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Academic Review Procedures

Parent Policy

Academic Review Policy

An academic review may focus on a faculty, school, department, centre or institute.  Reviews may also be undertaken of a discipline or cross-disciplinary area.

The scope of a review may vary. A review may focus on a single issue, such as international operations, industry engagement or strategic direction, or may be a comprehensive review of all aspects of an area's operations, including strategic direction, planning and quality assurance, resource management, academic programs, learning and teaching, research and research training, and external engagement activities. Existing evidence available from University processes or other internal or external reviews should be used to inform the academic review process.

The review process will:

  • Have terms of reference that reflect the specific purpose of the review
  • Include input from external stakeholders
  • Maintain a focus on standards, evidence and outcomes
  • Use key performance data, including external benchmarks
  • Consider the outcomes of relevant course reviews and external accreditation reviews
  • Consider evidence from other University processes and reviews where relevant
  • Produce a review report that identifies future directions and opportunities
  • Include an action plan with defined timelines and accountabilities
  • Require progress reports until all actions have been addressed
  • Be efficient in operation and not go beyond the terms of reference.

Resourcing of the review process is the responsibility of the area to be reviewed.

An academic review usually involves an internal review and an external review. The Provost and Dean (or for off-shore campuses, the Vice-Chancellor and Pro Vice-Chancellor of an offshore campus) will determine whether an academic review should include both stages.  Where a cross-disciplinary area is to be reviewed, the Provost will consult with the Deans of the relevant faculties and resourcing the review will be shared between those faculties.

The Academic Standards Committee may approve alternative review procedures appropriate to the scope and terms of reference of a proposed review.

Coordination and Advice

Reviews will be supported by the Monash Quality Unit.  The Monash Quality Unit will advise on the review process and provide supporting documents and data, including example terms of reference, data requirements, and report templates.

The Monash Quality Unit will maintain the University's central academic review register.

Stage 1: Inititating a Review

Deans (or Pro Vice-Chancellors of offshore campuses) and/or the Provost or Vice-Chancellor may initiate a review of an academic area or discipline at any time and may determine whether that review will consist of both an internal review and external review.

As part of the annual faculty strategic planning process, each Dean (or Pro Vice-Chancellor of an offshore campus) will nominate potential academic areas for review during the following calendar year, and specify appropriate focus/terms of reference for each review.  Examples of criteria that may prompt the nomination include the following:

  • Significant changes to strategic direction
  • Emerging opportunities for a discipline area
  • Failure to meet key performance indicators over time
  • Non-compliance with critical University policies and procedures
  • Failure to meet external standards such as the Higher Education (Threshold) Standards or professional accreditation standards
  • Budgetary challenges.

The Dean in discussion with the Provost (or the Pro Vice-Chancellor of an offshore campus and the Vice-Chancellor) will determine which of those nominated reviews are to be undertaken in the next calendar year.  Consideration will also be given to reviewing academic areas which have not been reviewed within the last five years.

Centres and institutes that exist within a faculty may be reviewed separately or as part of the organisational units to which they belong (department, school or faculty).  Newly established centres and institutes must undergo an initial review within the first two years of establishment. This may comprise an internal review only.

The Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research) will determine the review schedule for centres and institutes that exist outside of the faculties.

Each Dean (or Pro Vice-Chancellor of an off shore campus) will post a notice of scheduled reviews on the faculty/campus website. The Monash Quality Unit will post notices on the University's central academic review register.

Responsibility

Vice-Chancellor
Provost
PVC (Research)
Deans
Pro Vice-Chancellor of Offshore Campuses
Monash Quality Unit

Stage 2: Internal Review

The Dean (or Pro Vice-Chancellor of an offshore campus) will appoint the members of the Internal Review Team having consulted with the head(s) of the area(s) under review.

The relevant head(s) of the area(s) under review will oversee the internal review.

The Internal Review Team should, where possible, use a standard data set provided by the Monash Quality Unit.

Internal and external stakeholders must be notified that the internal review is taking place and invited to make submissions to the review. 

 

The Internal Review Team must report against the terms of reference and not beyond. The report will be concise and, where relevant use evidence from other reviews or processes.

The Dean (or Pro Vice-Chancellor of an offshore campus) will forward the internal review report to the Provost (or Vice-Chancellor) who will confirm whether an external review is required.  If an external review is not required, the Dean (or Pro Vice-Chancellor of an offshore campus) will provide to the Provost (or Vice-Chancellor) an action plan and make periodic progress reports against the plan.  If an external review is required, the internal review report or equivalent documentation forms the basis of the external review.  

The Dean (or Pro Vice-Chancellor of an offshore campus) will forward to the Monash Quality Unit the internal review report and action plan (if applicable) for inclusion in the University's central academic review register.

Responsibility

Vice-Chancellor
Provost
Deans
PVC of offshore campuses
Head(s) of area(s) under review
Internal Review Team
Monash Quality Unit

Stage 3: External Review

Appointment of External Review Panel

Selection of External Review Panel members is based on their experience and expertise with regard to the terms of reference.  An external review panel will normally include:

  • An appointee of the Provost (or Vice-Chancellor)
  • Two senior academics from cognate areas but external to Monash University (an international perspective is encouraged)
  • A senior Monash academic external to the area and usually external to the faculty
  • A representative from industry or an appropriate employer group
  • A current student or recent graduate of the area(s) under review.

