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Curtin University
Office of the Academic Registrar

Academic Calendar: Consultation

Please circulate widely and return comments to calendar@curtin.edu.au no later than Friday 7th July 2017.

Consultation Paper   Appendix A

Executive Summary

1.1 Introduction

Building on previous work undertaken in 2016, the primary objective of the Academic Calendar Implementation Group (ACIG) was to establish a preferred option (including implementation timelines) for changes to the Academic Calendar, consistent with the 2017-2020 Strategic Plan.

A revised set of calendar Schedules (A-D) were developed.  Schedule A proposed potentially far-reaching changes to existing semesters in order to provide large blocks of time over summer which could be used for teaching and/or research. Schedule B proposed a variation on the existing trimester series, whilst Schedule C proposed the introduction of six study periods available for intensive teaching. Schedule D (Open Universities Australia, OUA) was included (with no changes) for reference to show alignment between OUA and other periods.

These proposals were tested through a process of rapid ‘idea testing’ with identified stakeholders, who, in turn were encouraged to seek the views of others across the university.

1.2 Findings

Whilst there was some support for the compression of the semesters in Schedule A, the majority view expressed by stakeholders was that these changes would realise inadequate benefits compared to the human and financial costs of making these changes. However, there was good support for starting Semester 1 one week later, and finishing Semester 2 one week earlier. Schedule B was supported, but the inclusion of mid-trimester breaks was seen to extend the time excessively. There was strong support for the intensive blocks of teaching (Schedule C), and many innovative ideas for their use were advanced by stakeholders. The proposed start date of the first intensive period (1 Jan) in Schedule C was widely seen to be problematic as it commenced too early in the year.

The ACIG examined the costs and benefits of these proposed changes in the light of feedback. This included a consideration of the timelines that would be needed to prepare and execute a successful implementation, and the time taken for proposals to yield worthwhile benefits for the institution.

1.3 Proposal for consultation

The ACIG therefore propose the following implementation actions and timeframes:

Schedule A: The original proposal will be dropped. Rather, in the current semester calendar one of the two tuition free weeks will be deleted, meaning that Semester 1 would start one week later, Semester 2 would finish one week earlier. (The current inter-semester gap would be maintained, the study week retained.) These changes could be implemented for the calendar year 2019 onwards.

Schedule B: The original proposal will be dropped. Rather, the existing trimester series (1, 2, 3) will be left unchanged, and used in preference for new programs as required. Existing programs using ‘A’ and ‘B’ trimesters would be encouraged to use the intensive blocks or the standard trimester series as appropriate in future. This longer term proposal is subject to contract negotiations.

Schedule C: The original proposal will be maintained. However, the later start of Semester 1 would allow the first intensive block to start one week later, thereby avoiding starting on the 1st January. These new study periods could become available for use from the calendar year 2018 onwards.

1.4 Consultation timeline

The formal consultation period opens on the 6th June and runs for a month.  Please circulate the document widely and return comments to calendar@curtin.edu.au no later than Friday 7th July 2017.

Members

Jon Yorke, Academic Registrar (Chair)
Penny Liggins, Chief Student Services Officer
Craig Zimitat, Director, Course Quality, Curtin Learning and Teaching
Jordan Piggott, Education Vice-President, Student Guild
Grant O’Neill, CBS Dean International Strategy and Accreditation
Linda Adnyana, Manager, Education Portfolio Projects

Acknowledgements

The Academic Calendar Implementation Group acknowledges the support given by many people in the consideration of the matters presented in this Interim Report.  We are grateful for their wise counsel and detailed comments.  We are indebted to Alice Snell for providing administrative support and coordinating the many meetings that were required.