Advice & Advocacy FAQs
- Who or what is MPA?
- Is there any charge for the advocacy service?
- Who is eligible to access MPA services?
- What is advocacy?
- What advice and information can MPA provide?
- What advice can’t MPA provide?
- Is my case information confidential?
Who or what is MPA?
The Monash Postgraduate Association Inc. (MPA) is the representative body for all research and coursework postgraduate students enrolled through Monash University's Victorian campuses.
MPA is an incorporated association pursuant to the Associations Incorporation Reform Act 2012 (Vic) The MPA is a recognised association under Monash University Statutes and receives a very small portion of the funding collected by Monash University called the ‘student services and amenities fee’ (SSAF).MPA enters into a funding agreement with Monash University, whose responsibility it is to ensure associations meet the legislative requirements under the Higher Education Legislation Amendment (Student Services and Amenities) Act 2011.
MPA is able to provide independent, free and confidential advice to postgraduate students.
Is there any charge for the advocacy service?
The service is provided at no charge to the student.
Who is eligible to access MPA services?
Any Monash postgraduate student can access MPA services. A postgraduate is a student enrolled in a course of study leading to an award of graduate certificate, graduate diploma, postgraduate diploma, masters degree, professional doctorate or doctor of philosophy. Former students may also access MPA services for a period of six months post enrolment.
What is advocacy?
All postgraduates at Monash University have rights in regard to the quality of their education and the way that they are treated by their faculty, the University and other students. The role of the MPA Advocate and case workers is to help postgraduates navigate their way through the policies and procedures of the University and provide information and/or advice on any study related matter, whether academic or administrative. It is entirely up to each individual student to decide whether to act on advice provided. MPA does not have any coercive powers and as such cannot compel the University to act in a particular way. The MPA does not provide advice or advocacy in cases involving equity issues or harassment or bullying. In these cases MPA will refer the students to the appropriate body.
What advice and information can MPA provide?
The Advocate deals with most cases, however during peak times may be assisted by case workers. Consultations can take place face-to-face at either the MPA Clayton or Caulfield office or by telephone or email. In complex cases, the Advocate will usually prepare a detailed letter(s) of advice to each student outlining their options.
A grievance by or against a student can be a daunting prospect. Students are encouraged to access the assistance of MPA at any stage. The sooner advice is sought, the better.
Examples of areas where students may encounter problems include:
- intellectual property;
- formal grievances;
- course quality;
- fee disputes;
- academic progress proceedings;
- discipline proceedings.
What advice can’t MPA provide?
MPA cannot assist in the following circumstances:
- in matters unrelated to your postgraduate study;
- where the internal decision making process of the University has been exhausted;
- where students contact the Victorian Ombudsman after internal University proceedings have concluded;
- while the matter is still in the negotiation or informal stage the Advocate does not usually attend meetings with lecturers or supervisors although suggestions may be made to the student about how to approach the matter;
- in the event that a relationship of trust cannot be achieved between the Advocate and student, the Advocate has the discretion to cease to act for that student;
- MPA resources are limited and if the Advocate cannot meet a level of service expected by a student then the Advocate may refer the student elsewhere and/or cease to act;
- in matters involving conflict of interest.
Complaints about the handling of a case should be addressed to the MPA Executive Officer: Jennifer Reeder.
Is my case information confidential?
Yes. MPA adheres to Victorian privacy principles which are embodied in the Monash University Policies and privacy laws.
Student case information is treated as confidential and will only be disclosed to third parties at the student’s request or with the student’s consent. In the event that the Advocate or case worker hold a reasonable apprehension that the student is at serious risk of harming him/herself or a danger to others then the matter will be disclosed to the relevant authority without any prior warning to the student.
Anonymous examples of student issues may be used by MPA for training or lobbying purposes. If the Advocate is unavailable and a student needs to see another caseworker, then this caseworker will have access to the Advocate’s file. The file will include a brief summary of the student's matter and any advice given. The file may also include medical reports.
Files will be kept in the office of the Advocate or case worker concerned. Email communications are accessed by password. An individual student may request to see the notes on their case or obtain a copy of their file.
Some of our frequently asked questions
MPA Advocate Contact Details
The best way to contact one of our Advocates is by via email. For those postgraduates located off-campus or studying via distance education, advice can be provided by email, and supported by phone calls (funded by the MPA).
ADVOCATE FOR CLAYTON, PENINSULA, BERWICK, MMC AND GIPPSLAND
Sunshine Kamaloni firstname.lastname@example.org
ADVOCATE FOR CAULFIELD, AMREP, PARKVILLE AND LAW CHAMBERS
Robert Rybicki email@example.com