Macquarie University’s Academic Senate held its first meeting of the year on 27 February, and here are the top five takeaways that you need to know:

1. Streamlined Research Degrees

Academic Senate approved changes that streamline the Master of Research program and introduce two exit qualifications: the Graduate Diploma of Research and the Graduate Certificate of Research. Designed to offer greater flexibility and tailored pathways for students, these new qualifications were collaboratively developed by all four faculties with the Graduate Research Academy and received approval for launch in 2025. This new approach not only caters to varied academic goals but also aims to attract a broader domestic student base.

2. Academic Senate’s Year in Review – Annual Report 2023

The Academic Senate’s annual report for 2023 showcases a year of meaningful progress and change. It was a busy year with the Senate passing 145 resolutions, approving 23 brand-new courses, and updating 84 existing ones to ensure the quality and relevance. In the policy space, the Academic Senate approved 4 new and 26 amended policies, all while gearing up for the University’s re-registration with TEQSA.

Beyond the numbers, the Senate also wrapped up several key projects that have made a real difference in university life. This included a comprehensive review of Professional Development for educators and a health check on the implementation of both the Assessment and Academic Integrity Policies. Plus, they put the finishing touches on the Research Quality Framework Policy and brought the Macquarie University Code of the Responsible Conduct of Research up to date.

As Chair of the Academic Senate, I’d like to thank all involved, and acknowledge how these outcomes underscore the Senate’s dedication to fostering an environment of educational excellence, continuous improvement, and academic integrity at the University.

3. Global Horizons: Macquarie’s PhD Cotutelle and Joint Degree Program

In a comprehensive 2023 report to the Academic Senate, the Graduate Research Academy provided insight on the Global PhD program, distinguishing between cotutelle and joint PhD pathways. Cotutelle PhDs, designed for fostering international alliances, award dual degrees and feature separate graduation ceremonies with each partner university. On the other hand, joint PhDs offer a cohesive academic experience, culminating in a single degree and a combined graduation under a lead institution. The data reveals that Global PhD candidates constitute approximately 11% of the university’s PhD students. Despite a downward trend in new enrolments, the program proudly supported 29 new students starting their research in 2023, and celebrated 72 scholars who completed their Global PhDs, spending an average of 47 months at Macquarie to complete their degrees.

4. From Six to Five: Macquarie’s University College Term Calendar Changes for a Better University Experience

Macquarie University College is shifting from an intensive 6-Term to a more balanced 5-Term academic calendar starting in 2025. This move is aimed at supporting at-risk students, in alignment with national policy changes and the Macquarie Advantage Education Strategy. The new calendar will not only synchronise term start dates with the main university sessions but also facilitate the incorporation of an Academic Transition Program to ease students’ transition into faculties. This change ensures no impact on academic load while promising a smoother integration of College students into the wider university community from day one.

5. Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Academia: Macquarie’s Action Plan for Integrity in the AI Era

The Dean of Students informed Academic Senate about TEQSA’s request for action plans to address the use of Generative AI in upholding academic integrity. Institutions are required to develop strategies and report back to TEQSA in the second half of 2024. Macquarie University is proactively addressing this issue, having provided a suite of AI support material for staff and students. Additionally, the University is planning to develop a staff guidance note informed by a survey of current practices and is reviewing its assessment practices to ensure authentic and robust methods as part of the Macquarie Advantage Education Strategy.

Policies in Progress: Your Guide to What’s Under Review

Consultation will commence soon on the General Coursework Rules with staff and students via the Policy Central Bulletin Board. Consultation has closed on the following key policies which are due to come to the next meeting of Academic Senate:

  • Unit of Study Monitoring and Grade Ratification Policy;
  • Unit of Study Review Policy; and
  • Support for Students Policy.

The next Senate meeting of 2024 will be held on 26 March. Keep an eye out for our notice on the Staff Intranet 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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