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Definitions (Academic) Policy

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Section 1 - Purpose and Scope

Purpose

(1) The purpose of this Policy is to provide a definition to common use terms within University policy.

Scope

(2) The Policy applies to University rules, policies, procedures and guidelines where the term is not separately defined within the relevant rule, policy, procedure or guideline.

Section 2 - Definitions

(3) Academic Board - the body of that name appointed by the Council of the University.

(4) Academic Integrity - the application of the belief that honesty is at the core of exemplary scholarship. It is embodied in the scrupulous acknowledgment of the work of others in research, academic activities, in other creative endeavours and in the production and reproduction of knowledge. It concerns adherence to the relevant legislation, and to the rules, policies, regulations, procedures, guidelines, codes of practice and accepted ethical practice of the University, academic disciplines and professional practice.

(5) Advanced Standing - a form of credit for any previous learning (AQF 2013, p.92). Advanced standing is granted on the basis of previous, successfully completed studies or other recognised prior learning, and is expressed as specified or unspecified credit points towards the completion of an award.

(6) Advanced Standing Precedent - an advanced standing outcome that is made publicly available to increase the transparency of the University's advanced standing decisions.

(7) Aegrotat Award - an award granted under circumstances where a student was unable in the final study period to complete particular assessment tasks on account of death or incapacity.

(8) Annual Course Report - the report compiled annually by the Course Coordinator and is based on data from the Management Information System (MIS) and information from the Unit Reports.

(9) Articulation Arrangements - enabling students to progress from a completed qualification to another with admission and/or credit in a defined qualification pathway' (AQF, 2013, p.92).

(10) Assessment - the process by which student academic progress is monitored and judged.

(11) Assessment Task - any item of assessment, for example, tests, examinations, assignments, practicals, clinicals, orals and any other performances required as part of an assessment.

(12) Attrition - the proportion of students enrolled in year(x) who neither complete in year(x) or year(x + 1) nor return in year(x + 1).

  1. The attrition rate identifies students that neither complete a course nor are retained the following year at the same institution. Students who change institution are counted as attrition. Students who change course at the same institution are not counted as attrition.

(13) Award - a qualification achieved following successful completion of an accredited course.

(14) Benchmarking - a process whereby the University or parts of the University compare themselves with other areas within the University, other institutions or parts of other institutions. This can be extensive or on a minor scale.

(15) Candidate - a person admitted to the University as a student and proceeding towards an accredited award of the University.

(16) Census Dates - the date prescribed in the Higher Education Support Act 2003 as the day upon which enrolment for a study period becomes fixed. Generally, a student cannot enrol or withdraw from units after census dates without financial penalties. Census dates are set for each unit of study that the University proposes to offer each year.

(17) Co-requisite Unit - a Unit which a candidate is normally required to enrol in concurrently with another specified Unit.

(18) Committee of Examiners - a sub-committee of Academic Board which meets to determine grades and ensure quality in assessment processes.

(19) Commonwealth Supported Place - a place for which the Commonwealth makes a contribution towards the cost of that place.

(20) Commonwealth Supported Student - a student who is generally required to contribute to the cost of their education through a student contribution, while the Commonwealth Government also funds part of the costs involved.

(21) Community - groups of individuals or organisations that students may engage with as graduates. They include communities of professionals, communities of employees, constituents and a broad range of communities of interest. They range from a community of peers (in whatever form that may take) to a community of global citizens.

(22) Community Engaged Learning (CEL) - contextualised experiential learning for students across a range of communities. The activity is structured, intentional and recognised by the University in order to secure directed learning outcomes for the community and the student that are both transferable and relevant. It is underpinned by the principle of experiential learning.

(23) Completion - successfully passing all required components of a qualification.

(24) Consecutive Study Periods - the successive study periods that a student is enrolled with the University For example, where a student is enrolled in first session and third session only, these sessions are considered to be consecutive study periods. Where a student is only enrolled in Session 2 in one year and Session 2 in the following year, these sessions are considered to be consecutive study periods.

(25) Course - an approved plan of study with specific rules leading to an award of the University.

(26) Course Experience Questionnaire (CEQ) - a national instrument for gauging graduate satisfaction with their university experience.

(27) Coursework - a non-research based course of study.

(28) Deferment of Study - official permission to delay the commencement of study in a nominated course.

