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Academic Progress procedure

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Section 1 - Preamble

(1) This Procedure was approved by Academic Board on 14 May 2013, and incorporates all amendments to 11 April 2017. This Procedure comes into effect for study periods commencing on or after 10 July 2017.

(2) This Procedure is pursuant to the Regulation 5.3(1) - Assessment and Academic Progress in Higher Education Award Courses and includes the following schedule:

  1. Schedule A: Unsatisfactory Academic Progress-Proposed Actions.
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Section 2 - Purpose

(3) This Procedure documents the processes relating to the Academic Progress of students enrolled in the University's higher education award courses, other than higher degrees by research.

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Section 3 - Scope

(4) This Procedure 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

(5) Refer to Regulation 5.3(1) - Assessment and Academic Progress in Higher Education Award Courses.

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Section 5 - Procedure

(6) Faculty Committees review the Academic Progress of students after each trimester to identify students who are at risk of unsatisfactory Academic Progress and students who have made unsatisfactory Academic Progress.

Proposed actions

(7) When the Faculty Committee has identified a student as being at risk of unsatisfactory Academic Progress, the Committee:

  1. notifies the student in writing; and
  2. implements a strategy to assist the student to improve his or her academic performance.

(8) When a student has made unsatisfactory Academic Progress, the Faculty Committee notifies the student in writing and may propose one or more of the actions specified in Schedule A.

Responding to proposed actions

(9) Students are responsible for ensuring that the University has their correct contact details and for checking their mail and email for University correspondence. International students are required to notify the University within seven working days of a change of address.

(10) All enrolled students who receive notification from a Faculty Committee regarding unsatisfactory Academic Progress, irrespective of whether they withdraw or transfer from their course are required to respond to the Faculty Committee's proposed actions.

(11) Students who receive a warning are advised to seek assistance from their School to improve their academic performance.

(12) Students who receive notice of a proposed action, made pursuant to clause 8.2(a) - (e) of Regulation 5.3(1) - Assessment and Academic Progress in Higher Education Courses may either:

  1. accept the proposal by notifying the Faculty Committee in writing, or
  2. make a written submission to the Faculty Committee, within 10 working days of the date of notification of a proposed action, to show cause as to why the proposed action should not be implemented.

(13) When a student notifies the Faculty Committee that he or she accepts the proposed action, the Faculty Committee confirms the action in writing and implements it.

(14) When a student does not respond, within the specified timeframe, he or she will be deemed to have accepted the proposed action. The Faculty Committee's will confirm the action in writing and implement it as soon as practicable.

Late submission of show cause applications

(15) An enrolled student may make a written application to the Faculty Committee to submit a late show cause application on the grounds that exceptional circumstances prevented the student applying to show cause within the timeframe. The student must provide evidence supporting the exceptional circumstances. Failure to collect or check correspondence or advise the University of a change of address are not exceptional circumstances. For international students, faculty chairs will review the application in consultation with Deakin International.

(16) If the Faculty Committee considers a request for a late submission and determines that there were no exceptional circumstances, the student and, where relevant, Deakin International, is informed:

  1. in writing within five working days of the decision and the reasons for the decision, and
  2. of the right of appeal to the University Appeals Committee within 20 working days of the date on which the notice of the decision could reasonably have been received.

(17) If the Faculty Committee determines that there were exceptional circumstances, the Faculty Committee must then determine the substantive Academic Progress matter, in accordance with this Procedure.

(18) If an appeal to the University Appeals Committee regarding a Faculty Committee decision not to accept a late submission on the grounds of exceptional circumstances is successful, the matter is referred back to the Faculty Committee for hearing of the substantive Academic Progress matter, in accordance with this Procedure.

Show cause proceedings

(19) All staff involved in a Faculty Committee or University Appeals Committee hearing shall comply with and are bound by the provisions of the Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014 (Vic), the Health Records Act 2001 (Vic) and must also comply with the University's Code of Conduct, and the Equity and Diversity policy and Conflict of Interest procedure.

(20) The Faculty Committee considers written submissions from students to show cause as to why a proposed action should not be implemented, and may decide to:

  1. take no further action, other than to issue a warning, or
  2. vary the proposed action, or
  3. continue with the proposed action.

(21) When a student notifies the Faculty Committee that they will attend a show cause hearing, the Faculty Committee will notify the student of the date, time and place of the hearing. The student may be accompanied by a person of their choice, who is not a practicing lawyer. The University will not be legally represented.

(22) If the student does not attend the hearing, the Faculty Committee considers the student's written submission, relevant Faculty documentation and any other evidence, and makes a decision in accordance with Regulation 5.3 (1) - Assessment and Academic Progress in Higher Education Courses.

(23) If the student does attend the hearing, the Faculty Committee firstly considers the student's written submission and any other available evidence. The student and their accompanying person are then invited into the hearing and the student is given the opportunity to explain (show cause) why the Faculty Committee's proposed decision should not be made.

(24) The members of the Faculty Committee may question the student. The Faculty Committee should permit the accompanying person to speak on behalf of the student if the need arises.

(25) The Faculty Committee may adjourn a hearing at any time, but the same Faculty Committee must continue to hear and consider the case at a later time. If it is not possible for the panel to reconvene in person, the matter will be determined by circulation.

(26) The Faculty Committee is not bound to make a decision at the time of a hearing and may take any additional reasonable time it requires to consider its decision.

