Respect and support for the development of students as individuals.
This may include: participating in the effective and empathetic guidance and advising of students; assisting students from equity and other demographic subgroups to participate and achieve success in their courses; influencing the overall academic, social and cultural experience of higher education.
Supporting Ongoing Interaction
Being accessible to students, and clear and responsive to their questions or concerns is a very important part of teaching. It is also important to manage your own time and energy as an educator and being clear about the expectations and avenues of your response will help. Asking students to post (content-focused) questions and comments to a discussion board in the LMS allows more to be involved in the discussion and more to learn from the outcomes. Be consistent in the avenues you use to communicate (unimelb email; LMS discussion board) and the times you will respond. Private questions (eg for Special Consideration requests) should be managed via your unimelb email.
Student Support Resources
The University of Melbourne offers one of the most comprehensive STUDENT SUPPORT networks in Australia. This site provides a directory including Health and Welfare, Careers and Employability, Learning and Development, and Student Admin and IT sites. It also includes a link to Stop1 for further assistance for students.
This site includes links to the vast array of HEALTH AND WELLBEING services available to students. It is helpful for all staff who are in contact with students to be aware of these, and to be able to pass on the links to students who may need them.
Both local and international students may benefit from support with English and communication skills. This site presents a wide array of supports offered by the University.
Special Consideration, Academic Adjustment Plans
SPECIAL CONSIDERATION (UNEXPECTED CIRCUMSTANCES) is available if students are affected by unexpected circumstances such as sudden illness, accident or bereavement and the duration of impact on their studies is less than six weeks. If a student is registered for ongoing support, s/he will still need to apply. This is a separate application to an ongoing support registration. Applications for special consideration must be made using the required application form, and within 4 working days of the examination date or assessment due date. Applications must be supported by appropriate documentary evidence. The Academic Support office can provide guidance and information for staff.
EXTENSIONS of up to ten business days (14 calendar days) may be offered to students if circumstances outside of their control have affected a student’s ability to complete an assessment task on time. ABP teaching staff should direct students to the Application for Extensions guidelines. The guidelines outline the conditions for eligibility. The form must be completed by the students. Students requiring extensions longer than 10 days must apply for Special Consideration through the Student Information System. Please refer to the Assessment as Guidance of Learning page for more information.
SPECIAL CONSIDERATION (ONGOING SUPPORT) is available if students need ongoing study adjustments (for a duration of six weeks or more) due to a disability; a chronic or permanent health condition; sporting, performance or service commitments; or religious and cultural practices. An Academic Adjustment Plan (AAP) will set out any requirements. The Academic Support office can provide guidance and information for staff.
- Register for ongoing support
- Student Equity and Disability Support
- Student Equity and Disability Support - Frequently Asked Questions for Academic Staff
An overview of Assessment policies that may relate to Student Issues, such as Special Consideration, Student Complaints and Special Adjustments is available via the link provided.
The AT RISK EARLY ALERT FORM is a mechanism used by the faculty to identify and contact B-Envs, B-Des and MSD students who are experiencing difficulties in their subjects.
If you have concerns about a student in your class, you may fill out “At Risk Early Alert Form” available at
After we receive the alert, the Academic Support Office will send an email out to the student flagging the issue and providing them with information / support services to assist them in getting back on track. If there are a large number of students you would like contacted, you may download the spreadsheet available on this page. Email the spreadsheet through to MSD-StudentPrograms@unimelb.edu.au. Please ensure that you include the appropriate academic staff member/s to refer students to should they need further advice/assistance.
The program has achieved success in the past but participation in this program is entirely voluntary.
Early identification is essential. If you notice a student not turning up to class, submitting poor quality assessment, experiencing language difficulties etc please complete a form as early as possible. If it is too late for a student to pass a subject, please do not send a form as these cases are handled by the University wide Unsatisfactory Progress process
For more information, please send an email to MSD-StudentPrograms@unimelb.edu.au
Students at Risk
An At Risk Early Alert Form highlights the additional support that is available to students AT RISK of FAILURE. This may be due to factors such as a lack of class attendance, lack of participation, inappropriate behaviour, poor English language skills, or issues raised by the student.
The At Risk Early Alert Form form will be sent to Subject Coordinators at the beginning of semester, and is available at https://staff.unimelb.edu.au/abp/students-and-teaching/student-issues/at-risk-early-alert-form (requires login).
Please complete a form for students you consider are in this category prior to census date if possible. Staff from the Academic Support Office (ASO) will follow up completed forms by contacting the student with information about support services that are available to them.