(29) Discipline - broad field in the Australian Standard Classification of Education (ASCED) Field of Study e.g. Natural and Physical Sciences.

(30) Elective Unit - a free choice unit drawn from anywhere within the University, except as prescribed in the Specific Award Rules.

(31) Enabling (bridging) Program - means a program that is provided for particular types of disadvantaged students who need preparation prior to commencing a formal award course; it is offered to students to enable them subsequently, if they so choose, to commence an award course in a student place that is funded either partially or fully by the Commonwealth. Programs which form part of a formal award course or for which credit will or may be given towards an award course are not considered to be bridging programs.

(32) ESOS - Education Services for Overseas Students.

(33) Examination - the formally supervised examination held at the end of a study period.

(34) Exemption (Unit Substitution) - where previous studies and/or subsequent work experience are sufficient that the student has acquired the level of knowledge expected from the study of the unit a unit substitution may be made. This means a student does not need to complete the unit as part of the award, but they must choose a replacement unit in consultation with the School/College. This is usually applied for on an individual basis.

(35) Field of Study means

  1. defined as a specific field in the Australian Standard Classification of Education (ASCED) Field of Study; area of specialisation e.g.
    1. Mathematical Sciences. An award title would normally be at this level of detail.
  2. detailed field in the ASCED Field of Study; more specific area of specialisation e.g.
    1. Mathematics.

(36) Formal Learning - the learning that takes place through a structured program of learning that leads to the full or partial achievement of an officially accredited qualification' (AQF, 2013, p.95);

(37) Grade Point Average (GPA) - a simple numerical index which summarises a student's academic performance in a course in a single study period or over the duration of the student's enrolment in the course. The GPA is recorded on a student's Statement of Academic Record/Transcript and Notification of Assessment. The GPA is calculated as:

  1. Sum of (Grade Point x Credit Points) / Sum of (Credit Points)
  2. Grade points are assigned to graded units where High Distinction = 7, Distinction = 6, Credit = 5, Pass = 4, 3, Fail = 0. Non-graded units, interim notations and advanced standing are not included in grade point average calculations.

(38) Head of School - the person appointed by the Vice Chancellor to manage a School; all references to Head of School should be read additionally as references to Director of College.

(39) Informal Learning - "learning gained through work, social, family, hobby or leisure activities and experiences. Unlike formal or non-formal learning, informal learning is not organised or externally structured in terms of objectives, time or learning support" (AQF, 2013, p.96).

(40) Information Literacy - an understanding and set of abilities enabling individuals to:

  1. recognise when information is needed and have the capacity to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information. (American Library Association, 1989)

(41) Major - will consist of 8 units and will be one of the following two types — Specialist (S) and University-wide (U).

  1. Specialist major:
    1. comprises 8 units to be chosen from a maximum of 12
    2. builds on the core, i.e. pre-requisites come from the core
    3. may enable pathways through the major through requisites contained within the major
    4. does not include independent studies units
    5. only includes viable units
    6. is built by the specialist School/College to suit the needs of the specialist degree that it is part of 15
    7. can include units from other School/Colleges, with consultation
    8. will be named and approved by Academic Board.
  2. A university-wide major:
    1. comprises 8 units to be chosen from a maximum of 14
    2. is self-contained and does not require entry pre-requisites although pathways through the major can be constructed through requisites (if required) contained within the major
    3. does not include independent studies units
    4. only includes viable units
    5. exists independently of a specific award
    6. can be constructed by a School/College or combination of such but one School/College must be responsible for the approval and management of the major
    7. will be the same regardless of the degree undertaken
    8. will be approved by academic board as available across the university for inclusion in a range of UG degrees
    9. university-wide majors will be listed in the student handbook.

(42) Minor - a sequence of units in an undergraduate degree which comprises 48 credit points (4 units) and is not named on the testamur.

(43) National Code - the National Code of Practice for Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students 2018.

(44) Non Formal Learning - learning that takes place through a structured program of learning but does not lead to an officially accredited qualification' (AQF, 2013, p. 98).

(45) Peer Review - a systematic process whereby academics review and improve teaching, curriculum and assessment practices. It is an iterative collegial process that aims to increase visibility and accountability in decision-making about teaching and student learning.

(46) Placement - a type of community engaged learning that requires the student to be situated in a community setting outside of the University. This may be termed Work Integrated Learning and can take the form of internship, practicum, industry placement or fieldwork.

