Review of a Student’s Suitability to Continue a Course Involving Placement

Policy Learning and Teaching Review of a Student’s Suitability to Continue a Course Involving Placement

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Policy and Procedures

1.   Introduction

James Cook University has a duty of care to its staff, students and placement agencies.  The University seeks to ensure that students who undertake prescribed professional or clinical placements are not only academically prepared, but also are emotionally, behaviourally and ethically prepared for the demands of placements.

A student enrolled in a course of study, or a subject, that involves professional or clinical placements may be required to participate in a review at any stage to assess their suitability to participate, or continue, in a professional or clinical placement or to continue in that course of study.  While the review is conducted in the strictest of confidences, the Review Panel may decide to seek additional information concerning the student.  All information collected will remain confidential.

The review of a student’s suitability to continue in a course of study or subject may include consideration of any of the following:

  • physical or mental health, where this may:

    • significantly restrict the ability of a student to comply with the occupational requirements of the occupation for which the course of study will academically qualify the students; or

    • put the health and safety of other persons in the workplace at risk, or

    • put public health at risk,

  • interpersonal skills,

  • criminal behaviour,

  • behaviour contrary to the relevant professional ethical requirements, and

  • behaviour contrary to relevant policies of the University or placement agency, or both,

  • ability to undertake prescribed requirements of placements or professional activities,

  • actions (verbal or non-verbal) which demonstrate a risk that a student may cause harm to, or disruption of the activities of University staff, students, placement agencies or persons connected with placement agencies.

Consideration of the above factors should ensure that unlawful discrimination does not occur.

2.   Coverage

This policy will apply to students who are enrolled in academic disciplines as listed in the Schedule, which may be varied from time to time by the Divisional Deputy Vice Chancellor on the recommendation of the relevant College.

3.   Reasons for Review

A review may be requested:

a) if there are serious concerns about the suitability of a student to continue in a professional course of study;

b) in the event that a student's suitability to undertake prescribed professional or clinical placements is in question; or

c) if a student appears to be in a state of health, whether physical or mental, which may:

- significantly restrict the ability of a student to comply with the occupational requirements of the occupation for which the course of study will academically qualify the student; or

- put the health and safety of other persons in the workplace at risk, or

- put public health at risk.

A written request for a review, which may contain a formal complaint, document or other relevant information, should be sent to the relevant College Dean.

4.   Request for Review

A review may be requested by:

  1. a Head of Academic Group;

  2. a College Dean; or

  3. anyone involved with the student on a professional basis.

If the concerns raised in the request cannot be resolved satisfactorily through informal processes, the relevant College Dean shall consider the request for review and determine whether a review will be instituted.  Where the College Dean determines that a review will be instituted, the College Dean:

  • will nominate, in writing, a relevant staff member2 to convene, and institute, a Review Panel to undertake the process outlined in clause 6 below. The nominated staff member will hereafter be referred to as the Review Panel Convener.

  • will advise the Director, Student Services that a review has been instituted.

5.  Suspension, restrictions or conditions pending outcome of the review

5.1 Where a College Dean has instituted a review process under this policy (see clause 4), the College Dean may make a written request to the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Academic, that the student’s enrolment be suspended and/or that restrictions or conditions be placed on the student or the student’s enrolment (including, but not limited to, that the student’s participation in professional placement be suspended or otherwise restricted and/or the student’s access to University facilities being restricted)   pending the completion of the review process under this policy, on the basis that such action is prudent or necessary having regard to the University’s duty of care to its students, staff and/or placement agencies.

5.2 Upon receiving the written request from the College Dean, the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Academic, may suspend the student and/or place restrictions or conditions on the student or the student’s enrolment, if he/she considers that such action is prudent or necessary having regard to the University’s duty of care to its students, staff and/or placement agencies, pending the completion of the review process under this policy.

5.3 Where the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Academic, makes a determination under clause 5.2:

  • he/she will advise the College Dean of this determination, stating the reason(s) for the suspension, restriction(s) and/or condition(s);

  • the College Dean will notify the student in writing, stating the reason/s for the suspension, restriction(s) and/or condition(s), and invite the student to respond ‘without prejudice’ within ten (10) working days. To avoid uncertainty, the suspension, restriction(s) and/or condition(s) will come immediately into effect upon written notification to the student.

  • any response submitted by the student will be considered by the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Academic, who shall make a final determination whether to uphold, revoke and/or vary the suspension, restriction(s) and/or condition(s), and shall notify the student in writing of this determination. Where the Deputy Vice Chancellor,  Academic revokes and/or varies the suspension, restriction(s) and/or condition(s), the revocation and/or variation will come immediately into effect upon written notification to the student;

  • the Review Panel will be convened as soon as possible, and within twenty (20) working days of the suspension, restriction(s) and/or condition(s) being imposed;

  • the suspension, restriction(s) and/or condition(s) may be revoked by the Vice Chancellor or Deputy Vice Chancellor, Academic, at any time prior to the review being finalised by the Review Panel.

