Academic Appeals

Academic Appeals

SUMMARY

The Academic Appeals Policy establishes the principles governing appeals against an academic decision of the University. The Procedure provides further information for students seeking to appeal a decision made by the University about:

  • admission and readmission
  • disruption to studies
  • recognition of prior learning
  • suspension and exclusion, or
  • termination of higher degree research candidature.

POLICY

1     PURPOSE

To specify the principles governing appeals against an academic decision of the University.

2     BACKGROUND

The University is committed to providing transparent, equitable, and consistent mechanisms for students to appeal an academic decision.  This policy reflects the expectations and responsibilities of both the University and its students in the management of an academic appeal.

3     SCOPE

This policy applies to academic decisions made by the University affecting any student enrolled in or seeking enrolment in a Macquarie University coursework or research program regarding decisions on:

  • Admission and Readmission contemplated by the Admissions (Coursework) Policy
  • Disruption to Studies contemplated by the Disruptions to Studies Policy
  • Recognition of Prior Learning in accordance with the Recognition of Prior Learning Policy
  • Suspension and Exclusion contemplated by the Academic Progression Policy
  • Exclusion under the General Coursework Rule (Clause 10 (7))
  • Termination of Higher Degree Research Candidature in accordance with the Higher Degree Research Rules (Clause 14(5)).

This policy does not apply to grade appeals (see Grade Appeals Policy), academic misconduct (see Student Discipline Rules and Student Discipline Procedure) or complaints or grievances (see Complaints Management  Procedure  for Students and Members of the Public).

4     DEFINITIONS

Commonly defined terms are located in the University Glossary.

5    POLICY STATEMENT

  1. The University’s Academic Appeals Panel will hear appeals under this policy. The Academic Appeals Panel will consist of a Chair and two other members appointed by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Students and Registrar).
  2. The University will endeavour to ensure that procedures for dealing with appeals enable proceedings to be conducted with as little formality and technicality and as quickly as a proper consideration of the matters under consideration permits.
  3. An Academic Appeals Panel’s functions are to:
    1. provide an opportunity for a student to make submissions in respect of an appeal that has been referred to the Academic Appeals Panel; and
    2. decide whether the appeal should be upheld; and
    3. if the appeal is upheld, decide what should be done as a consequence.
  4. Any decision of an Academic Appeals Panel is final and there is no further right of appeal within the University.
  5. A student may submit a complaint to the Macquarie University Student Ombudsman in relation to the conduct of an Academic Appeals Panel.
  6. A student must not pursue any judicial or other review by or make a complaint to, any person outside the University until the right of appeal of the student contemplated by this policy is exhausted.

[Note: A student in respect of whom a decision has been made may complain to the New South Wales State Ombudsman about the decision pursuant to the Ombudsman Act 1987 (NSW) and judicial review of the decision may also be sought from the courts.]

Timeframe

Timeframes for submission of an Academic Appeal are articulated in the Academic Appeals Procedure.

Reporting

The Academic Appeals Panel will report to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Students and Registrar).

6     RELEVANT LEGISLATION

Education Services for Overseas Students Act (2000)

7     KEY RELATED DOCUMENTS

Supporting Appeals documents on this page (see Tabs above):
Academic Appeals Procedure

Other related documents:

General Coursework Rules
Grade Appeal Policy
Higher Degree Research Rules
Higher Degree Research and MRes Termination of Candidature Procedure
Student Discipline Rules and Procedure

8     NOTES

8.1 Contact Officer Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Students and Registrar)
8.2 Implementation Officer Head of Governance Services
8.3 Approval Authority Academic Senate & Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic)
8.4 Date Approved 1 November 2016 (Resolution 16/231)
8.5 Date of Commencement 9 January 2017
8.6 Date for Review 31 December 2018
8.7 Documents Superseded by this Policy Nil
8.8 Amendment History 22 February 2017 change to Date of Commencement for Policy and Procedure from 1 January 2017 to 9 January 2017, ratified by Academic Senate on 21 February 2017 (Resolution 17/16).

PROCEDURE

1     PURPOSE

The document sets out the procedure for an appeal by a student against certain academic decisions of the University.