The Dean (or Pro Vice-Chancellor of an offshore campus) will forward to the Monash Quality Unit the names and biographies of recommended members of the External Review Panel.  The Provost (or Vice-Chancellor) will consider the recommendations and approve the final membership of the Panel. The Provost will determine the chair of the Panel on the recommendation of the Dean (or the Vice-Chancellor on recommendation of the Pro Vice-Chancellor of an offshore campus).  Members of the External Review Panel will be asked to complete a ‘Disclosure of Conflict of Interest Form' prior to the commencement of the review.

The Dean (or Pro Vice-Chancellor of an offshore campus) will recommend to the Provost (or Vice-Chancellor) an appropriate Executive Officer to the Panel.  For reviews of centres or institutes outside a faculty, the area under review will recommend to the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research) or Provost an appropriate Executive Officer.

External Review Process

The Executive Officer will provide the External Review Panel with the following:

  • Internal Review Report or equivalent documentation where the review proceeds directly to an external review
  • Other supporting documentation (such as professional accreditation reports) if appropriate
  • An invitation to request any additional documentation. 

The Executive Officer will also invite input from relevant internal and external stakeholders.  Confidential submissions may be forwarded to the Panel through the Monash Quality Unit.

The Executive Officer will schedule the External Review Panel visit in consultation with the Panel members, the Dean (or Pro Vice-Chancellor of an offshore campus) and the head(s) of area(s) under review. The visit will usually take one to two days. During the visit, the Panel will normally meet with stakeholders, and consider submissions and requests for interviews.  At the end of the visit the Panel will present its preliminary findings to the Dean (or Pro Vice-Chancellor of an offshore campus).

External Review Report

The Chair will work in conjunction with the Executive Officer to draft the review report, which will be submitted to the Dean (or Pro Vice-Chancellor of an offshore campus), and head(s) of area(s) who will inform the Chair of any errors of fact.

The Chair and Executive Officer will submit the final External Review Report to the Dean (or Pro Vice-Chancellor of an offshore campus).

Responsibility

Vice-Chancellor
Provost
PVC (Academic Performance)
PVC (Research)
Deans
PVCs of offshore campuses
Head(s) of area(s) under Review
Executive Officer to the Review Panel
External Review Panel
Monash Quality Unit

Stage 4: Action Plan

On receiving the final external review report, the Dean (or Pro Vice-Chancellor of an offshore campus) and head(s) of the area(s) under review will:

  • Consider the recommendations and develop a proposed action plan
  • Report major issues to the Provost (or Vice-Chancellor)
  • Modify faculty plans if necessary.

The Dean will send the External Review Report and action plan to the Monash Quality Unit who will submit them to the appropriate Academic Board standing committee and the relevant member of senior management.  

Focus of Review Report and Action Plan

Faculty/Campus Committee

Relevant Academic Board standing committee

Relevant Member of

Senior Management

Review of faculty, school, department or discipline

Dean and/or faculty advisory committee/Faculty academic standards committee (or Campus equivalent)

Academic Standards Committee

PVC (Academic Performance)

Review of centre, institute or research area or discipline

Faculty/campus/institute research committee

Monash University Research Committee

PVC (Research)

At the end of each calendar year, the Monash Quality Unit will provide Academic Board with a summary of all completed reviews and the major outcomes of each.  The Academic Standards Committee or the Monash University Research Committee may choose to table certain review reports at Academic Board through the year.

Responsibility

Vice-Chancellor
Provost
PVC (Academic Performance)
PVC (Research)
Deans
PVCs of offshore campuses
Head(s) of area(s) under Review
Executive Officer to the Review Panel
External Review Panel
Monash Quality Unit

Stage 5: Progress Report

Twelve months after the review, the Dean (or Pro Vice-Chancellor of an offshore campus) will provide the Monash Quality Unit with a progress report on implementation of the review recommendations for on-forwarding to the relevant member of senior management and appropriate Academic Board standing committee(s). The Monash Quality Unit will also post the report on the University's central academic review register.

The Dean (or Pro Vice-Chancellor of an offshore campus) will report periodically to the relevant Academic Board standing committee on the implementation of the action plan until it has been completed.

Responsibility

Vice-Chancellor
Provost
PVC (Academic Performance)
PVC (Research)
Deans
PVCs of offshore campuses
Head(s) of area(s) under Review
Executive Officer to the Review Panel
External Review Panel
Monash Quality Unit

Academic Review of a Discipline

A review of a discipline will normally take the form of an external review with the following variations:

Deans and/or the Provost may initiate an academic review of a discipline at any time.  The review panel will normally comprise:

  • Two senior academics external to the University with expertise in the discipline.
  • Up to two senior academics internal to the University.
  • Additional members as required.

The panel members will appointed by the Provost in consultation with the relevant dean(s). The Provost will appoint one of the panel members as the Chair.

The Provost will appoint an appropriate Executive Officer to the Panel. 

The relevant faculty/faculties will be invited to provide input to the review and documentation equivalent to an internal self-review report.  The review panel will report to the Provost and relevant faculties will subsequently be asked to provide action plans and progress reports on the implementation of the review panel's recommendations.

As set out in Stage 4, discipline review reports will be submitted to Academic Standards Committee and Academic Board.

Responsibility

Vice-Chancellor
Provost
PVC (Academic Performance)
PVC (Research)
Deans
PVCs of offshore campuses
Head(s) of area(s) under Review
Executive Officer to the Review Panel
External Review Panel
Monash Quality Unit

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Version Number: 3.0Effective Date: 24-February-2014Contact: adm-PolicyBank@monash.edu