Address from Harley Macnamara: student representative to UNE Academic Board
Hello fellow Nucleus Readers! On behalf of the student representatives to UNE’s Academic Board, I (Harley Macnamara) will be outlining the role of your representatives to Academic Board and I’ll also be briefly discussing some academic matters that we are currently engaged with. Please feel free to contact us on the SARG (Student Academic Representative Group) Moodle site to partake in the discussion. I’m excited about communicating with students through Nucleus and I am hopeful it will become a regular in upcoming issues.
The Academic Board is the principal academic body of the University. It furthers and co-ordinates the work of the Faculties and other academic units, encourages scholarship and research, and advises the Vice-Chancellor and Council on matters relating to teaching, scholarship and research within the University. Academic Board also considers and reports on matters referred to it by the Council or by the Vice-Chancellor.
The student representatives to Academic Board provide a students’ voice in debates about academic matters and policy at UNE. We are full voting members that can influence the direction of academic policy. We also have representation on the Teaching & Learning, Research and Academic Program Committees that handle specific areas of academic policy. Any comments, concerns and views about academic matters can be brought to and discussed with your student representatives.
Present Student Representatives to Academic Board are:
Ms Sarah-Dane Garden (Undergraduate off campus representative)
Ms Sikiki Lloyd (Postgraduate off campus representative)
Mr Harley Macnamara (Postgraduate on campus representative)
Council approved amendments to the Academic Board (AB) Constitution on 20 March, including increasing the size of student representation on board from four to six. The decision was made to initiate elections to replace Mr Osborne, who has recently resigned, as well as appoint the two new members. The positions to be filled are one male undergraduate student studying on campus (to replace Mr Osborne), one further undergraduate student and one further coursework postgraduate student. Student Retention/Completion Concerns
Student concern has been registered at the website over the low completion percentage (34%) of external students who enrolled in 2000 and had completed their degree by 2009. We believe this is a concern for both UNE and students and we are seeking comment from Academic Board regarding current initiatives and plans to enhance student completion. Student retention is an issue of concern for both UNE and students. From the April 28th meeting, we have been advised that we will receive documents from UNE’s executive regarding progress with this issue.
Prescribing Self-Authored Textbooks as Mandatory Application to Own Units
The AB student representatives felt it valuable to follow up on student concerns raised around academic staff prescribing self-authored textbooks for teaching purposes. We wondered whether it was worth considering a formal policy regarding this practice to ensure any pedagogical and ethical concerns are considered. This issue has been progressed to the Teaching and Learning Committee for consideration.
Professional Experience Office (PEO)
Sikiki Lloyd has investigated concerns regarding student dissatisfaction with Education Practicums. Sikiki sought to ascertain how best to support external students in securing their Practicums (Pracs) and ensuring the process helped rather than hindered students during their school experiences. She also sought response on issues of support, direction, feedback, understanding, empathy from PEO.
The PEO has received some funding which allow the restructure of the PEO in terms of staffing and technology. This in turn will alleviate many of the current issues faced by students and in the long term provide a more streamlined Practicum process. It will be beneficial over the long term particularly with Pracs embedded into units now which has meant a specific period of time to complete a Prac, unlike previous years.