(47) Postgraduate - means a course of study that leads to one or more of the following higher education awards: graduate certificate, graduate diploma, masters degree, doctoral degree.

(48) Pre-requisite Unit - a Unit which a candidate must have successfully completed before enrolling in another specified unit.

(49) Primary Specialisation - within postgraduate and undergraduate education awards, a primary specialisation may be indicated. A Primary Specialisation:

  1. will be in a curriculum area;
  2. will be built by the School of Education to suit the needs of the award of which it is a part, in line with requirements from external accreditation bodies; and
  3. will be named on the award's testamur.

(50) Prize - a reward provided to a student in recognition of the completion of a distinguished piece of work.

(51) Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) - an assessment process that involves assessment of relevant prior learning (including formal, informal and non-formal learning) (National Quality Council Training Packages Glossary) (AQF, 2013, p.99).

(52) Schedule of Units - the table of units annexed to and forming part of Specific Award Rules.

(53) School Board - a body of that name which is a sub-committee of Academic Board. All references to a School Board should be read additionally as references to a College Board.

(54) Southern Cross University's feeder region - is the area bordered in the south by the New South Wales Central Coast, west to the New South Wales/South Australian border, north to the Darling Downs, Queensland and east to include the Greater Gold Coast.

(55) Special Consideration - consideration for extension or variation of deadlines for assessment tasks, for a special Examination, or for consideration related to a completed assessment task.

(56) Special Examination - an Examination offered in lieu of the normal Examination.

(57) Specialisation - within postgraduate awards, means a specialisation may be indicated. A specialisation:

  1. will be comprised of a minimum of four (4) units and normally a maximum of eight (8) units;
  2. will build upon core units in the award, i.e. pre-requisites come from within the award;
  3. will be built by the School or College to suit the needs of the award of which it is a part;
  4. can include units from other Schools or Colleges with consultation;
  5. will be named and approved by Academic Board; and
  6. will be named on the award's testamur.

(58) Stream - an approved combination of units in a defined discipline area that describes a path to further study and which is not considered a core, major or minor. A stream:

  1. will generally only be used in AQF 5 or AQF 6 awards;
  2. may include the award's core units and a combination of elective units;
  3. can include units from other Schools or Colleges;
  4. will be named and approved by Academic Board.

(59) Student - a person enrolled as a candidate in a course leading to an accredited award of the University, or in units which do not lead to an accredited award of the University.

(60) Student History - the internal record of grades and advanced standing awarded to a specific student by the University.

(61) Study Period - a session in the three session academic calendar, or a study period in the six study period academic calendar, or any other period as designated by the Academic Board.

(62) Study Plan - an approved program of study leading to the completion of an award course.

(63) Testamur - the document awarded to a student upon graduation which includes the name of the award and any accredited majors listed.

(64) Transcript - the final record of grades and advanced standing awarded to a specific student by the University.

(65) Unit - a discrete component of an award course; units are identified by a title and code number.

(66) Undergraduate - a course of study that is neither an enabling course nor a postgraduate course of study.

(67) Unit Assessor means the academic staff member, designated by the Head of the relevant School/College, responsible for ensuring that the assessment process for a unit is implemented and completed.

(68) Unit Information Guide - a document describing the context, aims, objectives, content, assessment and materials requirements for a unit. It is provided to a student at the commencement of the teaching period in which the unit is being offered. It must be in accordance with University policy and Rules.

(69) Unit Performance Reports means:

  1. Individual Unit Performance Report
  2. This MIS report provides an overall snapshot across all locations of how a particular unit is performing in the chosen year, study period and location with respect to unit status (including attrition), grade distribution and overall student satisfaction including comparative data.
  3. Individual Unit Performance (Trend Analysis) Report
  4. This MIS report provides a trend analysis of a chosen unit to see how it has performed over time (in the past offerings) compared against the university mean for each measure. Data are represented to track performance over time by unit Status, grade results and overall satisfaction mean Unit Report

(70) Unit Report - the report completed by the Unit Assessor at the end of each teaching period in which the unit has been offered. The report is provided no later than three weeks into the following teaching period to the relevant Course Coordinator. The Unit Reports provide information for the annual course report (as further described in the Unit Report Template).

Section 3 - Policy Statement

(71) Nil.

Section 4 - Procedures

(72) Nil

Section 5 - Guidelines

(73) Nil.