Student Charter

This outlines the roles and responsibilities of staff and students.

The charter has been prepared by the Auckland University Students’ Association (AUSA). It outlines areas such as:

  • The rights and responsibilities of students.
  • The responsibilities of staff in the teaching and learning process.
  • What students should expect from teaching and assessment at the University.
  • How research is expected to be conducted and supervised.
  • How to gain redress for any breaches of academic ethics.
The charter is reproduced below in its entirety.

1. Introduction

  • 1.1 The University of Auckland belongs to an internationally recognised community of higher education with a special responsibility to foster and preserve scholarly values; support the search for truth and curiosity-led investigation; maintain intellectual integrity; encourage critical appraisal; and to nurture these values in their students.
  • 1.2 The overall commitment and responsibility of The University of Auckland to its students is of paramount importance. Likewise, The University of Auckland holds expectations about the responsibilities students have as they pursue their studies within the university environment. The following Charter has been prepared by Auckland University Students’ Association (AUSA) to outline what students can reasonably expect from the University, and the reciprocal obligations of students.
  • 1.3 The University and AUSA recognise their obligations under the Treaty of Waitangi in their policy statements and when making decisions, respecting it as the founding document of Aotearoa/New Zealand.
  • 1.4 This Charter is not intended to create any legal rights or obligations, whether contractual or tortious or otherwise, but rather as a philosophical understanding between the University and its students. The University and the AUSA expect staff and students to honour the principles of this Charter on a reciprocal basis. Any breach of the obligations referred to in the Charter shall not give rise to any claim for damages or loss (including but not limited to special or consequential loss or damage).

2. University responsibilities

The University will use its best endeavours to:

  • 2.1 Supply current and potential students with access to accurate and clear information about University courses, application and entry procedures, credit transfer policies, fees and associated costs, and financial support prior to the enrolment period.
  • 2.2 Select students for entry into University and individual courses by fair procedures with clearly stated entry criteria, consistent with statutory requirements.
  • 2.3 Ensure that students enrolled in a programme can complete it in the format as described in official University publications. When courses are altered, transitional arrangements must be made that do not disadvantage currently enrolled students. Any changes to a course not requiring approval by Senate must be authorised by a Dean and students are to be informed.
  • 2.4 Publicise its current Guidelines for Prevention of Cheating in Examinations and Coursework; the proper use of copyright material; ethical concerns regarding the use of human and animal subjects in research; and intellectual property rights. This information should be made available to students through the University Calendar and, where appropriate, departmental/faculty handbooks.
  • 2.5 Provide an academic environment in which students can be stimulated to reach a high level of intellectual attainment.
  • 2.6 Ensure that guidance on how to use the library, write assignments, and prepare for tests, exams and other forms of assessment will be available to students.
  • 2.7 Provide opportunities for students to participate in, and provide feedback on, the teaching and research activities of the University.
  • 2.8 Provide a harmonious work and study environment in which complaints and student grievances will be addressed through explicit and efficient procedures and resolved as quickly and fairly as possible.
  • 2.9 Keep all personal information about students confidential, releasing it only with the consent of the students or when authorised to do so, consistent with the Privacy Act 1993 and the Official Information Act 1982.
  • 2.10 Provide an environment free from harassment and discrimination, consistent with the Human Rights Act 1993 and University's Harassment policy, and facilitate the expeditious investigation and just resolution of alleged harassment or discrimination.
  • 2.11 Help provide student support services including: health and counselling services; financial advice; learning assistance; early childhood education facilities; career planning; recreational facilities; and accommodation information.
  • 2.12 Consult and support student representative organisations, such as the Class Representative system and AUSA or any association of students, as defined by s. 159(1) of the Education Act, with a mandate to represent students.
  • 2.13 Provide equal educational opportunities.
  • 2.14 Ensure that compulsory subjects are appropriately timetabled and sufficient optional subjects are available to enable course completion within the specified minimum time.

