Academic Partnerships Policy

Summary

This policy describes the requirements and principles governing academic partnerships entered into by Swinburne. 

Objectives

This policy aims to:

  • Provide a framework to guide decisions regarding the development, approvals and management of Swinburne’s academic partnerships
  • Set clear responsibilities and accountabilities for approvals and management of academic partnerships
  • Ensure that academic partnerships are aligned with University strategy and maintain Swinburne’s standards for quality and integrity of outcomes

Scope

This policy applies to formal arrangements with domestic and international partners involving award and non-award courses offered by Swinburne, including:

  • Coursework partnerships such as joint, dual, TNE, licensing and collaborative arrangements
  • Research training partnerships such as partnered, joint or double PhDs
  • Third party arrangements for training services associated with Training Package qualifications and VET accredited courses offered by Swinburne

Exclusions

This policy does not apply to:

  • Commercial activity that does not involve a Swinburne award or non-award course.
  • Research partnerships involving individual research projects, research funding or researcher collaborations.
  • Articulation and credit recognition arrangements
  • Student and staff mobility arrangements

1. Academic Partnership Principles

When developing and approving academic partnerships the University should be guided by the principles of:

  • Academic partnerships that align with the strategic directions of the University
  • Maintenance of the quality standards of the University
  • Equivalence of curriculum, assessment and graduate outcomes (in accordance with Academic Courses Regulation 40)
  • Desirability of:
    • Strong and long term relationships with academic partners
    • Broad academic partnerships that encompass multiple activities, including coursework programs, research training, student and staff mobility and articulation
    • Academic partnerships that enhance the domestic and international reputation of the University
  • Financially sustainable academic partnerships with due consideration of business risk
  • Compliance with relevant legislative and regulatory requirements
  • Regular evidence-based review, benchmarking and continuous improvement.

2. Types of Academic Partnerships

The University may enter into a range of types of academic partnerships, including:

  • Joint, twin or dual award arrangements
  • Transnational delivery of courses
  • Licensing or hosting agreements
  • Collaborative articulation agreements
  • Research training partnerships, including partnered, joint or double arrangements
  • Third party arrangements involving training services associated with Training Package qualifications and VET accredited courses within Swinburne’s scope of registration.

Roles and Responsibilities (VC delegation)

Role/Decision/ActionResponsibility*Conditions and limitations
Determination of definitions and structures for types of academic partnerships

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) for Higher Education course partnerships
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (PAVE) for Vocational Education course partnerships
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Development) for research training partnerships

Must be consistent with the above, and in conjunction with the Pro Vice-Chancellor (International) for any international partnerships.

*(Staff holding, acting in or performing the responsible position or office)


3. Development, Approval and Renewal of Academic Partnerships

Note: This section does not apply to academic partnerships involving training services associated with Training Package qualifications and VET accredited courses within Swinburne’s scope of registration.
The University will determine:

  • Processes for the development, approval and renewal of proposals for each type of academic partnership
  • Guidelines for strategic alignment and partner suitability for domestic and international academic partnerships.

When making decisions on the approval or renewal of an academic partnership, the University will consider:

  • The Academic Partnership Principles listed in Section 1
  • Alignment with recognised academic partnership types
  • Alignment with domestic or international partnership guidelines
  • The University’s Contract Management Framework [Link to Wiki opens in new window] and due diligence requirements
  • Identification, assessment and management of key risks in line with the University's Risk Management Framework [Link to Wiki opens in new window]

When making decisions on the approval or renewal of an academic coursework partnership, the Academic Senate will consider:

  • The capability and capacity of the partner to deliver the course to achieve the same learning outcomes as when or if the course is offered directly by the University.
  • The practicality of course closure and teach out arrangements.
  • Regulatory compliance.

Agreements must be executed in accordance with the delegations and guidelines set by Council.
Major changes to academic partnership arrangements require the same approvals processes and considerations.  Major changes include:

  • The addition of other Swinburne awards to the partnership
  • The addition of new delivery locations
  • Changes to the partner organisation that affect their ability to achieve the same learning outcomes
  • Changes to the partner organisation that affect their ability to maintain the partner suitability requirements

Major changes may require the development of a transition plan for current students.
Renewals of academic partnership arrangements require the same approvals processes and considerations.  Applications for renewals must consider the academic quality, equivalency, regulatory compliance, strategic alignment and financial performance.  Renewals should be processed within a reasonable time period prior to the expiration of agreements.  Academic Senate must be provided with a Review Report (see Section 4) with an application for renewal of an academic partnership.

Roles and Responsibilities (VC delegation)

Role/Decision/ActionResponsibility*Conditions and limitations
Determination of processes for development, approval and renewal of academic partnerships

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) for Higher Education course partnerships
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (PAVE) for Vocational Education course partnerships
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Development) for research training partnerships

Must be in conjunction with the Pro Vice-Chancellor (International) for any international partnership processes.
Determination of guidelines for strategic requirements and partnership suitability for domestic and international partnerships Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) for Higher Education course partnerships
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (PAVE) for Vocational Education course partnerships
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Development) for research training partnerships

Must be consistent with the above, and in conjunction with the Pro Vice-Chancellor (International) for any international partnerships.

