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Unit Approval Procedures

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Section 1 - Overview

(1) These Procedures are made under the Course Approval Rule and establish processes for the approval and management for coursework units offered by the University in relation to clause 2.

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Section 2 - Scope

(2) These Procedures apply to all coursework units offered by the University in regard to:

(3) a. the development of new units;

b. amendments to existing units;
c. deletion of units;
d. changing the delivery mode of a unit or cancelation of a scheduled unit offering after the commencement of enrolment for a teaching period; and
e. School Schedule of Units.
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Section 3 - Procedures

General

(4) Each unit must have a School of ownership that is responsible for the unit's development, approval and management including the quality of unit content and delivery of the unit.

(5) All new and amended unit proposals must comply with the Assessment Rule and Procedures, other relevant University rules and policies, the Australian Qualifications Framework, the Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards), and relevant professional or statutory accreditation and/or industry requirements (where applicable).

(6) Information Management (Student Administration and Services) develops and maintains templates and resources for each category (new, amended, deleted) of unit proposal. These provide instructions and/or guidance on the matters to be addressed by the proposer.

New, Amended and Deleted Units

Approval of New, Amended and Deleted Units

(7) Subject to the final approval of the Head of School (or delegate) the owning School Teaching and Learning Committee approves:

  1. new units;
  2. amended units; and
  3. the deletion of units.

Consultation

(8) For unit development and approval processes University Representatives must consult with and take into account the relevant views of all affected areas of the University in order to improve unit proposals and minimise adverse impacts arising from them.

(9) Areas who would be expected to be consulted may include, but is not limited to:

  1. those whose interests are directly affected by the proposal e.g. where resource implications and/or demands would be imposed on that area; where a new or amended unit proposal will overlap significantly with an existing unit offered by another School;
  2. Course Coordinators who offer (or may consider offering) the unit in one or more of their courses as a Core, Prescribed or Listed unit;
  3. the Corporate Intelligence Unit (where applicable); and
  4. those whose role it is to provide expert advice (including cross-disciplinary interactions) and services related to learning and teaching matters in order to improve the quality of the unit proposal.

(10) Evidence of consultation and of the consideration of the relevant views of the parties consulted should be provided by the proposer to the owning School Teaching and Learning Committee and/or other person/s designated by the School.

(11) Where a proposal is significantly altered through its development, the School must, if necessary, undertake further consultation with affected stakeholders.

(12) After stakeholder consultation if a mutually agreed consensus is not achieved then the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Academic Innovation) shall make the final decision on the proposal.

New Units

(13) For the purposes of these Procedures a new unit is a unit that:

  1. introduces curriculum content and related learning outcomes that are not currently offered by the School, or any other School; or
  2. replaces one or more existing unit/s and substantially changes their curriculum content and/or learning outcomes.

(14) A new unit proposal is discussed in the first instance with the relevant person/s as prescribed by the relevant School process (e.g. Course Coordinator) and any other relevant stakeholder. If the proposal is supported, the proposer should then discuss the proposal with the Head of School (or delegate) providing a justification for the new unit, including the resources required to support its implementation.

(15) If the Head of School (or delegate) accepts the justification, then the proposer completes the New Unit Form in consultation with the School Academic Manager.

(16) The School Academic Manager (or designated person) will forward the final version of the New Unit Form to Information Management at least five working days before the School Teaching and Learning Committee meeting that is to consider the proposal. Information Management will provide written comments (if required) to the School Teaching and Learning Committee.

(17) New unit proposals that are replacing an existing unit should be submitted to the same School Teaching and Learning Committee meeting considering the relevant deleted unit proposal.

(18) The School Teaching and Learning Committee will consider the academic merits of the proposal including the requirements of clause 4, and any consultation that should have been undertaken. If the proposal is not approved it is sent back to the proposer with comments (e.g. details of additional information required). If the proposal is approved, it is forwarded to the Head of School (or delegate) for final approval.