3. Responsibilities of AUSA

The Auckland University Students' Association or any association of students, as defined by s. 159(1) of the Education Act, shall:

  • 3.1 Endeavour to act in the best interests of students through wide consultation.
  • 3.2 Contribute constructively to discussions.
  • 3.3 Abide by the protocols of University committees, including the maintenance of confidentiality as required.
  • 3.4 Aim at all times towards decisions that are acceptable to the University and the students.
  • 3.5 Be proactive in improving the quality assurance mechanisms of the University.
  • 3.6 Ensure that Class Representatives receive appropriate and sufficient training in order to understand fully their role and its responsibilities.

4. Student responsibilities

These guidelines assume and acknowledge that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars.
The University can expect that students will:

  • 4.1 Act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive.
  • 4.2 Make themselves aware of University rules and regulations, including disciplinary regulations, pertaining to their rights and responsibilities as a student and with health and safety procedures particularly in respect of laboratories and field trips.
  • 4.3 Respect University property.
  • 4.4 Be familiar with course information made available to them and raise any queries in an appropriate manner with the academic staff member concerned.
  • 4.5 Fulfil their responsibility to participate actively and positively in the educational environment including: preparing for and attending classes as required; participating in class discussions and other activities; maintaining steady progress within the course; and submitting required work on time.
  • 4.6 Show commitment to the ideals of a university with special reference to achieving personal excellence in performance and allowing freedom of expression.
  • 4.7 Not cheat, plagiarise, fabricate or falsify data. Students are also expected to be aware of their individual rights and responsibilities regarding the proper use of copyright material, the ethical responsibilities of researchers with regards to animal and human subjects, and intellectual property rights.
  • 4.8 Familiarise themselves with the requirements they must meet to complete their academic programme and take responsibility for their own academic progress. Students should, where appropriate, exercise their rights to reasonable access to and assistance from academic staff and the various academic support services.
  • 4.9 Support student representative organisations, such as the Class Representative system and AUSA or any association of students as defined by s. 159(1) of the Education Act with a mandate to represent students.

5. Course and degree information

Departments have a responsibility to provide students with the information necessary to make informed academic decisions prior to the commencement of teaching.
Information about courses should be readily available to students and include details about:

  • 5.1 Workload, credit values and specific demands of a course.
  • 5.2 Requirements for the successful completion of a course.
  • 5.3 Marking procedures and grading systems that will be used including details of "plussage" where appropriate.
  • 5.4 Penalties that will be applied when course requirements are not met.
  • 5.5 Policy on extensions for all work to be submitted, and the requirements for any extensions.
  • 5.6 Opportunities for and method of response to student feedback
  • 5.7 Aegrotat passes and compassionate consideration procedures.

6. Teaching

While recognising the diversity in effective teaching practices, there are some common aims and principles. Generally, university teaching aims to enable students to reach their highest possible level of learning during their time of enrolment, and to prepare them for lifelong learning. Courses should challenge students to think by motivating them to learn and encouraging them to develop their own ideas and approaches to problems. Teaching encompasses a wide range of activities including one-to-one consultations, postgraduate supervision, classroom teaching, supervising students' practical experience in laboratories, clinics, schools and industry, supervising projects, advising students, assessing students' work, preparing teaching and course materials for on and off-campus students, and contributing to course design and improvement and to curriculum development.

a) Course content and management

Students can expect that academic staff will:

  • 6.a.1 Select the most appropriate content for their courses, given the intellectual and professional needs of the students.
  • 6.a.2 Regularly review the course content and focus and revise as required using feedback from a variety of sources.
  • 6.a.3 Ensure conformity between announced course objectives and what is taught and tested.
  • 6.a.4 Provide opportunities for and receive and respond to feedback during the course.
  • 6.a.5 Provide students with information about their performance so as to enable them to improve the quality and level of their learning.
  • 6.a.6 Use established procedures, such as the Class Representative System, for seeking feedback from students on matters affecting their studies and involve them, where appropriate, in decisions and discussions which affect their studies.
  • 6.a.7 Provide a range of activities in the overall course, such as lectures, practical work, reading and assignments.
  • 6.a.8 Ensure that courses comply with University and Faculty guidelines on workloads in relation to credit value, level of difficulty, class contact and recommended individual study time, and assessment.
  • 6.a.9 Make reasonable attempts to avoid conflicts with the requirements of other courses.

