The review process follows the University's Quality Assurance Planning and Budgeting, Implementation, Review and Improvement (PIRI) process with cycles of review, implementation and reflection on improvements.
Reviews include external assessment and are conducted with reference to the requirements of the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF), the Australian Higher Education Standards Framework (HESF), and the University's policies, strategic plan and relevant associated plans.
Reviews also provide an opportunity to address future prospects and enhancement through critical self-evaluation, embrace success and benchmark against national and international universities.
Reviews are designed to provide program teams, schools and faculties with:
- Opportunity for formative self-evaluation and constructive dialogue with key stakeholders including students, employers, alumni and the wider community;
- Independent feedback, advice and recommendations in response to self-evaluation and planning, within a benchmarked context and with reference to national and international exemplars, standards and quality assurance frameworks, and relevant institutional data;
- An evidence-base for strategic and outcomes-focused identification of future prospects and enhancement priorities;
- Transparent implementation plans for strategic and enhancement initiatives.
Reviews also are designed to support and inform the University’s strategic direction, policies and systems, and to maintain its adherence to HESF Threshold Standards and relevant professional/industry accreditation standards.
Higher Educations Standard Framework (HESF)
The HESF Threshold Standards (2015) require under section 5.3 that all accredited (programs) of study are subject to periodic comprehensive reviews that are overseen by peak academic governance processes and include external referencing or other benchmarking activities.
The outcomes of Reviews are reported to Academic Board as the peak academic body, and where there are non-academic issues these are reported to VCE. Program Reviews are held every five years with Academic Unit, and Other Academic Unit Reviews are held every seven years.
An evaluation of the effectiveness of institutional reviews and improvement of academic activities are required under Clause 6.3.2g, which the University meets through the development and monitoring of Review Implementation Plans.
The following principles are to be adopted to guide the process of reviews of academic programs and units:
- Reviews form the basis of the University’s quality management framework for academic programs and units. Faculties, schools and other organisational units whose main function is academic enterprise are expected to engage in Reviews conducted centrally by the University;
- The University is committed to academic enterprise of the highest quality and value. University reviews support strategic and operational alignment with institutional strategic frameworks, a culture of best practice, a continuous cycle of development and enhancement, and compliance with internally and externally defined standards. They are conducted with reference to the requirements of the Australian Qualification Framework, Higher Education Standards Framework, the University’s corporate strategic plan and relevant associated plans, e.g., for learning and teaching, research, internationalisation and Indigenous education, and the Faculty and School plans that align with these;
- Reviews combine self-evaluation of performance with stakeholder consultation, benchmarking, and independent peer review and evaluation. Forward-planning is fundamental to the process. Reviews are driven by academic program and unit staff supported by, and partnering with, central services;
- Key stakeholders of reviews include students, employers, alumni and other members of the wider community, and the review process provides an inclusive environment for their participation and input;
- The review process incorporates implementation planning based on review outcomes, and includes institutional oversight of reporting on progress of these implementation plans.
Centrally managed reviews
- The reviews process for academic unit reviews is the responsibility of the Provost, the review focus includes schools and other organisational units whose main function is academic enterprise, including performance, management, structure, resources, facilities, and plans of academic units.
- The reviews process for academic program reviews is the responsibility of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (Academic), the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Student Learning) has oversight of the academic program reviews. The review focus is on the academic program, including undergraduate and postgraduate coursework programs.
Locally managed reviews
Responsibility for locally managed reviews rests with the senior managers of faculties/schools (e.g. Executive Deans, Heads of School).
Such reviews are supported directly by the local academic area. These reviews may focus on courses, ongoing monitoring of academic programs, and other activities of an individual faculty/school.