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HDR-Subcommittee_Minutes_10August

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					                                                                                         1129/2010

                            THE AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL UNIVERSITY
                          ANU COLLEGE OF ARTS AND SOCIAL SCIENCES

                          HIGHER DEGREE RESEARCH SUB-COMMITTEE

                                  Meeting No. 4, 10 August 2010

                                              Minutes



PART 1:        PROCEDURAL MATTERS
1.1    Attendance
       Professor Joan Beaumont (Chair & Dean Education), Dr Patsy Hely (School of Art), Dr
       Piera Carolli (Language Studies), Dr Rosanne Kennedy (Cultural Inquiry), Dr Kevin White
       (Sociology), Prof Nicolas Peterson (Archaeology & Anthropology), Dr Carolyn Strange
       (History), Dr Ann Evans (ADSRI), Mr Aaron Martin (Political Science & IR), Dr Stephen Wild
       (School of Music), Mrs Gay Kennedy (Manager, Student Office), Ms Vanessa Gotting
       (Executive Officer, Education Projects & Planning), Penny Swan & Erica Walls-Nichols
       (Secretariat).

1.2    Apologies

       Dr Will Sanders (CAEPR), Dr Al Klovdahl (Sociology), Dr Jeremy Shearmur (Philosophy),
       Professor Toni Makkai (Dean), Dr Kirill Nourzhanov (Arab & Islamic Studies).

1.3    Confirmation of previous minutes

       Approved with the following notes:

       Concerns were raised by the School of Cultural Inquiry and School of History regarding
       the proposed (approved) HDR coursework program on the grounds of resourcing.

       Item 3.1, paragraph 4, last sentence should be ‘The plan is that there will be a cluster of
       courses and a student would choose one based on their disciplinary needs and/or
       interests’.

       Item 3.4, paragraph 3, Ann Evans should be referred to as Dr Ann Evans, not Professor.

1.4    Confidential Items

       No confidential items noted.
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PART 2: MATTERS ARISING from the UNIVERSITY
2.1    Proposed changes to HDR Scholarship & Program Leave form processing

       Gay Kennedy advised the HDR Sub-Committee members that the Scholarships Office has
       now become part of the Fees Office, in Division of Registrar and Student Services. As part
       of taking on that new role they have identified challenges, one of which is overpayments
       of research scholarship stipends for students taking program leave and scholarship leave.
       Overpayments are a regular occurrance and require a high administrative load to
       manage. The Fees and Scholarships Office have proposed a change to processing that will
       address the issue of overpayments.

       The new process requires students to submit their program leave and scholarship leave
       applications directly to the Fees and Scholarships Office unapproved, so the payments
       can be suspended for the appropriate dates, pending approval from Chair of Panel and
       Head of School/Centre. The form will then be sent to the Chair and Head of
       School/Centre for approval.

       Discussion: There was discussion on the time frame program leave forms require to avoid
       overpayments, and it was decided that in most cases students do not give enough notice
       for leave to avoid this situation.

       Dr Rosanne Kennedy brought up the issue of students taking leave for tutoring and how
       much leave they are allowed. Professor Beaumont indicated that this topic had been
       discussed at the University Education Committee Meeting and there would be a move
       towards liberalising the limit on tutoring leave hours.

       The University Education Committee minutes from the 30th July 2010 meeting are
       available at http://info.anu.edu.au/ovc/Committees/040PP_Education/meetings.
       Tutoring leave is discussed in Item 10.1 on page 7 of the minutes.

       Professor Beaumont indicated that the limit on tutoring hours would possibly be judged
       by the Supervisor on a case by case basis, and take into account milestones being met,
       other time commitments, and whether 6 hours is adequate, too little or too much.

       Dr Evans queried the use of ‘College’ on the Scholarship and Program Leave form, and it
       was confirmed that ‘College’ refers to Supervisor and Head of School/Centre in this case.
       Dr Evans asked if the Scholarship and Program Leave form was available as a HORUS
       form, where staff are used to receiving approval notifications. Professor Beaumont and
       Ms Gotting indicated that the form is currently not a HORUS form, but there are plans to
       create it as a HORUS form in the future.

       Action: Professor Beaumont requested that the committee members alert staff in their
       Schools/Centres to the pending change of process.



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PART 3: MATTERS from the COLLEGE
3.1    Proposed CASS HDR coursework program

       Professor Beaumont advised the committee members that Dr Message, before she went
       on leave, sent out a detailed matrix to all the Schools and Centres of what needs to be
       done to ensure the development of the HDR coursework program gets underway. Ms
       Gotting will be working with the Schools and Centres on the development of this program

       Ms Gotting advised that the Schools will be asked to formalise the program for next year
       or 2012. There may be areas that can jointly run courses.

       Ms Gotting also said she was in the process of gaining advice from DEEWR (Dept of
       Education, Employment & Workplace Relations) and DIISR (Dept of Industry, Innovation,
       Science & Research) regarding enabling courses, and also gaining approval for funding in
       addition to RTS.

       Dr Strange indicated that the proposal implied that there were no courses currently
       available to students to develop their research skills. The proposal seems to be
       duplicating a lot of what is already offered, through program like GILP (Graduate
       Information Literacy Program). Dr Strange raised her concerns about formalised courses
       being a distraction from actual research.

       Dr Hely advised that there had been discussion on the option of taking a series of GILP
       courses within a formalised research training course.

