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Academic Progress policy

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Section 1 - Preamble

(1) This Policy came into effect for all study periods which commence on or after 18 June 2018, ie from Trimester 2, 2018 and Semester 2, 2018 on. Please note that the Academic Progress procedure for Trimester 1, 2018 and Semester 1 2018 is here.

(2) This Policy is pursuant to Regulation 5.3(1) - Assessment and Academic Progress in Higher Education Award Courses.

(3) This Policy includes the following schedule:

  1. Schedule A: Actions to support students at risk of or making unsatisfactory academic progress.
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Section 2 - Purpose

(4) This Policy outlines the principles and responsibilities and processes for promoting and supporting students’ academic progress.

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Section 3 - Scope

(5) This Policy applies to students enrolled in the University's higher education award courses, other than higher degrees by research.

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Section 4 - Policy

University commitment

(6) The University upholds academic standards and will implement a process for detecting and supporting students at risk of unsatisfactory academic progress.

Maintaining satisfactory academic progress

(7) Students enrolled in a course are expected to maintain satisfactory academic progress. This includes:

  1. completing the academic requirements of their course at a satisfactory level
  2. maintaining a satisfactory rate of academic progress, finishing their course within the maximum period of study, if applicable, or within the expected course duration specified on an international student’s confirmation of enrolment
  3. satisfying the requirements of any compulsory placements in their course.

(8) Students are expected to:

  1. seek assistance from the University if they are not making satisfactory academic progress
  2. reflect and act upon any advice or notifications that University staff give them to support their academic progress
  3. respond in writing where a faculty proposes to put conditions on their enrolment or to exclude them for unsatisfactory academic progress.

Responsibility for monitoring of student academic progress

(9) Faculties will formally monitor student academic progress:

  1. at the end of each study period, including for compulsory placement periods
  2. after unit results are finalised late or outside the normal timeframes.

(10) Informal academic progress monitoring and support may occur whenever a staff member identifies a student as having difficulty in completing aspects of their study.

(11) Each Faculty Board will establish an Academic Progress Committee to identify students at risk of, or making, unsatisfactory academic progress, decide and implement formal actions to support the student, monitor trends and issues in student academic progress and report and make recommendations for improvements.

Actions to support student academic progress

(12) The University will provide services, including support, to help students maintain satisfactory academic progress and, where appropriate, will place conditions on a student’s enrolment or will apply a period of exclusion from the course where the student’s circumstances are not conducive to study.

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Section 5 - Procedure

Support for students

(13) Before the census date in each study period, the Division of Student Life will contact all  commencing students to remind them of the University’s academic progress requirements and the services that can help students with any issues that might interfere with their studies.

Academic Progress Committee

(14) After each study period, the Academic Progress Committee will identify and notify any students who require formal action strategies based on result reports provided by the Division of Student Administration.

(15) The Academic Progress Committee will consist of:

  1. an academic staff member as Chair who will have a minimum of three years’ experience in teaching and assessment, and
  2. one or more academic staff members from each Academic Unit in the Faculty, each with a minimum of two years’ experience in teaching and assessment.

(16) If the Chair is unavailable or otherwise unable to act an alternative Chair will be appointed by the Chair from the Committee members.

(17) Committee members will respond to enquiries from staff and students in their Academic Unit about academic progress matters.

(18) The Faculty Executive Dean or Institute Director will appoint Academic Progress Coordinator/s to administer reviews of academic progress and support the Academic Progress Committee.

Monitoring academic progress

(19) Students will be invited to seek support where they:

  1. are enrolled in compulsory units in the first year of a course, or units designated by the Course Director, and fail an early summative assessment task nominated by the Unit Chair, or
  2. have failed a unit, but less than 50% of their enrolled credit points, in the most recent study period.

(20) Students judged to be at risk of, or making, unsatisfactory academic progress by the Academic Progress Committee will be notified and provided with support in accordance with Schedule A: Actions to support students at risk of or making unsatisfactory academic progress.

(21) Where a student would have been supported through conditions on their enrolment or by exclusion, except that one or more of their results was finalised late, the Academic Progress Committee will take action according to Schedule A: Actions to support students at risk of or making unsatisfactory academic progress.

(22) In monitoring academic progress, units offered in Start Anytime mode will be considered as a unit enrolment in the study period when the unit is completed.

(23) Student performance in compulsory placements will be monitored according to the Student Placement procedure.