6.   Process for Review

6.1 Membership of Review Panel

The Panel membership will comprise of:

a) The Review Panel Convener who will act as the Chair of the Panel;

b) One member of staff whose main teaching commitment is to the discipline/degree in which the student is currently enrolled; and

c) One experienced qualified practitioner, who is:

- currently employed in the relevant profession, in a position where he/she is responsible for participating in, or overseeing agency staff recruitment or supervision;

- not currently employed by James Cook University in any continuing, contract or casual position; and

- not a person the student is currently working with, employed by, or with whom the student has a close relationship that may cause a conflict of interest.

d) One or more suitably qualified person/s recommended by the Chair of the Review Panel, to provide expertise specific to the review under consideration.  This expertise may include medical, psychological, professional or other expertise that is appropriate to properly inform the Panel in respect of the suitability of a particular student.

In the case of a student who is Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, normally it will be appropriate to ensure that the third member of the Panel is an experienced practitioner of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent.

6.2 Conflict of Interest

6.2.1 Panel members must be able to deal with the matters before them in an unbiased manner.  A conflict of interest may result in a Panel member being unable to review the student’s suitability solely on the material presented to the Review Panel.  A conflict of interest would exist, for example, if the student and a potential Review Panel member have, or have had, a personal relationship such as near relative, spouse, close friend or personal associate.

6.2.2 The student will be consulted (see 5.3 (f) below) as to whether he/she considers specific staff member(s) and/or practitioner(s) to have a conflict of interest in being a member of the Review Panel.

6.2.3 In the event that a conflict of interest is identified with respect to the role as Panel Convener, another staff member associated with a relevant program will take on the role of Review Panel Convener, following consultation by the College Dean with the student.

6.2.4 The staff member who is approached to participate in the Review must be asked to advise the Review Panel Convener if there is a conflict of interest and must withdraw from the Review process if this is the case.

6.2.5 The practitioner who is approached to participate in the Review must be asked to advise the Review Panel Convener if there is a conflict of interest and must withdraw from the Review process if this is the case.

6.2.6 An impartial observer, acceptable to all parties may be appointed at the discretion of the College Dean, to oversee the procedural fairness of the Panel’s proceedings.  The observer will submit a report as an addendum to the Panel’s report.  The observer will not participate in determining the recommendation of the Review Panel.

6.3 Duties of Convener

The Review Panel Convener will normally within two weeks of receiving the request of review from the College Dean:

a) Obtain copies of relevant documents from the College Dean;

b) Ensure the student is informed in writing of the Review Panel process;

c) Clarify in writing the grounds of the Review with the student, including sending copies of the complaints or concerns and other relevant documents and invite the student to submit a written response;

d) Inform the student he/she is entitled to be accompanied to the Review Panel hearing by a fellow student and/or a representative of the Student Association and/or a solicitor, who may act as a support person and adviser;

e) Liaise with the College Dean , who will suggest an appropriate staff member to be part of the Panel (see clause 6.1.1 (b) above);

f) Liaise with the College Dean, who will suggest an appropriate experienced practitioner to be part of the Panel (see clause 6.1 (c) above).  If appropriate, the College Dean will consult with the relevant Head of Program;

g) Contact the student to ensure that there is no conflict of interest in relation to the members proposed for the panel (refer clause 6.1 (a), (b) and (c) above).  If the student identifies a conflict of interest with any specific staff member or practitioner, these people should not normally be approached to participate in the Review and alternatives should be identified in consultation with the College Dean;

h) Ascertain that the identified staff member and practitioner are available and willing to participate in the Review; and

i) Create a file for each party to the Review (including the student), which will include a copy of the relevant documents and reports received by the College Dean  (including where available a submission from the student).  These files are to be returned to the Panel Convener by Panel members at the end of the Review process, one set for filing and the rest for destruction.  The student may choose to retain a copy of the documents.

6.4 Procedure

6.4.1 The Review Panel Convener will:

a) Convene a meeting of members of the Panel to formulate questions to be asked of the student in the review panel process and to identify which (if any) writers of submitted documents or reports should also be interviewed. Questions should relate only to issues raised in the documentation.

b) Schedule interviews between the Panel members and the student and any other writer(s) of submitted documents or reports considered necessary by the Panel (see clause 6.4.1(a)). Where practicable, interviews will be in person but telephone or video conferencing may be utilised.  If necessary the relevant College will fund the transport costs, between campuses, of the student under review.

6.4.2 The Panel will interview the student and may interview the writer(s) of any submitted documents or reports as considered necessary by the Panel, focusing on the issues raised in the documents and reports, with a view to ascertaining the student’s suitability to undertake the prescribed professional or clinical placements and/or continue in the course of study in which the student is currently enrolled.

6.4.3 Possible recommendations of the Review Panel include:

- permission to participate or continue in a placement;

- suspension from participation in a placement;

- exclusion from participation in a placement;

- suspension of enrolment in specified relevant subject(s);

- repeat of specified subject(s);

- exclusion from specified subject(s);

- suspension of enrolment from the course of study until such time as the student can satisfy a reconvened Review Panel that he/she has addressed the issues of concern and is fit to continue with studies;

- transfer to another course of study;

- exclusion from the course of study;

- exclusion from the University; or

- any other recommendation that may be considered appropriate in a particular student’s situation.

