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Melbourne Polytechnic (formerly Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE): Re-registration 27 November 2014

Renewal of registration

Report on renewal of registration of Melbourne Polytechnic

TEQSA has determined, under subsection 36(1) of the TEQSA Act, that registration of Melbourne Polytechnic as a higher education provider be renewed for a period of three years to 27 November 2017 in the provider category of 'Higher Education Provider'.

TEQSA has, under subsection 32(1) of the TEQSA Act, imposed four conditions on the registration of Melbourne Polytechnic as a higher education provider.

Condition 1

Within 2 months of receipt of the notice of decision Melbourne Polytechnic must:

a) Provide to TEQSA detailed budgets for the higher education division relating to the remainder of the 2014 and the 2015 and 2016 financial years. The budgets must include, but not be limited to, the following items:

  1. Higher education revenue from all sources;
  2. expenditure on academic staff split between continuing, fixed term and casual staff;
  3. expenditure on library resources directly supporting the higher education operations;
  4. expenditure on staff professional development and training applied to the higher education operation; and
  5. expenditure or strategies to ensure the application of sufficient financial and human resources to maintain and improve the quality of its higher education operations. Note any capital expenditure should be separately disclosed.

b) Provide to TEQSA financial forecast for the remainder of the 2014 financial year and the 2015 and 2016 financial years for the entire Melbourne Polytechnic operations.

c) Provide TEQSA with evidence of governing body oversight of the development and approval of financial forecasts.

d) Provide TEQSA with its most up to date interim management reports/accounts for the 6 month period to 30 June 2014, including a detailed Income Statement, Balance Sheet and Cash Flow Statement. The higher education division must be separately disclosed.

e) By 31 January 2015 and every 6 months thereafter, provide TEQSA with its most up to date interim management reports/accounts including a detailed Income Statement, Balance Sheet and Cash Flow Statement for the elapsed 6 monthly period (the first report must relate to the 6 months to 31 December 2014). This report must include the latest detailed actual performance (e.g. revenue and expenses, operating cash flow) compared to Year-To-Date budget for both Melbourne Polytechnic 's higher education operations and Melbourne Polytechnic more broadly. This requirement is in addition to the annual reporting requirements in Section 27 of the TEQSA Act.

Condition 2

Within three months of the date of notification of this decision or such other period as is specified, Melbourne Polytechnic is required to:

a) develop and implement a specific Human Resources strategy and policy that ensures that academic staff have appropriate qualifications or equivalent professional experience when employed, and that their qualifications and experience remain current and relevant to the courses of study they teach.

b) provide evidence that the Higher Education Academic Board has applied Melbourne Polytechnic policy on staff qualification and experience to all staff involved in delivery of its higher education programs. The evidence must include a schedule identifying all higher education academic staff, what courses they teach, their highest relevant qualification and where that qualification is not at least one AQF qualification level higher than the course of study they teach, how compliance with the Threshold Standards, including Provider Registration Standards 5.1 and 5.2 and Provider Course Accreditation Standards 4.1 and 4.2 has been achieved.

c) provide evidence of the Higher Education Academic Board's consideration of the schedule and its decision as to what action Melbourne Polytechnic will take where no assessment of equivalent professional experience has been made or that assessment shows non-compliance with the Threshold Standards, in each case to ensure compliance with the Threshold Standards.

d) within 28 days of the date of Melbourne Polytechnic being notified of this decision, identify any Head of Program or equivalent who does not have a relevant qualification at least one AQF level above the level of the course taught and for whom no assessment of equivalent professional experience has been made and provide advice to TEQSA as to what action will be taken where Melbourne Polytechnic will take.

e) develop and implement a specific Human Resources strategy to mitigate the risk created by the high ratio of casual and sessional staff to ongoing staff. The strategy is to include the arrangements by which Melbourne Polytechnic ensures that casual/sessional staff are engaged in scholarship and have access to ongoing professional development.

Condition 3

Melbourne Polytechnic must:

a) present accurate student attrition, completion, progression and grade distribution data, and undertake a comprehensive diagnostic analysis of the probable causes for observed rates and trends for student attrition, progression and minimum time completion rates and failure grades, for each accredited higher education course it offers, and each year, for the period 2009 to 2013 inclusive. This analysis is to be provided to TEQSA by 31 March 2015 and must include particular reference to analysis by:

  1. entry path (comparing students admitted under the standard criteria to those admitted under the non-standard admission approach);
  2. recognition of credit (comparing students admitted without recognition of prior credit to students admitted with credit for up to a third of the course and between a third and two thirds of the course);
  3. equivalent full time study mode (comparing students who take less than equivalent full time study load, exactly an equivalent full time study load or greater than an equivalent full time study load, where equivalent full time study load is equal to 120 credit points in a calendar year);
  4. place of study;
  5. whether students are domestic or international students;
  6. referral to and uptake of student support (including participation in formal study support programs); and
  7. student achievement in similar courses at other higher education providers.

b) develop and provide to TEQSA by 30 June 2015, a detailed strategy, having regard to the comprehensive diagnostic analysis required under (a) above, which:

  1. includes specific targets for improvement of student attrition, completion and progression rates and failure grades for each course and each year over the forward accreditation period; and
  2. gives consideration to admission practices and standards, study load of students, the identification of students at risk of not progressing academically, and the adequacy and effectiveness of student support.

c) revise the targets determined in accordance with (b) above if and as directed by TEQSA.

d) demonstrate improvement, with reference to the targets to be established under (b) and (c), overall and for each course of study, through annually reporting to TEQSA on these rates by 31 January each year (for the rate in the previous calendar year) throughout the period of registration, with these reports to commence on 31 January 2016.

Condition 4

Melbourne Polytechnic must:

a) By 30 June 2015, provide evidence to demonstrate to TEQSA that its Higher Education Academic Board (HEAB) has implemented effective quality assurance arrangements for all Melbourne Polytechnic's higher education operations. The evidence should include:

  1. Minutes of meetings of the HEAB that demonstrates it has considered all conditions and requests for information imposed by TEQSA on the registration of Melbourne Polytechnic and the accreditation of its courses;
  2. Evidence of the action taken by the HEAB to address the issues raised through conditions imposed on the registration of Melbourne Polytechnic or the accreditation of its courses;

b) By 30 June 2016 the HEAB must provide minutes of its meetings for the preceding 12 months to TEQSA which show:

  1. that it has effective development, approval, implementation and review of all academic policies; and
  2. the nature of its considerations in relation to any of its policies or procedures, including any recommendations and changes to those academic policies and procedures.

Background to Decision

Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE submitted an application for renewal of registration in the category of higher education provider under Section 35 of the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency Act 2011 (the TEQSA Act). Subsection 36(4) of the TEQSA Act enables TEQSA to renew a provider's registration for a period not exceeding seven years.

Main Reasons for Decision

As part of the renewal of registration process, TEQSA has assessed the application submitted by Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE against the Threshold Standards. The scope of the assessment included all its Australian sites. TEQSA considers that the decision to apply conditions to Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE registration is consistent with the basic principles for regulation in Part 2 of the TEQSA Act, as Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE is at risk of not complying with a number of the Threshold Standards.

  • The broad issues which relate to the Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE registration include:

    a) Academic governance of course approval process

    b) Financial viability and safeguards

    c) Academic staff qualifications and experience

    d) Academic leadership

    e) Use of comparative data

TEQSA considers that the risks of non-compliance with the Threshold Standards involve a number of matters that may affect Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE capacity to manage and deliver its higher education awards.