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Third Party Arrangements - Education Policy

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Section 1 - Context 

(1) This policy must be read in conjunction with the Third Party Arrangements - Education Procedure, the Course Management and Assessment Manual, the Program Management Manual - Coursework, and the Global Partnerships Framework.

(2)  In the event of an inconsistency between this Policy or a Rule, the Rule made by the Council prevails to the extent of the inconsistency.

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Section 2 - Introduction

(3) This policy provides a mechanism for the University of Newcastle to collaborate with third party providers whilst assuring compliance with University of Newcastle policies and procedure and obligations as an Australian registered higher education provider.

(4) When establishing a third party arrangement, particular attention must be paid to the University's Staff Code of Conduct, Ethical Framework, Transparency and Disclosure Policy, Conflict of Interest Policy, and the Code for the Protection of Freedom of Speech and Academic Freedom.

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Section 3 - Scope

(5) This policy applies to all new, revised, or extended third party arrangements and agreements as defined by this policy, that are being considered, or entered into by the University of Newcastle from the effective date of this Policy.

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Section 4 - Purpose

(6) This policy, and its associated documents, establishes the University of Newcastle’s requirements for exploring, developing, executing, administering, implementing, managing and exiting education agreements with third party providers. 

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Section 5 - Definitions

(7) In the context of this document and its associated procedure:

  1. a ‘third party arrangement’ or ‘arrangement’ is a formal signed collaboration agreement entered into by the University of Newcastle and a third party provider (in Australia or offshore) where students will be enrolled in University of Newcastle programs and/or courses and/or delivered by a third party provider for the purposes of education.

(8) Collaborative provision types may include:    

  1. Joint awards:  where a single program of study is arranged and delivered jointly by two or more providers that leads to the award of a single qualification that is recognised within the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) and is typically conferred jointly by the providers involved. May also be referred to as a ‘jointly-badged’ or ‘collaborative’ award
  2. Dual awards:  where one or more program of study leads to the award of two separate qualifications. The program involves an arrangement between two providers (a registered provider and another entity, which is also typically a registered provider), one of the qualifications is typically conferred by each provider. A dual award may involve one AQF level, or two sequential AQF levels - for example, two Masters degrees (MBA/MA) or a Bachelor and Diploma qualification (BSc/Dip Ed). May also be referred to as a ‘collaborative double degree’ or ‘combined degree’
  3. Articulation, Twinning, Top-Up or Progression: where students who have completed courses or a program at another institution are admitted to a University of Newcastle program with transfer of credit.
  4. Franchise: where a major component of a program or courses delivered by and leading to an award of the University is predominantly delivered and/or supported by one or more collaborative organisations (the franchisee) and the qualification is badged as a University of Newcastle program.
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Section 6 - Requirements

(9) The University of Newcastle is committed to developing arrangements that align with the following principles:

  1. Strategic fit: 
    1. The partnership must align with and advance the University's strategic direction in ‘Looking Ahead’;
    2. The partnership should benefit the University's national and international profile and reputation;
  2. Partner alignment:
    1. The partner and the type of arrangement should complement and align with the University's Global Engagement Partnership Strategy and the College's strategic priorities;
    2. The partner should have a demonstrated record of academic credibility suitable to the type of arrangement;
    3. The partner should have a strong commitment to the intended partnership arrangement;
  3. Academic control and standards (applied to University of Newcastle owned courses):
    1. The partnership must recognise that the University of Newcastle retains academic control over its courses, degrees, and awards (exercised through selection and admission, granting of credit, curriculum and assessment of courses).
    2. The partnership must support delivery of University of Newcastle courses that are consistent with the academic standards of the University of Newcastle as set out in its internal regulations and policies and external compliance obligations including:
      1. Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2021 or subsequent updates;
      2. Australian Qualifications Framework;
      3. ESOS Act and National Code of Practice;
      4. Other relevant accreditation bodies;
    3. The partner must comply with the legislative requirements of the country in which it operates;
  4. Agreement on targets and/or objectives:
    1. The partnership must be capable of delivering agreed qualitative and quantitative benefits to parties involved;
    2. The partnership should be capable of delivering an agreed minimum outcome within a determined period and demonstrate financially sustainability.

(10) All arrangements will require the development and execution of a formal agreement, in accordance with the University's delegations of authority, this policy and its associated procedure and documents, before the commencement of the arrangement.

(11) The University of Newcastle will not enter into a third party agreement to deliver any University of Newcastle courses and or programs with sanctioned countries or with sanctioned persons or entities.

(12) All third party agreements must take full consideration and account of ethical, safety, security, compliance and political considerations. This includes reference to the Guidelines to counter foreign interference in the Australian university sector (2019)

(13) The University will not enter into agreements with overseas institutions or organisations in any country with which Australia does not engage in diplomatic relations or where otherwise advised by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) or other relevant government bodies not to do so.

(14) All arrangements must be compliant with the University's Guidelines for Commercial Activities

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Section 7 - Management

Management of Arrangements

(15) The University of Newcastle is responsible for quality assurance of all aspects of third party provider arrangements.

(16) The ongoing management and implementation of agreements must be consistent with the Third Party Arrangements - Education Procedure, and any associated documents.

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Section 8 - Relaxing Provision

(17) The University may deviate from this Policy, where there is continued compliance with the Higher Education Standards Framework, with approval from the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) and Vice President and in consultation with the relevant parties as required.