Awards for Academic Excellence

Establishment: Council, 28 October 1994                                               
Last Amended: Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Students), 18 August 2016
Nature of Amendment: New clause 4.2 and addition to clause 4.3
Date Last Reviewed: April 2016
Responsible Officer: University Secretary

The University recognises the academic excellence of students by making awards of medals, letters of commendation, and prizes. This policy provides for the awarding of University Medals, Chancellor's Letters of Commendation, the Ken Wanganeen Medal and Vice-Chancellor’s Prize for Doctoral Thesis Excellence to students whose academic performance has been outstanding. The University will also award prizes as provided separately by Council Policy.

The following rules shall apply for the award of University Medals, Chancellor's Letters of Commendation, the Ken Wanganeen Medal and Vice-Chancellor’s Prize for Doctoral Thesis Excellence:

 

1.  University Medals

1.1  University Medals will be of such material and such design and be inscribed in such manner as may be approved by Council.

1.2  The award of a University Medal will be determined by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Students) under delegated authority from Academic Senate and on the advice of the board of the Faculty responsible for the degree in which the student is enrolled.

1.3  To be eligible for consideration for the award of a University Medal a student must have completed a bachelor program comprising 144 units or more or a 72 unit graduate entry bachelor degree program, and have undertaken an honours program if one is available.  A student who has completed a combined or double-degree program comprising 144 units or more is not eligible unless he/she has undertaken honours as a fifth year program.

1.4  A University Medal will be awarded only if the academic performance of a student is outstanding. The Faculty Board will recommend to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Students) for approval all students who meet the criteria for outstanding performance in accordance with approved procedures.

1.5  The Academic Senate will monitor the number of students awarded University Medals to ensure that students meet a suitable standard, consistent with the standards of previous years' medallists.

1.6  Medals may be awarded at all Graduation ceremonies.

2.  Procedures for the Award of a University Medal

2.1  Section 1.4 of the Policy

The Faculty Board must ensure that academic merit is the basis of its recommendation. The performance of a student will be judged on the basis of results achieved at Flinders University in the final 72 units of the course, with the exclusion of certain topics as indicated in clause 2.2 below.  Normally at least 72 units must have been completed at Flinders.  This may include credit from another Flinders degree in which the student was previously enrolled. To satisfy the requirements of Clause 1.5 of the policy the following minimum standards will normally apply:

2.1.1  A student must have achieved an outstanding level of performance in the final 36 units of the course, as demonstrated by results equivalent to a Grade Point Average of 6.25, on a scale of 7.00, or above, calculated to two decimal places.  Where an honours program forms part of the course, a student must have achieved the award of first class honours.

2.1.2  In the preceding 36 units of the course, a student must have achieved a Grade Point Average of 6.1 or more on a scale of 7.00, calculated to two decimal places.

2.1.3  Where a judgement is required in order to determine which units are to be included in the 'final' or 'preceding' 36 units the highest year level topic should be preferentially selected. Where all options are at the same year level, the units in which the student achieved the highest grade should be preferentially selected.  First year level topics will not be counted in determining the GPA, and higher level topics substituted.

2.1.4 A student is eligible for only one medal where two eligible degrees have been undertaken concurrently.


2.2  Non-Graded Pass Results

For the purpose of determining the academic performance of medallists, the calculation of Grade Point Average will be modified as follows.

2.2.1  a grade of NGP in a topic will not be counted in determining the GPA for the student where that topic is normally graded only on an NGP/Fail basis; but a Fail result in that topic will be counted in the same way as a Fail in a graded topic.

2.2.2  the calculation of the GPA or the 'final' or 'preceding' 36 units once NGP graded topics are excluded may be undertaken in one of two ways.  The method employed must be applied consistently to each cohort of students and in all succeeding years.

  • Calculate the GPA using the remaining, fewer, units; or
  • Units from the preceding period of study may be imported into the calculation following the principles at 2.1.3 above to make the total up to 36 units.

Where excluding the NGP graded topics would result in the GPA calculation comprising 18 units or less the second method would normally be employed.

2.3  Variations

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Students) may approve a variation to the criteria and procedures described in 1.1 to 1.4 and 2.1 to 2.2 where the variation is deemed to establish equivalent academic performance.  Requests for variations may be approved for awards, or considered for individual students on a case by case basis.

3.  Chancellor's Letters of Commendation

3.1  A Faculty Examinations Board may award a Chancellor's Letter of Commendation to a student whose academic performance in 36 units of study in an undergraduate or postgraduate course (excepting higher degrees by research) has been judged to be outstanding. The award shall be determined by the Examinations Board of the Faculty administering the course for which the student is enrolled.

4. Procedures for the Award of a Chancellor's Letter of Commendation 

4.1 In determining such awards:

  • a student must normally  have achieved a Grade Point Average of no less than 6.25, on a scale of 7.00, calculated to two decimal places, over 36 units not counted previously towards the same award.

4.2 Where a judgement is required in order to determine which units are to be included in the 36 units the highest year level topic should be preferentially selected. Where all options are at the same year level, the units in which the student achieved the highest grade should be preferentially selected. 

4.3 Non-Graded Pass Results

4.3.1  A grade of NGP in a topic will not be counted in determining the GPA for the student where that topic is normally graded only on an NGP/Fail basis, and the GPA consequently will be calculated using fewer units; but a Fail result in that topic will be counted in the same way as a Fail in a graded topic.

4.3.2  the calculation of the GPA in 36 units of study once NGP graded topics are excluded may be undertaken in one of two ways.  The method employed must be applied consistently to each cohort of students and in all succeeding years.

