Macquarie University’s Academic Senate held its second meeting of the year on 26 March, and here are the top five takeaways that you need to know:

1. Streamlining Course Approval Processes 

The Academic Senate recommended amendments to Section 5 (Academic Matters) of the Delegations of Authority Register, aiming to facilitate course approval processes. These changes, set for Council approval in April, would empower Faculty Boards and the Macquarie University College Board to make more decisions about our curriculum, provided they do not affect the course’s learning outcomes, volume of learning, or introduce new majors or specialisations within a courses’ core zone. 

2. Launching New Programs 

The Faculty of Arts is introducing two innovative programs: the Bachelor of Criminology and a redesigned Bachelor of Social Sciences. The Bachelor of Criminology builds on a successful major, anticipating high interest, while the updated Bachelor of Social Sciences will focus on global issues with four new majors, addressing Climate, Environment and Society; Work, Life and Technology; Health, Wellbeing and Society; and Global Development and Resilient Communities. 

3. Key findings from the 2023 Student Conduct Report 

The 2023 Annual Student Conduct Report revealed a significant increase in student conduct cases, including more sophisticated instances of misconduct and an increase in false documentation for special consideration applications. Notably, the use of specialised software for analysing iLearn activity and document metadata has significantly improved the University’s ability to tackle commercial contract cheating. 

4. Diversity in Excellence: Highlights from the 2023 University Medal Committee’s Report 

The annual report from the University Medal Committee offered a detailed look at the 2023 nominations, with insights into trends and success rates. Despite maintaining a consistent nomination number, the success rate dropped  in 2023 to 44%. The report highlighted female students’ notable achievements over their male counterparts and reflected on the lack of international student nominations, attributing this to recent global challenges and specific academic pathways. 

5. Advances in Quality Assurance and Risk Management 

In line with its commitment to upholding academic quality and managing risks, the Academic Senate reviewed several Quality and Standards Review Reports. These reports, addressing Higher Education Standard Framework Domain 1 and the ESOS National Code outlined the University’s risk management frameworks and strategies. The detailed evaluation of inherent and residual risks, along with agreed actions for risk reduction, supports our ongoing efforts to enhance academic standards and quality. Following the Senate’s endorsement, these reports will inform the University Council’s Risk Register.

Policy Revisions  

Academic Senate approved amendments to several key policies at this meeting, including: 

  • Unit of Study Review Policy and Unit of Study External Referencing Guidelines as well as Unit of Study Monitoring and Grade Ratification Policy and associated reporting templates, arising from Course Lifecycle Suite of Policies. These amendments aim to reduce process complexity, especially for administrative burdens; and 
  • Macquarie University College Academic Progression Policy was amended to simplify the language for students and to reflect the University’s practices regarding the cancellation of Confirmations of Enrolment (CoEs) for international students with unsatisfactory progress. 

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

Consultation on General Coursework Rules is currently being undertaken with staff and students via the Policy Central Bulletin Board and the following key policies are also under review:  

  • Course Transfer (Undergraduate Coursework) Policy / Procedure; 
  • Learning and Teaching Awards and Grants Policy / Procedure; 
  • Release of Student Information Policy / Guideline; and 
  • Student Code of Conduct. 

The next Senate meeting of 2024 will be held on 21 May. Keep an eye out for our ThisWeek notice in mid-May 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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