2     SCOPE

The procedure applies to an appeal by a student against a decision made by the University about:

  • Admission and Readmission contemplated by the Admissions (Coursework) Policy
  • Disruption to Studies contemplated by the Disruptions to Studies Policy
  • Recognition of Prior Learning in accordance with the Recognition of Prior Learning Policy
  • Suspension and Exclusion contemplated by the Academic Progression Policy
  • Exclusion under the General Coursework Rule (Clause 10 (7))
  • Termination of Higher Degree Research Candidature in accordance with the Higher Degree Research Rules (Clause 14(5)).

This policy does not apply to grade appeals (see Grade Appeals Policy), academic misconduct (see Student Discipline Rules and Student Discipline Procedure) or complaints or grievances (see Complaints Management  Procedure  for Students and Members of the Public).

3     DEFINITIONS

Commonly defined terms are located in the University Glossary.

In this document a reference to:

  • an applicable decision is to a decision which may be appealed pursuant to the procedure set out in this document; and
  • a student is to a student enrolled in or seeking enrolment in a coursework or research program of the University and includes a student undertaking or seeking to undertake research for the purpose of obtaining an academic award from the University (irrespective of whether the research is supervised).

4     RESPONSIBILITIES AND REQUIRED ACTIONS

Print version of Academic Appeals Procedure Flowchart (PDF)

NSW OmbudsmanMQ Student OmbudsmanAcademic Appeals ProcedureGovernance, Legislation and RulesGovernance, Legislation and RulesAcademic Appeals ProcedureAcademic Appeals Policy

Please click on each item of the flowchart to see more information. 
If you have difficulty accessing this document please contact the Policy Unit policy@mq.edu.au or 9850 4791.

  1. A student may appeal against an applicable decision of the University which affects him or her, on a ground specified in clause 4(2).
  2. An appeal against an applicable decision may only be made on the grounds that:
    1. the procedure for dealing with the matter was unfair in the circumstances because one or more of the following things occurred:
      1. the student affected was not given a reasonable opportunity, appropriate to the circumstances, to present his or her case or provide an explanation, before the decision was made;
      2. the decision maker in making the decision was biased or there was a reasonable apprehension of bias, against the student affected;
      3. the decision maker in making the decision, took an irrelevant consideration into account;
      4. the decision maker in making the decision, failed to take a relevant consideration into account;
      5. the decision maker in making the decision, acted dishonestly or for an improper purpose;
      6. there was no evidence to justify the decision made by the decision maker;
      7. the decision was so illogical or unreasonable that it could not have been rationally made;
      8. the decision was made in accordance with a guideline or direction from the University of general application without regard to the merits of the particular case;
      9. the decision maker made the decision in the particular case in accordance with the wishes of another person;
      10. the required procedure for making the decision was not followed; and
    2. as a result, the student affected suffered substantial injustice.
  3. The merits of the decision (that is to say, whether the correct or preferable decision was made) cannot be appealed.
  4. An appeal must:
    1. be made in writing via the University’s online system (ask.mq.edu.au);
    2. set out the details of the grounds for the appeal;
    3. be lodged by the student not later than, in the case of an applicable decision relating to:
      1. admission and re-admission contemplated by the Admissions (Coursework) Policy - 10 working days;
      2. disruption to studies contemplated by the Disruptions to Studies Policy - 5 working days;
      3. recognition of prior learning contemplated by the Recognition of Prior Learning Policy -10 working days;
      4. suspension and exclusion contemplated by the Academic Progression Policy - 20 working days;
      5. exclusion contemplated by clause 10(7) of the General Coursework Rule - 20 working days;
      6. termination of Higher Degree Research Candidature contemplated by clause 14(5) of the Higher Degree Research Rules - 20 working days,

