This policy is to ensure a robust approach to the approval, amendment, review and discontinuation of award courses offered by the Australian Catholic University, and to ensure that consistent course quality assurance processes are maintained.
This policy applies to all undergraduate and postgraduate coursework award courses and higher degrees by research with a coursework component, and to non-award courses comprising units drawn from approved undergraduate and postgraduate coursework programs.
Under the relevant Australian Government legislation, Australian universities are responsible for their academic standards and are authorised to accredit their own courses. The qualifications awarded are in accordance with the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) and courses must align with the AQF criteria for courses at the relevant level. Universities must have appropriate quality assurance processes in place, including peer assessment processes, external examination of higher degrees and the involvement of professional bodies in the accreditation of particular courses.
In exercising this responsibility, all courses offered by ACU require formal approval by the Senate on the advice of the Academic Board.
It is recognised that there is ongoing need for development and change and that each Faculty should maintain a schedule of at least five-yearly reviews of its existing courses.
The terms used in this policy and the associated Guidelines for Course Approval Amendment and Review are available on in the Glossary of Terms available on the ACU website (http://www.acu.edu.au/272117)
5. Course Approval Processes and Timelines
5.1 It is important to recognise that there is considerable lead time required for the development, approval and introduction of changes to courses. The normal timelines for course approval, amendment and review are contained in Section B8 of the Guidelines for Course Approval, Amendment and Review.
5.2 Where there is demonstrated need for accelerated approval, some steps of the timeline may be combined with the prior written approval of the Chair of Academic Board.
5.3 Any proposal to develop a new course requires approval from the Course Concept Approval Committee.
5.4 In some cases, approval to introduce a new specialisation or major may also require Course Concept Approval. The approval pathways are detailed in Section B9 of the Guidelines for Course Approval, Amendment and Review.
5.5 In the case of development of a new course or specialisation, or review of an existing course or specialisation, the Dean will establish a Course Development Committee or Course Review Committee respectively, in accordance with the Guidelines for Course Approval, Amendment and Review.
5.6 All proposals requiring Academic Board or Senate approval will be submitted through the relevant Faculty Board(s) to the Courses and Academic Quality Committee for recommendation to Academic Board and will be accompanied by an executive summary and evaluative statement by the relevant Executive Dean(s).
5.7 Academic Board will give due consideration to the academic and resource implications of the proposal. After such consideration the Academic Board may:
in the case of a new course or specialisation, recommend the proposal, in its original form or with such amendments as the Academic Board may determine, to Senate for approval;
approve a proposal in its original form or with such amendments as the Academic Board may determine;
refer the proposal back to the Faculty Board for further consideration.
5.8 Except with the prior written approval of the Chair of Academic Board, no new or reviewed course or other major course change may be advertised or implemented until approved by the relevant approval authority referred to in Section B9 of the Guidelines for Course Approval, Amendment and Review.
5.9 Any course which requires external accreditation/registration cannot normally be advertised or offered until approval to proceed is granted by the relevant professional body.
5.10 Where such approval is granted, any promotional material must clearly indicate that offering of the course is subject to final approval and/or accreditation.
6. Review of Course Offerings
6.1 Each course of the University will be subject to a five-yearly cyclical review.
6.2 Each Faculty will also review the viability of courses each year. This review will inform a consolidated proposal for the development of new courses and the amendment or discontinuation of relevant existing courses.
6.3 The proposal will be prepared and submitted by each Faculty to Academic Board in February each year.
7.1 A recommendation to discontinue a course, specialisation or major will be recommended by Faculty Board, endorsed by Courses & Academic Quality Committee and can only be approved by Academic Board.
7.2 Where a decision has been made to discontinue a course, specialisation or major:
no new offers of admission will be made in the course for enrolment periods from the date of approved discontinuation; and
arrangements will be made to ensure all existing students can either complete the course of study, or transition to an equivalent or suitable course at no disadvantage.
8. Course Rules and Nomenclature
8.1 Course rules for each course must be approved by Academic Board.
8.2 Any amendments to course rules and offerings must also be approved by Academic Board, in accordance with the timelines detailed in Section B8 of the Guidelines for Course Approval, Amendment and Review.
8.3 The addition of new courses and changes to the titles of courses, specialisations and majors must be specified in the Nomenclature Schedule, and must be consistent with the Policy on Nomenclature of Awards.
8.4 Any such additions or amendments to the Nomenclature Schedule must be approved by Academic Board in accordance with the timelines detailed in Section B8 of the Guidelines for Course Approval, Amendment and Review.
9. Guidelines and Templates for the Development of Course Approval, Course Review and Course Change Proposals
9.1 The University will develop and maintain guidelines and templates for each category of proposal.
9.2 These will provide guidance as to the areas to be addressed, and instructions for completion of each element of a proposal.
9.3 Administrative amendments to the templates and guidelines can be approved and enacted by the Academic Registrar, provided that they do not affect the intent of this Policy.
9.4 Any such amendments will be notified to the Academic Board via the Courses and Academic Quality Committee.
10. Revisions made to this Policy
Major, Minor or Editorial
Description of Revision(s)
30 November 2016
Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2015 compliance review and process consultation amendments
18 September 2019
Retitled and addition of principles for discontinuation of a course, specialisation or major