  • Calculate the GPA using the remaining, fewer, units; or
  • Units from the preceding period of study, where these have not been employed previously in a calculation for the same award, may be imported into the calculation following the principles at 4.2 above to make the total up to 36 units.

Where excluding the NGP graded topics would result in the GPA calculation comprising 18 units or less, and it is not possible to import units from a preceding period of study, a Chancellor’s Letter will not be awarded.

 

5. The Ken Wanganeen Medal

5.1  The Ken Wanganeen Medal is awarded in honour of the late Hurtle Kenneth Wanganeen, the first Indigenous honours graduate of Flinders University.

5.2  The Ken Wanganeen Medal will be of such material and such design and be inscribed in such manner as may be approved by Council.

5.3  The award of the Medal will be determined by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Students) on the recommendation of a Selection Committee comprising the Associate Dean, Yunggorendi Student Engagement, Office of Indigenous Strategy and Engagement, an academic advisor from Yunggorendi Student Engagement and the Nominee of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Students).

5.4  To be eligible for consideration for the award of a Medal a student must:

5.4.1  be an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander in accordance with the Commonwealth definition which requires that the student: be of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent, and identify as an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander; and be accepted as an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander in the community in which he or she lives or has lived.

5.4.2  have completed a bachelor degree comprising 108 units or more or a graduate entry bachelor degree comprising at least 72 units.

5.5  The Medal will be awarded to the student with the best overall academic performance in a completed bachelor degree, in accordance with approved procedures.

5.6  Previous recipients are not eligible for the award of a further Medal.

6.  Procedures for the Award of the Ken Wanganeen Medal

The following procedures must apply when the Selection Committee is preparing a recommendation.

6.1  Clause 5.5 of the Policy

Academic performance will be judged on the basis of the GPA for the final 72 units of the course. In the event of two or more students receiving the same GPA, the Selection Committee may select one of those students to receive the Medal on the basis of their GPA in the course as a whole. In the event that no student is considered to be of sufficient merit, the Selection Committee will recommend that no award be made.

6.2  Non-Graded Pass Results

For the purpose of determining academic performance for the ranking of students for the Medal, the calculation of Grade Point Average will be modified as follows:

6.2.1  a grade of NGP in a topic will not be counted in determining the GPA for the student where that topic is normally graded only on an NGP/Fail basis; but a Fail result in that topic will be counted in the same way as a Fail in a graded topic;

6.2.2  the calculation of the GPA once NGP graded topics are excluded may be undertaken in one of two ways.  The method employed must be applied consistently to each cohort of students and in all succeeding years.

  • Calculate the GPA using the remaining, fewer, units; or
  • Units from the preceding period of study may be imported into the calculation following the principles at 2.1.3 above to make the total up to 72 units.

Where excluding the NGP graded topics would result in the GPA calculation comprising 36 units or less the second method would normally be employed.

7.  Vice-Chancellor’s Prize for Doctoral Thesis Excellence

7.1  The medal for the award of the Vice-Chancellor’s Prize for Doctoral Thesis Excellence will be of such material and such design and be inscribed in such manner as may be approved by the Vice-Chancellor.

7.2  The award of the Vice-Chancellor’s Prize for Doctoral Thesis Excellence will be determined by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) under delegated authority from Academic Senate.

7.3  To be eligible for consideration for the award of the Vice-Chancellor’s Prize for Doctoral Thesis Excellence a PhD or other doctoral degree by research student must have had their degree awarded in the year prior to the year of the Prize. PhD by Published Work candidates are not eligible for consideration of this prize.

7.4  A maximum of three awards per Faculty of The Vice-Chancellor’s Prize for Doctoral Thesis Excellence will be made each year.

7.5  The following academic merit criteria for award of the Prize will apply:

  • Thesis Examiners’ Reports and Recommendations (see clause 1 of the procedures for the Award of the Vice-Chancellor’s Prize for Doctoral Thesis Excellence);
  • International and/or national recognition of the research undertaken for the thesis;
  • Thesis research impact, both in terms of actual and potential adoption;
  • Publications stemming from the thesis or publication equivalents and other appropriate research outputs (for example, patents, exhibitions, performances and other creative works). Unrelated publications will not be considered; and
  • Other recognition for the quality of research undertaken for the thesis (for example, prizes and awards conferred, recognition by professional organisations, invitations to prestigious conferences).

The points above will be considered relative to the candidate's project and/or discipline.

7.6  The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) will ensure that the University Research Higher Degrees Committee monitors on an annual basis the number and quality of students awarded the Vice-Chancellor’s Prize for Doctoral Thesis Excellence to ensure that students meet a suitable standard, consistent with the standards of previous years' recipients. The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) will report to Academic Senate on the monitoring of these standards.

8.  Procedures for the Award of the Vice-Chancellor’s Prize for Doctoral Thesis Excellence

8.  Clause 7.5 of the Policy
 
8.1  The relevant Faculty Research Higher Degrees Committee will assess eligible candidates for the award of the Vice-Chancellor’s Prize for Doctoral Thesis Excellence on the basis of academic merit in accordance with the criteria set out at clause 7.5.

8.2  When a Faculty nominates a candidate for the Vice-Chancellor’s Prize for Doctoral Thesis Excellence, they must include the thesis Examiners’ Reports and Recommendations as well as any other appropriate documentation addressing the criteria set out in clause 7.5.

8.3  The document, “Information for Examiners”, and the Examiner Report Form itself will include information about the Vice-Chancellor’s Prize for Doctoral Thesis Excellence. The Report Form will include a box that Examiners will tick to indicate that they would like the candidate to be considered for the Vice-Chancellor’s Prize for Doctoral Thesis Excellence.

8.4  Faculties will refer up to three nominations for the award of the Prize to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) for consideration.