Policy Redesign Project

All policies and procedures are being reviewed as part of this project. This document is pending review, but remains in effect until the review is carried out.

School Review Policy

Establishment Date:

Council, 4 December 2008

Date Last Amended:

Academic Senate, 29 June 2016

Nature of Amendment:

Change to responsibility for oversight and establishment of procedures

Date Last Reviewed:

December 2013

Responsible Officer:

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic)

1.  Preamble

The Procedures for Approval and Promulgation of Changes of Organisational Structure and Names define a School as follows:

School means an academic organisational unit within a faculty, established by Council, headed by a Dean and reporting to the Executive Dean of Faculty. Schools have formal responsibilities in the governance and decision-making structure of the University including but not limited to staff supervision and performance management and (at the discretion of the faculty) budget management.

Under the above policy, Council approves the establishment of, and any changes to, the University’s academic organisational structure on the advice of Academic Senate.

School reviews are intended to assure Council (with reference to clauses 5(2)(c) and 5(2)(g) of the Flinders University of South Australia Act 1966) and Academic Senate that the School concerned is functioning effectively as an organisational unit and is performing satisfactorily with regard to the nature and role of the School as approved by Council.

Reviews of Schools are an important element in ensuring Flinders’ continuous improvement of quality assurance and performance management, within the context of the corporate and academic governance requirements of the Higher Education Standards Framework.  The reviews will establish a development plan for the School drawing on internal and external evidence and input and enable University oversight of progress.

2.  Principles

School reviews will:

  • complement routine performance evaluation;
  • be outcomes-oriented providing a realistic assessment of the actions necessary to support a higher level of achievement;
  • review the alignment of the School's planning and operations with the University's and Faculty's strategic planning;
  • highlight good practices that can be shared across the University;
  • be transparent, consultative, evidence-based and well documented, with an emphasis on the analysis of performance data, reflecting an organisational culture that is characterised by improvement and innovation.

3.  Policy

3.1  The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) will determine and publish procedures for the implementation of this policy.

3.2 Timing 

3.2.1  Normally, each School will be reviewed every seven years. However, a Faculty, the Vice-Chancellor, or Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) may initiate a review at any time if it is considered appropriate.

3.2.2  The Vice-Chancellor or Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) may determine that other academic units not designated as Schools may be reviewed under this policy.

3.2.3  Executive Deans of Faculty will be responsible for ensuring that reviews of Schools in their faculties are conducted in a timely and appropriate manner.

3.3  Terms of reference

3.3.1  The terms of reference for each review will be approved by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) on the recommendation of the Executive Dean, having regard to the principles for School reviews above and to the role and functions of Schools outlined in the Preamble.

3.3.2  The review panel will examine past performance and current practice, advise on the future direction of the School in terms of opportunities and wider developments in the University, and consider the extent to which the School is contributing to the Faculty's strategic directions and goals in support of the University's Strategic Plan.  Where necessary, the review will make recommendations for any change in the composition and functions of the School, its planning, management and administration and its teaching, research, internationalisation and community engagement. 

3.4  Review Panels

The composition of a review panel will be subject to approval by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), on the recommendation of the relevant Executive Dean.

4.  Review process

4.1  Self-review portfolio and consultation

4.1.1  The School will prepare a self-review portfolio addressing the approved terms of reference.

4.1.2  The review panel will normally seek submissions from internal and external stakeholders.

4.1.3  The review panel will interview stakeholders as it considers appropriate.

4.2  Reporting and Implementation

4.2.1  The review panel will provide a report with recommendations against the terms of reference to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) (copies to the relevant Executive Dean and Dean of School), normally within one month of the review.  The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) will then transmit the report and any comments on the report to the Executive Dean of Faculty and Dean of School for consideration.

4.2.2  A response to the report and an implementation plan to address the recommendations will be developed by the Faculty Executive Dean and Dean of School.

4.2.3  The Executive Dean together with the Dean of School will be responsible for ensuring that the review implementation plan is implemented in a timely and appropriate manner and will provide a report to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) on completion of the items listed in the Implementation Plan.

4.2.4  Where applicable, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Faculty Executive Dean and Dean of School (as appropriate) will ensure that required actions arising from implementation plans are incorporated into relevant University planning.

4.2.5  The School Review Schedule, Review Report and Implementation Plan will be accessible to University staff from a School review webpage.

4.2.6  The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) will report regularly to Academic Senate on significant issues within its terms of reference arising from Review Reports, and on the status of all School reviews scheduled for the current year, or still in the process of completion from previous years.