Our Service Charter
Who we support
All students, every single one of them. Student Advocacy is a free and confidential service for all students at Federation University, including students based at all campuses of Federation University, studying at all qualification levels (TAFE, undergraduate and postgraduate) and those studying at Partner Providers.
Student Advocacy is wholly funded by the SSAF (Student Services and Amenities fee). The Higher Education Support (Student Services, Amenities, Representation and Advocacy) Guidelines 2022, published by the Federal Government say that Education providers need to make sure students have access to services “including advocacy and referral services for all students enrolled at the HEP across a range of academic, procedural and administrative issues in respect of issues relating to equity, discrimination, harassment, grievances, complaints, disputes, exclusion, discipline and misconduct, supervision, and unsatisfactory progress.” (8c) Advocates must “act in the best interest of students and must be independent from the HEP’s decision-makers and other staff who administer the HEP’s academic and procedural rules and regulations” (10:2).
This means we are independent from decision-makers at the University. We are not part of your Institute or TAFE teaching area, and we are not involved with academic decisions, or decisions about co-curricular programs or student services (other than our own). We also won’t talk to the University about issues you raise with us unless you ask us to act on your behalf.
We may from time to time raise issues reported by multiple students with a relevant department of the University without identifying the students who made the reports. We also present statistical data on the use of the service. Because it’s our job to help when things go wrong, we are in a good position to see what’s not working for students, and so we raise issues with the Uni to try and improve the experience students have while here.
Within the University structure, we are part of the Student Experience and Administrative Services (SEAS) Directorate. We report to the Senior Manager, Student Wellbeing, who reports to the Dean of Students and Registrar. Although we are employed by the University, neither of these positions has oversight of our cases.
Our service model and service standards
Due to the volume and complexity of the work we do, we are an appointment-only service. This ensures that we are well-prepared to advise you and can ensure your confidentiality. If you visit our office without an appointment, please don’t be offended that we cannot speak in-depth to you straight away. For this reason, please do not travel to campus just to speak to us, without an appointment. The quickest way to receive an appointment is via our appointment form.
If you contact us, we promise that you will receive a response within 2 university working days (usually quicker) – it may take longer to schedule a full appointment, however. We aim to empower students with the tools and knowledge to resolve their concerns themselves, whether directly with staff or via formal processes. You are the expert in your own situation, and therefore we try to ensure that you are the person doing most of the talking – we are here to support you to frame and communicate your arguments.
How we can help you
We are here to help you navigate your way through University processes, including legislation, policies, and procedures. We can:
- provide information about your rights and responsibilities at University
- answer your questions about:
- Academic and General Misconduct charges
- Unsatisfactory academic progress
- Special Consideration
- Appeals of all kinds
- Assessment concerns
- Help you to understand university policy and procedure
- discuss your options for resolving your concerns
- speak to staff members on your behalf, or help you to prepare to speak to a staff member
- help you to understand communication (emails and letters) from the University
- provide you with advice for writing letters and preparing for meetings and hearings
- attend meetings with you
- assist if you think the University has made an error or you have been treated unfairly
- find you the right person to speak to
- clarify important timelines
- refer you to other services.
How you can help us
- Communicate with us clearly and professionally.
- Complete the questions on our appointment form if you are able to. This gives us an idea of what you need help with, and means we can look into relevant University processes before contacting you.
- Answer our questions, or tell us if you are unable to do this.
- Let us know if you don’t understand something, or if you think we have made an error.
- Where possible, contact us before something is urgent, so there’s enough time for us to help you, e.g. a week before a hearing.
- Follow the processes of the University that are designed to help prevent issues e.g. double check your enrolment before census date, apply for special consideration when you need it.
- Work actively to resolve your concern.
What you can expect from us
- We will listen genuinely to your concerns, and advise you based on both our experience with University processes and the outcome you’re hoping for.
- If you have given us authority to act, if necessary, we will make enquiries with University staff to gather information or help you resolve your concerns, e.g. contacting Administrative or Academic staff.
- We will check University systems such as My Student Centre or FDL Grades for information about your enrolment, or to view relevant communication such as plagiarism or unsatisfactory progress letters.
- We will do our best to support you to resolve your concerns. We are not perfect, and we do work as a team, so we will check in with our own colleagues when we need advice from them about the best way to assist you.
What we can’t do
- Investigate your complaint
- Change a decision the University has made
- Change your marks
- Get someone kicked out or fired; we really have no influence over University decisions
- Provide counselling support, give legal advice, visa advice, Centrelink (or other financial support) advice, but we can suggest places you can find this help.