Counselling and Psychological Services have put together a tipsheet to help staff identify common signs of distress and how to respond to students at risk. The resource can be found in the link below:
Teaching for Inclusive Learning is instrumental to creating and maintaining healthy learning environments where all participants are fully engaged and respected.
- Students Equity and Disability Support - Advice for Teaching Staff
- Summary of Inclusive Teaching Challenges and Opportunities
- Christine Hockings - Inclusive Learning and teaching in Higher Education
This Pursuit article by Dr Megan Sharp asks how universities can be more inclusive of (LGBTIQA+) students and sets out the approaches taken by The Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences.
The WOMEN WRITE ARCHITECTURE site lists reading resources relevant to architecture and interior design learning by women writers. It is a resource for those who are building balanced reference lists for students, and also for those looking to extend these disciplinary conversations. It includes a section of references on Designing for Diversity. The site is also very interested to hear of new additions, so please forward outputs you write or enjoy via the Contact page https://womenwritearchitecture.wordpress.com/.
The following links contain resources to assist students with effective academic and COMMUNICATION SKILLS:
The attached CSHE document by Sophie Arkoudis focuses on teaching INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS. It includes a number of very relevant and useful strategies. Many staff will already be using some of these, but there are some surprising gems and idea prompts in here.
Chapter 5 of the Melbourne Sessional Teachers' Handbook also focuses on teaching international students and outlines strategies to support them.
Resources for ABP staff and students that focus on Indigenous Cultural Design Competency are currently being developed. The University offers support for INDIGENOUS STUDENTS through Murrup Barak. The Murrup Barak Student Success Team coordinate student resources and events, and work alongside the Indigenous student body, Academic Divisions and University Services to support your experience at the University of Melbourne. The Team has dedicated Indigenous Student Success Officers who can offer advice and support on a wide range of academic, cultural and personal matters.
Helping Students to Connect
This article sets out research by a University of Melbourne academic who is investigating some of the cultural challenges that come with collaboration. A useful thought-starter and challenge to all who are teaching in the undergraduate programs, or who seek to encourage collaborative working with students and staff.
Student CLUBS + SOCIETIES offer valuable experiences for students as they explore the world, and their capacity to contribute to it. There are a number of student groups specific to Built Environment and Design disciplines, and offices for student members on level 2 of the MSD / Glyn Davis Building. There are also over 200 clubs affiliated with UMSU, the Student Union and many activities and events throughout the year.
Supporting Student Mental Health
Counselling and Psychological Services (CAPS) offer a range of training options for University Staff. These include a 40 minute online training program to assist you in supporting students experiencing mental health problems. It is developed by CAPS Counsellors, and covers topics including an introduction to student mental health, how staff can help, responding to students in distress and support services and resources.
The CAPS site includes links to this online training program, as well as information and registration for longer training programs.
This 40 minute online training program for staff of the University of Melbourne aims to assist you in supporting students experiencing mental health problems. Developed by our Counsellors, it covers topics including an introduction to student mental health, how staff can help, responding to students in distress and support services and resources.
Supporting Students and Transition to University
Starting study at University brings many challenges for students, including TRANSITION to different types of learning, relationships and responsibilities. This pdf resource, while several years old, offers guides (and some excellent 5-minute tips) that are still relevant and useful to staff who want to support their students navigating this space. The introduction / overview (p8-11) offers a fantastic and easy to read summary of the key points.
Responsible behaviour and Staff / Student Relationships
The actions and performance of all University Staff are set out in the Appropriate Workplace Behaviour Policy. These are important requirements for all staff at the University.
The Student Charter is another important resource that clarifies what students of the University are responsible for, and also what they are entitled to expect, during their studies.
"Each persons approach to the research problem is respected which encourages individual intellectual development and not this penalty model where you can't get recognized for your ideas unless you do exactly what the lecturer says. Also feedback is highly individualized and in fact disappointingly underutilized by the students which goes to show the level of support being given."
"Despite the fact that there is a lot of international students in the course, (Subject Coordinator) is really patient when working with students who are lacking the ability to speak fluent English and is willing to spend time guiding students with their problems with the subject matter or with their well-being. (Subject Coordinator) likes to get students into groups and participate in giving each other feedback about their works so that students are able to work together better."
"The subject was run as a positive learning environment where everyone was here to empower their knowledge and grow upon what they learned. (Lecturer) encouraged students to get to know one another by working in groups during all field trips and in class for projects. Individual feedback was tailored to each student in the group."
"The teacher is really open and try to connect with every student regardless of their nationality or condition, my example (Lecturer) remembers my name despite the class is over 100 people."
"So much empathy So much individual support Always knew what each student was doing and remembered everything about you Genuinely cared"
"The tutor would push people to their limit in order to make them grow and develop, but still cared about every person."