- New undergraduate majors and units approved
- Alignment of existing postgraduate courses with new framework
New undergraduate majors and units approved
- The development and approval process for the new undergraduate courses has proceeded smoothly and successfully. It began in August 2009 with Expressions of Interest (Phase 1) for majors in the three-year degrees: Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Commerce, Bachelor of Design and Bachelor of Science. This called for draft concept plans of each 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 submissions in detail (Phase 2) on the new Callista Approval and Publishing System (CAPS).
- At Phase 2, the University received a total of 1033 fully developed proposals across the four degrees. These comprised 67 proposals for majors, 63 for end-on Honours courses, and 903 for units. Of the unit proposals, 103 were not components of the proposed majors but were unattached electives (including many proposed Category A broadening units).
- Of the 67 proposed majors, 56 have so far been accepted, either without any change or subject to relatively small revision. Of those needing to be resubmitted, most have departed from the structure previously approved at Phase 1.
- Approval of new Honours course structures is less urgent than for the three-year courses but that process is also well under way.
- As majors and units are progressively accepted by the respective Boards, they are moving on through the University's formal system of approval. Academic Council approved a large number of majors and units at its August meeting (Refer: Item 8, Academic Council minutes 4 Aug 2010), and most of the rest are expected to reach that culminating stage over the next two months.
- Academic and professional staff members across the University have expended a great deal of effort in preparing the Phase 2 submissions. The justification for this effort will be evident 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 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.
Alignment of existing postgraduate courses with new framework
- In 2009 there was an audit of the rules for all existing postgraduate courses, to gauge the extent to which these aligned with recommendations approved by Academic Council and Senate on standardising the structure of postgraduate coursework. Various discrepancies were identified in such matters as admission criteria, articulation arrangements, unit values and course size. Faculties were asked to bring course rules into alignment with the new structural principles, or else put forward a case for allowing the non-alignment to continue.
- Faculties responded in detail to the questions raised by the audit, and the Board of Coursework Studies recently considered these responses. The Chair of the Board has since written to Deans indicating a few matters that require further attention. When the process of alignment and supplementary reporting is completed, the Board will advise Academic Council on the particulars of any exceptions that are being recommended for approval.
- It is pleasing to see that most faculties have used the alignment exercise as a stimulus to restructure their postgraduate offerings, resulting in much greater consistency and efficiency.
Winthrop Professor Ian Reid, Senior Academic Reviewer