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Course of Study Reaccreditation Policy

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Section 1 - Purpose

(1) This Policy and its procedures specify the principles and process by which approved award courses of study (courses) are reaccredited by the University.

(2) This Policy supports the assurance and enhancement of the quality, integrity, and relevance of the University’s suite of award courses, which:

  1. provide students with a unique academic experience that meets their needs, as well as the requirements of industry, disciplinary fields, and scholarly understandings, in alignment with national and global priorities;
  2. ensure that courses are reaccredited through a system overseen by the University’s academic governance processes;
  3. meet with the object and functions of the University as contained in its Act of Incorporation (Macquarie University Act 1989, clause 6);
  4. meet applicable external regulatory requirements (see Associated Information); and
  5. meet any applicable sector codes and standards (see Associated Information).

(3) This Policy also seeks to assist courses with applicable professional or industry peak body accreditation requirements by ensuring strong integration between internal and external processes and alignment of workflow requirements.

(4) This Policy should be read in conjunction with related course of study and unit of study policies.

Scope

(5) This Policy applies to all Macquarie University award courses that align with the categories of the Australian Qualifications Framework including Combined Degrees and the Master by Research courses, but excluding:

  1. double degrees where each core zone is accredited separately; and
  2. other Graduate Research awards.

(6) This Policy does not apply to non-award programs of study.

(7) The University’s Microcredentials Policy should also be consulted if the educational product is a microcredential.

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Section 2 - Policy

(8) Reaccreditation is designed to ensure that all courses of study:

  1. are fit for purpose and meet all internal and external requirements and standards;
  2. are periodically warranted, through credible, effective and fair quality assurance processes;
  3. benefit from enhancement processes that deliver continual improvement;
  4. provide students with opportunities to evaluate their learning experience beyond individual units of study (units);
  5. provide staff with opportunities to evaluate the course and its delivery; and
  6. benefit from consultation with relevant industry partners and professional associations.

(9) Course Reaccreditation is informed by:

  1. transparent and coherent institutional processes;
  2. institutionally agreed Data Points;
  3. the latest pedagogical and professional developments in the scholarship of teaching and learning, and the discipline field;
  4. external referencing, including course-specific benchmarking against national and, where appropriate, international comparators;
  5. a risk-based approach to decision making;
  6. an approach to implementation of review Recommendations that is monitored by Faculty Boards and is designed to drive the enhancement process;
  7. the feedback of students, staff, alumni and industry; and
  8. the judgements of the Academic Senate, the Vice-Chancellor and the Executive Group.

(10) Courses will be subject to reaccreditation at least once in a seven (7) year cycle.

(11) Courses will be subject to annual monitoring that supports the reaccreditation process (see Course of Study Monitoring and Review Policy).

(12) The annual course monitoring process can trigger an In-Cycle Review or the full reaccreditation process (see Course of Study Monitoring and Review Policy).

(13) If a course is not approved for reaccreditation it will need to be suspended until teach-out and/or migration of students is completed, before it can be discontinued as per the Course of Study Suspension and Discontinuation Policy.

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Section 3 - Procedures

Part A - Schedule, Planning, Preparation, and Pre-Review Phase

(14) The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) will maintain a Course Reaccreditation Schedule (Schedule)

(15) The Schedule will be updated as required or at least annually to ensure it remains current. The Academic Standards and Quality Committee will oversight the review of courses by being provided with the Schedule following an update or annual review.

(16) Where a course would benefit from undergoing reaccreditation with other courses for reasons such as alignment or progression these courses may be bundled as a group to move through the reaccreditation process at the same time.

Course Reaccreditation Domains

(17) The course review will be conducted across:

  1. Institutional Domains, including Themes aligned to the Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2021; and
  2. Course-Specific Domains determined by the relevant Course Authority, approved by the Faculty Authority and applicable to the course being considered for reaccreditation.

(18) As part of the reaccreditation process, students, alumni, and staff will be consulted regarding their experience of the Course under review.

(19) Representatives from industry, professional associations, and/or the community will be invited to provide feedback regarding the Course under review.

Review Panel

(20) The Course will be reviewed by a Review Panel.

(21) The Course Review Panel will comprise of at least five (5) members, including:

  1. a senior academic in the discipline area external to the University to act as Panel Chair;
  2. a senior academic in the discipline area external to the University;
  3. a senior Macquarie university academic who, if possible, is from a related discipline and does not contribute to the teaching of the Course;
  4. a current student or recent alumni; and
  5. an industry, professional association or community representative.

(22) Course Review Panel members will be appointed by the Faculty/College Authority on advice from Course Authority and consultation with Executive Dean or College Director if required.

(23) The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), in consultation with Faculties, will finalise an institutional schedule for Review Panel visits in the year before the Course is scheduled for reaccreditation.

(24) Should a panel member subsequently be unable to undertake their role on the panel an alternate panel member with the same representative role will be appointed in their place. Where this is not possible, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) will make a determination, in consultation with the Faculty Authority and the Course Authority, that ensures the integrity of the review process is maintained.

