Academic Governance Policy

Policy code: AG2069
Policy owner: Provost
Approval authority: Vice-Chancellor and President
Approval date: 02 July 2024
Next review date: 06 December 2027


This policy mandates the Academic Governance structures and operations for Federation University Australia in accordance with the Federation University Australia Act 2010 and any other applicable legislative and regulatory bodies. This policy must be followed in conjunction with supporting procedures, operating manuals and work instructions.

Reconciliation statement

As a leading Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) organisation, Federation University is deeply committed to embedding reconciliation and Indigenous matters throughout all areas of the University. Our key policy areas will complement and engage with our RAP and several Indigenous strategies in across the University.

Anti-Modern Slavery Statement

Federation University Australia acknowledge that modern day slavery and the exploitation of an individual’s rights and freedoms is a complex global issue. We are committed in doing our part to identify and prevent instances of modern slavery in all forms.

Policy statement

(Note: definitions throughout this Policy can be accessed via the Policy Glossary which is currently under development)

Academic Governance is concerned with the development and maintenance of reputable, high quality tertiary education activities in teaching, research, and scholarship. It ensures that qualifications awarded to graduates are at sufficient quality and standard to meet the requirements of the Australian Qualifications Framework.

Academic Governance is primarily overseen by the Academic Board, established by Council.

The Academic Board provides the University with oversight of Academic responsibilities including learning and teaching and the review and development of courses and ensuring all delivery is in accordance with the Scope of Registration and Schedule 5.1. The Academic Board reports through to Council and includes the following Standing Committees to assist in fulfilling its obligations:

  1. the Academic Board Administrative Committee;
  2. the Curriculum Committee;
  3. the Learning and Teaching Quality Committee; and
  4. the Research Committee.

Through the Federation University Australia Act 2010, Council has ultimate responsibility for overseeing and monitoring academic activities of the University and establishing the powers, functions and membership of the Academic Board.  Active, ongoing academic oversight is required by regulatory bodies including the Tertiary Educations Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) and Australian Skills Quality Authority ASQA.

1. Course design, review and compliance

1.1 Planning, design and approval

Federation University courses are developed with clear learning outcomes, coherent structure and manageable workloads for students.

Through a cycle of development, implementation and evaluation, courses are customised and/or contextualised appropriately to meet the needs of the learner and reflect industry trends. Course development incorporates the development of academic knowledge, skills and graduate attributes/capabilities and are designed with clear evidenced based assessment outcomes.

Course designs include opportunities for students to access seamless educational pathways and networks that encourage and support lifelong learning.

The names of awards and post-nominals are proposed and confirmed at the course approval stage. The nomenclature must reflect the level of award and be readily understood within the University sector and the broader community.

New Business Accelerator

The New Business Accelerator has oversight of industry and custom short courses for its clients or those of the Global Professional School. These are approved for academic structure, quality and coherence by the Global Professional School Board, which ensures the short courses meet academic requirements to stack and/or credit are met.

Supporting documents

Research focus

Federation University has rigorous compliance requirements for research governance. Courses that’s incorporate research elements undertake a rigorous planning and approval process, supported by robust ethics, data management and biosecurity procedures to maintain the highest level of academic integrity. Please see Research and Research Training Policy for further detail about research governance.

Supporting documents

1.2 Course delivery

Course delivery relies upon a solid foundation of academic scholarship, appropriate resource allocation and links to professional accreditation bodies (dependent upon the course of study).

Teaching and supervision that supports the development of learning is well organised and enhanced through the cyclical process of reflection, revision and improvement.

Through formalised agreements, Third Party Partner Providers deliver Federation University courses online, interstate and overseas.

Supporting documents

Third party delivery

1.3 Course and unit reviews

University learning and teaching processes are designed to create a continuous cycle of improvement, following relevant university procedures as well as regulatory requirements. As such, course reviews are crucial to understanding the ongoing needs of learners, incorporating ongoing scholarship and meeting the graduate attributes of learners.

Course reviews in Higher Education must occur at a minimum of every five years, and involve internal and external providers, industry, and student representation to ensure best practice. Courses conducted solely as Higher Education by Research are excluded from the review cycle.

Supporting documents

1.4 Institute, school and centre review

As part of its quality assurance procedures, the University will conduct Institute Reviews for the purpose of:

  1. Providing advice to the relevant Deputy Vice-Chancellor on the internal organisation and management of the Institute and its relationship to the University.
  2. Enabling the relevant Deputy Vice-Chancellor to assess the performance of the Institute and its courses within the context of the University's Strategic Plan.
  3. Setting out a strategy and plan for the future development of the Institute.

