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Course of Study Annual Monitoring and Review Policy

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Section 1 - Purpose

(1) The purpose of this Policy is to support the assurance and enhancement of the quality, integrity, and relevance of the University’s suite of award courses of study (‘courses’). It ensures that all courses meet agreed institutional, disciplinary and regulatory standards regarding their quality in teaching, learning and the student experience.

(2) The procedures documented in this Policy specify the process through which an accredited award course is supported by regular annual monitoring and can be made the subject of targeted review during its period of accreditation.

(3) This Policy is part of Stage 4 Monitoring of the Curriculum Lifecycle Framework and should be read in conjunction with all policies and procedures specific to this Stage and the Curriculum Lifecycle Framework especially the Unit of Study Monitoring and Grade Ratification Policy and the Unit of Study Periodic Review Policy.

Scope

(4) 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.

(5) This Policy does not apply to the following awards:

  1. double degrees, since each core zone of each course is monitored separately as per this Policy; and
  2. postgraduate Higher Degree Research awards.

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

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Section 2 - Policy

(7) Annual course monitoring and review is designed to ensure that all award courses:

  1. remain fit for purpose and continue to meet all internal and external requirements and standards regarding the quality of their teaching throughout their accreditation;
  2. are subject to regular and rigorous annual monitoring of their performance throughout their period of accreditation (known as the Annual Health Check process); and
  3. can be the subject of targeted review if a risk to the quality of the course is identified during their period of accreditation (known as the In-Cycle Review process).

(8) Annual course monitoring and review will also provide staff with regular opportunities to reflect on the course and its delivery; and will build a meaningful dataset covering multiple years and distinct student cohorts which will be used to support the course reaccreditation phase in the curriculum lifecycle.

(9) Annual course monitoring and review is informed by:

  1. transparent and coherent institutional processes;
  2. institutionally agreed and independently compiled data points;
  3. the latest pedagogical and professional developments in the scholarship of teaching and learning;
  4. external referencing, including external stakeholder obligations and course-specific benchmarking against national and, where appropriate, international comparators;
  5. a risk-based approach to decision-making and escalation from monitoring to review; and
  6. the feedback of students.

(10) An award course will be subject to the Annual Health Check process during years two (2) to five (5) of its accreditation cycle.

(11) The Annual Health Check process or the Executive Dean may trigger the In-Cycle Review process.

(12) The In-Cycle Review process may trigger the Course Reaccreditation process (see the Course of Study Reaccreditation Policy).

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Section 3 - Procedures

(13) All processes associated with Annual Health Check and In-Cycle Review will occur using the approved University system.

Part A - Annual Health Check

(14) The data points and templates informing the Annual Health Check will be finalised by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) after consultation with relevant stakeholders and included in Schedule A of this Policy.

(15) The Annual Health Check will be conducted by the Course Director in April of years two (2), three (3), four (4) and five (5) of a course’s accreditation cycle.

(16) Based on the data and perceived risks, the relevant authorised Course Authority will make one of the following recommendations to the relevant authorised Faculty Authority:

  1. endorse the course until the next Annual Health Check; or
  2. enact an In-Cycle Review; or
  3. enact a Course Reaccreditation Review.

(17) The relevant authorised Faculty Authority will review all course Annual Health Checks and either support or amend the recommendation for consideration by the Executive Dean.

(18) The Executive Dean will support or amend the recommendations of the relevant authorised Faculty Authority.

(19) The relevant authorised Faculty Authority will compile a Faculty Annual Course Monitoring Report and submit this to the Faculty Board and the Education Strategy Committee.

(20) The Faculty Board will approve the Faculty Annual Course Monitoring Report or recommend an In-Cycle Review of specific course(s).

(21) The Academic Standards and Quality Committee will approve the Faculty Annual Course Monitoring Report or recommend an In-Cycle Review of specific course(s).

(22) The Education Strategy Committee will note each Faculty Annual Course Monitoring Report and use this as necessary in the conduct of its activities and to advise Executive Group.

Part B - In-Cycle Review

(23) An In-Cycle Review can be triggered by:

  1. an Annual Health Check; or
  2. a directive of an Executive Dean.

(24) An In-Cycle Review triggered by the Annual Health Check can be held in years two (2), three (3), four (4) or five (5) of a course’s accreditation cycle.  Work on the review will usually commence immediately after the finalisation of the Health Check.

(25) An In-Cycle Review triggered by an Executive Dean can be conducted at any time that is appropriate to the successful resolution of the matters under investigation.

(26) The terms of reference of an In-Cycle Review will be set by the relevant authorised Faculty Authority and approved by the Executive Dean.

(27) The composition of the In-Cycle Review Panel will be set by the relevant authorised Faculty Authority and will consist of:

  1. the relevant authorised Course Authority who will usually serve as Panel Chair unless there is a perceived conflict of interest regarding the issue(s) under investigation and in which case an alternative Chair will be appointed;
  2. a senior academic who teaches in the course, has no perceived conflict of interest regarding the issue(s) under investigation, and whose expertise or experience will be valuable to the review; and
  3. an early career academic who teaches in the course, has no perceived conflict of interest regarding the issue(s) under investigation, and whose expertise or experience will be valuable to the review.

