In developing this procedure the University had regard to the provisions of section 40B(1)(b) of the Human Rights Act 2004 (ACT).
Course Reaccreditation Procedure
Academic Policy and Review (APR) will draw up a rolling five-year schedule for course reaccreditation in consultation with the faculties. The schedule may be changed by mutual agreement.
Reaccreditation of courses may be coordinated with professional accreditation reviews or timing of events such as renewal of agreements for transnational courses.
Related courses (e.g. nested postgraduate courses, single and combined courses, courses that are professionally related) will normally be considered for reaccreditation at the same time. Groups will be small enough to permit attention to individual courses and may include all courses in a discipline or sub-discipline.
Courses are normally accredited or reaccredited for five years. Faculties will submit courses for reaccreditation in the year preceding the last year of accreditation. For example, a course accredited to the end of 2016 is subject to reaccreditation in 2015. The process will begin in semester 1 with University Education Committee (UEC) consideration mid-year and Academic Board decision before the end of that year. This timing assists faculty planning and provides outcomes ahead of annual Academic Board approval of the following year’s undergraduate and postgraduate Academic Programs, for admission and load planning.
Performance data in Annual Course Reports will be the basis of information required for course reaccreditation.
Procedures for reaccreditation are as follows:
Annual course reports: PQU provides the faculty with annual course reports (ACRs) including course details and five years of performance data with external benchmarks when available. Performance levels are identified where possible using traffic lights.
Faculty contribution: The relevant course convener(s) and staff in the discipline will complete the course reaccreditation form providing comment on the ACR data, particularly where performance on any of the key dimensions (see below) is not satisfactory. Information will be added on strategic, faculty, course and disciplinary context; relevant processes such as professional accreditation or other form of external benchmarking; internal moderation activities; input from course advisory groups; and any action underway or proposed to improve aspects of the course. The dean and associate dean (education) will endorse the completed report.
APR processing: APR will seek additional information from faculties if required then forward documentation with a recommendation for each course to UEC.
UEC review and recommendation: UEC will consider each course and make a recommendation to Academic Board for accreditation, conditional accreditation or non-accreditation. Where the proposed recommendation to UEC or the Board is not unconditional reaccreditation, the faculty will have opportunity to respond before consideration by Academic Board. If issues relate to resources or strategic directions, it may be appropriate for the dean to consult the Vice-Chancellor.
Academic Board decision: Academic Board will reaccredit the course, with or without conditions, or resolve otherwise as appropriate (see Outcomes below).
Implementation: Refer to Outcomes below. The faculty may be required to undertake further work on a course which may include a progress report to UEC and Academic Board.
Quality assurance: APR will provide the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) (DVC(A)), Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) (DVC (RI)) (in the case of higher degree research courses), UEC and Academic Board with an annual consolidated report on the reaccreditation process and outcomes.
Issues for consideration
The following matters are assessed in reaccrediting a course. Details are provided in ACRs or added by faculties as applicable
Strategic aspects – operating environment for the relevant profession or industry (current state and prospects); regional/local competition for the course and UC’s distinctiveness; alignment of the course with the University Strategic Plan, course and discipline profile and faculty operational plan; evidence and results of benchmarking; entry and exit pathways including to research; graduate outcomes including employment and further study; staffing and physical resources; engagement (partnerships and alliances, articulation arrangements, course advisory group activity, employer feedback etc)
Academic aspects – course renewal; incorporation of UC course signature themes; course documentation including UC generic skills in course learning outcomes; quality assurance and comparability for courses offered with partner institutions or in multiple locations or delivery modes; compliance with the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF), Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) Threshold Standards and any discipline or professional standards national and international; professional accreditation or recognition; moderation and benchmarking; retention and progress rates; student satisfaction as measured by the Australian Graduate Survey and UC Course Experience Questionnaire
Business aspects – demand (total and commencing EFTSL as against load plan, first preferences, offers versus acceptances, ATAR data); student load (cohort breakdown); demographics; equity data as set by government.