 Supporting documents

2. Learning and teaching

2.1 Learning environment

Federation University provides appropriate knowledge, resources, and facilities to support the student learning journey. This includes, but is not limited to library facilities, Information Technology, study spaces, laboratories, simulated environments, and classrooms. These resources are appropriate in size, design, and availability to support students and ensure quality teaching and learning.

The diversity of our students is recognised and welcomed. Equal opportunities will be offered to all students to succeed through reasonable adjustments for protected attributes under law, engagement, reflection and commitment to learning.

Supporting documents

2.2 Teaching requirements

Academic staffing is guided by legislative and regulatory requirements and academic teaching staff must have the appropriate scholarship, skills and experience to teach at Federation University.

Approaches to teaching at the University are varied and adaptive to new demands in learning and will include effective use of appropriate technologies and innovation. Enhanced teaching is achieved through:

  • recognition of excellence in teaching;
  • support for innovative and inclusive learning and teaching practices;
  • supportive and sustained professional/educational development/scholarship that is meaningful, applicable, cooperative and collegial; and
  • critical inquiry and research into aspects of HE/VET teaching, education and training which links teaching practice with research. 
  • Supervision of Higher Degrees by Researchcandidates must be undertaken by a person who holds a doctoral degree (AQF level 10 research qualification).

Supporting documents

2.3 Work integrated learning and associated learning opportunities

Work integrated learning incorporates a wide range of learning and teaching activities which integrates theoretical learning with its application in the workplace. Federation University promotes Work Integrated Learning (WIL) across a wide variety of courses. Placement opportunities are an important component of employability, engagement and skills development in a variety of Vocational Education Training (VET), Vocational Certificate of Applied Learning VCAL and Higher Education HE learning and teaching environments, ensuring our graduates are fully prepared for entry into the workforce.  

The University may also provide opportunities for students to undertake voluntary placements, industry-based projects, simulated work experiences and Federation University Australia’s Industry Placement Program with a host organisation in the same field as their studies to further enhance the educational experience. Reasonable adjustments will be offered for protected attributes under law.

Supporting documents

3. Assessment

3.1 Assessment conditions

Assessment is central to the vision, mission, culture, activities, practices and educational development of the University.

Assessment must:

  • Encourage and reinforce learning.
  • Enable robust and fair judgements about studentperformance.
  • Be fair and equitable for all students.
  • Be authentic and meaningful.
  • Maintain academicstandards.

Assessment seeks to assure all stakeholders that:

  • exemplary practice in assessment is being applied consistently across the institution, itscourses and by partner providers;
  • student performance is being properly, fairly, equitably, consistently and transparently judged across all students undertaking the same course of study; and
  • standards expected of, and achieved by students are appropriate, reliable and comparable to best practice at the University, including partner providers.

Moderation is a crucial mechanism for assessment quality assurance for coursework courses and as a collegial process by which Institutes, Schools and Centres develop, maintain, and monitor good practice in the assessment of students. Moderation contributes to the continuous improvement of assessment practice and to sharing good practice among colleagues.

The assessment of courses undertaken entirely by research is included in the Research and Research Training Policy

Supporting documents

3.2 Academic credit and Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

Credit, on the basis of prior formal learning or recognition of skills and knowledge, through the credit transfer process towards Federation University Australia’s Higher Education awards, is available to students. Credit can accelerate student progress, completion and mobility, however, the integrity of Federation University awards is paramount and credit will not be granted if it would impair the integrity of the award, or reduce a student’s likelihood of success in the course.

Credit arrangements for students are made on the basis of:

  • formal credit agreements within Federation University;
  • formal credit agreements between Federation University and other tertiary institutions;
  • formal agreements between Federation University and industry partners; and
  • credit granted by Federation University in response to applications from individual students.


RPL and Credit Transfer are alternative pathways to achieving an Australian Qualifications Framework AQF qualification. They are distinguished by the way they relate to learning achieved through recognition of equivalence of formal education and training (Credit Transfer) and assessment of an individual's relevant prior learning (RPL). By removing the need for duplication of learning, RPL and Credit Transfer encourages diverse and inclusive pathways to lifelong learning, formal qualifications and improved employment outcomes.

Granting of RPL and Credit Transfers in VET is established and maintained in accordance with:

  1. The Standards for National Vocational Education and Training Regulator (VVR) Standards for RTOs 2015.
  2. The VRQA Guidelines for VET Providers 2016.
  3. Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) Pathways Policy.

The University implements an assessment system that ensures that VET assessment (including Recognition of Prior Learning) complies with the assessment requirements of the relevant training package or VET accredited programs conducted in accordance with the Principles of Assessment and the Rules of Evidence.

