingo for award, Standard Foundation and Intensive Program coursework students on 1 December 2023.

4. Changes to Doctor of Medicine

Emerging from an In Cycle Review that was initiated by the Executive Dean of the FMHHS in late 2022, as per the Course of Study Annual Monitoring and Review Policy,  several proposed curriculum changes, including new study terms for third-year Doctor of Medicine students were brought to Senate for approval.  These changes aim to solve issues with the current placement model, prepare for a potential shortage of GPs in Australia, and establish sustainable career trajectories in General Practice for students. Academic  Senate agreed to implement the amendments to the Doctor of Medicine curriculum, effective from January 1, 2024 with changes to the 2022 and 2023 versions of the course also planned to accommodate existing students. The Executive Dean is optimistic that these changes, comprising a cap on placements to India, an increase in rotations, and the debut of a general practice intensive stream enhances the course significantly.

5. Higher Degree Research Admissions Principles and Principles for Deferment of an Offer of an HDR Course

The Pro Vice-Chancellor (Graduate Research) is leading efforts to develop a Higher Degree Research (HDR) Admission Policy, following from the  Universities preparations for our 2023 TEQSA accreditation and 2022 ESOS National Code audit, alongside the ongoing review of the University Admission Policy,  presenting an opportunity to establish an aligned HDR Policy and Procedure. The proposed principles endorsed by Senate will form part of a draft HDR Admissions Policy and Procedure, which will also include policies for deferring HDR course offers. Further changes include relocating clauses from the HDR Rules to the HDR Admissions Policy to simplify the rules. Various matters, including PhD opportunities, Master of Research requirements, and the transition process for Postgraduate Coursework students, were discussed by Academic Senate, with the The Pro Vice-Chancellor committed to clarity and fairness in HDR admissions while preserving the current intent of the admission requirements.

Policies Approved at this meeting

Senate also approved the following policies at this meeting:

  • the Aegrotat and Posthumous Awards Policy, which clarifies the process for awarding degrees in cases where severe illness or death prevents completion;
  • the proposed changes, including versions of associated templates, and a depiction of the process flow, to the Unit of Study Monitoring and Grade Ratification Policy and the expiration of the Ratification of Results Quality Assurance Framework with effect from Session 1 2023;
  • the proposed changes to clarify the meaning of some clauses of the Admission Policy; and
  • the recognition of the International Foundation Program from Beijing Foreign Studies University for direct entry into the Macquarie University College’s Diploma pathway programs.

Policies Under Review / Development

Consultation on Admission Policy, Assessment Policy, and Assessment Procedure is currently being undertaken with staff and students via the Policy Central Bulletin Board and the following key policies are under development:

  • Academic Integrity Policy;
  • Research Quality Assurance Policy;
  • Study for Staff Policy;
  • Work Integrated Learning Procedure;
  • Outside Studies Program Policy;
  • Higher Degree Research Thesis Preparation, Submission and Examination Policy and Procedure; and
  • HDR International Fee Refund Policy.

The third Senate meeting of 2023 will be held on 30 May. Keep an eye out for our ThisWeek notice in mid-March giving staff an opportunity to observe, or contact the Governance Secretariat by email at

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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