Governance

Policies and procedures

Policy No.
UP18/4
Function
Student Administration
Authoring Organisational Unit
Graduate Research School - Central Unit
Date Approved
07/11/2018
Next Review Date
01/11/2023
Approving Body
Academic Council

The University of Western Australia

University Policy on: Review and Appeal of Academic Decisions for Courses Managed by the Graduate Research School

Purpose of the policy and summary of issues it addresses: This policy provides for HDR students in courses managed by the Graduate Research School to request a review of an academic decision relating to their

candidature, examination or scholarship award, and to appeal if they are

dissatisfied with the outcomes of that review. The policy sets out the possible stages of review and explains a HDR student’s right to appeal the results of any review to the Appeals Committee of the Academic Board.

This policy applies where a student is seeking a review of an academic decision unless another review process is prescribed in a specific Statute, regulation, rule or policy pertaining to the matter in question.

Definitions:

the University is The University of Western Australia

Head of school includes any person acting in the capacity of head of school or authorised by the head of school to deal with a particular matter

HDR academic decision means a decision made with respect to management or

administration of the student’s HDR course, normally under the University’s statutes, regulations, rules or policy.

HDR student means a person enrolled in a HDR course of the University, that is managed by

the Graduate Research School, including candidates who are undertaking a PhD jointly with another institution or in conjunction with a course for another award

the Board refers to the Board of the Graduate Research School

reasonable means logical and demonstrating sound judgement

Senior officer means deans of the University, or other members of staff holding senior

positions

University working day means a weekday other than one that is specified by the University

as a University holiday

Policy statement:

1 Review of HDR Decisions – General Principles

1.1 The University is committed to conducting reviews and appeals of decisions made with respect to HDR candidature, examination and scholarships in a manner that is fair, transparent and respectful to all parties.

1.2 A HDR academic decision may relate to:

a) progress status of candidature;

b) classification and examination process of the thesis or other examinable work;

c) award and management of scholarships.

1.3 Students remain bound by the effect of the original decision while a review or any subsequent appeal is being undertaken.

1.4 A request for a review of any HDR decision specified in this policy must be initiated by the student in accordance with the time limits and requirements provided in Schedule A.

1.4.1 A student has the right to be accompanied by a support person to any meetings requested as part of the review, where relevant, of any HDR decision.

1.5 Review of an HDR decision may lead to no change or to either a less favourable or more favourable outcome for the HDR student.

1.6 The process underpinning a review or an appeal of an HDR decision is evidence-based.

2 Review of Decisions relating to HDR – Specific Principles

2.1 In addition to the principles set out in 1, specific principles also apply to the following types of decisions:

· management of HDR candidature;

· classification of the thesis or other examinable work;

· award and management of scholarships.

2.2 HDR candidature

2.2.1 A student enrolled in HDR courses administered by the Graduate Research School may request a review of their candidature relating to:

i. management of enrolment and candidature status;

ii. a decision to not Confirm Candidature;

iii. a determination of unsatisfactory progress.

2.2.2 The first action is an informal query by the student to the relevant manager in the Graduate Research School.  If the student is not satisfied with the outcome of this query they may request a Stage 1 review.

2.2.3 A Stage 1 review is conducted in consultation with the relevant school by the Graduate Research School, which makes a recommendation to the Board of the Graduate Research School. If the student is not satisfied with the outcome of the Stage 1 review they may request a Stage 2 review.

2.2.4 A stage 2 review is conducted by the University Appeals Committee.

2.2.5 For a progress status to be amended following a review in light of mitigating circumstances the Board or Appeals Committee must be satisfied that: a) the relevant rule, policy or process was not followed; or b) the process by which the decision was reached was unfair; or c) additional information has become available that merits a different decision; and d) the request by the student can be accommodated.

2.2.6 The consequences for review of HDR candidature decisions in light of mitigating circumstances are:

Management of

candidature or enrolment status

results in:

Possible consequences of

review

1.   Student is dissatisfied

with the outcome of an application for variation of candidature, supervision or enrolment

Application declined

a) a) application approved

b) b) application approved with additional conditions

c) c) application declined

2.   Student is dissatisfied

with the application of a penalty for non- submission of milestone documents or unpaid fine/fee that has resulted in the student missing auto-enrolment

Penalty applied

a) penalty upheld

b) penalty upheld

with additional conditions

c) penalty removed

Progress status

results in:

Possible consequences of

review

1.   Candidature not confirmed

a) student may apply for downgrade from higher

level course to a lower level course; this may be

approved if appropriate supervision is available and school approves

b) voluntary withdrawal by

student

termination of candidature

a) continuation in the same course;

b) downgrade from doctoral to a Master’s research

course is approved;

c) voluntary withdrawal by student

d) candidature terminated

2.   Unsatisfactory progress

three month period of probation, after which:

a) student continues in same course

b) student may apply for downgrade from higher level course to a lower

level course; this may be

approved if appropriate supervision is available and school approves

c) voluntary withdrawal by student

d) termination of

candidature

a) continuation in the same course;

b) downgrade from doctoral to a Master’s research course is approved;

c) voluntary withdrawal by student

d) candidature terminated

2.3 Thesis classification and examination

2.3.1 A student whose thesis and/or other research output has been classified by the Graduate Research School may request a review of their classification if they are of the view that the examination and classification were conducted other than according to the relevant rules, policies and procedures or were otherwise unfair.

