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Course Advisory Groups Policy
1. Purpose:
  1. This policy sets out the University's principles relating to course advisory groups.
  2. Course advisory groups ensure that the University seeks, receives and acts on regular, valid and reliable feedback from stakeholders on the quality and appropriateness of its courses.
2. Scope:
  1. This policy applies to undergraduate and postgraduate coursework courses. Advisory groups are expected to consider relationships with other courses, including postgraduate research courses, as part of their role.
3. Principles:
  1. The UC quality cycle recognises that course quality is maintained by ongoing involvement of all stakeholders. Course advisory groups provide an external reference point to ensure that courses continue to meet the needs of students, employers, industry, the disciplines, the professions and the community, both local and international. 
  2. Course advisory groups will be established for all coursework courses at the University of Canberra. An advisory group may cover a single course or a group of associated courses in a faculty.
  3. Course advisory groups represent stakeholder interests. All major stakeholders in the course will be represented.
  4. The objectives of course advisory groups are to:
    1. maintain close relations between the University and employers, professional bodies and other interested groups to strengthen the interface between academic study and professional practice;
    2. ensure course curricula are appropriate to the needs of the workplace and the professions and developed in consultation with relevant bodies;
    3. facilitate work-integrated learning in and related to courses;
    4. provide expert advice and assistance for the University to develop relevant professional development programs; and
    5. provide a forum to consider emerging needs and any issues relating to performance and improvement of the course.
  5. Core terms of reference of course advisory groups are:
    1. To advise on professional and community need and demand for graduates, including potential areas for continuing professional development;
    2. To advise on professional requirements where applicable, and possibilities for professional recognition or affiliation;
    3. To consider and make recommendations on course objectives and learning outcomes (including generic skills), content, structure, pedagogy, forms of delivery and related issues.
    4. To consider and comment on course performance against performance indicators.
    5. To consider ways of maintaining and improving student satisfaction.
    6. To advise on interrelationships with other courses and providers including articulation, credit transfer, and possible partnerships.
    7. To assist in new course development in the relevant area (including combined courses).
    8. To assist academic staff with their continuing development, including research networking and liaison with employers and practising members of the professions.
  6. Accordingly, course advisory groups will normally be consulted in processes for:
    1. course development (where a relevant group exists prior to accreditation of a new course);
    2. professional accreditation and review where applicable;
    3. major course change;
    4. evaluation of course performance; and
    5. reaccreditation and review of courses by the University.
  7. Course advisory group processes may be aligned with professional reviews where courses are professionally accredited. Professional requirements are a major consideration, but not the only consideration, in determining academic content.
  8. Input from course advisory groups should be timely where possible to improve the experience of current students in the course.
  9. Faculty boards will monitor the operation of course advisory groups. Academic Board through the University Education Committee provides oversight of policy and practice.
4. Responsibilities:
Who Responsibilities
Course conveners Manage relevant responsibilities and assist heads of discipline and others in regard to course advisory groups as determined by the faculty.
Heads of discipline (or another position specified by the faculty) Are responsible for:
  • ensuring that course advisory groups meet and continue to be active
  • providing brief reports on the operation of advisory groups to faculty board each year.
Heads of discipline and course conveners, in consultation with the Associate Dean (Education) Are responsible for:
  • drafting terms of reference for each advisory group based on this policy;
  • selecting members and a chair (for endorsement by the group);
  • briefing the chair and members on the course(s) and relevant background on the faculty, the University, strategic directions and academic policies;
  • presenting terms of reference to the first meeting for endorsement;
  • organising meetings, agendas and record-keeping; and
  • keeping the group informed of relevant developments and involving them in processes in accordance with this policy.
Associate deans (education)
  • Maintain oversight of advisory groups.
  • The role of the associate dean in establishing and managing groups will be determined by the faculty.
Deans Will ensure that every coursework course in the faculty is covered by an advisory group. Deans (or, where appropriate, their nominees), are responsible for:
  • determining the courses to be covered by each advisory group;
  • reviewing scope, proposed membership and terms of reference of groups to ensure they are comprehensive;
  • formally inviting external members including the chair of each group;
  • facilitating group activities, eg with administrative support; and
  • considering ways to encourage stakeholder involvement in the faculty and providing networking opportunities such as social events. 
Faculty boards
  • Review operation of course advisory groups each year and consider relevant issues. 
University Education Committee
  • Monitor implementation of this policy; and
  • Advise Academic Board on policy and practice relating to course advisory groups.
Academic Board
  • Approve course advisory groups policy and consider any issues referred to it by faculty boards or the University Education Committee. 
5. Legislation:
This policy is governed by the University of Canberra Act 1989 and its Statutes and Rules.
6. Supporting Information:
Documents related to this policy are:
  • Course Advisory Group Procedures
  • University of Canberra Strategic Plan 2008-2012
  • Guidelines for academic staff developing new and revised courses, majors, minors and units.
7. Notes:
This policy was developed to ensure ongoing external involvement in all UC courses. The introduction of formal requirements for advisory groups was recommended by the Review of Courses and Disciplines in 2007-8 and the Australian Universities Quality Agency (AUQA) audit report in January 2009. Course advisory groups are a key component of teaching quality in the UC quality and standards framework.