HDR and MRes Termination of Candidature

HDR and MRes Termination of Candidature

SUMMARY

The HDR and MRes Termination of Candidature Procedure establishes the steps by which Higher Degree Research (HDR) or Master of Research (MRes) candidature can be terminated, due to unsatisfactory performance.

PROCEDURE

1     PURPOSE

To outline the steps by which Higher Degree Research (HDR) or Master of Research (MRes) candidature can be terminated, due to unsatisfactory performance.

The general principles of the termination procedure appear in the Macquarie University Higher Degree Research Rules 14 (.2 to .5). In accordance with the Rules, the Executive Dean of the Faculty may form the opinion that the Candidate’s progress is unsatisfactory and invite the Candidate to a Formal Review of progress. This Formal Review of progress procedure for HDR and MRes candidature is managed by the Associate Dean (HDR) or nominee. The Executive Dean of the Faculty will then consider the outcome of this Formal Review and may report to the DVC Research that they recommend termination of Candidature or permit the Candidate to remain enrolled and may impose conditions on continuing enrolment.

2     SCOPE

This Procedure applies to all staff and HDR and MRes students (referred to as Candidates) at all campuses and locations of the University.

3     DEFINITIONS

Commonly defined terms are located in the University Glossary.  Additional definitions for the purpose of this Procedure are available on the Glossary on the Higher Degree Research Office webpage:  https://staff.mq.edu.au/research/managing-graduate-researchers/supervising-candidates/supervisors-toolkit

    RESPONSIBILITIES AND REQUIRED ACTIONS

Print version of  HDR and MRes Termination of Candidature Procedure Flowchart (PDF)

The associated procedure toolkits for Candidates, Supervisors and Administrators are available on the Higher Degree Research Office webpage https://staff.mq.edu.au/research/managing-graduate-researchers/supervising-candidates/supervisors-toolkit

If you have difficulty accessing these documents contact policy@mq.edu.au or phone 02 9850 4791.

This procedure requires actions by the following:

  • HDR or MRes Candidate
  • HDR or MRes Supervisor
  • Department HDR Director
  • Department MRes Director
  • Head of Department
  • Associate Dean, HDR
  • Faculty MRes Director
  • Executive Dean of Faculty
  • Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research)
  • Faculty HDR Managers
  • Higher Degree Research Office

IDENTIFICATION OF PROBLEM CANDIDATURE

HDR / MRes Supervisor
Work with Departmental HDR or MRes Director/Advisor to:

  • identify early and provide support to HDR and MRes Candidates not making satisfactory academic progress;
  • apply clear, fair, timely and transparent internal processes for dealing with Candidates not making satisfactory academic progress.

Indicators of unsatisfactory progress may include, but are not restricted to, the following:

  • the Candidate is considered unlikely to complete their degree program satisfactorily (including mandatory coursework requirements) within the maximum time allowed;
  • the Candidate’s performance at confirmation of candidature was unsatisfactory;
  • the Candidate did not meet candidature milestones as documented and communicated;
  • (in the case of doctoral or MPhil candidates) The Candidate has not completed their Annual Progress Report (APR); and/or
  • the Candidate is no longer communicating effectively with their Supervisor(s), or departmental or faculty academic staff responsible for candidature matters.

Refer cases of unsatisfactory progress to Departmental HDR Director or MRes Director for possible review

HDR / MRes Candidate
Work with Supervisor to identify and deal with issues that may cause unsatisfactory progress.

DEPARTMENTAL REVIEW

HDR / MRes Supervisor
Work with Departmental HDR or MRes Director to undertake a review of candidature where there are serious concerns about a Candidate’s progress.

Departmental HDR / MRes Director / Advisor
Determine whether a departmental review will take place or whether the case should be immediately escalated to a faculty-level review.

In the case of a departmental review:

  • work with Supervisors to organize a review of Candidature;
  • clearly and fully communicate to the Candidate in writing what the concerns are, and give the Candidate the opportunity to address these concerns in either written form or oral presentation;
  • determine:
    • whether candidature is viable;
    • whether an appropriate intervention strategy is to develop a Candidate Action Plan with clear milestones or goals and a clear timeline to assist the candidate in getting candidature back on track;
    • whether a subsequent review is necessary, and what form that review should take; and
    • whether the candidature should be referred to the Faculty Associate Dean HDR or Faculty MRes Director for Faculty review.

Head of Department
Review any recommendation to the Faculty for HDR or MRes candidature review.

FACULTY REVIEW

Associate Dean HDR or Faculty MRes Director

Consider the outcome of any departmental review and determine if a faculty review is a beneficial intervention strategy for the Candidate and Supervisor or if the Supervisor is recommended to initiate the Formal Review procedure.

In the case of a faculty review:

  • communicate to Candidate in writing why candidature is to be reviewed, and provide the Candidate with time to respond in writing;
  • appoint and chair a panel that undertakes a review of candidature. The panel should not include anyone involved in a prior departmental-level review;
  • consult with the Supervisors and departmental HDR staff, to either
    • draw up a remedial plan with goals, milestones and a timeline to get candidature back on track using the Candidate Action Plan, or
    • recommend Formal Review of candidature.

FORMAL REVIEW

HDR / MRes Supervisor

Utilise the Supervisor Decision Tree to ensure Formal Review is to be requested and that other appropriate avenues for candidature management have been exhausted.