(19) After Head of School (or delegate) approval, the School Academic Manager (or designated person) will:

  1. notify any relevant School/s who will be involved in the teaching of the unit or if the unit will be offered in courses across multiple Schools; and
  2. forward the New Unit Form to Information Management for inclusion in the Course and Unit Repository (CAUR).

Confirmed/Amended or Deleted Units

(20) For the purposes of these Procedures an amended unit is a unit that may include changing:

  1. the level of the unit; and/or
  2. the unit code and number; and/or
  3. the credit point value; and/or
  4. the unit description, learning outcomes and/or the assessment requirements; and/or
  5. the mode of delivery and/or the teaching period.

(21) For the purposes of these Procedures an amended unit is not changing:

  1. a Unit Note;
  2. the Unit Coordinator details;
  3. textbook information; and
  4. the Important Information section of the Unit.

(22) In January of each year Information Management produces pre-populated Unit Confirmation/Amendment/Deletion Forms (the Form) for all existing units. The updating of the Form is subject to each School's internal process and must include appropriate consultation (if required, dependant on the type of proposal).

(23) The School Academic Manager (or designated person) will forward the final version of the Form (also known as the Unit Report) to Information Management at least five working days before the School Teaching and Learning Committee meeting that is to consider the proposal. Information Management will provide written comments (if required) to the School Teaching and Learning Committee.

(24) The School Teaching and Learning Committee will consider the academic merits of the proposal including the requirements of clause 4, and any consultation that should have been undertaken. If the School Teaching and Learning Committee recommend further amendments to the proposal they must be noted in the minutes of the meeting for quality assurance purposes. If the proposal is not approved it is sent back to the proposer with comments (e.g. details of additional information required).

(25) If the School Teaching and Learning Committee approve the proposal it is forwarded to the Head of the School for final approval.

(26) After Head of School (or delegate) approval the School Academic Manager (or designated person) will:

  1. notify any relevant School/s that offer the amended/deleted unit in one or more of their courses as a Core, Prescribed or Listed unit; and
  2. facilitate updating CAUR with any amendments required by the School Teaching and Learning Committee and progress the CAUR workflow to Information Management.

Timelines for Approval of New, Amended and Deleted Units

(27) The School Teaching and Learning Committee approve proposals for new, amended and deleted units, subject to the final approval of the relevant Head of School (or delegate), in the preceding academic year that the proposal will come into effect.

(28) Unit Coordinators and Schools need to plan their unit development to meet published deadlines. The unit development and approval process must also allow sufficient time for any other School/s who will/do offer the unit as a Core, Prescribed or Listed unit in one or more of their courses, to make any required amendments to their course/s before the deadline for submission of Amended Course Proposals (in accordance with the Course Approval Rule procedures).

(29) A variation to the timelines for approval to allow a unit proposal to be considered late may be made in exceptional circumstances to the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Academic Innovation).

New Unit Proposals

(30) New unit proposals that are a component of a new course proposal should be submitted to the same School Teaching and Learning Committee meeting considering the new course proposal with final approval by the Head of School (or delegate) no later than the end of March.

(31) The School Teaching and Learning Committee must approve all other new unit proposals with final approval by the Head of School (or delegate) no later than the end of April.

Amended and Deleted Unit Proposals

(32) Amended and deleted unit proposals must be approved by the School Teaching and Learning Committee with final approval by the Head of School (or delegate) no later than the end of April.

(33) Further amendments to unit assessment may be made before assessment information is published. Amendments to assessment after publication may be made in exceptional circumstances with the approval of Head of School.

School Schedule of Units

(34) It is acknowledged that Schools have their own processes for confirming their Schedule of Units. Core Units must be offered every year. Where there is no choice a Prescribed Unit must be offered every year. The Schedule of Units for the following year should be submitted to the School Teaching and Learning Committee for noting once they are finalised and approved by the Head of School (or delegate).

(35) The School Academic Manager will ensure that the confirmed unit information has been updated in the CAUR workflow.

Cancellation of a Scheduled Unit Offering After the Commencement of the Enrolment Period

(36) A unit offering must not be cancelled where the proposed unavailability unduly impacts on Students' ability to undertake the relevant requirements of a major and/or course.