        after being notified of the decision which is being appealed; and

    4. be lodged with the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Students and Registrar).
  5. A decision which is appealed has immediate effect notwithstanding that:
    1. the period within which an appeal may be lodged has not expired; or
    2. if an appeal is made, a final decision on the appeal has not been made (which may be a decision that the appeal has been abandoned).
  6. The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Students and Registrar) must, within 10 working days of receiving the notice of appeal, appoint a chair of an Academic Appeals Panel to hear and determine the appeal.
  7. The chair of the Academic Appeals Panel must within 5 working days of being appointed review the notice of appeal and either:
    1. dismiss the appeal if satisfied that it is frivolous, vexatious, misconceived or lacking in substance; or
    2. request the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Students and Registrar) to appoint the remaining 2 members of the appeal panel.
  8. If the chair dismisses an appeal pursuant to clause 7, he or she must, within 5 working days after the decision to dismiss it, provide the student with a written notice of the chair’s decision.
  9. If the chair determines that the appeal will be heard by the Academic Appeals Panel pursuant to clause 7(b), he or she must within 5 working days of the determination provide the student with a written notice that the appeal will be heard.
  10. The Academic Appeals Panel must consider the appeal within 20 working days of the remaining 2 members of it being appointed.
  11. The decision of a majority of the members of the Academic Appeals Panel is the decision of the appeal panel.
    1. The procedure for the calling of meetings of the Academic Appeals Panel and for the conduct of business at those meetings, may be determined by the chair. 
    2. The chair may extend or shorten any time fixed by this document or by any decision of the chair and may do so as many times as the chair thinks appropriate.
    3. The chair may extend any such time before or after the time expires whether or not an application for the extension is made before the time expires. 
    4. If no time is fixed by this document for the doing of anything in or relating to any proceeding before the appeal panel, the chair may fix the time within which that thing must be done.
    5. Any act or proceeding of the Academic Appeals Panel may not be called into question merely because of:
      1. any vacancy or change in the membership of the Academic Appeals Panel; or
      2. any defects in the appointment of any member of the Academic Appeals Panel; or
      3. any irregularity in the manner in which any meeting of the Academic Appeals Panel has been convened or conducted; or
      4. the presence or participation at any meeting of the Academic Appeals Panel of any person not entitled to be present or to participate at those meetings.
    1. The student must be given a reasonable opportunity to provide:
      1. any relevant written material to the Academic Appeals Panel; and
      2. a written submission to the Academic Appeals Panel.
    2. The student may be given an opportunity to address the Academic Appeals Panel if the Academic Appeals Panel is satisfied it is appropriate to do so in the circumstances.
  12. The Academic Appeals Panel may:
    1. dismiss the appeal by affirming the decision of the decision maker; or
    2. uphold the appeal by setting aside the decision and referring the matter to a decision maker for reconsideration of the decision.
  13. The chair of the Academic Appeals Panel must, within 5 working days of the decision being made, notify the student of the decision of the Academic Appeals Panel and, if the appeal is dismissed, give a short written statement of the reasons for the applicable decision.
  14. The student is bound by the decision of the Academic Appeals Panel.
  15. If the appeal is upheld, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Students and Registrar) may appoint a decision maker who is to reconsider the applicable decision.
  16. If, pursuant to 14 (b) the matter is referred to a decision maker for reconsideration, the decision maker must reconsider the applicable decision and inform the student of the result of that reconsideration as soon as practicable after the matter is referred to them.
  17. In this document, a reference to a "working day" is to any day other than:
    1. a Saturday, a Sunday or a public holiday; or
    2. 27, 28, 29, 30 or 31 December, 
      in Sydney.
    1. The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Students and Registrar) may authorise any person to carry out any of his or her functions relating to this document. 
    2. A reference in this document to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Students and Registrar), if the context permits, includes any person authorised to carry out any of his or her functions relating to this document.

5     RELEVANT LEGISLATION

Not applicable.

6     KEY RELATED DOCUMENTS

Supporting Appeals documents on this page (see Tabs above):
Academic Appeals Policy

Other related documents:  
Admission (Coursework) Policy / Procedures
Disruptions to Studies Policy /  Procedure
Recognition of Prior Learning Policy / Procedures
Academic Progression Policy /  Procedure
General Coursework Rules
Higher Degree Research Rules
Frequently Asked Questions for Students Submitting an Appeal

7     NOTES

7.1 Contact Officer Deputy Vice-Chancellor  (Students and Registrar)
7.2 Implementation Officer Head of Governance Services
7.3 Approval Authority / Authorities Academic Senate & Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic)
7.4 Date Approved 1 November 2016 (Resolution 16/231)
7.5 Date of Commencement  9 January 2017
7.6 Date for Review 31 December 2018
7.7 Documents Superseded by this Procedure Nil
7.8 Amendment History 22 February 2017 change to Date of Commencement for Policy and Procedure from 1 January 2017 to 9 January 2017, ratified by Academic Senate on 21 February 2017 (Resolution 17/16).
Back to the top of this page