Part B - Review Phase

(25) The Panel will receive an information pack for consideration prior to participating on the Course Review Panel. The Panel may also seek further consultation with staff and students during its visit to the University.

(26) The Course Review Panel will provide commendations and Recommendations for course enhancement as appropriate and convey these to Course and Faculty Authorities at the end of the site visit.

Part C - Post Review Phase

(27) The Course Authority has the opportunity to correct any errors and omissions contained in the Course Review Panel’s commendations and Recommendations.

(28) The Faculty Authorities will respond to the Course Review Panel’s commendations and Recommendations.

(29) The Course Authority, with assistance from the Faculty Authority, will develop a Course Recommendation Implementation Plan based on the Course Review Panel’s Recommendations.

(30) The Faculty Authority will approve the Recommendation Implementation Plan.

(31) The Course Authority in collaboration with Faculty Authorities will implement the Recommendation Implementation Plan.    

(32) Faculty Boards will monitor the progress of approved Recommendation Implementation Plans and can request action to ensure the timely completion of the Plan.

Part D - Course Reaccreditation

(33) The Course Authority will submit a final report on delivery of the Recommendation Implementation Plan to the Faculty Board (within 1 year of the Panel visit) for consideration and recommendation to the Academic Senate along with a recommendation from the Faculty Board on the reaccreditation status of the course. The final report may include activities that are still being completed. Prior to recommendation of the final report to the Academic Senate, the Academic Standards and Quality Committee will be provided with an opportunity to review the report and make comment.

(34) The Academic Senate will determine to:

  1. approve Reaccreditation with no Conditions, for a specified period of time (up to a maximum of 7 years); 
  2. approve Reaccreditation with Conditions, for a specified period of time; or
  3. deny reaccreditation.

(35) If a course reaccredited with conditions fails to comply with the specified conditions, the Academic Senate can consider an extension of the course’s conditional status or withdraw Accreditation.

(36) An Annual Institutional Report on Course Reaccreditation will be compiled by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) for the Executive Group and the Academic Senate.

Part E - Responsibilities

(37) Responsibilities related to these Procedures are as follows:

  1. the Academic Senate is responsible for approving a course for reaccreditation;
  2. the Faculty Authority is responsible for approving a Recommendation Implementation Plan;
  3. the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) is responsible for the operationalisation, management, and improvement of the reaccreditation process;
  4. a relevant authorised Course Authority is responsible for leading the Faculty response to the reaccreditation process; and
  5. the Director, Macquarie University College (The College) performs the same role as an Executive Dean in this Procedure.
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Section 4 - Guidelines

(38) Nil.

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Section 5 - Definitions

(39) The following definitions apply for the purpose of this Policy:

  1. Accreditation means the process within the Curriculum Lifecycle Framework where the design of a new academic item (course, course component or unit) is undertaken followed by the submission of an academic case through the pertinent academic governance process.
  2. A Combined Degree is a recognised combination of two programs which are studied at the same time. At least one of the programs must be a bachelor degree. Units from one may be recognised as electives towards the other and students may elect to qualify and graduate with the bachelor degree component first (if they meet requirements) and then continue studying the remaining component of their program.
  3. Course Authority is the person assigned by a Faculty or College to perform certain roles within the Curriculum Lifecycle processes at a course level, for example Course Director, Head of Department, Program Director.
  4. Course Reaccreditation means the process for the formal appraisal of a course against Institutional and Course Specific Domains, involving a group of academic, professional experts and stakeholders.
  5. Course Specific Domain means a Domain inherent to a specific course.
  6. Curriculum Management System means the University’s repository for all curriculum information including courses, course components (majors, specialisations, and minors) and units.
  7. Data Point means a unit of information, derived from a measurement, and represented numerically and/or graphically, provided to support the processes of review, monitoring and reaccreditation via institutional dashboards and to be used as evidence to justify action or success plans.
  8. Domain means an area against which a course’s relevance, quality and viability is evaluated during the review phase. They could also be described as the Review Terms of Reference.
  9. Faculty Authority is the person assigned by a Faculty or equivalent to perform certain roles within the Curriculum Lifecycle processes at a Senior Leadership level, for example: Deputy Dean, Associate Dean, Associate Director.
  10. In-Cycle Review is a targeted review process conducted if a risk to the quality of the course is identified by an Annual Health Check or as a directive of an Executive Dean.
  11. Institutional Domain means a Domain inherent to all courses.
  12. Reaccreditation with no Conditions means an action resulting from the review phase of a course, when Academic Senate approves successful execution of recommendation implementation plan, granting the course permission to continue its delivery.
  13. Reaccreditation with Condition/s means a decision made by Academic Senate as part of the implementation phase of a course review to grant reaccreditation to a course where additional work to meet a review recommendation/s will be met within the specified timeframe/s. 
  14. Recommendation means an action resulting from a review process where a panel or other authority provide a course of action based on the evaluation of the submission against Domains, data and/or other supporting resources.
  15. Recommendations Implementation Plan means the plan developed by the authorised course authority to address Recommendations provided by the Review Panel as result of a review process.
  16. Theme means a sub-area within a Domain against which a course’s relevance, quality and viability is evaluated during the review phase.