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Proposal to Remove Simple Extensions

Sophie Gallagher reports on potential changes to academic policy.

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proposal to remove simple extensions is this week being brought before Academic Board, following recent recommendations by the Student Administrative Review.

The report was conducted under the authority of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Registrar), Professor Tyronne Carlin, and makes a number of amendments to the Coursework Policy and associate procedures. Among the changes advocated is the removal of the simple extensions clause entirely, with nothing to replace it.

The proposal was intended to investigate centralising the application procedure for special consideration, as many faculties have varied processes. The faculty of Arts and Social Sciences is currently the only faculty that allows informal simple extensions—the new policy is the University’s attempt to unify all students under the same formal arrangement.

Further, as noted in a report into academic misconduct released this week by Sydney University’s Academic Misconduct and Plagiarism taskforce, many students have been caught submitting fraudulent doctor’s certificates to receive special consideration. That revelation has sparked a crackdown by the University, which may be linked to the removal of the simple extensions clause.

If approved, the policy amendment will see students having to submit a formal request for special consideration no later than three working days after the assessment was due—previously students had up to five days. For illness or injury, if a doctor’s certificate isn’t available, students will have to submit a statutory declaration setting out the degree of impact of the illness or misadventure. The process, which was formerly faculty based, will now be administered by University staff and the heads of study programs.

Though SRC President Kyol Blakeney, who has intimately worked with the Academic Board, thinks the centralisation of application procedures will be good for students, he strongly disapproves of the removal of the simple extensions altogether.

“I believe simple extensions are an integral and simple part of special consideration which allows students to have less bureaucracy between them and their academic staff. It also means that if an issue were to arise with a student where the process of applying for special consideration is too difficult at the time, a quick agreement between the student and an academic staff member would be substantial enough,” he says.

Blakeney has already challenged the proposal in the Academic Standards and Policy Committee, and will have another opportunity to do so at Academic Board on Wednesday 19th August.

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor declined to comment until the policy has been further discussed at the Academic Board.