(28) The In-Cycle Review Panel will investigate the issues as per the terms of reference and set out their recommendations as either:

  1. A (Academic) recommendations that relate to academic judgements and those areas in which the Academic Senate exercises oversight; or
  2. B (Business) recommendations that relate to business judgements and those areas in which the Vice-Chancellor  and the Executive Group exercise oversight.

(29) The Executive Dean will respond to the recommendations of the In-Cycle Review Panel.

(30) The relevant authorised Course Authority, in consultation with the relevant authorised Faculty Authority, will consider the recommendations and create a Success Plan.

(31) The Executive Dean will approve the Success Plan or direct a course to the reaccreditation process (see Course of Study Reaccreditation Policy).

(32) The approved Success Plan will be submitted to the Faculty Board for noting.

(33) A final report will be compiled by the relevant authorised Course Authority when the activities identified in the Success Plan have been completed. This report will be submitted to the relevant authorised Faculty Authority.

(34) Any aspects of the Success Plan requiring academic governance approval will be completed as per the Course of Study Revision Policy.

(35) The relevant authorised Faculty Authority will compile all final reports for that year into a Faculty In-Cycle Review Report which will include any Faculty-wide conclusions drawn from the reports.

(36) The Faculty Board will note the Faculty In-Cycle Review Report.

(37) The Academic Standards and Quality Committee will consider the academic aspects of the Faculty In-Cycle Review Report and either approve the Faculty Report or return it to the relevant authorised Faculty Authority with comments and recommendations for further action if required.

(38) The Academic Standards and Quality Committee will consider all Faculty In-Cycle Review Reports to see if there are any whole-of-institution academic issues warranting a thematic review.

(39) The Education Strategy Committee will consider all Faculty In-Cycle Review Reports to see if there are any whole-of-institution strategic or business issues warranting a thematic review.

Part C - Responsibilities

(40) Responsibilities related to this Policy are as follows:

  1. the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) will design and implement monitoring and review systems and processes;
  2. Business Intelligence and Reporting will maintain the data points that inform the system and process;
  3. the relevant authorised Course Authority will complete the Annual Health Check process for their course;
  4. the relevant authorised Faculty Authority will:
    1. review the Annual Health Check within the Faculty;
    2. oversee implementation of recommendations;
    3. set the Terms of Reference for In-Cycle Reviews;
    4. appoint In-Cycle Review panel members;
    5. endorse recommendations and implementation plans; and
    6. compile Faculty course monitoring and In-cycle Review Reports;
  5. Executive Deans:
    1. may authorise an In-Cycle Review independent of the annual course monitoring process; and
    2. will approve In-Cycle Review Success Plans.
  6. Faculty Boards will consider Faculty Annual Monitoring Reports;
  7. the Academic Standards and Quality Committee will:
    1. approve Faculty Annual Course Monitoring Reports and In-cycle Review Reports and where necessary make recommendations to the Academic Senate concerning thematic reviews; and
  8. the Education Strategy Committee will review Faculty Annual Health Checks and In-Cycle Review Reports for the Executive Group.
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Section 4 - Guidelines

(41)  Nil.

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Section 5 - Definitions

(42) Commonly defined terms are located in the University Glossary. The following definitions apply for the purpose of this Policy:

  1. Academic recommendations aim to address issues related to the quality and outcomes of teaching, learning, and research training.
  2. 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.
  3. Annual Course Monitoring means the oversight provided by the Annual Health Check and In-Cycle Review processes.
  4. Annual Health Check means the process through which the performance of a course is assessed annually. This process is light touch, data-driven, risk based and supported by a dashboard reflecting institutional data. Risks highlighted by the Annual Health Check process may result in the course progressing to an In-cycle Review or a full Reaccreditation review.
  5. Business recommendations aim to address issues related to strategic or commercial matters relating to the curriculum or teaching.
  6. Course Monitoring and Review is the process by which a course performance is subject to regular monitoring throughout the period of their accreditation through Annual Health Checks and In-Cycle reviews.
  7. Course Authority is the person assigned by a Faculty or equivalent to perform certain roles within the Curriculum Lifecycle processes at a course level, for example Course Director, Head of Department, Program Director.
  8. Course reaccreditation means the process, within the Macquarie Curriculum Lifecycle Framework, for the formal appraisal of a course against institutional and course specific domains takes place, involving a group of academic, professional experts and stakeholders.
  9. Curriculum Lifecycle Framework charts the journey of an award course, course component or unit from idea to disestablishment, including the processes and policies for their accreditation, revision, monitoring and review, and reaccreditation. It can also be applied to non-award educational products that still require institutional oversight.
  10. Curriculum Management System means Macquarie’s ‘single source of truth’ and repository for all curriculum information including courses, course components (majors, specialisations, and minors) and units.
  11. Education Strategy Committee is a sub-committee of Executive Group. It provides input and support in the development of a vision for education and execution of an education strategy.
  12. 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.
  13. In-Cycle Review means a monitoring process for courses, data and risk driven, resulting from a deficient Annual Health Check result or a request from the Executive Dean of the relevant faculty.
  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. Success Plan means the plan developed by the relevant authorised course authority to address issues highlighted as a result of a review process.
  15. Thematic Review means an institutional review process that examines a specific issue of concern across a number of courses of study.