UNSW Courageous Conversations

As humans, we can all make mistakes from time to time. Here at UNSW we believe that students deserve the opportunity to learn from theirs.

Two students photographed from behind engaged in discussion on campus

What is a Courageous Conversation?

If the University has concerns about your academic work or your behaviour while a member of the UNSW community, you may be contacted by our Conduct and Integrity Office to have a Courageous Conversation. A Courageous Conversation is a less formal process than a typical investigation, held between you and one of our Case Managers.

The purpose is to raise these concerns in a supportive environment, using an educational and integrity-driven approach. It is an opportunity to be honest and if applicable, to admit to any mistakes you have made. Students who admit to their mistakes before a full investigation takes place may be entitled to a lesser penalty.

  • Courageous Conversations are held in accordance with the Complaints Management and Investigations Policy and Procedure. If a Case Manager determines the concerns constitute a breach of the Student Code of Conduct, a Case Manager will contact you to:

    • Provide details of the concerns that have been raised.
    • Explain the complaint handling process.
    • Offer you an opportunity to respond to the concerns. This could be as simple as an email response or if you prefer you could meet with a Case Manager to provide a response, discuss the concerns, and ask questions about the process. 

    If your lecturer or course coordinator has some concerns about whether you have met the learning outcomes for their course, you may also be asked to meet with them.

  • If you are contacted for a Courageous Conversation, we encourage you to reach out for support. 

    • You may bring a friend or other support person to the meeting.
    • You may also wish to contact Arc for advice, or to request an Arc officer attend the meeting with you as your support person. 
  • We understand that students sometimes make mistakes. If you agree that your conduct did not meet your responsibilities under the Student Code of Conduct and admit to a mistake before a full investigation takes place, a decision maker will issue a determination, including any applicable penalties. 

    If you dispute the concerns raised, a decision maker may either a) proceed with a formal investigative process, or b) issue a determination if no further information may be found during an investigation.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

  • UNSW Conduct and Integrity matters are strictly confidential, and we respect your right to privacy. No one external to the University will be advised of this matter without your explicit written consent (for example when applying to legal practice bodies, or other similar professional associations). 

  • ARC is a student body independent from the University. Anything you wish to speak to ARC about remains confidential to ARC, unless you wish otherwise.

  • We view your time at university as a learning experience, on a number of levels including making mistakes such as misconduct. It is only in the case of the most serious breaches of the Student Code, for example repeated instances of cheating, that you won't be able to remain a member of the UNSW community.

    We believe students deserve the opportunity to learn from their mistakes, and therefore UNSW does not consider misconduct matters when assessing applications for further study.