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Curriculum Design and Approvals Policy

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Section 1 - Purpose and Context

(1) This policy provides a set of principles to guide the design and approval of Western Sydney University's curriculum.

(2) Our curriculum will seek to foster the development of graduates who are:

  1. Future Thinkers:
    1. creative, inquiry-led, multidisciplinary, novel solution-oriented thinkers who can thrive in a digital world.
  2. Global Citizens:
    1. informed and engaged local and global citizens, culturally competent (particularly in regard to Indigenous cultures and valuing diversity), adept communicators, and stewards of our Western Sydney community and their chosen communities.
  3. Innovative Entrepreneurs:
    1. resilient, technologically savvy leaders and entrepreneurs with advanced knowledge and practical skills.
  4. Sustainability Advocates:
    1. committed advocates who will advance the objectives of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

(3) This policy applies to University curriculum elements and academic qualifications accredited and conferred by Western Sydney University (University).

(4) This policy should be read in conjunction with the guidelines and procedures sections of this policy and other relevant University policies, including:

  1. Assessment Policy;
  2. Credit for Prior Learning Policy;
  3. Student Feedback on Units and Teaching Survey Policy.

(5) Curriculum will be progressively updated to align with this policy at the first scheduled review of the curriculum element following the publication of this policy. 

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Section 2 - Definitions

(6) For the purposes of this policy definitions that apply can be found:

  1. in the associated procedural documents and guidelines listed.
  2. in the Policy DDS Glossary.
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Section 3 - Policy Statement

Curriculum Principles

(7) The University is committed to offering curricula that:

  1. equip students for success in a disrupted future of work and society and enable the University to contribute to transforming that future, making qualifications attractive to prospective students;
  2. are easily understandable to students with accessible pathways into, through and back into our academic qualifications, alternative qualifications and learning experiences, and support students to achieve their career aspirations across their lifetime;
  3. leverage technologies and are agile, resilient and sustainable through the inclusion of features that allow rapid response to external opportunities and changes;
  4. embody partnership pedagogy by being co-created i.e. co-designed and/or co-developed and/or co-delivered, and/or co-assessed (which may include co-credentialing) with partners, to ensure authenticity, relevance and engagement;
  5. complement, and are complemented by, the University's research strengths, external engagement and commitment to the region;
  6. comprise a profile of learning experiences, developed and managed using evidence-based accountability and demonstrating fitness of purpose;
  7. build on the advantage of university status for our academic qualifications and complement these with alternative credentials;
  8. adhere to and align with the Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2015 and the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF).
  9. are designed to educate, support and encourage academic integrity.

Structure and Pedagogy

(8) The curriculum structure and pedagogy is designed to:

  1. promote a depth and breadth of disciplinary, and where appropriate interdisciplinary, learning and the development of hybrid capabilities for resilient employability and scholarly citizenship;
  2. have clear organisational structures that are coherent, shared and aligned across like degrees where possible;
  3. embody partnership pedagogy, being co-created with a range of partners, within academic and regulatory requirements;
  4. include opportunities for students to study hybrid curriculum elements related to the future of work and society, in a coherent structure and complementary to their discipline;
  5. include opportunities for flexible aggregation of curriculum elements reflecting the diversity of students’ career aspirations and learning needs;
  6. ensure coherence through the use of scaffolding and mechanisms that support integration within and between curriculum elements.
Refer to the Procedures and Guidelines sections in this policy.

Quality Assurance

(9) Curriculum quality will be assured by:

  1. high-quality curriculum planning, design, development and enhancement support;
  2. efficient, clearly communicated processes and systems to ensure agile and rigorous approval of curriculum elements;
  3. efficient approval, variation and review processes and systems to assure the quality and compliance of curriculum (and co-curriculum elements where these are included in academic qualifications);
  4. review processes to monitor viability and suitability of existing programs and guide investment, renewal and closure of curriculum elements;
  5. effective communication strategies and systems, to ensure students receive timely and accurate curriculum information and to actively promote curriculum elements to students and external stakeholders;
  6. timely and accurate academic advice for students to facilitate personalised learning and curriculum planning;
  7. systems that clearly record and communicate students’ curriculum and co-curriculum achievements.
Refer to the Procedures and Guidelines sections in this policy.
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Section 4 - Procedures

(10) The following procedures will operationalise this policy. The committee of Academic Senate or office-holder of Academic Senate or the University authorised to approve changes to these procedures are included below:

  1. Curriculum Approval Procedures – variations are approved by Academic Planning and Courses Approvals Committee (APCAC) except where they relate to delegations, which must be approved by Academic Senate;
  2. Curriculum Structure Procedures – variations are approved by Academic Senate; and
  3. Curriculum Advice to Students Procedures – variations are approved by Education Committee.
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Section 5 - Guidelines

(11) The following guidelines have been developed to operationalise this policy and are to be followed where appropriate. The committee of Academic Senate or office-holder of Academic Senate or the University authorised to approve changes to these guidelines are included below:

  1. Inherent Requirements Guidelines – variations approved by Director, Equity, Diversity and Wellbeing (under development)
  2. Honours Guidelines – variations approved by Research Studies Committee (RSC)(under development)
  3. Graduate Attributes Guidelines – variations approved by Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President, Academic (under development).