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Awards Regulations - Graduation Administration Procedure

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Section 1 - Summary

(1) This Procedure sets out requirements for the management and conduct of graduation ceremonies at Victoria University (VU). VU reserves the right to amend graduation ceremony arrangements at any time, if circumstances require variations. 

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Section 2 - TEQSA/ASQA/ESOS Alignment

(2) HESF: Standard 1.5 Qualifications and Certification.

(3) Standards for Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) 2015: Standard 3.

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Section 3 - Scope

(4) This Procedure applies to all formal graduation ceremonies at Victoria University, Graduands and graduates; Members of Victoria University (VU) Council; Senior Managers and Honorary Degree and Companion of the University Recipients.

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Section 4 - Definitions

(5) Nil.

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Section 5 - Policy/Regulation

(6) Awards Regulations 2018

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Section 6 - Procedures

Part A - Summary of Roles and Responsibilities

Roles Responsibilities
Graduation Steering Committee Provides recommendations to the Chief Student Officer on all aspects of the ceremony, including venue, logistics, coordination, participation and timing.
Consists of staff from Student Administration, Events Services and the Research Office. Other staff are invited to attend meetings as required, for example from the Media Unit.
Student Administration
Ensures correct documentation is provided to graduates either at a graduation ceremony or in absentia.
Arranges for conferral and testamur generation.
Generates cue cards, seating lists, attendance lists for each graduation ceremony.
Generates reports and documents for in absentia graduates.
Manages Student Speaker nominations and timelines.
Ensures nominees are eligible, provides selection information to the Chief Student Officer.
Confirms that Student Speakers can attend the ceremony and that they have all information they require.
Provide written introductions for each student.
Events Services Coordinates graduation ceremonies.
Recruits and trains ushers to work at graduation ceremonies.
Coordinates participation of VIPs and senior staff, including Vice-Chancellor and Chancellor.
Incorporates Student Speaker introductions in graduation script.
Briefs Students Speakers prior to each ceremony.
VU Research Coordinates specific needs of research students, e.g. liaises with the Events Services and Student Administration teams leading up to and on ceremony days, prepares scripts for HDR presenters.
Chief Student Officer Responsible for decisions about all aspects of the ceremony, including venue, logistics, coordination, participation and timing.
Responsible for approving University Medalists and Student Speaker nominations.
Chief Student Officer (or delegate) Accountable Officer for graduation ceremonies.
Acts as Master of Ceremonies at the graduation ceremony.
Chancellor (or delegate) Presides over the ceremony on behalf of Council.
Vice-Chancellor (or delegate) Reads the Charge to graduating students.
Executive Dean, Chief TAFE Officer (or delegate) Announces graduands’ names on behalf of their college.
Chair of Academic Board (or delegate) Leads the academic procession and carries the Ceremonial Mace.
Colleges and TAFE at VU Provides three suitable Student Speaker nominations from their cohort of graduating students. 

Part B - Planning Graduation Ceremonies

(7) The Graduation Steering Committee meets regularly throughout the year to plan each ceremony or set of ceremonies (‘graduation round’).

(8) The Graduation Steering Committee provides recommendations to the Chief Student Officer on all aspects of the ceremony, including venue, logistics, coordination, participation and timing.

(9) The Chief Student Officer consults with key stakeholders as required to ensure graduation ceremonies reflect VU’s values and appropriately celebrate student success.

Part C - Preparing for a Graduation Ceremony

(10) Once Higher Education completions have been finalised, Student Administration arrange conferral and the issuing of documentation for Higher Education students, including:

  1. Extracting students eligible for completion and conferral and providing the master list to Events Services.
  2. Processing award conferrals.
  3. Generating graduation documentation – that is, Notices of Completion, Testamurs, Academic Transcripts, AHEGs and VU Extra transcripts – in accordance with the relevant procedure.
  4. Printing and delivery/postage of graduation documentation, including liaising with external printing and mailing services as required.
  5. Ensuring correct documentation is provided to graduates either at a graduation ceremony or in absentia.

(11) VET students are invited to attend graduation but receive their completion documents immediately after completion, in accordance with the Awards Regulations - Awards and Testamurs Procedure.

(12) Prior to each ceremony, the Events Team coordinates venue arrangements including managing contracts, bookings, liaison and set up/pack up (‘bump-in’ and ‘bump out’).

(13) Student Administration prepares cue cards, seating lists, attendance lists and arranges for suitably trained ushers to be available for each ceremony.

(14) VU Research coordinates research students’ requirements including allocation to ceremonies and preparation of scripts for HDR presenters.

(15) VU Research nominates Research Medalist for approval by the Chief Student Officer, in accordance with the Medals Procedure.

