1. Purpose

The purpose of the Ethics of Scholarship of Learning and Teaching Policy (“policy”) is to ensure that the Institution has ethical practices and processes in place for scholarly research to support the Institution’s aims for excellence in scholarship. As a teaching-only higher education Institution, both staff and students have access to advanced knowledge and support in scholarly research. This policy is one aspect of the Institution’s Scholarship in Learning and Teaching Framework.

2. Scope

All current and prospective academic staff and students at the Institution, including sessional staff.

3. Definitions

See Glossary of Terms.

4. Policy statements

4.1 Scholarly research is underpinned by the principles and values including respect, merit, integrity, justice and beneficence.

4.2 Academic staff and students are able to engage in discovery scholarship projects, which are more widely understood as research (Boyer 1990). These scholarship projects are deemed negligible and low risk.

4.3 Academic staff, students and external colleagues engaged in scholarly research embrace the highest ethical, professional and scholarly standards to protect the rights, safety and privacy of individual research subjects and the wider community.

4.4 Students learning about research methodologies and methods as part of their coursework are not required to conduct research. Students required to learn about scholarly research, must be given access to advanced knowledge about ethical principles and practices.

4.5 The Institution will put in place a strong scholarly culture which strives to ensure the benefits of scholarly research are disseminated and shared with other researchers, professional practitioners and the wider community.

4.6 To meet national requirements, an Ethics Director with Level 10 qualifications has oversight of all scholarly research to ensure these meet with national regulatory requirements and practices.

5. Ethics application process

5.1 Any scholarly research that is undertaken at the Institution must involve the preparation of an ethics application which is submitted to the Ethics Director for review and feedback to inform further development.

5.2 The Ethics Director has the right to approve or reject ethics applications based on whether ethics applications are deemed at low or are at a negligible level of risk. Assessments of research proposals at higher levels cannot be approved by the Institution.

5.3 After the Ethics Director has approved the ethics application, it is then submitted to the Scholarship of Learning and Teaching (SoLT) Committee for final approval.

5.4 In cases where a scholar is working independently or with team members not employed by the Institution, a research proposal addressing ethical approaches may also be submitted to the HERC of an external university with which the researcher or team members are associated.

5.5 The submission of ethics proposals to external universities is also required by the Institution where the research conducted is likely to involve risks beyond a negligible or very low level. In such cases, the Ethics Director must receive a copy of any documentation and feedback received by the relevant university research committee to be satisfied that the proposal has received rigorous and robust scrutiny.

5.6 Any significant concerns about a breach in ethical conduct by an academic staff member or student must be reported by the Ethics Director to the Chair of the SoLT Committee.

5.7 Complaints about ethical issues by participants, external organisations, students or staff are addressed in the first instance by the Ethics Director. If these complaints are still unresolved, they may be addressed via the Complaints and Appeals Policy and Complaints and Appeals Procedures.

6. Recordkeeping and legal protection

6.1 All ethics proposals and scholarly records must be electronically recorded and maintained, in a secure folder by the Ethics Director.

6.2 The Institution provides an assurance of legal protection to all those involved in the ethical review of research for liabilities that may arise in the course of the bona fide conduct of their duties as advised in the National Statement (p.845.1.9). Protection is afforded to the Ethics Director and the Chair and members of the SoLT Committee.

7. Roles and responsibilities

7.1 The Deputy Vice Chancellor (Learning and Teaching) monitors the effectiveness of the Policy and is responsible for ensuring appropriate support and resources for students and academic staff undertaking scholarly research at the Institution.

7.2 The SoLT Committee is responsible for ensuring the Institution:

  • is compliant with government and regulatory ethics requirements;
  • staff scholarly outputs internally assessed by the Ethics Director or where staff have worked with colleagues in research teams and submitted an ethics proposal to external university ethics committees for rigorous scrutiny;
  • has an effective and ongoing process in place for reviewing and evaluating staff scholarly work and ensuring such scholarship remains at the level of negligible or low risk with the ultimate aim of protecting any participants.

7.3 The Ethics Director is responsible for assessing any discovery scholarship projects at the Institution meet national standards and are led by academics who have the requisite qualifications and experience. Responsibilities include:

  • provide advice to scholars on ethical matters;
  • evaluate the ethical risks involved in scholarship proposals by staff;
  • approve only those proposals at negligible or low risk;
  • keep records of scholarly work undertaken in teams involving external institutions;
  • ensure that scholarship at the Institution confirms with legislative and regulatory requirements;
  • ensure appropriate storage arrangements for research data as detailed in the National Statement;
  • report and advise on matters of ethics and scholarship to the SoLT Committee.

7.4 Academic staff who undertake scholarly research are responsible for keeping an auditable record of any research undertaken and disseminating their research both internally and externally.

8. Related documents

Scholarship in Learning and Teaching Policy

Scholarship in Learning and Teaching Procedures

Approved by Academic Board 2 August 2019