Show cause decisions

(27) A decision of the Faculty Committee is reached in private, by simple majority with the Chair having the casting vote. The Faculty Committee may decide to:

  1. confirm and implement its proposed decision, or
  2. vary its proposed decision and implement a lesser measure, or
  3. withdraw its proposed decision, and
  4. impose restrictions or conditions on the student as part of its decision, in accordance with Regulation 5.3 (1) Assessment and Academic Progress in Higher Education Courses.

(28) The Faculty Committee must notify the student and, where relevant, Deakin International of:

  1. the decision and reasons for decision; and
  2. the right of appeal to the University Appeals Committee within 20 working days of the date on which the notice of the decision could reasonably have been received.

(29) The decision will be implemented immediately, except where the student appeals the outcome to the University Appeals Committeee and the decision relates to suspension or exclusion, in which case the decision will not be implemented until the University Appeals Committee process is complete. If the student appeals to the Victorian Ombudsman, their enrolment will be maintain until the external appeal process is complete.

Automatic exclusion

(30) Students who receive notice of a proposed action made pursuant to clause 8.2(c) and (e) of Regulation 5.3(1) Assessment and Academic Progress in Higher Education Courses, may be automatically excluded unless they can demonstrate exceptional circumstances beyond their control that prevented them from complying with a prescription or restriction, or condition, imposed by a Faculty Committee or the University Appeals Committee.

(31) In cases of automatic exclusion, a student may show cause on the grounds that there were exceptional circumstances beyond their control that prevented compliance with the previously imposed restriction or prescription.

(32) The student seeking a hearing must lodge a written submission outlining the grounds of exceptional circumstances to the Secretary of the Faculty Committee within 10 working days of the date the notice of decision could reasonably have been received.

(33) A hearing is then held and decision communicated in accordance with this Procedure.

Appeals

(34) A student may appeal to the University Appeals Committee against a decision of a Faculty Committee, other than decisions of automatic exclusion and non-acceptance of late show cause applications, on the following grounds:

  1. there is new mitigating evidence which the student was not reasonably able to present at the show cause hearing that may have affected the Faculty Committee'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 Faculty Committee, the penalty imposed was too severe.

(35) In the case of a decision to automatically exclude a student, a student may appeal on the grounds that there were exceptional circumstances beyond the control of the student that prevented compliance with the previously imposed condition or restriction.

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

Re-admission after exclusion

(37) A student who has been excluded from his or her course or from the University may apply to the Faculty Committee to be re-admitted to his or her course, or to a new course, in order to recommence studies after the period of exclusion.

(38) The Faculty Committee advises students in writing of the processes and timeframes for re-admission after exclusion.

(39) The Faculty Committee normally only approves re-admission of a student after exclusion if there is evidence that the student is able to achieve satisfactory Academic Progress. The Faculty Committee will advise students in writing of their decision.

Records and reporting

(40) As soon as practicable after the Faculty Committee or University Appeals Committee has reached its decision, the Secretary provides the Records Unit with a full copy of the proceedings and all material considered by the Committee, and provides a report on the outcome of a hearing to:

  1. the relevant Faculty Board, in the case of a Faculty Committee
  2. the Academic Board, in the case of the University Appeals Committee.

(41) All reporting must be anonymous and confidential.

(42) All documentation associated with proceedings, except the documentation provided to the Records Unit, shall be collected by the Secretary at the end of a hearing and disposed of securely.

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Section 6 - Definitions

(43) For the purpose of this Procedure:

  1. Academic Progress: as defined in Regulation 5.3(1) - Assessment and Academic Progress in Higher Education Award Courses.
  2. exclusion: as defined in Regulation 5.3 (1) Assessment and Academic Progress in Higher Education Courses.
  3. Faculty Committee: is the relevant committee appointed by each Faculty Board to deal with assessment and Academic Progress matters as specified in Regulation 5.3(1) (sometimes named 'Faculty Academic Progress and Discipline Committee', or 'Faculty Academic Progress Committee', or 'Academic Progress Subcommittee').
  4. Maximum Period of Study: the maximum period of time that may be taken by a student to complete a course of study. The maximum period of study is determined according to the following formula; however, Faculty Boards may increase the maximum period of study for a course. Faculty Boards may also vary this period for an individual student. Students will be notified in writing as soon as possible, and any variations require approval by the Academic Board:
    1. Maximum Period of Study = 2n + 1u (not including period of intermission), where 'n' is the number of years or trimesters taken to complete the course when undertaking a full-time load (a full-time load is normally 8 credit points per year) and 'u' is the length of time taken to complete one unit of study (usually a trimester or a year).
  5. students are considered to have made unsatisfactory Academic Progress, when:
    1. they have failed at least 50 per cent of credit points in each of the preceding two (2) trimesters, or
    2. they have failed a unit twice, or
    3. they have failed a compulsory practicum or placement, or
    4. they will not complete their course within the maximum period of study.
  6. University Appeals Committee: a standing committee of Academic Board to hear and determine student academic appeals as specified in Regulation 5.3(1) - Assessment and Academic Progress in Higher Education Award Courses.
  7. unsatisfactory academic progress: Students are considered to be at risk of unsatisfactory Academic Progress when:
    1. they have failed one or more units in a trimester, or
    2. they are unlikely to complete their course within the maximum period of study.