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Course and Subject Management Procedure - Course and Subject Approvals

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Section 1 - Background and Purpose

(1) This Procedure sets out the key requirements for the approval of courses and subjects. Detailed information about levels of approval are held in the Course and Subject Approval Levels Schedule. These approvals are for new courses and subjects, changes to courses and subjects, course suspensions and course closures.

(2) Where the professional recognition of a course of study is required for graduates to be eligible to practise their profession, this Procedure sets out the requirements to ensure that such recognition is gained and maintained.

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Section 2 - Scope

(3) This Procedure describes minimum requirements for proposals for coursework, credentialed courses and subjects at college and university level. Additional quality assurance, enhancement and consultation measures may be utilised at school level as deemed appropriate.

(4) Procedures for the proposal of graduate research subjects and courses are located in the Graduate Research Course Management Policy.

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Section 3 - Policy Statement

(5) Refer to the Course and Subject Management Policy.

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Section 4 - Procedures

Part A - General

(6) All courses and subjects must be developed in accordance with the course and subject design policies.

(7) Proposers of courses and subjects are responsible for timely and active consultation with all parties affected by the proposals.

(8) All proposals must include consultation with relevant groups and be submitted in the approved format and systems. Forms and guidelines are maintained on the Course and Subject Management intranet page.

(9) Proposers should review the University Course Calendar available on the Course and Subject Management intranet page for critical dates.

Part B - Management Approval

(10) Heads of Schools or equivalent are responsible for the approval of cases for new subjects where these are additions to the school subject portfolio. The New Subject Calculator may be used to determine the business case for the proposal.

(11) Management approvals are normally required for new courses and new majors. A full business case is not required where the College General Manager, or equivalent, confirms that no additional resources will be required outside normal administrative overheads.

(12) The College General Manager in each College, or equivalent body, is responsible for overseeing the development of course business cases, in consultation with all relevant Heads of School and the Associate/Deputy Provost (Learning & Teaching), and with support from the Finance and Marketing and Recruitment Divisions.

(13) The College Provost, or equivalent, approves business cases for new majors. The College Provost, or equivalent, endorses business cases for new courses for submission to the University Course Portfolio and Scholarships Committee.

(14) The University Course Portfolio and Scholarships Committee may approve or reject new course business cases or refer submissions back to the submitting unit for further action.

Part C - Academic Approvals

New Courses and Subjects, Changes to Courses and Subjects and Course Closures

(15) Detailed information about levels of approval are set out in the Course and Subject Approval Levels Schedule.

(16) The Associate/Deputy Provost (Learning & Teaching) of the relevant College (or their equivalent) is responsible for approving courses for submission to the University Coursework Committee and in doing so assures that:

  1. appropriate levels of consultation have occurred, and any arising issues have been addressed;
  2. robust peer review has occurred;
  3. requirements of the Higher Education Standards Framework (2015) are met;
  4. any professional accreditation requirements, including input and/or notifications to professional bodies, have been addressed;
  5. where relevant, the course proposal is aligned with the approved business case.

(17) Where the academic proposal is not aligned with the relevant approved business case, the College Provost may require amendments and re-approval of the business case.

Course Suspension

(18) Proposals to suspend one or more regular intakes for a course or course instance must be reviewed and endorsed by the relevant Head of School or delegate before being approved by the relevant College Provost or nominee and require:

  1. documentation and a management plan for impacted active pathways and in-progress offers from Student Administration and La Trobe International
  2. consultation with all impacted groups, including Schools delivering or sharing subjects, La Trobe International, Regional Offices, Marketing and Recruitment, Student Administration and Third Party Teaching business owners as appropriate

(19) Where a course has been suspended for three years or more, the course status will be moved to teach out under full teach-out conditions. If a shorter period or alternate arrangement is required, the School is responsible for submitting the request to the University Coursework Committee for approval.

University Review and Approvals

(20) The University Coursework Committee will consider the quality of course design, as well as compliance with University policies and external regulatory requirements of proposals.

(21) All major changes with potential to impact student progression within a course must be accompanied by a Transition Plan. The Plan will outline teach-out arrangements and identification of administrative resources required by the relevant College to implement the plan, in accordance with the Guidelines for Transition Planning.

(22) Courses are approved for a maximum period of seven years from the date of the relevant Academic Board meeting. Courses may only be re-approved as an outcome of an Academic Course Review as outlined in the Course Review Procedure.

(23) Following Academic Board approval, the General Manager is responsible for approving the implementation of a course. This decision is based on confirmation of readiness to deliver by the relevant School and all relevant approvals, including CRICOS registration to permit the course to be advertised to international students and professional body recognition (where relevant).

Out-of-Session Approval Processes

(24) In exceptional circumstances, management approval and one of the formal academic governance approval or endorsement processes can be undertaken out of session.

(25) The College Provost or nominee should present the submission to the relevant committee Chair with a memo explaining the circumstances of the request.