b) Instruction

All staff who teach students should be aware of and respect the educational goals, policies andstandards of the University. Further, they should be effective role models and exhibit to their students a commitment to scholarly goals by drawing on a high level of competence and expertise in particular disciplines, together with well-developed communication and interpersonal skills.
Students can expect that academic staff will:

6.b.1 Encourage student involvement in their subject.

6.b.2 Be well-organised and prepared for class.

6.b.3 Speak in a way that is appropriate and understandable.

6.b.4 Keep abreast of developments in their disciplines and/or professions by grounding their teaching in research and practice.

6.b.5 Select methods of instruction that, according to research evidence (including personal or self-reflective research), will help students to achieve the course objectives

6.b.6 Treat topics which students are likely to find threatening or discomforting in an open, honest, and sensitive manner.

6.b.7 Contribute to students' academic development, at least in the context of the teacher's own areas of expertise, and avoid actions, such as exploitation and discrimination, which detract from student development.

6.b.8 Relate lectures to any required and suggested readings.

6.b.9 Given the size and content of courses offered, provide sufficient office hours and other means forstudent queries, academic advice, outside scheduled lecture, laboratory or tutorial times. Academic staff need to ensure they are available during these times.

6.b.10 Endeavour to create a comfortable, non-threatening atmosphere within their classes, enabling students to request clarification and to debate with each other or their teacher.

6.b.11 Show interest in the progress of students.

c) Laboratory classes, tutorials and field work

Laboratories, workshops, tutorials, seminars and field work are often the only structured time where students at The University of Auckland are able to meet with academic staff, tutors, sessional assistants and fellow students and contribute in an interactive environment. As such they are valuable parts of any course.
Students can expect that staff will use their best endeavours to ensure that:

  • 6.c.1 These classes will be designed to contribute to their understanding of course material, and increase their interest in the subject.
  • 6.c.2 These classes will be coordinated with the lecture programme and the overall course objectives.
  • 6.c.3 These classes will run at a pace such that diligent students are able to understand the material taught in the session.
  • 6.c.4 Tutors/supervisors will be prepared for sessions, be familiar with material taught in lectures and be able to clarify readings.
  • 6.c.5 Tutors will be able to guide discussion without monopolising it, and will encourage participation and expressions of different opinions.
  • 6.c.6 Clear health and safety instructions will be given to all students before starting class activities, including laboratories and field trips.
  • 6.c.7 Laboratory and workshop equipment will be of high quality, reliable, safe and regularly checked.

7. Assessment

Assessment provides an evaluation of the student's competence in meeting specified objectives, and is an essential part of the educational process in that assessment can be designed to facilitate learning. Properly selected assessment tasks signal the importance of particular content, concepts and skills, can influence approaches to study and help students to allocate their time appropriately. Effective assessors select from a range of methods, using a combination of methods which meet the criteria of validity, fairness, and appropriateness for subject goals, which must be specified.
Students can expect that:

a) Setting assignments, tests and examinations

  • 7.a.1 Appropriate numbers and types of assessments will be set which are: intended to improve students' understanding of concepts and principles; relevant to overall course objectives; and generate a valid reflection of student learning.
  • 7.a.2 Assessment criteria should be made explicit and available to all students. No student should receive advantages over another in relation to the time and resources provided.
  • 7.a.3 Assignment instructions and questions will be specific and unambiguous.
  • 7.a.4 Students will be able to raise problems or queries relating to the mode of assessment with relevant teaching staff.
  • 7.a.5 The amount of time required for an average student to complete a piece of assessment will correspond with the assessment's contribution to the final mark for the course.
  • 7.a.6 Assessment should be relative to the time, work and intellectual achievement required for other assessment in the course.