(37) The deadline for cancelling a unit offering and notifying Students of the cancellation should be at least one week prior to the commencement of the teaching period of the teaching of that unit.

(38) Where the cancellation of a unit offering is necessary due to:

  1. unforeseen circumstances, such as the death or serious illness of a staff member needed to teach the unit, the School must make every effort to recruit alternative teaching staff with relevant expertise; or
  2. insufficient enrolments, the Head of School (or delegate) must determine whether it is possible to deliver the unit offering in an alternative delivery mode (e.g. OFF mode).

(39) The decision to cancel a unit must be made by the Head of School (or delegate). Heads of School should note that compensation may be payable to Students who demonstrate that they have entered into non-refundable commitments (also refer to Intensive Schools Guidelines).

(40) Once the decision has been made to cancel a unit offering, the unit owning School must notify:

  1. affected Students via their University email account of the reason for the cancellation and any alternative arrangements, such as undertaking the unit in an alternate mode (if available) or enrolling in an alternative unit; and
  2. Enrolment and Progression of the email sent to Students; and
  3. Information Management (which must include relevant approvals) who will make the necessary changes in CAUR and Callista SMS.

Changing the Delivery Mode of a Unit After the Commencement of the Enrolment Period

(41) Individual units at the University may be delivered in multiple modes of delivery within one teaching period (e.g. on-campus (ON), off-campus (OFF) or online (ONLINE)).

(42) The Head of School (or delegate) may approve changes to the delivery mode after the commencement of the enrolment period of a unit where there are sound academic and/or administrative reasons such as (but not limited to):

  1. changes in Student enrolment;
  2. more efficient or effective teaching;
  3. availability of teaching expertise; and
  4. unforeseen circumstances (e.g. damage to facilities or equipment).

(43) In making a decision to change the delivery mode a Head of School (or delegate) in conjunction with the Unit and Course Coordinator should consider the impact of any decision on the following:

  1. the cost to the University of maintaining two delivery modes with fewer than six students in one mode;
  2. professional registration and/or statutory accreditation issues with Students completing units in OFF or ONLINE mode;
  3. the investment made by ON Students, most of whom relocate to Armidale;
  4. potential impact on scholarship and Early-Entry Students;
  5. potential impact on Student visa holders due to limits on the number of OFF or ONLINE mode units they can complete as part of their course (in accordance with the ESOS Act 2000 — Schools must liaise with UNEI);
  6. potential impact on Students' graduation timelines if their remaining enrolment is affected, and
  7. the potential impact on any Partnership arrangements.

Restricted changes

(44) A unit that is a Core or Prescribed requirement in any course offered in multiple modes may not be changed to ON mode only. Only Listed or Elective units may be changed to ON mode only. A unit with a mandatory intensive school cannot be changed to ON mode only (refer to Intensive Schools Policy).

(45) Units with mandatory intensive schools are only to be changed from ON to OFF mode if the intensive school is already scheduled during the ON mode teaching session. This is to ensure that ON mode Students are not required to incur additional costs for staying in Armidale.

(46) Applications to move a non-mandatory intensive school to during the ON mode teaching session should be considered only in exceptional circumstances to avoid encumbering the entire unit enrolment in significant changes. This restriction may be relaxed if all ON mode Students volunteer to attend an intensive school during the official intensive school session (as notified in the Principal Dates).

Changing to OFF or ONLINE Mode Only

(47) Units offered in multiple modes that have an ON mode enrolment of fewer than six Students may be considered for changing to OFF or ONLINE mode only, provided that such a change does not impact on Students as outlined in clause 42.

(48) The last date for seeking a change to OFF or ONLINE mode only is the final working day of the first week of the teaching period.

(49) The School is required to contact all ON mode Students and consult with them — ideally obtaining their consent if possible but obtaining their views and taking these into account before making a decision.

Changing to ON mode only

(50) Units offered in multiple modes that have an OFF or ONLINE mode enrolment of fewer than six Students may be considered for changing to ON mode only, providing that such a change does not impact on a Student as outlined in Clause 42 f-g.

