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Honorary Degree Policy

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Section 1 - Key Information

Policy Type and Approval Body Administrative – Vice-Chancellor
Accountable Executive – Policy Vice-Chancellor
Responsible Manager – Policy Chief of Staff
Review Date 12 June 2027
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Section 2 - Purpose

(1) To provide a clear and consistent framework for the awarding of Honorary Degrees at La Trobe University.

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Section 3 - Scope

(2) This Policy applies to all:

  1. Schools, campuses, divisions and organisational units of the University
  2. Honorary Degrees
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Section 4 - Key Decisions

Key Decisions  Role
Review and endorse an application for an Honorary Degree Vice-Chancellor
Approve the awarding of an Honorary Degree Academic Board
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Section 5 - Policy Statement

(3) An Honorary Degree is a mechanism for recognising an outstanding individual who has made a significant contribution to the community or their field of expertise, and can demonstrate one or more of the following:

  1. outstanding professional achievements;
  2. significant community service achievements;
  3. inspirational leadership within their fields of expertise;
  4. outstanding personal qualities.

(4) Recipients can be La Trobe alumni, however alumni that hold a higher degree by research are ineligible to be a recipient.

(5) La Trobe encourages the nomination of individuals from diverse backgrounds for Honorary Degrees, including from culturally and linguistically diverse communities, women and First Nations people.

(6) Normally a maximum of 4 (four) Honorary Degrees will be awarded in any one year. Additional Honorary Degrees may be awarded at the discretion of the Vice-Chancellor and Academic Board.

(7) In special circumstances, an Honorary Degree may be awarded posthumously.

(8) Honorary degrees do not form part of the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) and carry with them no formal qualification.

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Section 6 - Procedures

(9) The Office of the Vice-Chancellor (OVC) is responsible for the co-ordination of the nomination, application and notification processes relating to the awarding of Honorary Degrees at La Trobe University.

Nomination and Approval Process

(10) Nominations for Honorary Degree recipients can only be made from the following:

  1. University Council members
  2. the Vice-Chancellor
  3. the Provost
  4. Deputy Vice-Chancellors
  5. Deputy Provost
  6. Pro Vice-Chancellors
  7. Deans

(11) Staff or individuals outside the University may make recommendations for nominations but these must be endorsed and acted upon by an appropriate position as specified above.

(12) The nomination period will be promoted to the University community, usually in the first half of the year and will generally close off in May.

(13) In exceptional circumstances and with approval of the Vice-Chancellor, nominations may be considered outside of the formal nomination period. The Chair of Academic Board will be informed if any nominations are being considered outside of the formal nomination process.

(14) Applications approved by Academic Board will be forwarded to Council for noting.

Notification of Outcomes

(15) Successful nominations will receive a formal letter of congratulations from the Chancellor and an offer to accept the award. The correspondence will specify that the award is honorary and that it does not carry a formal qualification under the AQF Framework.

Honorary Degree Award Ceremony

(16) Recipients will be encouraged to receive their award at a graduation ceremony. If a suitable graduation date cannot be found or in other unusual circumstances, smaller and more tailored events may be offered at the discretion of the Vice-Chancellor.

(17) Where recipients are being conferred at a graduation ceremony, they may be invited to deliver the Occasional Address at the ceremony.

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Section 7 - Definitions

(18) For the purpose of this Policy:

  1. A honorary degree is an academic degree for which the university has waived the usual requirements and does not form part of the AQF Framework, nor carry a formal qualification. It is a way of honouring a distinguished individual’s contribution to a specific field, or to society in general.
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Section 8 - Authority and Associated Information

(19) This Policy is made under the La Trobe University Act 2009.

(20) Associated information includes:

  1. Degrees, Diplomas and Other Awards Statute 2009