Academic Board Reviews
The Academic Board reviews are intended to encourage, in our faculties, an academic culture that values scholarship, free inquiry and intellectual rigour and honesty, supporting, in turn, the development and maintenance of high standards of teaching, scholarship and research. To be confident that the policy structures properly sustain academic quality assurance and are appropriate to the University's needs, the Board monitors their implementation and effectiveness.
Much of this monitoring is effected through Academic Board reviews. The review process is formative and collegial. The aim is to provide constructive feedback on the quality of a Faculty's educational provision.
The faculty reviews were originally undertaken in phases: the first round evaluated teaching and learning and research training. The second round provided an update on how faculties responded to their recommendations and considered the scope of Faculty activity aligned with the University's seven goals. The recently commenced third round is intended to encourage and assist faculties to reflect on the key elements and processes in their academic environments, and form views on the strength of their culture and ways in which it can, if needed, be improved.
A key input to the review process is the Faculty's Self-Evaluation Report (SER). The SER addresses:
- Faculty response to the Academic Board Review Recommendations and a constructively self-critical evaluation of progress and outcomes
- Faculty response to University Goals, and a constructively self-critical evaluation of progress and outcomes
- Data informing the self-critical evaluation in the Faculty SER includes student feedback, benchmarking and accreditation (for professional faculties).
In 2002 the Academic Board completed the first round of visits to all faculties, building on initial work achieved in 2001. During 2003/2004 the second phase was undertaken, with reviews of all faculties completed by November 2004. At the conclusion of faculty visits a Report was compiled which analysed quality enhancement from Phase 1 to Phase 2:
- Implementation of the Academic Honesty in Coursework Policy and the subsequent decrease in the instances of plagiarism reported across the University
- The content and structure of the undergraduate curriculum
- Inclusion of Generic Graduate Attributes in Unit of Study Outlines
- Implementation of faculty teaching excellence awards and encouragement of staff to apply for University awards
- The quality of teaching staff in terms of Higher Education qualifications (through the ITL) and English language proficiency
- Acceptance and uptake of elearning
- Improvements in research training especially in the area of research supervision
Priorities for action unearthed by Phase 1 and 2 Reviews were:
- Leadership and management
- Staff workload
- Student administration
- Postgraduate Coursework curriculum
- Provision of clear goals and standards
- Support for local and international NESB students
During 2005 and 2006, while planning for Phase 3 Reviews was being undertaken, faculties provided the Academic Board (through the Learning and Teaching Committee) with annual Progress Reports on their response to Recommendations of the Phase 2 Reviews.
Phase 3 Reviews recommenced in 2007.