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Academic Partnerships Policy

Section 1 - Preamble

(1) This Policy is effective from 1 January 2024.

(2) This Policy is pursuant to:

  1. Academic Board Regulations
  2. Vice-Chancellor Regulations.

(3) This Policy includes Schedule A: Academic Partnerships Risks and Approval Assessment Matrix

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Section 2 - Purpose

(4) This Policy governs academic partnerships and aims to:

  1. provide a framework for decision-making regarding the development, approval and management of Academic Partnerships that provide lasting value and benefits for students, partners and Deakin
  2. ensure alignment with the University’s values, strategic objectives, and maintenance of quality and academic standards.
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Section 3 - Scope

(5) This Policy governs the University’s Academic Partnerships with external partners and provides a governance framework for the approval and review of Academic Partnerships between the University and any external partner.

(6) Partnerships that fall outside of defined categories of Academic Partnerships (clause 14) are governed by the External Relationships and Partnerships policy. Partnerships principally focused on research and research training are governed by the Higher Degrees by Research (HDR) Partnership procedure and the Research Conduct policy.

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Section 4 - Policy

(7) This Policy is to be read in conjunction with the External Relationships and Partnerships policy.

Academic Partnerships

(8) Academic Partnerships are a form of Partnership principally focused on the University’s teaching and learning.

(9) Academic partnerships comprise:

  1. formal collaboration in teaching and learning related activities that contribute to, and align with, the University’s values and strategic objectives; and
  2. a written arrangement, commitment, agreement or contract with an external partner, regardless of whether it is legally binding or not.

Academic Partnerships principles

(10) Academic Partnerships will:

  1. comply with Partnership Principles set out in the External Relationships and Partnerships policy
  2. uphold Deakin’s academic quality and standards
  3. contribute to high quality learning, teaching, and student experiences
  4. be financially sustainable and consistent with the University’s risk appetite statement and risk management framework
  5. comply with all relevant external legislative and regulatory requirements
  6. comply with all relevant internal policy requirements.

Academic Partnerships involving First Nations partners

(11) Prior to approaching or commencing negotiations with any First Nations community or organisation, the Office of Indigenous Strategy and Innovation must be consulted.

Academic Partnerships involving international partners

(12) Any Deakin staff member or student who engages, or proposes to engage, in any activity or Partnership with a foreign government, foreign university, foreign business or any other foreign organisation or entity as part of their University business must undertake an evaluation of the risk of foreign interference, foreign influence and/or statutory reporting or regulatory obligations that is posed by the proposed activity or Partnership in accordance with the International Relations Regulation policy.

(13) Prior to approaching or commencing negotiations with any potential foreign academic partner:

  1. an evaluation of the risk of foreign interference, foreign influence and/or statutory reporting or regulatory obligations that is posed by the proposed activity or Partnership must be undertaken in accordance with clause 20 of the External Relationships and Partnerships policy and
  2. the International Relations, Partnerships and Transnational Education team must be consulted.

Categories of Academic Partnership Activity

(14) The University routinely engages in Academic Partnership activities that are covered by the Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2021 which include but are not limited to:

  1. Access to the University: activities that support the recruitment, admission, participation, and success of particular cohorts of students, such as high-achieving students, those from under-represented and/or disadvantaged groups, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. Outreach and recruitment activities are categorised as Academic Partnerships only when explicitly conferring eligibility for admission or embedded in higher education course design.
  2. Articulation arrangements that may involve recognition of prior learning and/or advanced standing in Deakin courses.
  3. Course delivery Partnerships that may lead to joint or dual awards, utilise third party delivery arrangements, and/or involve transnational education.
  4. Graduate employment Partnerships that may optimise the employability of Deakin Graduates and their effective transition into employment.
  5. Industry Partnerships including structured engagement with industry, including but not limited to industry sponsored places, executive education programs, and continuing professional education programs.
  6. Student mobility Partnerships involving the hosting or receiving of Deakin students for a study experience at another location in Australia or overseas. Student mobility may include student exchange, study abroad, short-term programs, internships, practicums and placements. International student mobility is regulated by the Student International Programs and Placements Procedure.
  7. Student placements undertaken by students of the University as a compulsory or elective part of their course, including learning and/or assessment activities undertaken in a professional or business workplace or community setting or creative practice which may be paid or unpaid, in Australia or overseas, on-site or online and includes internships, practicums and placements. Student placements are regulated by the Student Placement procedure.
  8. TAFE Partnerships including but not limited to those involving articulation arrangements, course delivery Partnerships, and collaborative engagement with industry.

Academic Partnership Risk and Approval Assessment

(15) A staff member who proposes to enter into a new Academic Partnership will undertake a risk analysis of the proposed Partnership and, using the risk matrix in Schedule A: Academic Partnerships Risks and Approval Assessment Matrix, identify the risk type of the Partnership and the approval and agreement requirements that apply in clause 16.

