Processing of Phase 2 course development proposals
During the final week of June, Interim Boards of Studies for the new undergraduate degrees have worked intensively to evaluate Phase 2 proposals for majors, for units (within majors and unattached) and for Honours courses.
The course development process began in August 2009 with an invitation to submit Expressions of Interest (Phase 1) for majors in the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Commerce, Bachelor of Design and Bachelor of Science. This called for draft concept plans of each proposed major, guided by the structural requirements of the new framework, so that proponents could receive feedback from the relevant Interim Board of Studies before developing the proposals in full detail (Phase 2) on the new Callista Approval and Publishing System (CAPS).
At Phase 2, the University received a total of 1032 proposals across the four degrees. These comprised 67 proposals for majors, 63 for end-on Honours courses, and 902 for units. Of the unit proposals, 102 were not components of the proposed majors but were unattached electives (including those proposed Category A broadening units that did not form part of a major).
Each Interim Board of Studies (IBoS) established reading groups from within its membership and distributed the proposal documents so that each reading group was responsible for carrying out the initial scrutiny of a manageable number of proposals and formulating draft recommendations to assist the IBoS in evaluating them. While this procedure ensured that every item received close attention and discussion, the subsequent IBoS meetings also reviewed all proposals thoroughly.
The process is continuing. Some proposals have now been accepted without needing further work, but the acceptance of others will be subject either to specified minor revisions or to resubmission, and for these it is necessary to convey detailed comments from the IBoS. Feedback will be provided as soon as possible, but requires care and takes time.
The Implementation Committee has acknowledged previously that academic and professional staff members across the University have expended a great deal of effort in preparing the Phase 2 proposals. The justification for this effort will eventually be seen in the benefits that the new structure brings not only to students (making choices simpler, providing flexibility, striking a balance between breadth and depth, opening more equitable pathways, enhancing research and communication skills) but also to staff (achieving greater efficiency and effectiveness in course delivery, economising on unit provision, following clear and consistent course rules, drawing students from wider catchments, strengthening the nexus between teaching and research).
The Implementation Committee also appreciates that the orderly submission and evaluation of so many detailed proposals would have been impossible without an extraordinary amount of administrative support from Student Services and Governance Services, including the complex tasks of developing CAPS functionality and establishing Sharepoint mechanisms for the reviewing of proposals.
Ian Reid, Senior Academic Reviewer