Australian Chiropractic College Limited: Registration 25 January 2019
Report on registration of Australian Chiropractic College Ltd
TEQSA has agreed to orders made by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) under which Australian Chiropractic College Ltd (the College) is registered pursuant to section 21 of the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency Act 2011 (the TEQSA Act) for a period of five years until 31 January 2024 in the provider category of Higher Education Provider.
The AAT orders also provide for the accreditation of the Bachelor of Chiropractic course to be offered by the College, pursuant to section 49 of the TEQSA Act, and for seven conditions to be imposed on the College's registration pursuant to section 32 of the TEQSA Act. A copy of the conditions is available at Attachment 1.
The College applied to TEQSA for registration in the category of Higher Education Provider under Part 3 of the TEQSA Act.
TEQSA considered the College's application and provided two draft assessment reports with details of the assessment of the College's applications by the responsible assessment team. TEQSA's Commission considered the College's response to the draft reports and made a decision to reject the College's application for registration on 23 May 2018 on the basis that it was not satisfied that the College met the Threshold Standards.
The College applied for review of TEQSA's decision in the AAT. In the course of the proceedings, the College made submissions and provided further information and evidence about the matters raised in TEQSA's decisions.
It is well established that absent a specific legislative provision to the contrary, the AAT is generally required to make a decision on review based on the evidence available at the time of the AAT's decision on review, and that the AAT is not confined to the evidence available at the time of the primary decision. Accordingly, TEQSA accepted that the AAT was required to take account of the further material submitted to TEQSA after TEQSA had rejected the College's applications.
Main reasons for the decision
After reviewing the further material submitted by the College, TEQSA was satisfied that the College meets the Threshold Standards. However, TEQSA considered that there remained a number of risks related to the College's capacity to meet the Threshold Standards in the future.
On this basis, TEQSA agreed that it was appropriate to substitute TEQSA's initial rejection of the applications with decisions to register the College for a period until 31 January 2024, to accredit the College's Bachelor of Chiropractic course for the same period, and to impose a number of conditions on the College's registration.
The conditions are designed to address the need for the College to:
- Provide evidence that it has the capacity to continue to apply sufficient financial and other resources to achieve its higher education objectives (Standard 6.2.1)
- Revise its Quality Assurance Framework to assign responsibility for matters including benchmarking and student surveys, and report on progress in appointing benchmarking partners (Standards 5.3.5, 5.3.7 and 6.3.1)
- Report annually on benchmarking activities, including benchmarking of student achievement with similar courses at other higher education providers (Standards 5.3.5, 5.3.7 and 6.3.1)
- Appoint an appropriate Dean at least 3 months prior to delivery and report on the appointment of academic staff in accordance with its Workforce Plan, including, in relation to each academic staff member: the units(s) proposed to be taught and/or assessed; the highest qualification relevant to the unit(s) being taught; and the professional experience held (Standards 3.2.1-3 and 6.3.1)
- Provide evidence that it has entered into an arrangement which provides an avenue for the binding resolution of student grievances (Standard 2.4.3)
- Provide evidence of the outcome of its review of its course curriculum undertaken in accordance with the Staged Development Plan (Standard 3.1)
- Report on its progress in acquiring the specialist facilities and equipment appropriate for its proposed higher education operations (Standard 2.1.1).
TEQSA is satisfied that these conditions will provide an appropriate framework for TEQSA to oversee the College's approach to dealing with these issues.
Pursuant to section 32 of the TEQSA Act, the following conditions are imposed on the registration of the College as a higher education provider under the TEQSA Act:
Condition 1: Financial viability and sustainability
By 31 January 2020 and each year thereafter, the College must provide TEQSA with evidence that it maintains financial oversight of its operations. This evidence must include:
- a comparison of actual financial position to the budgeted financial position for the previous year. This material must include income statements, balance sheets, cash flow statements, and student and staff numbers; and
- a financial forecast (including financial projection in the form of an income statement, balance sheet, cash flow statement and projection of student and staff numbers).
Condition 2: Academic and corporate governance
- The College will revise its Quality Assurance Framework to assign responsibility for matters including benchmarking and student surveys and provide to TEQSA by 30 June 2019:
- the revised Quality Assurance Framework; and
- minutes of the Academic Board and Board of Directors' meetings considering (and as appropriate approving) the Quality Assurance Framework.
- By 31 January 2020, the College will inform TEQSA of its progress in appointing benchmarking partners including evidence of any executed benchmarking agreements.
- The College will provide TEQSA with annual reports on benchmarking activities for the preceding 12 months beginning on 31 January 2021, including benchmarking of student achievement with similar courses at other higher education providers.
Condition 3: Academic leadership
The College must not commence enrolling students prior to providing to TEQSA evidence of the appointment of an appropriate Dean at least 3 months prior to delivery of its course to students.
Condition 4: Academic staff
By 31 January 2020, the College will provide to TEQSA a report recording the appointment of academic staff in accordance with its Workforce Plan. The report must include, in relation to each member of the College's academic staff:
- the unit(s) proposed to be taught and/or assessed;
- the highest qualification relevant to the unit(s) being taught; and
- the professional experience held and, where the staff member's highest qualification is not at least one level above the Course, the basis on which the College considered that the staff member holds professional experience equivalent to such a qualification.
Condition 5: Grievance processes
By 31 January 2020, the College will provide to TEQSA evidence that it has entered into an arrangement which provides an avenue for the binding external resolution of student grievances.
Condition 6: Review of course curriculum currency
By 30 November 2019, the College will provide to TEQSA evidence of the outcome of its review of its course curriculum undertaken in accordance with the Staged Development Plan.
Condition 7: Specialist facilities
By 30 November 2019, the College will report to TEQSA on its progress in acquiring the specialist facilities and equipment outlined in accordance with Annexure 1 and Annexure 2 to the email from MinterEllison to AGS dated 24 January 2019.