Student notification and response

(24) Academic Progress Committees will notify students identified under this Procedure, using the prescribed template, to explain:

  1. why the student’s academic progress is of concern
  2. any proposed action/s according to this Procedure or Schedule A: Actions to support students at risk of or making unsatisfactory academic progress
  3. where the student may wish or may be required to attend a meeting to discuss their academic progress and any action/s
  4. the grounds upon which a student may apply for a review of their academic progress and a proposed action according to clause 27
  5. available dates when the student may apply for a review of their academic progress and any proposed action. Dates will be at least 10 days after the date of the notification.

(25) All students who receive notification from an Academic Progress Committee regarding unsatisfactory academic progress are required to respond to the notification by email or other approved online method.

(26) When a student notifies the Academic Progress Committee that they accept the proposed action, or do not respond within the specified timeframe, the Committee will notify the student that the action will be implemented or, if appropriate, noted in the student’s record for future enrolment. Subsequent review of the action in this case is not permitted except if clause 28 applies.

Applying for a review of academic progress and proposed actions

(27) A student may apply for a review of their academic progress and proposed conditions on their enrolment or exclusion from their course.

(28) To apply for a review of academic progress and proposed conditions or exclusion, the student must lodge their application using the approved form by email or approved online method with the faculty within 10 working days of the date of notification of the proposed actions, along with a written submission explaining the:

  1. circumstances that have affected their academic performance and any supporting documents; where these are in a language other than English, they must be accompanied by a certified translation
  2. action/s they have taken or plan to take to address those factors
  3. action/s that they believe would be more appropriate for their circumstances.

(29) The faculty may agree to accept late review applications where exceptional circumstances outside the student’s control have prevented the student from applying within the normal timeframe. Failure to thoroughly check email is not an exceptional circumstance. Academic Progress Committee Chairs will consult Deakin International when international students ask to submit late applications.

(30) The Academic Progress Committee Chair will decide that there were:

  1. exceptional circumstances, in which case the faculty will review the student’s application in accordance with this procedure or
  2. no exceptional circumstances, in which case the student and, where relevant, Deakin International, is informed in writing within five working days of the faculty’s decision and the reasons for that decision.
This decision is not appealable.

Review of academic progress and proposed action by Academic Progress Subcommittee

(31) The Chair of the Academic Progress Committee will convene an Academic Progress Subcommittee/s to hear reviews of students’ academic progress and proposed academic progress actions. The Academic Progress Subcommittee will:

  1. have two or three members, with appropriate gender representation where possible, and may include a member/s of the student’s course team
  2. be chaired by a member of the Academic Progress Committee or academic staff member with at least two years’ experience in teaching and assessment
  3. include a staff member, either academic or professional, who is familiar with the structure and requirements of the student’s course
  4. if appropriate, have a third member appointed by the Chair from a pool of appropriately trained staff from across the Faculty approved by Faculty Board
  5. ensure members do not have any conflict of interest in reviewing the student’s academic progress and proposed action.

(32) The Faculty Associate Dean, Teaching and Learning or Institute equivalent will ensure appropriate training of Academic Progress Committee and Subcommittee members for their roles.

Review meeting

(33) If the student advises the faculty that they wish to attend a review meeting to discuss their academic progress and proposed actions, the Academic Progress Subcommittee will notify the student of:

  1. the date and location of the hearing
  2. the right to bring a support person with them who is not a practising lawyer
  3. where appropriate, the option to participate in the meeting by telephone or other technology.

(34) If the student does not attend a faculty review meeting to discuss their progress, the Academic Progress Subcommittee determines the outcome on the basis of the student’s written submission and any other relevant information provided by the student or faculty.

(35) The review meeting will take place according to the following process:

  1. the Academic Progress Subcommittee will first consider the student’s written submission and other available information
  2. the Subcommittee will then invite the student and support person (where relevant) to join them
  3. the student is given the opportunity to discuss their circumstances and why they do not think the conditions or exclusion would be appropriate for them, and to discuss other possible actions to improve their academic progress
  4. where the support person has expertise likely to assist the Subcommittee on procedural, technical or factual matters or if the student requires reasonable adjustments, the Subcommittee will allow the support person to speak on the student’s behalf if the need arises.

(36) The Academic Progress Subcommittee may adjourn a review meeting at any time, but wherever possible the same staff should continue to consider the student’s situation at a later time. If it is not possible for the Subcommittee to reconvene in person, the decision may be made by circulation. Where new information is considered, the student will have the opportunity to respond to it in person or in writing according to the nature of the reconvened meeting.

(37) The Academic Progress Subcommittee does not have to make a decision at the time of the review meeting and may take any additional time it requires to reach its decision, as soon as practicable but not exceeding 10 working days.