2.3.2 The following circumstances are not considered grounds for review for thesis classification and examination:

(a) perceived shortcomings in supervision or support, or any other matters not directly related to the examination and classification process.

(b) matters of academic judgement of examiners or the Board. The student's assertion that the classification unfairly reflects the merit of their work or their ability is not a ground for review.

2.3.3 A Stage 1 review is conducted in consultation with the relevant school by the Graduate Research School, which makes a recommendation to the Board. If the student is not satisfied with the outcome of the Stage 1 review they may request a Stage 2 review.

2.3.4 A Stage 2 review is conducted by the University Appeals Committee.

2.4 Award and management of scholarships

2.4.1 An applicant may request a review of or appeal against a decision by the Higher Degree by Research Scholarships Committee to not award a scholarship, but only on the grounds that the Committee's procedures for the assessment of the application have not been observed.  A review/appeal based on any other grounds, including the quality of the application or the academic record of the applicant, is not considered.

2.4.2 A student may request a review of / appeal against a decision by the Graduate Research School to suspend or terminate a scholarship, but only on the grounds that the decision to suspend or terminate was not consistent with the Conditions of the scholarship.

2.4.3 The review and appeal process referred to in this policy do not apply to scholarships that are not controlled by the University.

2.4.4 The first action is an informal query by the student to the relevant manager in the Graduate Research School. If the student is not satisfied with the outcome of this query they may request a Stage 1 review.

2.4.5 A Stage 1 review is conducted in consultation with the relevant school by the Graduate Research School, which makes a recommendation to

the Board. If the student is not satisfied with the outcome of the Stage 1 review they may request a Stage 2 review.

2.4.6 A Stage 2 review is conducted by the University Appeals Committee.

3 Right of Appeal

3.1 A review of an academic decision precedes a student’s right to appeal.

3.2 Subject to 3.1, a student appeal on any HDR academic decision specified in this policy is considered by the Appeals Committee of the Academic Board and is administered in accordance with Schedule B.

3.3 The Chair of the Appeals Committee has delegated authority to:

a) progress an appeal to the Appeals Committee for a hearing at which the appellant, who may be accompanied by a support person, is asked to present their case;

b) summarily dismiss an appeal if the:

(i) appeal is made on grounds other than those specified in Schedule B;

(ii) review process specified in this policy has not taken place; or

(iii) appeal is considered to be frivolous or vexatious;

c) explore other means of resolution in cases where an agreeable negotiated solution is regarded as likely and/or a hearing by the Committee is regarded as disproportionate in terms of time and cost.

3.3.1 The decision of the Appeals Committee is final within the University, noting that:

a) the student does not have a recourse of the outcome of the appeal to any authority within the University; and

b) the University does not engage in any further communication with the student or supporters on matters germane to the appeal unless this is required by any subsequent external process.

3.3.2 A student who is dissatisfied with the outcome of their appeal may refer their case for consideration by an external body (such as the Ombudsman Western Australia).

Related forms: (Link)

Contact the Graduate Research School for relevant forms

Policy No:

UP18/4

Approving body or position:

Academic Council

Include the name of the body or position with responsibility for approving the policy.  This must be one of the following:

Senate

Academic Board/Council

Vice-Chancellor

Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education)

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation)

Registrar and Executive Director (Academic Services) Executive Director (Finance and Resources)

Date original policy approved:

7 November 2018

Date this version of policy approved:

7 November 2018

When the policy document has been approved by the relevant body or position insert date of approval.

Date policy to be reviewed:

November 2023

If the proposing body has not determined a date for review of the policy, a default date of ten years from the date of the latest revision approval will apply.  Enter the appropriate date.

Date this version of procedures approved:

7 November 2018

7 November 2018If the document contains procedures, include the date that these were last updated.  Procedures are approved by the relevant Director.

TRIM File No:

F18/3011

Insert the appropriate TRIM file number.  All policies must have a TRIM file for storing information relating to policy development and other related information.  Note this is not the policy number.  Apply for a TRIM file number at http:/intranet.uwa.edu.au/page/38742

Contact position:

Academic SecretaryState the name of the position that is to be contacted for any queries regarding the policy, eg University Secretary.  Note: As this will link through to the University’s Contact Directory, the position name must be given exactly as it appears in that directory.