(51) The School is required to contact all OFF or ONLINE mode Students and consult with them to check the effect of the change on the anticipated graduation timeline and to counsel the Students on alternative choices. In general, Students whose graduation timeline is adversely affected, then the unit should not be changed ON mode only. However, this can be relaxed where the anticipated graduation timeline is sufficiently long to allow the changed unit to be completed in a subsequent year.

(52) The last date for seeking a change to ON mode only is two weeks before the start of the teaching period. This is to minimise any costs arising from the cancellation of pre-paid travel costs to a non-mandatory intensive school and to ensure that OFF and ONLINE mode Students have access to alternative enrolments.

(53) Generous consideration should be given to allowing Students Permission to Enrol Elsewhere (PTEE) in alternative units (noting, however, that the timelines for such applications will be inevitably tight).

Notification

(54) After approval has been granted for a change to a unit delivery mode, the School must notify:

  1. affected Students via their University email account of the change;
  2. Enrolment and Progression of the email sent to Students; and
  3. Information Management (which must include relevant approvals) who will make the necessary changes in CAUR and Callista SMS.

Records Management

(55) Records of all actions and decisions relating to these Procedures must be kept in accordance with the University Records Management Rule including the lodgement in TRIM of:

  1. the Agenda and Minutes of School Teaching and Learning Committee meetings;
  2. the New Unit Form approved and signed by the Head of School (or delegate) ; and
  3. approval to change the delivery mode of a unit or cancellation of a scheduled unit offering.

Responsibilities

(56) The relevant School Teaching and Learning Committee is responsible for:

  1. considering and approving all new, amended and deleted unit proposals owned by the School in accordance with these Procedures; and
  2. considering unit proposals referred to it from other Schools.

(57) The Head of School (or delegate) is responsible for ensuring:

  1. the rationale for offering a new unit is sound e.g. by considering the unit's role within courses, strategic importance and overlapping content with other units;
  2. that adequate resources are in place to successfully offer a unit; and
  3. that adequate consultation has taken place before approving a unit proposal.

(58) Unit Coordinators are responsible for ensuring that unit proposals comply with these Procedures and relevant University rules and policies.

Authority and Compliance

(59) The Rule Administrator, pursuant to the Course Approval Rule makes these Procedures.

(60) University Representatives must observe it in relation to University matters.

(61) These Procedures operate as and from the Effective Date.

(62) Previous policy on unit approval and related documents are replaced and have no further operation from the Effective Date of this new Procedure.

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Section 4 - Definitions

(63) Core Unit means a unit that is compulsory for a Student to complete in order to satisfy the course rules. Core Units do not count towards a Major. Core Units would not normally be substituted for any other unit.

(64) Effective Date means the day on which these Procedures are published or on such later day as may be specified in these Procedures.

(65) Elective unit means a non-compulsory unit offered in a course.

(66) Listed unit means a unit that contributes to a Major or where a course does not have a Major contributes to the course and supports the Core units.

(67) On Campus mode means a Student who is enrolled by this mode is required to attend the University for regular ongoing face-to-face lectures, tutorials, practical classes etc. as determined by the individual unit requirements.

(68) Off Campus mode means a Student who is enrolled by this mode is only required to attend the University for mandatory intensive schools where applicable. Unit materials will be made available through the University Learning Management System or mailed out and where necessary arrangements are made for Students to sit for examinations at specified centres.

(69) Online mode means a Student who is enrolled by this mode is not required to attend the University or under University supervised examinations. Unit materials will be made available through the University Learning Management System.

(70) Prescribed Unit means a unit that is part of a Major and is compulsory for a Student to pass in order to complete the Major to satisfy the course rules. Prescribed Units would not normally be substituted for any other unit.

(71) University Representative means a University employee (casual, fixed term and permanent), contractor, agent, appointee, UNE Council member, adjunct, visiting academic and any other person engaged by the University to undertake some activity for or on behalf of the University. It includes corporations and other bodies falling into one or more of these categories.

(72) UNE Act means the University of New England Act 1993 No 68 (NSW).