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Organisational Unit Reviews Procedure

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Section 1 - Purpose

(1) To establish the responsibilities, documentation and format for the ongoing reviews of organisational units at Macquarie University.


(2) This Procedure requires actions by the following:

  1. Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Provost);
  2. Executive Dean;
  3. Faculty Administrator;
  4. Head of Department;
  5. Head of Office;
  6. Head of Organisational Unit;
  7. Quality Enhancement Committee; and
  8. Review Panel.

(3) This Procedure does not apply to reviews for:

  1. accreditation purposes;
  2. the evaluation of teaching; and
  3. the evaluation of curriculum (units and programs).
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Section 2 - Policy

(4) Nil.

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Section 3 - Procedures

Responsibilities and Required Actions

(5) Reviews form part of the evaluation element of the University’s Quality Enhancement Framework. The Macquarie University Ethics Statement forms the foundation for reviews of organisational units.

(6) Unscheduled reviews will also be undertaken in response to a risk analysis.

(7) In some cases reviews may be undertaken by an external agency to the University, for example, professional services and cross-University services.

(8) This Procedure comprises the following activities:

  1. establish a Review Schedule;
  2. develop Terms of Reference;
  3. form a Review Panel;
  4. prepare a Self-Evaluation Report;
  5. undertake the Review;
  6. prepare a Review Report;
  7. receive review documentation;
  8. develop an Implementation Plan; and
  9. report on progress against the Recommendations.

Quality Enhancement Committee

Establish A Review Schedule

(9) Establish a University Schedule of Reviews of Departments and Organisational Units on a five-year cycle. Include the name of the Review Chair in the Review Schedule.

Receive Review Documentation

(10) Receive the Terms of Reference for the Review.

(11) Receive the Review Panel membership.

(12) Receive the Review Report.

(13) Receive and accept the Progress Report against the recommendations of the Review Report.

(14) Receive and adopt the Final Review Report.

Head of Department / Head of Organisational Unit

Develop Terms of Reference

(15) Develop Terms of Reference. Templates are available on the Quality Enhancement Framework website.

(16) Obtain approval from the Executive Dean / Head of Office and forward the Terms of Reference to the Quality Enhancement Committee.

Form A Review Panel

(17) Note that a review of a Department or organisational unit must be undertaken by a team, not an individual.

(18) Propose review panel membership, including the panel chair, to the Executive Dean / Head of Office.

(19) The Review Panel is to consist of:

  1. a Chair – who will be external to the University and is responsible for:
    1. chairing the review;
    2. calling for any conflicts of interest;
    3. drafting commendations and recommendations, with other members of the Review Panel;
    4. providing an oral report (on the day) on the findings of the Review Panel to the Head of Department and Executive Dean or Head of Organisational Unit and Head of Office; and
    5. drafting the first version of the Review Report.
  2. a Secretary – who is responsible for:
    1. drafting the review calendar, program and questions;
    2. sending an MQ Announcement calling for written submissions;
    3. receiving the Self-Evaluation Report;
    4. liaising with unit management regarding appropriate stakeholders to be interviewed;
    5. confirming appropriate venue and refreshment arrangements have been made for the Review Panel;
    6. taking minutes of the proceedings;
    7. liaising with the Chair and the Review Panel to get signoff for the Review Report;
    8. liaising with the Head of Department / Head of Organisational Unit to eliminate factual errors from the draft report;
    9. sending the Review Report to the Quality Enhancement Committee; and
    10. arranging for the Review Report to be published on the Quality Enhancement Framework website.
  3. at least two other members – these members must come from outside the organisational unit being reviewed. One of these must be a discipline expert external to the University, and the other can be a Macquarie University peer (if the review is of an academic unit, they should be a Level D or Level E academic). For the purpose of gender, age or ethnicity balance, another member may be invited to join the Review Panel.

Prepare a Self-Evaluation Report

(20) Compile a Self-Evaluation Report (SER) which aligns with the Terms of Reference (templates are available on the Quality Enhancement Framework website). This should be a concise, evidence-driven document of around 10,000 to 15,000 words. Contact Macquarie Analytics for Department / organisational unit input, output and outcome data.

(21) Ensure the Teaching Standards Framework is one source of data included within the SER.

(22) Provide a soft copy of the SER to the Review Panel Secretary at least 15 working days before the review visit, to allow time for distribution to Review Panel members.

(23) The SER is a confidential document and will only be made available to relevant Macquarie University staff members and the Review Panel.

Develop an Implementation Plan

(24) Within three months of the Review, develop an Implementation Plan and obtain sign off from the Executive Dean / Head of Office. The Implementation Plan is to outline actions, timeframes and any constraints limiting a response to the recommendations of the Review.

(25) Once approved, forward the Implementation Plan to the Quality Enhancement Committee. In order to close the loop and engender good relationships with partner universities and disciplinary colleagues, forward the Implementation Plan to the Review Panel to inform them of actions planned in response to their recommendations.