b) Marking

  • 7.b.1 Marking procedures are fair, consistent, and known to students.
  • 7.b.2 Guidelines on marking procedures, external assessment, moderation of the setting and results of assessment will be established by departments and faculties and clearly explained so that students know and understand those procedures and what is expected of them.
  • 7.b.3 Work will be returned promptly, in a reasonable time, and well before the next related piece of assessment is due. In courses with final examinations, all internally assessed work will be returned well before the exam and in any event no later than one month after the assessment was due.
  • 7.b.4 After the marking and grading of coursework and tests, constructive feedback will be provided. Model answers should be provided in subjects where they are appropriate.
  • 7.b.5 All incidences of suspected plagiarism and cheating should be reported to the Head of Department for investigation.

8. Responsibilities relating to research students

While many elements of this Charter have relevance to research students and supervisors, there are some specific responsibilities associated with this form of teaching and learning.

  • 8.1 Academic staff will acquaint themselves with the relevant University guidelines and regulations and ensure research students know of their existence. In particular, they will discuss the Doctoral Supervision Policy and Procedures and Postgraduate Supervision Guidelines to ensure that mutual responsibilities are understood and agreed upon. Due consideration is to be given to student contribution in published articles, papers etc.
  • 8.2 Research students should make themselves familiar with relevant guidelines and regulations relating to supervision issued by Departments and the University administration including the Statute and Guidelines for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
  • 8.3 Supervisors will aim to help research students achieve their best. To this end the supervisor needs to be sufficiently expert in the area of research and have the time, commitment, management and interpersonal skills to be able to offer proper supervision.
  • 8.4 The academic interests of research students should remain paramount over any external obligations of or to other parties.
  • 8.5 Research students should not be disadvantaged by differences in opinion amongst their supervisors.
  • 8.6 The department will offer appropriate opportunities for research students to meet and interact with fellow research students and members of academic, technical and other general staff who may be able to provide support in their field of study.
  • 8.7 The University and departments need to ensure that students are made aware, before the commencement of their research studies, of the physical facilities and resources, including financial resources, available to them. Where circumstances change following the commencement of their research, the student shall be informed as quickly as possible of the change, and actions being taken as a consequence.
  • 8.8 Graduate students should have ownership of their research results, subject to the following: contractual commitments; fiduciary obligations to other parties; the rights of parties involved in collaborative work; and the entitlements of the University.

9. Conflict of interest

  • 9.1 Academic staff will not normally be involved in the admission to courses or assessment of a student:
    • (a) with whom they have a close family or personal relationship
    • (b) if there is a history of hostility between the staff member and student
    • (c) if there is undue influence or other bias.

Where a conflict of interest is likely to exist, or if a dual relationship develops with a student, this relationship needs to be fully disclosed to the Head of Department, Director of School or Dean of the Faculty and provisions made for fair treatment and monitoring so that there is no actual or perceived favouritism.

  • 9.2 Students will not be advantaged/disadvantaged by extracurricular affiliations or activities.

10. Remedies

  • 10.1 Heads of Departments, Directors of Schools and Deans will ensure, through the Calendar, or faculty and departmental handbooks, that:
    • (a) Students are informed of the procedures whereby they can request special provisions on account of illness, accident or disability.
    • (b) Students are informed of procedures within departments whereby they can report or complain about alleged breaches of conduct by members of the academic staff.
    • (c) Students are informed of appeal procedures and do not suffer any disadvantage by using such procedures.
  • 10.2 Where provision is made in any Statute or Regulation of the University or is otherwise prescribed for resolving particular complaints or disputes, that procedure must be followed. In all other cases the Resolution of Student Academic Complaints and Disputes Statute must be followed.

For more information see the document, Resolution of Student Academic Disputes and Complaints Statute, under Learning and teaching practice