Academic Board Faculty Reviews

Review model
Review process
Terms of reference
Review panel


The Academic Board conducts reviews of faculties as a means of assisting faculties to assess their own practices in all areas of academic endeavour. The current review cycle is 2013-2016. This cycle will be the first cycle of joint reviews by the Academic Board and the University Executive (UE) and will be jointly overseen by the Chair of the Academic Board and the Provost. The reviews will focus on:

  • teaching and learning, including curriculum development and research training;
  • research and development;
  • external relations;
  • equity issues; and
  • internationalisation

Information about the current review cycle can be found below. Inquiries and requests for past review reports can be directed to the Executive Officer, Office of the Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Megan Hobbs.

Review model

In 2011 the Academic Board and UE agreed on a model to allow for reviews to be run in the following manner:

  • Jointly overseen by the Provost and the Chair of the Academic Board. The Provost would have management responsibility for the implementation of the review process and would consult with the Chair of the Academic Board at various points during the process.
  • Conducted according to standard terms of reference (see below).
  • Examine academic standards and quality and the processes for achieving them and for achieving optimal outcomes in social equity, external engagement and internationalism.
  • Reviews would explicitly take into account the issue of resource allocation within the faculty concerned.
  • Faculties will prepare a self-evaluation report according to the guidelines prepared by the Chair of the Academic Board and the Provost, as approved by UE and the Academic Board.
  • The report would be reviewed by a panel made of up staff from outside the faculty and experts from outside the University.
  • Membership will be determined by the Provost and Chair of the Academic Board.
  • Faculties will have the right of reply to the panel’s report, however they are not permitted to request changes to the report.
  • Reports are forwarded to the Academic Board for approval and then to UE for final approval.
  • These reports will not be made public.
  • The Dean of the Faculty, after consultation with the Faculty, would be required to provide the Provost and Chair of the Academic Board with an implementation plan addressing the approved recommendations.
  • The Dean will be required to submit updates to the Provost and Chair of the Academic Board on the progress of the actions outlined in the implementation plan. The timeframe for these updates will be advised by the review panel and based on the recommendations arising from the review.

Review process

1. Initiation of the review
The Provost’s Office, after consultation with the dean and the Chair of the Academic Board, will nominate a date for the review visit.

Approximately three months prior to this visit, the Provost or the Chair of the Academic Board (or nominee) will meet with the dean and senior faculty staff to discuss the development of the self-evaluation report (SER), provide guidelines and outline the review process.

2. Appointment of a review panel
Approximately three months prior to the review visit, the Provost and the Chair of the Academic Board will appoint a review panel with a minimum of five members and maximum of seven (plus the chair). The membership of this panel is advised to the dean to allow for the resolution of any conflicts of interest and other considerations.

3. Review visit preparation
Closer to the review date, the faculty will be provided with a draft schedule and initial list of groups to be interviewed. The faculty is responsible for arranging the meeting location, and informing and scheduling those to be interviewed. Further nominations of people to be interviewed may be requested after the initial review panel meeting.

4. Submission of the self-evaluation report
The faculty should submit eight spiral bound copies and one electronic (Word) copy of the SER four weeks prior to the review date.

5. Review panel preliminary meeting
The review panel will meet immediately after submission of the SER, either physically or by teleconference to begin the process of critical analysis of the SER. At this time members of the review panel may request additional information or nominate further people they wish to interview. For example, the panel may wish to speak to the Planning Information Office, Finance, the Provost, etc.

6. Review panel consensus meeting
The review panel will meet approximately one week before the review to finalise a common list of issues and appropriate questions for the review visit.

7. Review meeting
The review panel meets with the Provost, the chair of the division, dean, senior staff, other staff and students (including undergraduate, postgraduate coursework and research), and, at its discretion, other members of the University and stakeholders.

The duration of the meeting is flexible and will generally be between one and two days. The visit will conclude with an oral report to the dean.

8. Report of the review meeting
The review report is prepared by the Provost’s office, in consultation with the chair of the review panel. The report will contain commendations, recommendations for change and affirmations of changes already planned by the faculty. It may also comment on areas of best practice.

The report will be forwarded to the dean, generally within four to six weeks of the review visit. The faculty then has the opportunity to respond within six weeks from receipt of the report.

Once the faculty’s response (if any) is received, the report will be forwarded in confidence to the Academic Board, via the Academic Standards and Policy Committee.

Once approved by the Academic Board, the report is forwarded to UE for final approval, which may refer elements of it to its subcommittees for consideration.

9. Development of implementation plan
Once the report has been approved by UE and the Academic Board the dean, in consultation with the faculty, will formulate a plan. The timeframe for producing this implementation plan will be determined by the review panel based on the recommendations of the report.

The timetable for implementation as agreed between the dean, Provost and the Chair of the Academic Board will also be dependant upon the recommendations of the final report. The dean will provided regular updates on the implementation plan until completed, at intervals determined by the review panel.

Terms of Reference

The aim of this review is to ensure the capacity of faculties to deliver teaching and learning, research and the best outcomes for society at the highest possible standard, and in a manner that is academically and financially sustainable and aligned with the University’s strategic goals.

To achieve these aims the panel is asked to:

  1. review and report on the faculty’s goals, strategy and achievements in relation to:
    a) teaching and learning, including curriculum development and research training,
    b) research and development,
    c) external relations,
    d) equity issues, and
    e) internationalisation;
  2. assess and report on the alignment of the faculty’s goals with the University’s strategic plan;
  3. assess and report on the allocation of resources within the faculty and the faculty’s strategies for managing and/or improving its financial performance in relation to teaching, research, other sources of income and controls on expenditure;
  4. assess and report on the effectiveness of its organisational structure in delivering upon strategy and achieving the faculty’s goals;
  5. make recommendations on the optimisation of teaching, research and benefit to society with respect to the faculty’s goals, strategy, resource allocation and sustainability; and
  6. assess and make recommendations on the faculty’s course profile in terms of academic excellence, demand, quality, and sustainability.

Review panel

The review panels will contain five members, plus the chair, and be appointed jointly by the Provost and the Chair of the Academic Board (who reserve the right if they so choose to sit on a review committee or appoint their nominee for the committee). If appropriate an additional two members may be appointed.

  1. Three senior academics with disciplinary knowledge and/or management knowledge relevant to the faculty under review, at least two of whom should be external to the University of Sydney.
  2. A senior academic from within the faculty under review who is not the dean or an associate/pro-dean.
  3. A member of the Academic Board nominated by the Chair of the Academic Board.



























Agriculture & Environment


Engineering & Information Technologies (2nd half of April)

Education & Social Work

Veterinary Science



Architecture, Design & Planning(8 May)

Medicine (2nd half of May)
















Nursing & Midwifery (28 August) 






Arts & Social Sciences

Sydney Conservatorium of Music




Health Sciences 
















For further information on these reviews, please contact Megan Hobbs, Executive Officer, Office of the Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor.