Please refer to the University’s Glossary of Terms for policies and procedures.
2. Purpose of procedures
These procedures specify requirements and processes associated with formal reviews of Faculties as required under the Faculty Reviews – Managerial Policy, and should be read in association with that policy.
3.1 Co-ordination of Faculty reviews
The Office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor (International and Quality) has overall responsibility for co-ordinating Faculty reviews, including:
- drafting schedules for Faculty reviews for approval by the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor
- providing timely notice to the relevant Executive Dean of a forthcoming review of a Faculty
- appointing a review support officer for each Faculty review who will liaise with the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Executive Dean, Faculty review personnel and the appointed review panel in order to progress and co-ordinate the review
- providing advice and information on the organisation and conduct of reviews
- liaising with each Faculty in relation to reporting, record-keeping and other data-capture related to a Faculty review
3.2 Scheduling of reviews
3.2.1 Faculty reviews will be held at least every seven years and the schedule for these reviews, as approved by the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor, will include milestone dates for each review.
3.2.2 Any changes to scheduled dates for Faculty reviews require the approval of the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor.
3.2.3 The Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor may approve the conduct of a Faculty review at a time other than a scheduled seven-yearly review or in addition to a scheduled review.
3.2.4 The schedule for Faculty reviews will be updated by the Office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor (International and Quality) as required by the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor, and on conclusion of each Faculty review will be automatically updated to include the next seven-yearly review of a Faculty.
3.2.5 The Office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor (International and Quality) will provide the latest approved schedule to the Quality and Standards Committee and also publish it on MyUSC.
3.3 Advance notice and reminders of review
3.3.1 At least 12 months prior to the first milestone date for a Faculty review, the Office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor (International and Quality) will provide the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor and the relevant Executive Dean and Faculty Administration Manager with:
- written advice of a forthcoming Faculty review, together with details of the relevant University review personnel and milestone dates
- copies of the Faculty Reviews policy, associated procedures, and other relevant review support materials such as handbooks and guidelines
- a proposal for convening an initial meeting of the relevant University review personnel to plan for and progress the review
3.3.2 At least six months prior to the first milestone date for a Faculty review, the Office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor (International and Quality) will consult the Executive Dean or Faculty Executive Officer to ascertain progress with review preparations and, if necessary, remind all review personnel of the milestone dates for the review and initiate appropriate action to expedite review preparations.
3.4 Review planning meetings
Review planning meetings involving (as appropriate) the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Executive Dean or nominee, the Faculty Executive Officer or nominee and the review support officer should be held well in advance of the first milestone date for the review, and thereafter as needed, in order to:
- develop a common understanding of the review’s purpose, nature, scope, processes and stages
- clarify the roles and responsibilities of University and Faculty staff consider the need for any additions to the standard set of terms of reference for a Faculty review (refer to Appendix A)
- identify and discuss possible members and a possible Chairperson of the review determine the overall structure and contents of a Faculty review portfolio
- develop a timeline of key events and activities for the review, including the proposed dates for a review panel site visit
- agree on a broad indicative program for the site visit that, among other things, identifies likely interviewee groups and potential interviewees, including external stakeholders
- identify any groups or organisations to be specifically invited to make confidential submissions to the review panel
- clarify that the relevant Faculty is responsible for funding all review-related expenditure
- reach agreement on the amount of any honoraria to be offered to external panel members and the panel Chairperson
3.5 Review preparation progress
As preparations for the review proceed, the Faculty review personnel and review support officer will communicate with each other regarding progress with review preparations according to the timeline of review events and activities.
3.6 Terms of reference for Faculty reviews
3.6.1 A standard set of terms of reference for Faculty reviews will be developed from time to time and must be approved by the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor.
3.6.2 No element in the standard set of terms of reference (refer to Appendix A for current set) may be excluded except with the approval of the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor.
3.6.3 The Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor may require the incorporation of additional elements in the terms of reference for a specific review.
3.6.4 The Executive Dean of a Faculty may make a written request to the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor for the inclusion of additional elements in the terms of reference for a specific Faculty review and, subject to the approval of the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor, these will be incorporated in the terms of reference for a specific Faculty review.
3.6.5 The final set of terms of reference for each Faculty review will be subject to written approval by the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor.
3.6.6 Information and standard forms for development and approval of terms of reference produced by the Office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor (International and Quality), will be provided to Executive Deans at the first review planning meeting, and will also be available on MyUSC.
3.7 Appointment of review panel
3.7.1 After the terms of reference for a review have been finalised and approved, the Executive Dean will initiate action for recommending appointment of a panel to undertake the review.
3.7.2 The panel membership should:
- be sufficiently broad to allow for a range of perspectives and expertise amongst the reviewers
- include persons with the understanding, skill, experience or capability needed to undertake the review
- comprise no fewer than three (3) persons, the majority of whom will be persons external to the University who have no current or past formal association with the Faculty or the University and who have no close professional or personal association with any member of the Faculty under review.
3.7.3 The panel Chairperson will be an external person with recent high level leadership and management experience in or of a faculty elsewhere that has a similar focus or orientation.
3.7.4 Persons who are employed by the University or who have a formal association of some kind with the University may be appointed as internal members of review panels provided that they do not have a vested professional or personal interest in the Faculty to be reviewed or a close personal association with any member of the Faculty under review.
3.7.5 The Executive Dean or nominee will:
- document a short list of persons considered appropriate to be appointed as members or as the Chairperson of the review panel, including full contact details and information on why each person would be an appropriate appointment, and including a statement that –
i. none of the external persons on the list has a current or past formal association with the Faculty or the University and has no close professional or personal association with any member of the Faculty
ii. each internal person on the list has neither a vested professional or personal interest in the Faculty nor a close personal association with any member of the Faculty
- seek approval from the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor to contact persons on the short-list to ascertain their interest in becoming members or the Chairperson of the review panel
- following contact with potential panel members, use the standard panel appointment form to recommend to the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor the appointment of the Chairperson and other members of the review panel
3.7.6 The Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor will determine and appoint the review panel members and Chairperson, and provide the review support officer with a copy of the signed review panel appointment form.
3.7.7 Members and the Chairperson of the review panel will be:
- required to accept membership of the panel in writing and enter into an agreement to protect University intellectual property and maintain the confidentiality of any corporate or personal information made known to them during the review process
- reimbursed for all out-of-pocket expenses, and members other than employees of the University may receive an honorarium for their contribution to the review.
3.8 Review portfolio
3.8.1 The Executive Dean will arrange for the preparation and production of a review portfolio for submission to the review panel by the relevant milestone date in the review schedule.
3.8.2 The portfolio is the starting point for the formal review, should be structured to reflect the terms of reference for the review, and will contain sufficient information about the Faculty, with supporting evidence, to enable the review panel to address each of the terms of reference.
3.8.3 The portfolio will include standard data from the Strategic Information and Analysis Unit, Human Resources and the Office of Research.
3.8.4 Separate evidence that supplements or substantiates information and statements made in the portfolio may be provided to the review panel as supplementary materials.
3.8.5 Any confidential information should be provided as separate supplementary materials, marked “Confidential”, and should not be included in the main body of the portfolio.
3.8.6 The Executive Dean should ensure that senior Faculty personnel and the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor have been given opportunity to provide input to the structure and contents of the portfolio, and the Executive Dean may also seek input from any other source.
3.8.7 The final draft of the review portfolio must be submitted to the review support officer no later than six weeks prior to the scheduled site visit.
3.8.8 The review support officer will provide feedback as required to facilitate finalisation of the review portfolio.
3.8.9 The final portfolio and any supplementary materials must be:
- endorsed by the Executive Dean of the Faculty
- submitted by the Executive Dean to the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor for approval no later than five weeks prior to the site visit
- submitted by the Faculty to each member of the review panel, in the requested format, no later than four weeks prior to the site visit
- forwarded simultaneously to the review support officer – in print form (1 copy) and in e-copy
- submitted in print or e-copy by the Faculty to the relevant Faculty review personnel and the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor
3.8.10 Once the portfolio is submitted to the review panel, the review support officer becomes the primary conduit for communications between the University and the review panel concerning the substance of the review.
3.8.11 The review support officer will:
- provide the Faculty under review with guidance to assist in production of a Faculty review portfolio
- make the portfolio and non-confidential supplementary materials available to the University community via MyUSC by no later than two working days after their submission to the review panel
- advise persons invited to participate in interviews with the review panel of its availability on MyUSC.
- Provide the review portfolio to any external interviewees
3.9 Confidential submissions to review panel
3.9.1 As soon as practicable after submission of the review portfolio to the panel, the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor arranges for an announcement about the review to be made to the University community and calls for confidential submissions to the panel.
3.9.2 The Executive Dean arranges for the review support officer to be provided with names and contact details for any external stakeholders who should be invited to make a confidential submission to the review panel.
3.9.3 All submissions are confidential to the review panel members and the Review Support Officer and are disposed of appropriately upon receipt of the final review report.
3.10 Site visit by review panel
3.10.1 The review support officer, in consultation with the Executive Dean or nominee, will develop the site visit schedule, which will be submitted to the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor for consideration and approval no later than six weeks prior to the site visit.
3.10.2 A Faculty review will normally include a three day site visit by the review panel to the University.
3.10.3 During the site visit, the review panel:
- will interview a range of persons with a stake in the Faculty under review
- may inspect physical and other facilities and resources that support the work of the Faculty
- will identify key findings and indicative recommendations to make in relation to the terms of reference for the review.
3.10.4 The review support officer, in consultation with the Executive Dean or nominee, is responsible for organising the arrangements for the participation of persons identified for interview by the review panel.
3.11 Review report
3.11.1 The review panel Chairperson will submit a draft report (through the review support officer) to the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor on the panel’s findings in relation to the terms of reference, including any recommendations, usually by no later than six weeks after conclusion of the site visit.
3.11.2 If the draft report identifies, or the review panel has separately identified, matters that potentially pose significant risk to the University, the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor should bring those matters to the attention of the Vice-Chancellor and President.
3.11.3 As soon as practicable after receipt of a draft review report, the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor (through the review support officer) will advise the panel in writing of any matters in the report that appear to be in need of correction or reconsideration.
3.11.4 Where a draft report is regarded as containing matters significantly beyond the terms of reference for the review or to pose serious risk to the University if made public, the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor may request the panel in writing (through the review support officer) to remove reference to those matters from the review report and advise that, if the panel wishes, it may present a separate issues paper to the Vice-Chancellor and President in relation to those matters.
3.11.5 The review panel Chairperson will submit a final report (through the review support officer) to the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor as soon as practicable after submission of the draft report.
3.11.6 The Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor, after considering the final report, will provide the Vice-Chancellor and President with a copy of the report and, if appropriate, discuss the findings with the Vice-Chancellor and President.
3.11.7 After consideration of the report by the Vice-Chancellor and President, the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor will provide members of the University Executive, including the Executive Dean of the relevant Faculty, with a copy of the final report and discuss the findings with the Executive Dean.
3.11.8 The Executive Dean will provide senior staff of the Faculty with a copy of the final report.
3.11.9 When advised by the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor that the final report may be released to the wider university community, the review support officer will arrange for the final report to be made available via MyUSC and for advice to be given to the University community of its availability.
3.11.10 The Executive Dean may provide a copy of the final report to external stakeholders if thought appropriate.
3.12 Response to review report and action plan
3.12.1 Guides and templates for development and documentation of the response and action plan will be produced by the Office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor (International and Quality), provided to Executive Deans and made available on MyUSC.
3.12.2 The Executive Dean of the Faculty will:
- initiate discussion of the review report by relevant Faculty staff, Faculty committees and senior members of other University entities upon which recommendations or findings contained in the report may impinge
- develop a draft response and action plan addressing the recommendations and other matters of significance in the review report
- within eight weeks of receipt of the review report, submit the draft response and action plan to the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor for endorsement.
3.12.3 The Executive Dean will develop a final response and action plan for approval by the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor on the basis of discussions by the USC Executive.
3.12.4 The Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor will provide the final response and action plan to the Academic Board and the Quality and Standards Committee for information.
3.12.5 The review support officer will arrange for the Faculty’s response and action plan to be made available via MyUSC.
3.13 Reporting and monitoring progress with action plan
3.13.1 The Executive Dean will present six-monthly written reports to the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor for the monitoring of progress in implementing the action plan, until such time as the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor is satisfied that all matters in the plan have been addressed appropriately.
3.13.2 After each progress report has been considered and approved by the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor, the progress report will be provided to the Academic Board, Quality and Standards Committee and other relevant committees for monitoring of progress.
3.13.3 When the Executive Dean is satisfied that all recommendations have been satisfactorily addressed, the Executive Dean will present to the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor a final progress report for approval.
3.13.4 The Office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor (International and Quality) will arrange for a copy of each progress report to be registered in the relevant file in the University’s corporate records system and the review support officer will make each progress report available on MyUSC.
3.14 Faculty review support materials
The Office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor (International and Quality) will develop and make available review support materials such as handbooks, guidelines, forms, templates, indicative role statements, checklists and flowcharts to assist personnel involved with Faculty reviews.
3.15 Official review records
3.15.1 The Office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor (International and Quality) will arrange for the creation of a discrete University file in the corporate records system for each Faculty review.
3.15.2 Records of key review documents will be registered in the appropriate review file by the Office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor (International and Quality).
Appendix A - Standard Terms of Reference
REVIEW OF THE FACULTY OF <insert name>, <insert year>
The University seeks advice and recommendations from the review panel on changes, developments or improvements that could be made in relation to the Faculty in order to strengthen its effectiveness in pursuing University priorities and objectives.
Note: The University has a separate process for review of individual or discipline-based clusters of award-bearing programs and so this review should not include considerations related to specific programs.
Terms of Reference
1. The review panel will undertake an evidence-based review and evaluation of the extent to which, and the effectiveness of the means by which:
(a) the Faculty operations and outcomes have contributed to achievement of the University’s strategic objectives and targets;
(b) the Faculty practices and processes are consistent with higher education sector norms and expectations; and
(c) the Faculty has contributed to the University’s ongoing compliance with relevant national Higher Education Standards and legislation.
2. The review panel will provide independent advice and recommendations, through evaluation of evidence, including trend and comparable data, to assist the Faculty in identifying:
(a) Faculty strengths, good practices, positive outcomes and productive improvements in performance in recent years; and
(b) areas in which Faculty practices, performance, and outcomes could be enhanced or improved, including in relation to comparable practices, performance and outcomes in the sector, approaches to assuring and improving quality, and maintaining compliance with relevant Higher Education legislation.
3. The review panel will give close consideration to the following main areas in undertaking the evaluative review:
3.1 Extent to which the Faculty’s plans, priorities and operations have complemented and contributed to achievement of recent and current University plans and targets
3.2 Structure, leadership and management including the effectiveness of-
- Faculty organisational, management and committee structures and associated roles, functions and responsibilities
- the way in which the structures, management and leadership roles contribute to integrated and cohesive realisation of the Faculty’s plans and priorities, including processes for collaboration, consultation and building a collegial Faculty environment
- the Faculty’s processes for operational, workforce and other planning (including links between planning, budgeting and resource allocations) and for monitoring and evaluating performance in realising plans
- Faculty processes for staff induction, management, deployment, development, feedback and performance appraisal (for both academic and non-academic staff)
3.3 Taught curriculum, students and teaching including, for example –
- effectiveness of Faculty processes for program and course planning, design, development, management, delivery, monitoring, feedback, evaluation, and ongoing review and improvement
- effectiveness of Faculty processes for external professional and third party accreditation of programs
- overall student profile and performance, including entry levels, enrolments, progression, retention and completion rates
- graduate outcomes, e.g. employment and further education
- findings from student and graduate feedback and surveys
- extent, quality and effectiveness of Faculty student support processes, including, student retention and ‘student-at-risk’ identification and assistance
- extent to which Faculty processes support equivalent student outcomes at different campuses or study locations
- Faculty teaching staff profile and its alignment with programs, courses and University objectives and priorities
- extent of teaching staff engagement with professional development and scholarship
- effectiveness of Faculty processes for assuring and improving the quality of teaching
3.4 Research and research training including, for example –
- effectiveness of Faculty processes for development, management and evaluation/measurement of Faculty research agendas, research concentrations, research collaborations and partnerships, and research performance and outcomes
- extent and staff profile of active researchers in the Faculty and their alignment with Faculty research concentrations and agendas, Faculty higher degree by research projects, Faculty coursework programs and the University’s research objectives and priorities
- extent, quality and effectiveness of Faculty research-training provision, performance and outcomes, including enrolments, candidate induction, progression, retention, completion times and rates, and candidate support and supervision
- research supervisor staff profile and alignment with Faculty research agendas, University research objectives and priorities
- higher degree by research graduate outcomes, e.g. employment and further education
- effectiveness of Faculty processes for assuring and improving the quality of research and research training
3.5 External engagement including, for example –
- extent, scope and outcomes of the Faculty’s external engagement activities, particularly in relation to contributing to the Faculty’s and University’s educational and research priorities
- effectiveness of the Faculty’s processes for targeting, developing, promoting and strengthening links with professional, educational, business, industry, government and community organisations and groups; other higher education institutions; potential employers of graduates; and potential research partners
3.6 Facilities, equipment and technologies including, for example –
- available facilities, equipment and technologies to support the Faculty’s current and planned future educational and research activities, including specialist teaching and learning spaces and work spaces for staff and students
3.7 Improvements and future developments including, for example –
- soundness and viability of medium-term future directions and developments identified by the Faculty
- recommended changes, improvements and developments for enhancing Faculty practices, performance and outcomes
4. Timing and duration of review
4.1 The review will commence with the receipt by the review panel of the Faculty’s review portfolio, expected to be by [date].
4.2 The panel’s work will be completed with the presentation of a final review report to the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor, within six (6) weeks after the final day of the site visit.
4.3 The whole review will be considered to be completed when the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor is satisfied that all planned actions in response to the review report have been completed.
5. Review Report
5.1 The review report and recommendations should be constructive in nature and be able to be implemented within three years.
5.2 The review panel is requested to provide the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor with a draft of the review report in order:
(a) that the draft may be checked for any errors of fact, misrepresentation or apparent undue emphasis; and
(b) in order to ascertain whether any statements in the report have the potential to pose serious legal or other risk to the University.
5.3 As soon as practicable after receipt of a draft review report, the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor will advise the panel in writing of any matters in the report that appear to need amendment or reconsideration.
5.4 Where a draft report is regarded as containing matters significantly beyond the terms of reference for the review or to pose serious risk to the University if made public, the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor may request the panel in writing to remove reference to those matters from the review report and advise that it may present a separate issues paper to the Vice-Chancellor and President in relation to those matters.