Regulatory framework and supporting documentation
Under the auspices of the Framework and Definitions Working Party, steady progress is being made on several projects to develop a framework of rules, policy and other documentation that will underpin implementation of the New Courses.
Among other things, this involves more clearly separating rules from policies (but with cross-linkages) and simplifying the expression of both to make them more user-friendly.
In addition, various other kinds of formal documentation are being prepared for the guidance of staff and students. These include a range of reference materials to assist with the provision of consistent and comprehensive academic advice for students across the University.
- Two sets of University-wide rules have so far been completed: Undergraduate Degree Course Rules focus succinctly on the basic structural components of first-cycle courses, whereas Student Rules address a range of administrative matters pertaining specifically to what students are required to do during their time at the University - for example, in relation to admissions, enrolment, fees, assessment and appeals.
- Faculty rule changes are also being drafted consultatively as part of the transition process. This has now been completed for several faculties.
- It has been necessary to conduct a comprehensive audit of conditions for all scholarships and prizes, and to carry out revisions (in consultation with faculties, donors and others) that will align these conditions with the new structures. The task is large: there are approximately 620 prizes and also about 130 undergraduate scholarships that will be available in 2012. All require careful review; some will require revised documentation. Eligibility for these is complicated by the fact that some students will continue to be enrolled in existing courses while others will commence or transfer into the new courses.
Work is well advanced within the Academic Policy Services section of the Registrar's office to ensure that:
- all new policies necessary to accommodate the changes are identified, drafted and approved before the introduction of New Courses 2012;
- existing policies and procedures are reviewed to ensure that they continue to be applicable, and that any necessary amendments are drafted and approved; and
- any existing polices that are no longer required are rescinded.
Policies recently endorsed or currently progressing through the committee system in 2011 include both new policies (based on resolutions of Academic Council and recommendations of the Admissions Committee and/or Board of Coursework Studies and/or Board of the Graduate Research School) and revised versions of existing policies.
Examples of new policies are Admission to undergraduate degrees, Deferral for commencing domestic undergraduate students, Duplication of unit content, Provision of unit outlines, English language competence for admission to degree study, Bachelor of Philosophy (Honours), Postgraduate coursework structures and objectives, Prerequisites for entry to undergraduate majors, Show cause, and Special consideration.
Examples of revised policies are Credit transfer, Advanced standing and recognition of prior learning, Credit point value of units, Honours awards, Review of administrative units, and Review of schools and other academic units.
Updated information on policy development is accessible at http://www.universitypolicies.uwa.edu.au/
Other reference tools
- Work continues on a project to develop a comprehensive and definitive glossary of academic terms, particularly nomenclature that relates to the New Courses (e.g. broadening units, complementary units, degree-specific major, elective). The glossary database is being regularly revised as particular terms become established, recorded and officially endorsed. This is an ongoing process, working in tandem with other projects, particularly the policies and legislative projects
- Various documents are being developed to assist students and those members of staff who are responsible for student advising. These include standardised checklists to ensure new students complete all their requirements for enrolment; a consistent format for course outlines; visual "maps" of majors; study plans to allow students to customise and monitor their choice of units; and a common template for new student information packs.
- A working group is reviewing the role of the University Handbook and its place among the range of on-line and hardcopy materials that have traditionally been published by faculties and central administrative sections. The group's view is that the Handbook should be first and foremost an on-line resource, bringing together all the study options and other information that students and staff need to know when selecting and advising on courses, majors and units. In so doing it should eventually replace many separate sets of material that are in current use.
Winthrop Professor Ian Reid
Senior Academic Reviewer