(38) A decision of the Academic Progress Subcommittee is reached in private, by simple majority with the Chair having the casting vote.

(39) Where the Academic Progress Subcommittee is persuaded that the reasons for the student’s unsatisfactory academic progress have been addressed or no longer apply, or that an action would not be appropriate in the circumstances such as the student’s subsequent results, it may vary the action as set out in Schedule A: Actions to support students at risk of or making unsatisfactory academic progress.

(40) The Academic Progress Subcommittee may also require students to access academic support services and make other recommendations.

(41) When it has come to a decision, the Academic Progress Subcommittee must notify the student within five working days and, where relevant, Deakin International, of the decision, its reasons for the decision, and the right to appeal according to clause 48-49.

Re-admission after exclusion

(42) A student who has been excluded for unsatisfactory academic progress may apply to the Academic Progress Committee to be re-admitted to their course after the period of exclusion. To apply, the student must:

  1. use the prescribed form
  2. apply by the deadline set out in the letter notifying the student of the exclusion, or equivalent dates for subsequent study periods, and
  3. provide supporting documentation, including information on how the student has addressed the factors that led to their previous unsatisfactory academic progress and their strategies for returning to study successfully; where any documentation is in a language other than English, it must be accompanied by a certified translation.

(43) The Academic Progress Committee will consider documentation submitted by the student and may invite the student to attend a meeting with the Committee.

(44) The Academic Progress Committee approves re-admission only if:

  1. there is evidence that the student will be able to achieve satisfactory academic progress, and
  2. there are no issues preventing re-admission, such as professional accreditation requirements, and
  3. for international students, Deakin International approves readmission.
The faculty will notify the student as soon as practicable, and within 10 days, of their decision and the reasons for it.

(45) A re-admitted student’s previous unsatisfactory academic progress will not be considered by the Academic Progress Committee in monitoring the student’s academic progress after re-admission.

Records and reporting

(46) As soon as practicable after the faculty has reached its decision, the Academic Progress Coordinator will:

  1. coordinate the implementation of the outcome except where the student appeals the outcome in line with clauses 48 and 49, in which case the decision will not be implemented until the University Appeals Committee process is complete. If the students appeals to the Victorian Ombudsman, their enrolment will be maintained until the external appeal process is complete
  2. record the decision and outcome in a central register as well as on the student’s record
  3. securely retain or dispose of documents according to the Information and Records Management procedure.

(47) The Chair of the Academic Progress Committee will provide an annual report to the Faculty Board and Academic Board, via Teaching and Learning Committee, about processes within the faculty, aggregated data (maintaining confidentiality) and analysis related to unsatisfactory academic progress and outcomes, trends over time and recommendations.

Appealing the review outcome or re-admission decision

(48) A student may appeal to the University Appeals Committee against a review decision or a re-admission decision, on one or more of the following grounds:

  1. there is new mitigating evidence that the student was not able to provide at the time of the Academic Progress Subcommittee review or consideration of their application for re-admission, which may have affected the faculty’s decision had it been available at the time
  2. there was a misapplication of procedures resulting in some disadvantage to the student
  3. having regard to the evidence before the Academic Progress Subcommittee, the action imposed was too severe.

(49) The appeal must be lodged in writing within 20 working days of being notified of the decision according to the Student Appeals procedure.

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Section 6 - Definitions

(50) For the purpose of this Policy:

  1. academic progress: a student’s progress towards successful completion of their course/s and, where relevant, of any compulsory placements.
  2. conditions on enrolment: placing conditions on a student’s enrolment, such as:
    1. requiring the student to pass certain units
    2. limiting the number of units the student can take in the next study period to increase their likelihood of success
    3. specifying which units the student can take
    4. requiring the student to transfer into another course.
  3. exclusion: the termination by the University of a student's enrolment in a course with no right to apply for re-admission for a specified period of up to one year, beginning on the first day of the study period in which the decision to exclude is taken.
  4. intermission: the approved suspension of study by a student after enrolling in a course, usually for a total period of not more than one year.
  5. maximum period of study: the maximum period of time that may be taken by a student to complete a course of study in accordance with the Admission Process, Enrolment, Fees and Charges policy
  6. notify: all correspondence relating to a student’s academic progress will be sent to the student’s Deakin email address.
  7. Start Anytime: a student can begin a unit at any time of the year, and complete it online at their own pace within one year.
  8. study period: a defined teaching period specified by a faculty for the completion of units for a particular course.