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Unit of Study Periodic Review Policy

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Section 1 - Purpose

(1) This Policy documents the process by which units of study (‘units’) are subjected to periodic review during the Accreditation cycle of the course(s) of study (‘course/s’) in which they are offered.

(2) This Policy supports the assurance and enhancement of the quality, integrity, and relevance of the University’s suite of unit. It ensures that all units meet agreed institutional, disciplinary and regulatory standards regarding teaching, learning and the student experience.

(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 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.

Scope

(5) This Policy applies to all units that are available for credit, including those undertaken as non-award study and those that lead to a non-award micro-credential.

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Section 2 - Policy

(6) Unit Periodic Review is designed to ensure that all units:

  1. provide students with an exceptional 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. are fit for purpose and meet all internal and external requirements and standards; and
  3. are periodically reviewed through a credible, effective, and fair quality assurance system overseen by the University’s academic governance processes.

(7) The Unit Periodic Review process will:

  1. provide staff with opportunities to evaluate the unit and its delivery; and
  2. build a body of meaningful data which can be used to support the Course Reaccreditation Stage in the Curriculum Lifecycle.

(8) Unit Periodic 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. institutional and, where appropriate, external referencing;
  5. a risk-based approach to decision making and escalation from monitoring to review;
  6. the feedback of students and staff; and
  7. the judgements of Faculty Boards and the Faculty Executive.

(9) A unit will be subject to review at least once during the accreditation cycle of the course for which it was designed.

(10) Units that appear in the core zone of more than one course can be reviewed against the needs of all courses in a single review if the Directors of these courses support such an approach.

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Section 3 - Procedures

Part A - The Periodic Review Process

(11) The Unit Periodic Review process will be conducted through the approved University system.

(12) A unit will be subject to review at least once during the accreditation cycle of the course for which it was designed.

(13) Unit Periodic Review will usually be conducted in years two (2), three (3), and/or four (4) of the accreditation cycle.

(14) The Course Authority will bundle units to be reviewed at the same time and schedule the reviews across the lifecycle. Bundling should ideally spread the review workload over the three (3) years in which such reviews are usually completed.

(15) The Unit Periodic Review will draw on student feedback gathered through the procedures specified in the Student Experience Surveying Policy

(16) The Review Panel will be nominated by the Course Authority and will consist of:

  1. one (1) Level D or E academic drawn from the area of study or a related field who has not been involved in the design or delivery of the unit; and
  2. one (1) Level A, B, or C academic drawn from the area of study or a related field who has not been involved in the design or delivery of the unit.

(17) The Review Panel will complete the Unit Periodic Review Report available in the approved University system (see also Schedule 1: Unit Periodic Review Report).

(18) The Review Panel will then consult with the Unit Convenor to finalise any recommendations and/or commendations for the unit.

(19)  The Unit Convenor will finalise an Action Plan informed by the recommendations in the Periodic Review Unit Report in consultation with the Course or Course Component Authority.

(20) The Course or Course Component Authority will submit the Action Plan to the Course or Faculty Authority for consideration.

(21) The Course or Faculty Authority will submit the Action Plan to the Executive Dean for approval.

(22) The Unit Convenor will execute the Action Plan.

(23) Upon completion of the Action Plan, the Unit Convenor will submit a final report to the Course or Course Component Authority.

(24) The Course or Course Component Authority will recommend the final reports to the designated Faculty Authority for review.

(25) The Faculty Authority will endorse the final reports and prepare a Faculty Unit Periodic Review report for that year which they will submit to the Faculty Board.

(26) Upon examination of the Faculty Unit Periodic Review report, and, where necessary, individual Unit Action Plan reports, the Faculty Board may make one of three decisions:

  1. approve the continued offering of the unit until its next review;
  2. return the report to the Unit Convenor for revisions to the Action Plan noting that approval of the unit is pending; or
  3. approve the removal of the unit from the course(s) it serves.

(27) Faculty Board decisions are submitted to the Academic Standards and Quality Committee and the Education Strategy Committee for noting and consideration of whether an institutional Thematic Review might be required.

Part B - Responsibilities

(28) The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) is responsible for:

  1. finalisation of regular unit monitoring data;
  2. finalisation of the Unit Periodic Review Report template for approval of the Academic Standards and Quality Committee;
  3. making available an extended learner experience of unit student survey (LEUX) in the last offering of the unit before review;
  4. providing the Unit Convenor any support required to finalise the Unit Action Plan; and
  5. regular review for improvement purposes of the systems which support this Policy.

(29) The Academic Standards and Quality Committee is responsible for:

  1. approving the Unit Periodic Review Report template; and
  2. noting each Faculty’s Unit Periodic Review Report and considering if there are issues deserving of thematic review in the areas of its responsibility.

(30) The Education Strategy Committee is responsible for noting each Faculty’s Unit Periodic Review Report and considering if there are issues deserving of thematic review in the area of its responsibility.

(31) The relevant authorised Course Authority and/or Course Component Authority is responsible for:

  1. finalising the bundling of units and the draft schedule for Unit Periodic Review;
  2. selecting the review panel;
  3. recommending the proposed Action Plan;
  4. reviewing the progress of the Action Plan; and
  5. finalisation of the accumulated Course or Course Component report on units reviewed in that year.

(32) The relevant authorised Faculty Authority is responsible for:

  1. endorsing the proposed Action Plan;
  2. providing the Unit Convenor any support required to finalise the Unit Action Plan;
  3. endorsing finalisation of the Action Plan; and
  4. finalisation of the accumulated Faculty report on units reviewed in that year.

(33) The Faculty Board is responsible for:

  1. approving the unit review schedule; and
  2. approving the continued offering of units that have successfully completed the Action Plan.

(34) The Unit Convenor and the Review Panel are responsible for finalising the Action Plan.

(35) The Unit Convenor is responsible for implementing the Action Plan. 

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Section 4 - Guidelines

(36)  Nil.

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Section 5 - Definitions

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

  1. Accreditation means the process, within Macquarie 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. Action Plan means the plan developed by the authorised unit authority to address issues highlighted as a result of the unit monitoring or unit periodic review processes.
  3. 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.
  4. Course Component Authority is the person assigned by a Faculty or equivalent, to perform certain roles within the Curriculum Lifecycle processes at a course component level, for example Head of Discipline, (Deputy)Head of School.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Final Report means the report created by the Unit Convenor or Course Authority outlining the outcomes of the implementation of an Action Plan or Success Plan.
  9. Monitoring data 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.
  10. Unit Periodic Review means the process through which the performance of a unit is assessed at least once during the Accreditation cycle of the Course for which it was designed and will usually be conducted in Years two (2), three (3) or four (4) of the Accreditation cycle according to the steps stipulated in the Macquarie Curriculum Management System.
  11. 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.