The Identification and role of the Management of Risk in the Course Accreditation Procedures of Australian Universities

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Australian universities have the right to accredit the programs of study leading to their awards. Each institution has developed its own procedures for assessing the rigour, relevance and viability of course and subject proposals. A common factor across the sector is the identification and management of risk. The research focuses on how risk has had an impact upon the course approval procedures of Australian universities. The research was conducted in two parts. The first consisted of an analysis of the material provided by Australian universities explaining their course accreditation and risk management procedures. This analysis disclosed a series of gaps, which were filled in the second stage by the interview of relevant staff. Both sets of information were then used to establish a relationship between risk management and course accreditation procedures in Australian higher education. It was found that there are two categories of risk in Australian universities – internal and external. The first is countered by prudent management and the second through contingency plans. It was also found that as the majority of those involved with the approval of courses have little training in risk management, risk is controlled by universities through a diligent adherence to procedures.
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