Academic Board Digest of the 29 April 2020 meeting

  1. Membership

    The following membership changes were noted:

    • Professor Pauline Nugent would resign as Provost and as an ex-officio member with effect from 31 May 2020.
    • Professor Zlatko Skrbis’ role had expanded, and his title had changed to Acting Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Education and Innovation.
    • Professor Meg Stuart’s role had changed from Director, Learning and Teaching to Acting Deputy Provost. The Senate was next due to meet on 11 June 2020 and would consider an update to Statute 2.5 to recognise the newly created position of Deputy Provost as an ex-officio member of Academic Board.
    • Associate Professor Anthony Whitty’s role had changed to Acting Director, Learning and Teaching. He was consequently appointed as an ex-officio Academic Board member pursuant to Statute 2.5.14(o) with effect from 27 April 2020.
  2. Report from the Chair of Academic Board

    An independent review of ACU’s Academic Governance Processes was underway. Emeritus Professor Hilary Winchester would be reviewing a wide range of documents including 12 months’ worth of Academic Board papers, as well as interviewing 24 Academic Board members, sub-committee members, a Senator and a Corporation member. The draft findings were due to be presented to Senate in June 2020.

    The Academic Board Travel Protocol had recently been reviewed with pleasing results. Travel expenses had been significantly reduced by 41% in 2019 as compared to 2018, with a total saving of $15,890. The bulk of the savings ($9,712) were attributed to domestic airfares.

    With respect to literature, the theme for the ACU Book of the Year and Poetry Prize 2021 was “Generosity”. The first judging meeting for the Book of the Year would be held the following week with the Chair of Academic Board, the Executive Dean, Faculty of Theology and Philosophy and the Director of Libraries. The Poetry Prize was in its seventh year and the Chair of Academic Board would be judging.

  3. Executive Approvals by the Chair of Academic Board

    Academic Board noted the following Executive Approvals by the Chair of Academic Board pursuant under cl 7.5 of the Delegations of Authority Policy:

    • 20 February 2020: to approve the withdrawal of the Bachelor of Sports and Outdoor Education courses from offer at the Brisbane, Melbourne and Strathfield campuses from Semester 1, 2020.
    • 20 February 2020: to approve the withdrawal of the Bachelor of Physical Activity and Health Science courses from offer at the Brisbane campus from Semester 1, 2020.

    It was noted that Senate had approved amendments to the Delegations of Authority Policy and Register with effect from 8 April 2020 (Resolution S 2020/019), which included the introduction of a new Schedule 1 of Extraordinary Delegations to manage the impact of COVID-19, as well as amendments to items 7.1 and 7.4-7.7, which had removed the former “Executive Approval” delegation.

  4. Registers of Decision-Making

    Academic Board noted the Registers of Decision-Making submitted on behalf of delegates under Schedule 1 of the Delegations of Authority Policy and Register as at April 2020.

  5. Office of the Acting Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education and Innovation) (DVCEI)

    The Acting Provost and DVCEI spoke to the following highlights:

    • The impact of COVID-19 in defining the academic experience.
    • The University’s enrolment plan in light of the approaching mid-year intake.
    • Challenges identified beyond Semester 1, 2021 and the need for a diversified course portfolio and rapid deployment of resources against a robust governance framework.
    • Development of digital education strategy.
    • Success of 24/7 student on-demand support service.
    • Implementation of communication plan to promote the out-of-hours crisis counselling line.
    • Launch of Student Urgent Relief Fund.

    A presentation was delivered on the Innovation Agenda. The four innovation objectives, led by the Executive Deans, were as follows:

    • Course Development: Executive Dean, Faculty of Health Sciences
    • Digital Education:Executive Dean, Faculty of Law and Business
    • Student Experience: Executive Dean, Faculty of Education and Arts
    • Financial diversity: Executive Dean, Faculty of Theology and Philosophy
  6. Office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research)

    Academic Board approved the new ACU Research Code of Conduct – Complaints & Investigations Procedure, which had been endorsed by the University Research Committee on 17 March 2020, with immediate effect.

  7. Office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Coordination)

    The DVCC outlined the ACU’s ethics strategy in line with the strategic plan, via establishment and management of The Ethics Hub.

    There was discussion regarding the following matters:

    • Academic freedom
    • Measures of success
    • Intersection with research strategy
    • Development of Core Curriculum
  8. Academic Administrative Committee

    Academic Board noted the following reports:

    • 2019 Academic Misconduct Report
    • 2019 Student Appeals Report
    • 2019 Student Complaints Report

    Academic Board approved:

    1. the proposal to include English language proficiency requirements specific to incoming study abroad and exchange (SAX) international students in Schedule 3 of the University’s Admission to Coursework Programs Policy, for implementation from semester 2, 2020.
    2. that Adjustment Factors (previously referred to as “Bonus Points”) for entry to ACU be awarded to those students who successfully complete the State 6 Learning for Mission program currently offered in schools within the auspices of Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta (CEDP), as endorsed by the Academic Administrative committee on 6 April 2020, for implementation from January 2020.
    3. the establishment of an articulation mechanism for Uni Step Up, as endorsed by the Academic Administrative Committee on 6 April 2020, with immediate effect.
    4. the adoption of revised concordance for internet-based TOEFL (TOEFL iBT) to the International English Language Testing Systems (IELTS) scores, as endorsed by the Academic Administrative Committee on 6 April 2020, with immediate effect.
  9. Courses and Academic Quality Committee

    Academic Board approved the following New Course Proposals:

    • Bachelor of Arts (Western Civilisation)
    • Higher Education Certificates in Response to the Government’s Higher Education Relief Package

    Academic Board approved the following Course Changes:

    • Bachelor of Physiotherapy (Honours)
    • Bachelor of Social Work (Honours)
    • Bachelor of Biomedical Science/Bachelor of Applied Public Health
    • Bachelor of Biomedical Science/Bachelor of Business Administration
    • Graduate Certificate in Business Administration
    • Graduate Certificate in Information Technology
    • Graduate Certificate in Finance

    Academic Board approved the Discipline Review and Curriculum Plan for the Sociology sequence in the Bachelor of Arts and consequential changes to:

    • Healthy Development minor in Bachelor of Arts
    • Bachelor of International Development Studies
    • Diploma and Bachelor of Youth Work
    • Global Studies Double Degrees
  10. Office of Planning and Strategic Management (OPSM)

    Academic Board noted:

    • Traffic Light Report
    • KPI Dashboard (Prototype)
    • Labour Market Analysis
    • TEQSA Update
  11. Reporting Committees

    Academic Board noted minutes submitted by subcommittees:

    • University Research Committee
    • Courses and Academic Quality Committee
    • Internationalisation Committee
    • Academic Administrative Committee
    • Standards and Compliance Committee
    • University Learning and Teaching Committee
    • Faculty Boards
  12. Next Meeting

    Meeting 03/2020 of the Academic Board will be held on Wednesday, 8 July 2020 at 10:00 am, mode of meeting TBC.


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