If a candidate experiences significant mitigating circumstances that require special consideration, a management plan may be implemented.
The plan should identify the mitigating circumstances, and outline how these will impact the candidate's ability to complete their program on time. The plan should also provide a clear pathway to completion, outlining the roles and responsibilities of all key stakeholders.
The candidate, supervisor, relevant senior academics such as the ADRT or Head of School and support services such as Disability Services or Counselling and Psychological Services (CAPS) should all be consulted when making the plan.
For assistance with the implementation of a management plan, please refer to the management plan template.
What are mitigating circumstances?
Mitigating circumstances effecting a candidate’s progress could include health, personal or any other issues identified by the candidate. It is important to consider if the circumstances are affecting the ability of the candidate to devote sufficient time to their research to justify either full time or part time study, and if they should be on program leave. It is worth considering if the mitigating circumstances are outside of the candidate’s control.
Financial circumstances should not be considered. Candidate’s declare at admission that they have the financial means to undertake their research throughout the length of the degree.
Who should initiate a Management Plan?
School Postgraduate Coordinators are responsible for implementing a Management Plan. If the need for a Management Plan is identified by a Progress Review Panel, the Panel members should inform the Postgraduate Coordinator, or other relevant senior academic staff, and discuss the circumstances.
At what point in the candidature should a Management Plan be implemented?
Management Plans can be developed at any time during a candidature. It is imperative that they are put in place as soon as the mitigating circumstances are identified (not retrospectively). Regardless of whether a formal Management Plan is implemented, it is important that issues are always identified during the Research Progress Review process, so that Progress Review Panels and Postgraduate Coordinators can make an informed decision regarding actions to ameliorate issues effecting progress.
How long should a Management Plan last?
The Plan should last as long as the mitigating circumstances are affecting the candidature. However, Program Leave or a change to a Part Time study load may be a more appropriate option that ongoing enrolment with a Management Plan.
The Plan should consider the impacts of the mitigating circumstances on the progress of the candidate. An estimate should be made of any potential impact this will have on the thesis submission date.
The Plan should be considered as part of subsequent progress reviews. If the mitigating circumstances have been resolved, then this should be indicated appropriately on the Progress Review form.
What is the benefit of implementing a Management Plan?
There are several benefits. A Management Plan should identify a pathway to completion for a candidate who has experienced mitigating circumstances that could be a barrier to an on-time completion. The Plan should clearly identify the roles and responsibilities of the candidate, supervisor, school and other key stakeholders to complete the research. The Plan should also identify any necessary resources or special conditions required to complete the research.
The aim is to assist the candidate to a satisfactory, on-time completion of their research thesis by identifying and overcoming barriers to progress.
How does a Management Plan impact on the regular Progress Review Process?
Progress Reviews will need to refer to any existing Management Plan. Research Progress should be measured relative to the Plan. It is recognised that candidates on a Plan may have a unique timetable for completion. Academic milestones should still be entered in the Progress Review form, as with any other candidate.
The full range of Progress Review outcomes are available to candidates on a Management Plan. In some circumstances it may be appropriate for overtime candidates to receive a satisfactory outcome outside of the normal conditions set in section 6.2 of the Progress Review and Confirmation of Research Candidatures Procedure.