       Dr Rosanne Kennedy asked the question, are we giving degrees in an intellectual field or
       just research skills. Dr Kennedy had concerns about formalising something that already
       exists in an informal way. Professor Beaumont acknowledged concerns, but indicated
       that it is important for the research skills to be recognised in a more formal way. Ms
       Gotting will be working with School and Centres to resolve issues and address concerns,
       and to determine what School and Centres are already offering that can be formalised.

       Professor Beaumont advised that the two goals that need to be achieved are to facilitate
       the acquisition of these skills and to give the program a timeframe for implementation.

3.2    Postgraduate Training in Politics and Policy: Research Methods

       Professor Keith Dowding’s proposed course was approved at the previous HDR Sub-
       Committee meeting, and provided as an example of a research methods/skills course for
       the HDR coursework program. Ms Gotting advised that the course was approved as
       POLS8001, a pass/fail course, by the University Education Committee.

3.3    Proposed coursework courses for each School/Centre

       Professor Beaumont had requested that each School/Centre provide a draft of a
       potential course for their area. Dr Strange asked why areas were asked to provide a draft,
       Ms Gotting responded that all areas should be thinking about potential courses.
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       Professor Joan Beaumont advised areas to identify courses (informal) in their areas on
       research methods or skills, or generic skills that can be customised for individual
       students.

       Discussion: Dr Rosanne Kennedy raised her concerns about the timeframe for
       development of these courses. Professor Beaumont advised that there would be a pilot
       version of the program available next year (2011) and that this would be developed by
       working with Schools and Centres to decide what is practical and what is easily mobilised
       in such a short time.

       Dr Strange indicated that the timing of this program coincides with graduate recruiting,
       and if the program is approved as compulsory but not yet developed what should
       research conveners be telling potential research students who would be choosing
       universities and programs based on what is advertised (by conveners)? Professor
       Beaumont advised that for recruiting purposes conveners should indicate that the
       program is being progressively integrated, and students will be able to access the courses
       next year (2011) if they wish.

       Professor Beaumont advised that Ms Gotting would be taking this on as a priority project,
       and that the program was intended to advantage students, and it should be viewed in
       that sense. The next HDR sub-committee meeting would be used for pooling ideas.

       Dr Evans indicated that students in ADSRI were already required to complete Research
       Methods courses as a compulsory part of their research programs, although it is not
       indicated in their offer letter. Dr Evans indicated that the staff in ADSRI are concerned
       about a potential skills audit, and whether structure or training would be given to
       supervisors to run these courses.

       Professor Beaumont advised that this was part of an ongoing discussion. If each area was
       able to develop a workshop environment for TRP’s, by school or by research school, it
       could alleviate the burden of supervision.

       Dr Evans indicated that ADSRI were already running workshops such as these by cohort.

       Professor Beaumont indicated that the program would formalise this process, and that
       she is looking for documents, like Professor Dowding’s POLS8001, on how it would look if
       it was structured. Professor Beaumont requested schools and centres to share what they
       had available if they have documents in their areas relating to skills and research training
       courses. Dr Evans advised that ADSRI already has research methods courses approved for
       Masters students.

       Dr Hely asked if the 24 units of coursework would be compulsory for Master of
       Philosophy students also. Professor Beaumont advised the secretariat would confirm this.

       Professor Beaumont, Ms Gotting, Dr Carolli and Dr Strange discussed the option of
       redeveloping already approved skills courses, such as Honours or Masters courses, for
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       research students. It was decided that this would be a good place to start, and schools
       should look at repackaging what was already available for HDR students.

       Professor Beaumont requested that areas identify courses that are already in existence
       that could be used to form these HDR coursework courses, and forward them to the
       committee to be discussed with Ms Gotting.

       Action: Confirm whether 24 units of coursework would be compulsory for Master of
       Philosophy students as part of the new HDR Coursework Program.

3.4    Overtime Student Statistics

       The committee members viewed the August overtime statistics and tables provided.

       Discussion: Professor Beaumont and Professor Peterson discussed the apparent
       impossibility of the School of Archaeology and Anthropology to reduce their overtime
       students numbers, and made a comparison to other Universities internationally, where
       research students who undertake a substantial amount of fieldwork as part of their
       program, complete on average in 6 years, the ANU was not too bad, and improving.


       Professor Beaumont asked how long research students are able to be enrolled for at
       ANU. The general consensus was that research students at ANU were able to be enrolled
       forever. It was discussed that some Australian universities charge domestic fees for
       research students once their allocation of RTS funding is exhausted, but ANU does not.

       Professor Beaumont advised that completions help funding, especially when, in the case
       of overtime students, we’re teaching them for nothing. She expressed an anxiety over
       quality assurance, and that overtime students can be associated with bad teaching.

       Professor Beaumont asked the question, is it beneficial to students to allow them to be
       enrolled indefinitely? She expressed her opinion, that wherever possible we need to
       encourage them to complete. She advised the committee that this was an ongoing issue
       that needed to be acted on at a School level. It is an identified area of concern on the
       University’s part.

       Professor Peterson indicated that in some cases it was important to take the students’
       point of view that they have invested so much only to be cut off at the knees if they are
       forced to discontinue.

       Professor Beaumont advised that overtime students, as viewed by Government agencies,
       was an indicator of quality, more specifically, poor teaching quality.

PART 4: OTHER BUSINESS

4.1    Date of next meeting

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       2.00pm Tuesday 26th October, Jean Martin Room, Level 3 Beryl Rawson Building (13).

       The meeting closed at 2.55pm.




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