Endorsement prior to Academic Senate approval of proposals for new or renewal of academic partnerships. Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) for Higher Education faculty course partnerships
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (PAVE) for PAVE course partnerships
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Development) for research training partnerships

Must be consistent with the above, and in conjunction with the Pro Vice-Chancellor (International) for any international partnerships.
Subject to the University’s Financial and Document Signing Delegations


4. Monitoring and Review of Academic Partnerships

Note: This section does not apply to academic partnerships involving training services associated with Training Package qualifications and VET accredited courses within Swinburne’s scope of registration.

The University will determine processes for the monitoring and review of the quality, equivalency, regulatory compliance, strategic alignment and financial viability of academic partnership arrangements. A regular report will be provided to Academic Senate on the academic quality, equivalency and regulatory compliance of academic partnerships or other arrangements that involve a Swinburne accredited course or research award. The report to Academic Senate should include evidence of academic quality, equivalency and regulatory compliance, including the following:

  • Student academic performance data of students involved in the partnership
  • Student and graduate survey data of students involved in the partnership
  • Graduate employment and outcomes data that relate to the partnership
  • Comparison data from similar Swinburne student cohorts for the above
  • Any Course Improvement Plans that relate to the partnership arrangement
  • The status of professional body accreditations and issues that relate to the partnership
  • Compliance with relevant regulatory or legislative requirements

Roles and Responsibilities (VC delegation)

Role/Decision/ActionResponsibility*Conditions and limitations
Determination of processes for the review of the strategic alignment, financial sustainability and regulatory compliance of academic partnerships Vice President (International and Future Students)
Senior DVC and Provost for coursework related partnerships
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Development) for research training partnerships
 
Determination of processes for the review of the academic quality, equivalency and regulatory compliance of academic partnerships Pro-Vice Chancellor (Education and Quality) Must be consistent with the above. A regular report must be provided to Academic Senate


5. Termination of Academic Partnerships

Termination of an academic partnership arrangement must be carried out in a manner that ensures Swinburne’s interests are protected, including the interests of Swinburne students.
The University will determine process and accountabilities in relation to the termination of academic partnership arrangements.
When making decisions on the termination of an academic partnership, the University will consider:

  • Teach out responsibilities to students
  • Legal, financial and reputational implications
  • Other areas of Swinburne involved in the partnership
  • Compliance with relevant regulatory and legislative requirements

The Teach out requirements of Courses and Awards Policy (Section 7.1) must be adhered to for the termination of academic coursework partnerships.
Academic Senate should be notified of academic coursework partnerships that have been terminated and teach out arrangements for remaining students.

Roles and Responsibilities (VC delegation)

Role/Decision/ActionResponsibility*Conditions and limitations
Determination of definitions and structures for types of academic partnerships

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) for Higher Education course partnerships
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (PAVE) for Vocational Education course partnerships
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Development) for research training partnerships

Must be consistent with the above, and in conjunction with the Pro Vice-Chancellor (International) for any international partnerships.

Termination of academic partnerships Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) for Higher Education course partnerships
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (PAVE) for Vocational Education course partnerships
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Development) for research training partnerships

Must be consistent with the above, and must be noted at Academic Senate


6. VE Third Party Arrangements

This section applies to academic partnerships involving training services associated with Training Package qualifications and VET accredited courses within Swinburne’s scope of registration. A VE third party arrangement is a legal arrangement between Swinburne and third party for the provision and/or sharing of training and/or assessment services. A third party may include a school, enterprise, industry body, professional association, registered business and independent contractor.
The University will determine:

  • Processes and accountabilities for the approval and management of VE third party arrangements.

When making decisions on the approval of VE third party arrangements, the University will consider:

  • The Academic Partnership Principles listed in Section 1
  • The University’s Contract Management Framework [Link to Wiki opens in new window] and due diligence requirements
  • The capability and capacity of the partner to deliver the training and/or assessment services in accordance with:
    • Swinburne administrative and quality requirements.
    • Relevant funding, regulatory and legislative requirements and standards
  • The practicality of termination and teach out arrangements.

Agreements must be executed in accordance with the delegations and guidelines set by Council.
The University and Academic Senate must monitor the quality and regulatory compliance of training and/or assessment services that are delivered through third party arrangements. 

Roles and Responsibilities (VC delegation)

Role/Decision/ActionResponsibility*Conditions and limitations
Determination of accountabilities and processes for approval and management of VE third party arrangements. Deputy Vice-Chancellor (PAVE) Must be consistent with the above.
Approval of VE third party arrangements Deputy Vice-Chancellor (PAVE)

Must be consistent with the above and in conjunction with the Pro Vice-Chancellor (International) for any international arrangements.
Must be noted by Academic Senate.
Subject to the University’s Financial and Document Signing Delegations

Monitoring of the quality and regulatory compliance VE third party arrangements PVC (Education and Quality) A regular report must be provided to Academic Senate


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