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Course Advice to Students Policy

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Section 1 - Purpose and Context

(1) The University provides integrated academic and personal support to students at all stages of the student lifecycle and offers advice to help students identify their educational needs and goals, navigate through administrative requirements, be successful in their studies and have a positive student experience.

(2) The purpose of this policy is to indicate who can provide course and administrative advice to students, and how this advice is to be recorded.

(3) The policy applies to all University staff and should be read in conjunction with the Enrolment Policy, Assessment Policy - Criteria and Standards-based Assessment, Examinations Policy, Disability Policy, and Records and Archives Management Policy.

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Section 2 - Definitions

(4) For the purpose of this policy:

  1. Course advice - advice or information given to one or more students on:
    1. the academic discipline or area of study;
    2. current academic policies including admission, recognition of prior learning, transition, progression, assessment, grading, completion, appeals, academic integrity, withdrawal or cancellation of enrolment;
    3. the course rules that apply to a program of study and the student's progression through it;
    4. the learning skills required for the course or unit and support services available to help students with their studies;
    5. other matters that impact on the student's progression;
    6. the professional requirements and attributes for the professions affiliated with the academic discipline.
  2. Administrative advice - advice or information given to one or more students about other matters that impact on the student's enrolment, including services and support available.
  3. Director, Academic Program (DAP) - the academic program leadership role which includes the Director, Academic Program for online courses, also known as the eDAP.
  4. Inherent requirements - the fundamental parts of a course or unit that must be met by all students; they are the abilities, knowledge and skills which students need to complete the course or unit.
  5. Routine course advice - published or standardised information.
  6. Specialist course advice - individual advice to a student that addresses the student's specific circumstances and/or varies from routine published or standardised information.
  7. Student file - a file which relates to an individual student and held on the University's official records management system, in accordance with the Records and Archives Management Policy.
  8. Student record - the admission, enrolment, progression and financial record on the Student Management System, managed by the Student Experience Office.
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Section 3 - Policy Statement

(5) The University will provide information to prospective and current students in accordance with the Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2015. Routine and specialist course advice, and administrative advice, will be provided to assist students make decisions about courses or units, and to plan and participate in educational and other activities. The advice will:

  1. be current, relevant and accurate;
  2. respond as promptly as possible to student enquiries, based on the details provided; and
  3. be consistent with University policies and other published information.

(6) The University will ensure all information regarding courses and policies is available on the University's website.

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Section 4 - Procedures

Part A - Course Advice

(7) Course advice and administrative advice may be provided directly by a staff member or published by the University on its website or systems or in printed material.

(8) Routine course advice may be provided by staff members whose responsibilities include providing academic advice including admissions staff, Directors, Academic Programs, Academic Director, Widening ParticipationCourse Advisors, Unit Coordinators, members of supervisory panels, student support service staff, careers education consultants, school administrative staff, Student Central, and other designated staff in the Student Experience Office.

(9) Specialist course advice may be provided by:

  1. Dean, Graduate Studies, Graduate Research School, Dean, Deputy Dean, Director, Academic Program, Academic Course Advisor, School and Institute Higher Degree Research Directors, members of Supervisory Panels, and School Honours Coordinators, in relation to the course;
  2. Lecturer/Unit Coordinator in relation to unit advice and learning requirements or skills for the unit.

(10) Staff should provide course advice to students which is:

  1. based on the details the student provided; and
  2. validated from information in University student systems such as Callista or TRIM.

(11) Directors, Academic Program should ensure that relevant course advice is clearly communicated to staff who provide routine academic advice on their program.

(12) Staff who provide specialist course advice to individual students will:

  1. record the advice electronically and send an email, including the words 'Course/Unit Advice' in the title, from their staff email account to the student's University email account; and
  2. send a copy of the email to the student file by including in the Cc or Bcc field of the email.

(13) Course advice provided to students enrolled in double degree courses should reflect the differential responsibilities of the schools in relation to the double degree. The following principles apply:

  1. the Academic Course Advisor in the owning school provides advice about the degree overall;
  2. the Academic Course Advisor in the teaching school provides advice about their school-owned specialisations and units.

(14) Where a unit, specialisation or course has been discontinued, staff who provide specialist course advice must take account of the following:

  1. the approved transition arrangements for the course;
  2. the need for the DAP to approve the unit substituted where no formal equivalent unit exists;
  3. the need to approve substitutions before the student undertakes the unit and applies to graduate.

Part B - Administrative Advice

(15) Staff qualified to do so by virtue of their role may provide advice to students to facilitate their access to services and support.

(16) Staff of the Student Experience Office, through Student Central, may provide administrative advice to a student in relation to their study and/or progression, legislative requirements, enrolment and financial matters, leave of absence or deferment, exams or graduation, University policies and the Student Code of Conduct.

(17) School administrative staff will provide advice about particular school requirements, and may assist students to understand other requirements, referring them to appropriate staff for further advice.

(18) School academic staff may also provide advice about various academic processes, including in accordance with the relevant University's policies.

Advising International Students

(19) Staff qualified to do so by virtue of their role may give administrative advice to international students in relation to enrolment, progression, completion and welfare. Appropriate staff may also give advice on complying with student visa conditions and other legislative requirements. All staff who give advice to international students must record the advice in the student's file.

Part C - Inherent Requirements of Courses

(20) Staff should advise commencing students that, to successfully complete a course at Western Sydney University, they need to be able to meet all the inherent requirements. If a student is applying for a course, they should be encouraged to read the inherent requirements to ensure they are able to meet them. Students with a disability or chronic health condition may be able to have reasonable adjustments made to enable them to meet these requirements. Assistance with reasonable adjustments is available from the Student Disability Service. Consideration should also be given to a student's cultural and religious background/beliefs, which may impact on participation in their course or unit. Guidance is available on the Disability Service's Inherent Requirements web page.

Part D - Advising Students at Risk

(21) The Progression and Unsatisfactory Academic Progress Policy encourages poorly performing students to explore other options that may be more appropriate for them, and aims to prevent students incurring significant costs. The University will exercise a duty of care to students who incur fees and who are not well suited to tertiary study, and not permit poorly performing students to study indefinitely.

(22) Academic Course Advisors will provide advice about services and support available for students, and will refer them to the appropriate web pages and University services.

(23) Guidance to assist Academic Course Advisors in discussions with students identified as being at risk of not progressing through their course is available in the Course Advising Toolkit.

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Section 5 - Guidelines

(24) An example of a Course Advising Toolkit produced by the School of Business is available here as a model which can be adapted by schools.

(25) Refer to document "Email Capture - cc to TRIM" for details of how to send a copy of the email (record of your advice) to the student file.