Report on Progress Against the Recommendations

(26) Within a year of the Review, develop a Progress Report outlining progress against the Review Recommendations and Implementation Plan, and any changes in strategy and quality processes. Obtain approval from the Executive Dean / Head of Office and then forward the Progress Report to the Quality Enhancement Committee.

(27) Once accepted by the Quality Enhancement Committee, place the Report on the Quality Enhancement Framework website with the original Review Report and Terms of Reference.

Review Panel

(28) The Review Panel is responsible for:

  1. reading all review documentation;
  2. developing questions for review interviews;
  3. interviewing stakeholders;
  4. development of Commendations and Recommendations; and
  5. development of consensus between the Review Panel on a Review Report.

Undertake the Review

Call for Written Submissions

(29) The Review Panel Secretary will call for written submissions from all staff and students via an MQ Announcement, giving details of the review and the timeframe for when submissions will be accepted. Written submissions will be logged by the Review Panel Secretary. This log will be included as an Appendix to the Review Report. Written submissions are confidential and will only be made available to Review Panel members.

(30) No anonymous submissions will be accepted.

Pre-Review Meeting

(31) The Chair will call a meeting of the Review Panel (either in person or virtually) prior to the actual Review to discuss the SER and to develop a list of areas for investigation by the Review Panel. The Review Panel Secretary will draft questions for the Review.

(32) On the basis of the pre-review meeting discussion, the Chair may call for additional information from the Head of Department / Head of Organisational Unit being reviewed.


(33) The usual period for a review is around three (3) days, depending on the size of the unit.

(34) The program will include interviews with the head of the unit, senior staff in the unit, other staff (academic and professional), students (undergraduate and postgraduate and including both coursework and research), alumni and any key stakeholders, e.g. Chair of an Advisory Board, representatives of professional associations and employing bodies. If the unit being reviewed is a service provider, stakeholders are to include “customers”.

(35) The program will include the opportunity for confidential sessions, if requested. These are to be pre-arranged with the Chair. The Chair will decide whether a written submission or personal interview is required.

(36) The Review Chair will chair, monitor time and ensure that all appropriate questions have been asked. The visit will conclude with the Chair providing an oral summary of the main findings to the Head of Department and Executive Dean, or Head of Organisational Unit and Head of Office.

Prepare a Review Report

(37) The Review Report will follow the format set by the Terms of Reference and will contain the following information:

  1. an introductory section containing the Review Terms of Reference, membership of the Review Panel, and a copy of the Review Program, including the name and position of the stakeholders interviewed;
  2. an Executive Summary;
  3. a list of Commendations and Recommendations;
  4. a background section containing unit context, achievements, and any recent changes the body of the report, with a structure reflecting that of the SER and including Commendations and Recommendations in context; and
  5. appendices.

(38) Following endorsement by the Review Panel, send the draft review report to the Head of Department / Head of Organisation Unit for:

  1. correction of errors of fact; and
  2. to ensure that privacy requirements have been complied with.

(39) Once the Review Panel Chair has made decisions on any requested changes to the draft report, it will become the Final Review Report.

(40) A draft report will normally be completed, signed off and sent to the Head of Department and Executive Dean, or Head of Organisational Unit and Head of Office, within six (6) weeks of the review visit. The Secretary will then forward the Final Review Report to the Quality Enhancement Committee for consideration.

(41) Once the Final Review Report has been considered and formally adopted by the Quality Enhancement Committee, the Secretary will place the report on the Quality Enhancement Framework website.

Faculty Administrator

(42) Recognising the lack of administrative support available within Departments, the following duties are to be undertaken by the Faculty or Office equivalent:

  1. liaise with the Chair of the Review Panel and the Review Panel Secretary to establish the review calendar, program and list of interviewees;
  2. provide the venue for the review;
  3. provide the catering for the Review Panel;
  4. pay an honorarium to the Chair and external members of the Review Panel:
    1. Review Chair of a large department - AUD$5,000;
    2. Review Chair of a small department - AUD$3,000; or
    3. External Member of a Review Panel - AUD$1,500.
  5. reimburse the Review Panel for incidental costs;
  6. pay for travel and accommodation costs for external Review Panel Members from Australia;
  7. arrange for the Office of the Provost to pay for the travel costs for external Review Panel Members attending from overseas;
  8. ensure that the budget for an offshore review is covered by the unit ‘owning’ the program; and
  9. pay any other costs associated with the Review, including accommodation costs for external Review Panel members attending from overseas.

Executive Dean / Head of Office

(43) Review the appropriateness of the Terms of Reference.

(44) Recommend the review panel membership to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Provost).

(45) Advise the Head of Department / Head of Organisational Unit of the approved review panel membership.

(46) Receive draft and final Review Reports.

(47) Sign off the Implementation Plan.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Provost)

(48) Appoint the Review Panel Chair and approve the review panel membership.

(49) Pay the travel costs for members of the Review Panel who are attending from overseas.

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Section 4 - Guidelines

(50) Nil.

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Section 5 - Definitions

(51) Commonly defined terms are located in the University Glossary.