The recommendations of the Review Panel must be unanimous. The Review Panel may also recommend that the student:

- attend personal counselling to address personal issues which have impacted on his/her ability to perform to an appropriate standard in the course of study; and/or

- obtains at his/her own expense a Psychiatric, Psychological, physical or other appropriate assessment.  The assessment should determine the fitness of the student to continue in the course of study.

6.4.4 The Panel will advise the College Dean, in writing, of its recommendation(s) and reasons for the recommendation(s).

6.4.5 The College Dean will act on such recommendation(s) and will notify the student in writing of the action to be taken, together with a copy of the Panel’s report.

Where the recommendation involves an amendment to a students’ course of study this must be approved by the relevant Deputy Vice Chancellor.

A complete copy of the documents relating to the review will be forwarded to the University’s Corporate Information section by the Review Panel Convener at the completion of the review.

7.   Appeal of Review Panel Decision

Where a recommendation against continuation in the course of study (permanently or at this point in time) is made, the student has a right of appeal against the decision.  No appeal shall lie in relation to the merits of the decision of the Review Panel, but the student may appeal against the decision on the basis that due process was not observed during the course of the review proceedings.

7.1 Procedures for an Appeal

7.1.1 The student must lodge any appeal with the Director, Student Services within 20 working days of the receipt of the Review Panel’s recommendation(s).  The appeal must state why the student believes that due process was not observed during the course of the review proceedings.  The appeal must include any relevant documentary evidence in support of the claim.  In exceptional circumstances only, the Appeal Panel may choose to consider further evidence from the student.

7.1.2 The appeal process must commence within 10 working days of lodgement of the appeal with the Director, Student Services.

7.1.3 The Appeal Panel membership will comprise of:

a) the Chair of the Academic Board, who will also act as Chair of this Panel;

b) a Deputy Vice Chancellor other than that in which the student is enrolled;

c) a staff member from the Division in which the student is enrolled who has no association with the teaching of the discipline in which the student’s suitability has been reviewed; and

d)    a member of the staff of the Student Association appointed by the Association.

7.1.4 Unless the circumstances are exceptional, the Appeal Panel shall consider only:

a) the student’s grounds for appeal; and

b) any documents relevant to the process undertaken by the Review Panel.

7.1.5 The Chair of the Appeal Panel shall notify the student, and the relevant Deputy Vice-Chancellor, in writing of the Appeal Panel’s decision and the reasons therefor within fourteen days of the meeting of the Appeal Panel.

7.1.6 The decision of the Appeal Panel will be final.

Schedule

Academic discipline areas where satisfactory completion of a professional or clinical placement is mandatory for the attainment of an Award:

  • Community Welfare

  • Clinical Exercise Physiology

  • Dental Surgery

  • Education

  • Engineering

  • Medical Laboratory Science

  • Medicine

  • Midwifery

  • Nursing Science

  • Occupational Therapy

  • Pharmacy

  • Physician Assistant

  • Physiotherapy

  • Psychology

  • Public Health and Tropical Medicine

  • Social Work

  • Speech Pathology

  • Sport and Exercise Science

  • Veterinary Science

Academic discipline areas where a professional or clinical placement may be required for successful completion of a subject:

None listed

1 The relevant College is that which is responsible for the course of study in which the student under review is enrolled.

2 Examples of a relevant staff member include a Director of Professional Experience, Clinical Placement Supervisor or equivalent, an Academic Advisor or equivalent.

Administration

NOTE: Printed copies of this policy are uncontrolled, and currency can only be assured at the time of printing.

Approval Details

Policy Sponsor

Deputy Vice Chancellor, Academic

Approval Authority

Academic Board

Date for next Major Review (in accordance with the Policy Handbook)

31/12/2016

Revision History

Approval date - the date the approval authority approved the establishment, minor or major amendment or disestablishment

Implementation Date - the date the policy was published in the Policy Library and is the date the policy takes effect

Version

Approval date

Implementation date

Details

Author

16-1

23/08/2016

24/08/2016

Minor amendments to align with Council approved Academic and Student Delegations Register

Associate Director, Enrolment and Client Services

15-1

23/06/2015

 

Policy sponsor and approval authority amended to reflect approved policy framework

Quality Standards and Policy

14-1

19/05/2014

 

Roles changed to reflect new organisation structure

Policy Officer

13-1

26/09/2013

1/11/2013

Amendments to clauses 4,5,6 and to the schedule approved by the Vice Chancellor

 

11-1

14/07/2011

15/07/2011

Change of approval authority only from Council to Vice Chancellor

 

08-2

09/10/2008

10/10/2008

  

08-1

04/02/2008

05/02/2008

Vice Chancellor approved changes to the Schedule

 

03-1

03/10/2003

04/10/2003

  

Keywords

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