ACADEMIC ADVOCACY – FAQ

What can an advocate help me with?

Student Advocacy Officers (SAOs) provide a free, independent and confidential service assisting you in a wide range of academic, administrative, and financial and welfare matters. SAOs help you make sense of University policies and procedures and offer information, support and advice on issues such as re-marks, final grade appeals, placement difficulties, complaints and ‘at risk’ and ‘show cause’ procedures, among many others.

If you are not sure whether an advocate can help you, do come and speak to us! We can always refer you, if necessary.

What happens in a meeting with a Student Advocacy Officer? What do I bring to a meeting with a student advocate?

Meetings with SAOs are informal and always confidential. You can expect SOAs to help you navigate the University system. A SAO can help you identify your options, allowing you to ultimately decide on your preferred course of action. SAOs can also assist you review and edit an appeal and show cause letters, provide advice on grounds of appeal, make enquiries on your behalf, always with your permission, and attend meetings along with you.

Please bring any relevant documents/letters/emails to the meeting with a SAO so we can formulate the best way to assist you.

What is a complaint?

Complaints are generally based on problems or issues relating to academic matters, course administration and relationships with other students or staff. Non-academic matters can also raise complaints such as remission of fees, credit transfer, etc. Complaints can be made by individuals or by groups of students.

If you have a complaint and don’t know how to go about it, do come and speak to a SAO for advice and guidance.

What is academic integrity?

Academic integrity covers issues such as plagiarism, collusion, fabrication, falsification and submitting the same assignment for more than one topic.

The University takes academic integrity issues very seriously as it sits at the core of its reputation. As a student, you are expected to present work that is your own, with all sources and references to other pieces of work properly acknowledged. If you are ever involved in an academic integrity matter, talking to SAO early in the process is your best option.

What does ’at risk’ mean?

The University has in place an academic review process to identify students at risk of failing. The aim is to have an early intervention strategy to help you maintain satisfactory progress in your course.

‘At risk’ letters are usually sent as a result of having achieved a Fail grade in 50% or more of the units attempted within a study period. Neglecting to seek academic counselling at this stage or receiving a second ‘At risk’ letter may mean preclusion.

SAOs can assist you in understanding these formal procedures and support you along the process.

I think my grade is unfair. What can I do?

You are highly encouraged to contact the person responsible for the grade (tutor or lecturer) in the first instance, or failing this, the Topic Coordinator. This informal process often produces worthwhile and reasonable educational outcomes. It is also the University’s preferred first step in dealing with your concern.

If you are unhappy with the outcome of your informal discussions, SAOs can elaborate on your options and provide guidance through the appeal process.

As part of this process it is very important to reflect on your circumstances, identify your arguments and develop a case as to why you believe the grade is unfair.

Will Student Assist pass on my personal information to the University?

The information that Student Assist collects allows us to confirm your student status, get in touch with you and facilitate our internal planning and review processes. The information is held in electronic format and is only accessible by Student Assist staff. We do take all reasonable steps to ensure the information is safe and protected from unauthorised access.

Student Assist will not disclose personal information to anyone unless you give us permission to do so or a court order is produced.

I have a Disability Access Plan. Can my lecturer still say ‘no’ to an extension?

It is important to realise that an Access Plan does not provide an automatic right to extensions. If you have an Access Plan and wish to apply for an extension, you must do this by carefully adhering to the relevant instructions as set out on your Statement of Assessment Methods (SAM). The application needs to be submitted before the due date of your assignment and an alternative submission date must be negotiated by you with your lecturer.

I wish to appeal a mark for a topic I took last semester - is this still possible?

The University’s approach to student appeals and complaints resolution puts emphasis on resolving grievances as early as possible and as close as possible to the source of dissatisfaction. To apply for a revision of a mark of an assessment exercise, it is important that you do first contact the lecturer responsible for the mark to discuss this within ten working days of the return of the assessment exercise.

I am not planning to study this semester but wish to return next year, what do I need to do?

If you are a continuing undergraduate or postgraduate coursework student and are planning on being away from study for longer than a semester, you need to officially apply for leave from study. You can apply for leave by submitting a request via the Ask Trim web page. Enrolment Services will seek approval on your behalf and notify you via your University email account if your leave request is approved.

What is all the fuss about SAMs?

The Statement of Assessment Methods (SAM) is a document that outlines learning outcomes, expected student workload, assessment procedures, attendance requirements, reading requirements, laboratory involvement and other requirements of students for a given topic. A SAM is a negotiated contract between lecturers and students and needs to be available no later than the first week of the semester.

Do I Qualify for a Flinders University Student Loan?

If you are enrolled as a Flinders University student, experiencing financial hardship and meet certain eligibility criteria (such as having a poor debt management history within the University) you may qualify for an interest-free loan. Do grab one of our loan packs at FUSA or come to speak to us if you have any questions!

What are the repayments for a Flinders University Student Loan?

Repayments are generally set at $25 per fortnight. The loan is expected to be repaid within 12 months. Any balance owing when you leave Flinders University becomes payable immediately.

I’m an International student. Can I apply for a Flinders University Student loan?

Yes, both international and domestic students are eligible for a student loan.

Where can I find out about jobs that are available to students on campus?

You can check jobs that have been advertised with FUSA at http://fusa.edu.au/jobs/ or you can check for any casual jobs that may become available at Flinders on http://www.flinders.edu.au/employment/vacancies/casual-vacancies.cfm.

Where can I go for help if I have no food or money to get to Uni?

FUSA provides an emergency financial assistance service. We can assist you with supermarket vouchers or metrocards, if you have a short term crisis. If you need assistance over a longer period we can help with financial counselling.