(16) Student Administration identifies coursework students with highest GPAs and seeks approval of University Medalists from the Chief Student Officer in accordance with the Medals Procedure.

(17) Student Administration liaises with colleges and seeks approval of Student Speaker nominations from the Chief Student Officer as per Part F of this Procedure.

Part D - Ceremony Attendance

(18) The Events Team liaise with the external partner to ensure eligible students are invited to the ceremony and are able to register, hire regalia, book guest tickets and obtain information about the ceremony.

(19) Students are invited to attend the first ceremony round that occurs after their conferral. Students may seek to defer their attendance at a ceremony once, by lodging a request via SAVU.

(20) Students must lodge a deferral request no later than ten weeks prior to the next ceremony. Students may defer their attendance once. If they are unable to attend the next ceremony they will be conferred in absentia.

Part E - Ceremony Proceedings

(21) A graduation ceremony will normally include the following components: Academic Procession, Welcome to Country, Occasional Address, Graduates names are read and they receive testamurs, Student Speaker, Presentation of Medalist, Awarding of research higher degrees. These components may vary depending on circumstances.

Part F - Student Speaker

(22) Prior to each graduation round, Student Administration contacts discipline Colleges and TAFE at VU to seek nominations for Student Speakers. Colleges and TAFE at VU provide up to three nominations by the specified deadline.

(23) Student Administration collates the nominations where more than one is provided, ensures nominees are eligible to attend the ceremony and obtains academic transcripts for each nominee.

(24) The Chief Student Officer (or delegate) considers all nominations where required and ranks them in priority order for each ceremony.

(25) When selecting the Student Speaker where required, the Chief Student Officer considers these criteria:

  1. The student has skills and experience which would make them confident to deliver an inspirational speech at the ceremony in front of a large audience;
  2. The student’s behaviour reflects VU’s values (such as demonstrating respect for others, embodying opportunity and success, showing commitment to the community and academic excellence);
  3. Where there is more than one suitable candidate, the nominees’ academic performance will also be considered.

(26) Student Administration contacts the highest ranked nominees and asks if they would like to be Student Speaker. If they decline or are unable to attend, the next highest ranked nominee is contacted until a Speaker is found for each ceremony. If Student Speakers have not yet registered to attend the ceremony they will be given an opportunity to do so, even if registrations have closed.

(27) Student Administration liaises with Student Speakers and the Events Services team to ensure all arrangements are in place, such as providing introductory statements for each student and ensuring students are briefed prior to the ceremony.

Part G - Provision of Academic Dress

(28) Graduands and Graduates in Melbourne will be provided with hired academic dress on the day of the ceremony. Graduands and Graduates who are Offshore will be provided with academic dress through VU’s agent.

(29) The cost of hiring the academic dress is included in the Graduation Attendance Fee. Graduates are responsible for any loss or damage. The academic dress is to be returned on the day, by the stipulated time. Attendance at the ceremony signifies agreement with these requirements. Indigenous students, upon request will be provided with a VU Indigenous Stole to wear during the ceremony that they are able to keep.

Provision of Academic Dress to Staff

(30) Staff must nominate in advance to join the University procession at a Melbourne graduation ceremony, or other official function of VU where academic dress is to be worn.

(31) Staff will wear their own academic dress or be provided with VU academic dress according to their highest qualification. There will be no charge to the individual staff member.

(32) Staff who are participating in an external formal ceremony and who require VU academic dress may hire dress via the VU’s preferred provider who can be contacted through the Event Services team. There is no charge for this hire; staff will indemnify VU against damage or loss of the regalia.

(33) Staff must ensure neat and tidy appearance of academic dress on the day of the ceremony. Each staff member is responsible for return of the academic dress to VU.

(34) Staff who accept an invitation to join the University procession at an offshore ceremony will either provide their own academic dress or be provided with VU academic dress, to be carried in their personal luggage, before leaving Australia. Members of the delegation who require academic dress will be advised when this is available for collection.Exceptions may include the Chancellor (or other Presiding Officer/s) and Vice-Chancellor, whose academic dress is organised by Event Services.

(35) Staff are responsible for the appearance of the academic dress on the day of the ceremony. Each staff member is responsible for return of the academic dress to the University.

Provision of Academic Dress to Honorary Degree and Companion of the University Recipients

(36) Honorary Degree recipients will be provided with prescribed academic dress on the day of the ceremony. The Office for Advancement manages the liaison with the recipient for Honorary Degree, and are also responsible for the order and costs for the academic dress.

(37) The academic dress will be given as a gift to the recipient after the ceremony. The recipient of the Honorary Degree is then expected to wear this regalia on any future occasion, as invited by VU.

(38) Companion of the University recipients will be provided with a Council gown according to the Awards Regulations 2018. The academic dress for The Companion must be returned after the ceremony.