COURSE QUALITY: New vice-chancellor, Professor Geraldine Mackenzie with Chancellor John Dornbusch.
COURSE QUALITY: New vice-chancellor, Professor Geraldine Mackenzie with Chancellor John Dornbusch. Bev Lacey

USQ deny report that academic board is dysfunctional

THE University of Southern Queensland has vehemently denied reports that an internal audit report that found the university's academic board to be dysfunctional and unable to perform key functions.

USQ Chancellor John Dornbusch said the university had rigorous and demanding internal mechanisms that reviewed academic and operational functions.

His announcement comes in response to media reports in The Australian suggesting a review into the university's academic board showed compliance issues around course and program quality.

Mr Dornbusch supported statements made earlier this week by interim Vice-Chancellor Professor Janet Verbyla that USQ's own independent internal audit procedures ensured due diligence was maintained across every aspect of the university.

"This could not be further from the truth," he said.

"It is irresponsible to take sections of a draft document that gave preliminary input into what is a continuing and ongoing evaluation, as the basis of fact."


The University of Southern Queensland (USQ) new vice-chancellor, Professor Geraldine Mackenzie. Chancellor John Dornbusch and Professor Mackenzie. May 2017
Professor Geraldine Mackenzie will start as vice-chancellor in September. Bev Lacey

Mr Dornbusch is referring to a report by former national auditor Jeanette Baird that gave 19 recommendations, including seven deemed "high risk", which were described as "shortcomings (that) pose a potentially serious risk for council", The Australian reports.

He said that as part of the university's annual cycle of independent internal audit reports an external consultant had been contracted to give input into a more comprehensive audit to improve the structure of USQ's academic board.

"The input of an independent reviewer is very much part of our normal business practices and forms part of the overall information gathering regularly undertaken to ensure that policies and procedures remain bench-marked against the highest level of effectiveness in the university sector," he said.

"While a draft report was received into the structure and reporting lines of Academic Board, the consultant did go to great lengths to point out that USQ has and is following due process in how it meets its compliance targets."

Mr Dornbusch reiterated that USQ's processes and procedures were not done in isolation but in close collaboration with the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency.

USQ's new vice-chancellor Geraldine Mackenzie takes up her role in September.

Ms Mackenzie, who founded the university's law school 10 years ago, has said she is ready to make her mark on the tertiary institution.