The Program Assessment Board or, for higher degree by research (HDR) candidates the Research Candidate Progress Committee, must decide whether you have a reasonable likelihood of success in your program if you’re permitted to remain enrolled.

Accordingly, the board/committee needs a detailed explanation of why your academic performance has been unsatisfactory and what steps you’re taking to improve your performance. If adverse circumstances outside your control have been affecting your academic performance, you need to provide independent documentation of these (see below).

The past

For the teaching periods in which you’ve been identified as at risk, especially the most recent teaching period, you need to explain:

  • what went wrong and why (including both academic and personal circumstances that have impaired your performance)
  • how much time each week you’ve been spending in class and studying, and how much time you’ve spent on other commitments such as employment
  • what you’ve done to resolve these issues, including any help you’ve sought
  • what you’ve done to carry out your academic performance improvement plan or candidate action and support plan.

The future

For the next teaching period, you need to explain:

  • whether the issues that impaired your academic performance are still present, or your situation has improved
  • if the issues are still present, how you’ll ensure that their impact on your performance is less
  • your short-term and long-term plans to improve your study skills academic performance.

In preparing your show cause submission, you should think carefully about whether exclusion from the program is actually best for you. Consider if this program is the right one for you, or if your present circumstances are too difficult and you perhaps need a 12 month break from the program to resolve them.

Supporting documents

The board/committee will expect independent supporting documentation of any circumstances outside your control that have impaired your academic performance. Typical supporting documents include:

  • a letter or report from a health practitioner or counsellor
  • a death certificate or funeral notice for a close relative
  • a police report of a crime against you
  • evidence of your use of support services recommended in your academic performance improvement plan or candidate action and support plan.

RMIT Student Union (RUSU) provides resources to help you prepare your show cause submission.

The Study and Learning Centre can also provide support for writing a show cause submission.