Assessment of course performance
A traffic light system will facilitate performance review. Threshold levels will be based on institutional key performance indicators where applicable.
Academic Board may resolve to reaccredit a course for five years, reaccredit for a shorter period or subject to conditions, or not to reaccredit a course. Action will normally be specified for courses with unsatisfactory performance.
High performing courses may be acknowledged by Academic Board, given public recognition and used as exemplars for curriculum design and learning and teaching practice.
Outcomes for under-performing courses will depend on the issues that are identified. Faculties should develop action plans for course improvement. Specific support in relation to areas such as marketing, curriculum and learning support may be recommended. If the course is not viable, considered to be of unsatisfactory standard or persistently failing to attract students, Academic Board may impose conditions on continuation or resolve that the course be removed from the Academic Program and no longer offered. If conditions are not met, the DVC(A) or Vice-Chancellor may recommend closure of the course to Academic Board and Council.
Where problems with a course or group of courses are acute or persistent, the Vice-Chancellor or Deputy Vice-Chancellor (normally on recommendation of Academic Board) may institute a Special Purpose Academic Review or appoint a review panel including external members to examine the issues and recommend on the future of the course(s).
Implementation of Academic Board decisions will take into account needs of students in the course, relationship of the course to other courses in the faculty and other factors. Transition plans and teach-out will ensure that students enrolled in courses to be removed from the Academic Program are not disadvantaged.
Transition arrangements will be made in implementing this policy. In particular, the reaccreditation schedule will be developed in consultation with faculties.
Academic Board has agreed that the initial round of reaccreditation be condensed into a shorter timeframe incorporating one-off review of each course against key quality initiatives including AQF, TEQSA Provider Course Accreditation Standards, UC signature themes and generic skills.
Roles and Responsibilities:
Strategy, Planning and Performance
Provide consolidated key performance indicators in Annual Course Reports to faculties in timely fashion
Monitor the design and contents of ACRs to provide a concise picture of course performance for faculties and the University
Develop traffic lights for aspects of course performance in ACRs, in consultation with relevant stakeholders
Assist and advise APR on issues relating to the reaccreditation process.
Academic Policy and Review
Draw up and maintain the reaccreditation schedule in consultation with the faculties
Manage the reaccreditation process
Advise and assist faculties with reaccreditation submissions where appropriate
Check reaccreditation documentation and prepare recommendation for UEC
Arrange presentation of UEC recommendation to Academic Board
Communicate Academic Board decision to faculties and assist with implementation as appropriate
Provide a consolidated reaccreditation report to the DVC(A) and Academic Board each year for quality assurance purposes.
Course conveners in conjunction with heads of discipline will:
provide comment and context on course performance in the reaccreditation form as set out in procedures above
ensure that the course is periodically benchmarked against external standards and include this information in the reaccreditation form
generally assist to prepare submissions and implement outcomes including action plans to improve the course where applicable.
Head of Discipline
Heads of discipline share responsibility with course conveners for the above tasks.
Associate Dean (Education)
Faculties will determine relevant responsibilities of the associate dean (education) in the faculty. It is expected that associate deans (education) will review reaccreditation documentation before submission.
Dean of Faculty
Deans are responsible for the performance of courses offered by their faculties. Deans will endorse reaccreditation submissions for courses in the faculty, ensure action is taken to address performance issues and oversee implementation of Academic Board decisions. Deans should inform faculty board of reaccreditation submissions, issues and outcomes.
Faculty boards should note summary information on courses submitted for reaccreditation and outcomes.
University Education Committee
UEC will consider documentation and recommend reaccreditation of a course or other action to Academic Board. UEC may consider progress reports on action taken to improve the performance of specific courses.
Academic Board will make decisions on reaccreditation on advice and recommendation from UEC. The Board may consider progress reports on under-performing courses. The Board determines reaccreditation policy and considers annual reports on reaccreditation activities and outcomes.