Academic Board News
22 August 2023
Academic Board held its fourth meeting of the year on 22 August 2023 via zoom.
The following is a summary of the key matters considered and discussed by the Board at this meeting:
Report from the Chair
The Chair spoke to the written report and highlighted key items with members. The Chair expensed thanks to the Academic Board Deputy Chair, Professor Tony Connolly for Chairing AB3 and AB4 and provided the Board with an update on the recently submitted ANU response to the TEQSA request for further information.
Report from the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (International and Corporate)
The Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic, Professor Sally Wheeler updated the Board on the activities of the Portfolio. Board was advised that analysis of applications from recent admission cycles indicate that strategies aimed at attracting high quality applicants are working. Matters raised in the recent memo from TEQSA to the VC titled Protecting our International Education were also addressed. Members noted that though Academic Board receives accurate and regular reports on the international student market and international students at ANU the Board and would further benefit from regular information on the risks of operating in the international student market.
Institutional Benchmarking and External Benchmarking Framework
Board was presented with a proposal to develop a formal and cohesive benchmarking and referencing framework. In July 2023, TEQSA released a new guidance note that emphasised their view that University benchmarking practices should be embedded in policy and procedure and be supported by a formal framework. The proposal provides a framework model, a detailed picture on how the framework will be operationalised will be gained through development. Board endorsed the proposal. The next phase will include a broad consultation across the ANU community.
ANU Rankings Update
Academic Board was presented with an overview of where the ANU sits in terms of global survey results. The importance of adopting a strategic approach to rankings was evident in the improved ANU results in the Times Higher Education (THE) where targeted initiatives and enhanced engagement with the THE team saw a marked improvement in results. Board was advised that the drop in 2023 QS World University Rankings was expected and is attributed to several factors including declining citation rates and publication output. Members were provided with detail on communities of practice and the Rankings SharePoint, which are valuable resources for the ANU community to disseminate information and collaborate on College level strategies that impact ANU rankings.
Australian Universities Accord - Interim Report
The Universities Accord Panel released their Interim Report in July 2023. Key issues outlined in the Report include the proposal to introduce a Tertiary Education Committee and an International Student Tax. Board discussed key issues and noted concerns regarding the establishment of a new oversight body and complexities associated with providing frank commentary on key issues particularly relevant to the ANU without undermining the autonomy of the University. Following the meeting, Academic Board members were provided with a copy of the draft ANU Response to the Interim Report for comment and feedback.
Academic Board also considered other significant matters, including: details of a recent Academic Freedom matter and application of the ANU Academic Freedom and Freedom of Speech Policy; Research Strategy Progress Report 1/2023; discussion on the Progress Report from Colleges re the implementation of Program Review Recommendations; revisions to the Admission of International Students Under the Age of 18 Years Procedure and the Underage Student Management Policy; a Review on the Recording of Teaching Activities Policy and Procedure.