If Formal Review is to be requested, upload documentation supporting the request to the system available from the Higher Degree Research Office webpage https://staff.mq.edu.au/research/managing-graduate-researchers/supervising-candidates/supervisors-toolkit

Associate Dean HDR or Faculty MRes Director with administrative support from the Faculty HDR Managers
Upon receiving and reviewing the request for Formal Review from the Supervisor, Faculty HDR Manager to write to the Supervisor asking them to provide any additional documentation to ensure all documentation supporting the request for Formal Review is on the system

Faculty HDR Manager to notify the Associate Dean HDR that the request for Formal Review is ready for review.

Associate Dean HDR to declare to the Executive Dean if they have a Conflict of Interest i.e. if they have been involved in the Department or Faculty reviews or for any other reason, and a nominee to be appointed by the Executive Dean.

Associate Dean HDR or nominee to review file using the Associate Dean HDR Decision Tree and escalate the case to other stakeholders if required.

If the Associate Dean HDR or nominee makes the decision that the Formal Review is to proceed, Faculty HDR Manager to write to the Candidate asking them to provide a submission for the Formal Review process providing details on why their candidature remains viable.

The letter to the Candidate must include:

  • the reasons why it has been decided to ask the Candidate to undergo the Formal Review process;
  • the date by which the Candidate must respond to the Formal Review Submission Request letter [The Candidate will have twenty working days to respond in the case of a Doctoral or MPhil candidate, or ten working days to respond in the case of an MRes candidate];
  • the statement: “Failure to respond to this Formal Review Submission Request letter by the indicated due date may result in your candidature being terminated;”
  • the name and address of the person to whom the Formal Review Submission Request letter should be sent;
  • information about support and advocacy services available through Campus Wellbeing; and
  • information about attending the Formal Review Panel meeting.

Candidate
Provide, by the date specified;

  • a detailed written response to the issues raised by the Associate Dean/Faculty MRes Director’s letter;
  • a case why candidature is viable and completion within maximum time is likely
  • a timeline for completion, and
  • notification on whether or not they will attend the Faculty Formal Review Panel meeting.

Associate Dean (Higher Degree Research) or nominee
Appoint a Formal Review Panel to review the Formal Review file including the Candidate’s response to the Formal Review Submission Request and to meet to interview relevant parties and decide on the outcome

The panel will not include anyone involved in the departmental or faculty reviews.

Normally, the panel would include:
1. The Associate Dean (HDR) of the Faculty (Chair) or nominee
2. The Associate Dean (HDR) from another faculty
3. A Head of Department outside the Department of enrolment of the candidate
4. Up to two members of Academic staff with experience in HDR supervision
5. Up to two members co-opted by the Executive Dean, on an as needs basis

A panel will be formed whenever summoned by the Executive Dean of the Faculty.

Faculty Formal Review Panel supported by the Faculty HDR Manager
Determine, based on the Formal Review recommendation and the candidate’s response, whether to recommend termination of candidature.

The Candidate and the Supervisor will be invited to attend the Panel meeting if they choose.

If the candidate does not provide a written response by the due date, candidature may be terminated. The panel may interview or seek written reports from other parties involved in the termination process at its own discretion.

OUTCOME

Faculty Formal Review Panel supported by the Faculty HDR Manager
Send a written report via the system to the Executive Dean, recommending that candidature be continued or terminated and provide reasons.

Executive Dean
Consider the outcome of the Formal Review. Recommend continuation of candidature or termination of candidature.  

In the case of continuation of candidature, inform Associate Dean HDR or Faculty MRes Director on the system that candidature is to be continued.

In the case of termination of candidature, inform the HDRO on the system of the recommendation to the DVC Research that candidature is to be terminated.

Associate Dean HDR or Faculty MRes Director
In the case of continuation of candidature, liaise with the department to set a series of milestones and goals over the subsequent 3 and 6 month periods (for HDR candidates) or monthly (for MRes candidates) or as appropriate utilizing the Candidature Management Plan and Candidate Action Plan.

Supervisor
In the case of continuation of candidature, liaise with the Candidate to achieve goals as specified by Associate Dean HDR or Faculty MRes Director.

Provide a written report to the Associate Dean HDR or Faculty MRes Director on whether these milestones have been met, or whether a further review is necessary.

Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research)
Consider the recommendation from the Faculty Executive Dean.
In the case of decision of termination of candidature, instruct HDRO to process the termination and inform the Candidate that candidature has been terminated, and the reasons why.

HDRO
In the case of termination of candidature:

  • inform the Candidate that candidature has been terminated, and the reasons why;
  • process the termination of candidature;
  • inform the Candidate of the Appeals processes available to appeal against termination through Governance Services; and
  • inform the Higher Degree Research Committee that termination has taken place and the effective date.

WITHDRAWAL

HDR or MRes Candidate
Candidate may withdraw from candidature at any time during the Formal Review process.

5     RELEVANT LEGISLATION

NA

6     KEY RELATED DOCUMENTS

Higher Degree Research Rules
HDR Handbook and Guide
HDR Supervision Policy
Annual Progress Report

7     NOTES  

7.1
Contact Officer
Dean, Higher Degree Research
7.2
Implementation Officer
Director, Higher Degree Research
7.3
Approval Authority / Authorities
HDR Rules amendments (Council Resolution 16/05)
Higher Degree Research Committee (Resolution 16/130)
Academic Senate Standing Committee (Resolution 16/29)
7.4
Date Approved
24 May 2016
7.5
Date of Commencement
24 May 2016
7.6
Date for Review
October 2017
7.7
Documents Superseded by this Procedure
HDR MRes Termination of Candidature Procedure approved 31 October 2014
7.8
Amendment History
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