(26) Outcomes of out-of-session submissions are included in the agenda and minutes of the subsequent committee meeting as items for ratification.

Part D - Attainment of CRICOS Registration

(27) La Trobe International is responsible for obtaining CRICOS Registration for a new course or course instance as applicable.

(28) Where a course is delivered as part of a third party teaching arrangement, CRICOS registration will not be sought until a formal agreement with the external provider has been executed.

(29) A course cannot be advertised to international students who are to be onshore for its delivery prior to attainment of its CRICOS registration.

Part E - Professional Recognition

(30) Where recognition by a professional body is attained and/or required, Heads of School or delegate are responsible for ensuring that:

  1. the applicable form of professional recognition for the course in question is gained and maintained
  2. where revisions or closure of a course are approved, either:
    1. the course continues to be recognised by the relevant body until the current cohort of students have completed; or
    2. arrangements have been made and approved for students to transition into a recognised course.

(31) Heads of School or delegate are responsible for ensuring that all relevant documentation relating to professional recognition, including copies of all submissions, reports, action plans, and correspondence with the professional body is submitted to the Quality and Standards Office as soon as practicable.

(32) Schools or Colleges will assume the costs associated with professional recognition processes relevant to their courses.

(33) Unless otherwise required by the professional body, the signatory to all submissions will be the relevant College Provost.

(34) The Quality and Standards Office maintains a central record of all confirmed course professional recognitions, including expiry dates and approved text for publication. Heads of School or delegate are responsible for ensuring that all details of their School’s courses are accurate.

(35) Requests for changes to the approved text for professional recognition, including any variation from the standard formats listed in Schedule 2, must be provided to the Quality and Standards Office for review and approval prior to any publication.

(36) The Quality and Standards Office will liaise with each School prior to the expiry of the current recognition of affected courses to ensure that any necessary changes in published claims are applied prior to these coming into effect.

Part F - Student Communications and Transition 

(37) All students have a right to timely notice of all major changes to courses. This includes students who:

  1. have been made an offer to a course
  2. have been admitted to a course
  3. are on Leave of Absence or academic suspension

(38) Where it is intended that students transfer to a changed course version, student consultation activities and outcomes must be documented in the proposal prior to submission to the University Coursework Committee.

(39) For major changes, transition and analysis must be undertaken to determine whether all or some students may be moved to the changed course version without detrimental effect to the substance of their educational experience or outcomes.

(40) Where it is proposed to close or suspend intakes for a course for which there is an active pathway the University is bound to provide a viable alternative and to notify pathway partners and students of the change.

(41) In the case of onshore international students, failure to provide an alternative in these circumstances will result in the University being in Provider Default – having made an offer to students that is no longer being honoured. Where this occurs, these students are entitled to compensation and additional financial penalties apply under ESOS legislation. Schools are responsible for the payment of any such financial penalties.

Part G - Publication

(42) Publication occurs following final approval at College (or equivalent) level of readiness to proceed to implementation.

(43) Content for standard publications will usually be drawn directly from the Course Management System. Additional descriptive materials, approved by the School or College owning the course, may be developed for publication purposes. Such materials must reflect the approved course and/or subject. Periodic checks are undertaken on this material to ensure continued accuracy.

(44) In exceptional circumstances, and normally following University Coursework Committee endorsement, the University’s intent to offer a new course(s) may be advertised with approval in writing from the Executive Director, Quality and Standards. Advertising implying that a course is open for applications may not be undertaken for any course prior to its approval by Academic Board.

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Section 5 - Definitions

(45) For the purposes of this Procedure:

  1. Course Instance: The individual campus offering a given course. A course with the same name may be offered at multiple campuses and each must be registered separately with CRICOS.
  2. CRICOS: The Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students. The CRICOS website provides details of those education institutions approved to recruit, enrol and deliver education and training services to overseas students in Australia, and details of their courses.
  3. Full teach-out conditions: The teaching of a course until such time as no students are actively enrolled.
  4. Professional Recognition: encompasses all types of formal acknowledgement by a professional body that a course and/or graduate of a course must meet the requirements of and may include any of the following:
    1. external accreditation by a professional body that is required for graduates to practice and/or access specific career outcomes
    2. external accreditation by a professional body that is voluntary
    3. any other type of course approval and/or endorsement by a professional body
    4. graduates’ eligibility for membership and/or registration with the relevant professional body/s, including eligibility to use a specific professional title. 
  5. Third party teaching arrangement: A formal agreement between La Trobe and an external provider that involves the delivery of a La Trobe course to La Trobe students who are taught in whole or part at the external provider’s premises and/or by the external provider’s staff.
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Section 6 - Related Documents

Schedule 1 – Course and Subject Approval Levels Schedule

Schedule 2 – Schedule - Professional Recognition Approved Wording

Guidelines for Transitions