(16) The assessed level of risk will determine the approvals required:

  1. low risk Partnerships do not require an Academic Partnership Agreement or additional approvals under this Policy
  2. medium risk Partnerships may require an Academic Partnership Agreement and approval by an Authorised Signatory in accordance with clauses 14 and 20 of the Contracts procedure
  3. high risk Partnerships require an Academic Partnership Agreement and approval by the relevant member of the Executive
  4. Partnerships involving course delivery are automatically identified as High Risk.
Risk thresholds will be defined in the University's protocols and best practice guidelines and reviewed at least annually.

Academic Partnership Agreements

(17) The University may enter into Academic Partnership Agreements, which are formal written agreements or contracts that set out the terms for collaboration along with each party’s responsibilities.

(18) Academic Partnership Agreements must be developed in accordance with the academic partnership principles above, and the requirements of the Contracts policy and Delegations Policy.

Academic Partnership Agreement Approval

(19) Members of the Executive are responsible for ensuring that Academic Partnership Agreements developed within their portfolio are approved and signed by Authorised Signatories in accordance with this Policy, clauses 14 and 20 of the Contracts procedure and the Delegations Policy.

(20) Academic Partnership Agreements may only be approved on the basis of proposals that, appropriate to the scale and complexity of the partnership, satisfactorily address the following considerations:

  1. an outline of the Partnership’s alignment with the University’s strategic objectives, including Deakin’s strategic plan and values
  2. a risk and benefit analysis of the proposed Partnership
  3. a due diligence analysis on the proposed partner, including whether the proposed partner is a current or former partner of the University
  4. the extent of any consultation undertaken with other relevant areas in the University
  5. reference to the category/categories of Academic Partnership activity in the proposal (see clause 14)
  6. if the proposed Academic Partnership Agreement is with a First Nations community or organisation, evidence of endorsement by the Pro Vice-Chancellor, Indigenous Strategy and Innovation or nominee
  7. if the proposed Academic Partnership Agreement is with an international partner, evidence of consultation with the International Relations, Partnerships and Transnational Education team and endorsement by the Pro Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (International) or nominee, and compliance with requirements of the International Relations Regulation policy
  8. reference to how the Partnership will demonstrate compliance with the University’s policies and procedures
  9. an academic partnership quality assurance plan, which includes the name of the staff member responsible for managing the partnership.

Records, Monitoring and Review

(21) All staff members responsible for managing a Partnership under this Policy must ensure that:

  1. appropriate records are maintained with respect to the Partnership in accordance with the Information and Records Management policy and Information and Records Management procedure; and
  2. appropriate and current records are maintained in the Deakin Partners Saleforce CRM of partnership and contract management information such as partner contacts, interactions, visits, reviews, outcomes and actions, in accordance with the University’s protocols. 

(22) All current Academic Partnership Agreements must be reviewed at least every 12 months or prior to the end of any relevant term or duration (whichever period is shorter); and records of reviews and their outcomes maintained in accordance with clause 21 and made available to relevant course teams.

(23) Academic partnership quality assurance plans will embed a commitment to excellence and continuous quality improvement cycles.

(24) Members of the Executive will ensure that an annual report is provided to the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic for submission to the Academic Board on academic quality of Academic Partnerships associated with their portfolio, and where relevant, reports on outcomes to Academic Board and/or Faculty Boards at a frequency commensurate with the scale and complexity of the Partnership.

Termination

(25) Members of the Executive will ensure that the termination of an Academic Partnership Agreement within their portfolio is carried out in a way that ensures the University’s interests are protected and that its reputation is protected.

(26) Decisions about the termination of an Academic Partnership Agreement will include consideration of:

  1. the impact to students and the student experience, including teach-out responsibilities to students
  2. legal and financial risks and obligations
  3. legislative and policy requirements.
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Section 5 - Procedure 

(27) In addition to requirements associated with the Contracts policy and Delegations Policy, the following procedures and guidelines document how to comply with this Policy:

Category of Partnership Relevant Academic Policies and Procedures
Access
Admission policy and related procedures
Higher Education Courses policy and related procedures
Articulation
Admission policy and related procedures
Higher Education Courses policy and related procedures
Course delivery: Awards
Higher Education Courses policy and related procedures
Course delivery: Third Party
Higher Education Courses policy and related procedures
Graduate employment Higher Education Courses policy and related procedures
Industry engagement  Higher Education Courses policy and related procedures
Student mobility  Student International Programs and Placements Procedure 
Student Placement procedure
Student placements  Student Placement procedure
TAFE Partnerships 
Admission policy and related procedures
Higher Education Courses policy and related procedures
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Section 6 - Definitions

(28) For the purpose of this Policy:

  1. Academic Partnership: a written arrangement, commitment or agreement that supports formal collaboration in teaching and learning related activities that contribute to, and align with, the University's values and strategic objectives.
  2. Academic Partnership Agreement: a written agreement (contract) approved and signed by Authorised Signatories of the University that satisfies without limitation, requirements of the Contracts policyContracts procedure and Delegations Policy.
  3. Authorised Signatories: a staff member(s) with authority to approve Academic Partnerships in accordance with the Contracts procedure and the Delegations Policy
  4. Partnership: has the same meaning as in the External Relationships and Partnerships policy.