Supporting documents

4. Academic integrity & misconduct

4.1 Academic integrity

Academic integrity is essential to excellence in learning, teaching, research and scholarly endeavour. This policy applies to all Federation University students and staff (both current and former) including those at partner organisations as is consistent with our contractual arrangements. Federation University is committed to honesty, trust, fairness, respect, and responsibility in academe and is committed to promoting a culture of academic integrity for students and staff. Federation University also acknowledges that academic integrity is vital to employers and the community and accordingly regards academic integrity as a critical element. 

Supporting documents

4.2 Academic misconduct

The University is committed to minimising any academic misconduct that conflicts with the principles of academic honesty and academic integrity and leads to an unfair advantage. The University undertakes preventative strategies to mitigate the risk of academic misconduct. Academic misconduct is concerned with all breaches of academic integrity, which includes (but is not limited to):

  • Plagiarism
  • Contract cheating
  • Examination cheating
  • Duplicate submission
  • Fabrication
  • Impersonation
  • Academic Fraud
  • Solicitation and promoting the breach of academic integrity
  • Collusion
  • Non-compliance with examination instructions/requirements

Where allegations of academic misconduct arise, hearings may be conducted through the Student Misconduct Committee. Where a student disagrees with a decision made by the Student Misconduct Committee, they have an opportunity to make an appeal to the Student Appeals Committee based on perception that there is new evidence or there has been a display of procedural failure.

Supporting documents

5. Freedom of speech

Federation University acknowledges the fundamental, defining importance of academic freedom and freedom of speech to the University community and commits itself to those freedoms by adopting the Model Code for the Protection of Freedom of Speech and Academic Freedom in Australian Higher Education Providers.

Freedom of lawful speech of staff and students of the University and visitors to the University is treated as a paramount value and therefore is not restricted nor its exercise unnecessarily burdened by restrictions or burdens other than those imposed by:

  • law;
  • the reasonable and proportionate regulation of conduct necessary to the discharge of the University’s teaching and research activities;
  • the right and freedom of others to express themselves and to hear and receive information and opinions;
  • the reasonable and proportionate regulation of conduct to enable the University to fulfil its duty to foster the wellbeing of students and staff; and
  • the reasonable and proportionate regulation of conduct necessary to enable the University to give effect to its legal duties including its duties to visitors to the University.

Academic freedom at Federation University is treated as a defining value by the University and therefore not restricted nor its exercise unnecessarily burdened by restrictions or burdens other than those imposed by law and set out in the Principles of this Policy.

Federation University places significant importance of the University’s institutional autonomy under law in the regulation of its affairs, including in the protection of freedom of speech and academic freedom.

Supporting documents

6. Scholarship and VET industry currency

Federation University creates and maintains an environment supporting scholarly activity and requires academic and research staff to engage is ongoing scholarship and maintain VET Currency. Teaching staff conduct activity that advances knowledge or professional practice in a field, and/or transmits the advances of knowledge through learning and teaching, research or training.

Scholarship at Federation University is demonstrated throughout the course design process; teaching and learning processes, including staffing of academic roles; and, through ongoing research pursuits at Institutional, School and Research Centre level.

Supporting documents

7. Library services and academic resources

Library Services staff should provide support for learning, teaching and the research needs of the University. This includes for enrolled students and the partner provider employed staff who teach or provide services to the University, enrolled students at partner campuses / sites who have access to the University library website.

The library is responsible for supporting the implementation and provision of Library Services. This includes the use of electronic resources, access to print resources held in the University Library collection, inter-campus borrowing and online information for international students. The library will also assist in the use of resources at onshore Partner Provider locations as well as enabling borrowing from other University Libraries.

Library Services are responsible for ensuring appropriate and timely responses are provided to feedback enquiries received through the on-line Library Feedback link/s on the University Library website.

Open access resources

The University is committed to Open Access principles providing educational resources that are freely accessible and openly licensed. These teaching and learning materials can include, but are not limited to, textbooks, lecture notes, assignments and tests. That can be reused, shared and revised.

Supporting documents

Modification history

Original issue Current version Review date Details
06 December, 2022 06 December, 2022 06 December, 2027 Consolidation of existing Policy Documents to a revised overarching Policy for Information Management that includes a living suite of support documents to better reflect currency and best practice of University Operations.

Policy governance responsibilities and communications

All documentation within the Governance Framework will be communicated throughout the University including, but not limited to, internal communications such as FedNews, VC Comms, staff emails, staff inductions and documentation distribution.

Policy document owners are responsible for identifying and managing information-related risks and issues for their assigned information entities and for escalating these to Approval Authorities accordingly. Owners of Policy documents are accountable for their respective procedures, manuals and work instructions in alignment with their position descriptions and Performance Review Development Plan (PRDP) cycles.