Academic Board - Policy

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1. Purpose and Objectives

Senate has established an Academic Board under Section 35(1) of the University of Queensland Act 1998: ‘The senate may establish an academic board of the university’. This policy sets out the role, purpose and function of the Academic Board and its governance framework.

2. Definitions, Terms, Acronyms

Academic Board means the Board as defined by Section 35 of the University of Queensland Act 1998.

3. Policy Scope/Coverage

This policy is reserved as a matter for Senate under the Governance Framework Policy. The policy applies to the Academic Board of Senate.

4. Policy Statement

This policy sets out the governance arrangements for the Academic Board.

5. Role, Purpose and Function of the Academic Board

Under the University of Queensland Act 1998 (S35(3)), the Board must -

  1. advise Senate about teaching, scholarship and research matters concerning the University;
  2. formulate proposals for the academic policies of the University;
  3. monitor the academic activities of the university’s faculties; and
  4. promote and encourage scholarship and research at the University.

Incorporating these over-arching principles into the governance framework of the University, Senate confirms that -

  1. the Board is established as an independent body within the University to provide independent, authoritative advice. It is not a committee of Senate, does not currently receive any delegation of authority from Senate, and does not make academic decisions on behalf of Senate.
  2. the Board advises Senate and the Vice-Chancellor on all matters relating to and affecting the University’s teaching, research and educational programs.

More specifically, the role, purpose and function of the Board is to -

  1. encourage the maintenance and development of high standards of teaching and research and monitor and assure the quality of those standards;
  2. maintain effective overview of the academic activities of the University and to advise and assist in their coordination;
  3. advise on the academic aspects and content of the University’s Strategic Plan;
  4. advise the Vice-Chancellor on new academic programs, changes to existing programs and the discontinuance of programs;
  5. advise Senate and the Vice-Chancellor in relation to academic and educational issues, including by reviewing and providing advice on the formulation and effectiveness of policies, guidelines and procedures;
  6. oversee the program of reviews of schools, other organisational units offering teaching and research programs within the University, and generalist degrees, whereas implementation responsibility will rest with the Vice-Chancellor and Executive;
  7. provide a forum to facilitate information flow and debate within the University and between the senior executive officers of the University and the wider academic community; and
  8. provide advice on matters referred to it by the Senate, the Vice-Chancellor or other University officers.

6. Membership of the Board

6.1 Membership determined by Senate

Senate determines the membership of the Board under Section 35(2) of the University of Queensland Act 1998.

6.2 Membership of the Board

(1) The Board consists of –

  1. the following ex officio members:

                President of the Board;

                Deputy President of the Board;



                Deputy Vice-Chancellors;

                Pro Vice-Chancellors;

                Executive Deans of Faculties;

                Dean, Graduate School;

                Associate Deans (Academic);

                Associate Deans (Research);

                Associate Dean (Clinical);

                Medical Dean;

                Research Dean;

                Heads of Schools;

                Directors of Institutes;

                President of the University of Queensland Union;

                President, UQ Branch of the NTEU;

                University Librarian;

                Chief Information Officer;

                Director, Institute for Continuing and TESOL Education;

                Director, Student Affairs; and

  1. the following not being ex officio members (elected members) being –
    1. 40 elected staff members (elected staff members) being –
      1. 20 professors (professorial members);
      2. 20 members of the non-professorial teaching or research staff (non-professorial members) employed under a contract with a term of employment of 12 months or more requiring at least 18 hours of work each week at level A or above;
    2. two postgraduate students not eligible to be an elected staff member, one of whom is a research student (postgraduate members);
    3. three undergraduate students not eligible to be an elected staff member (undergraduate members);
  2. one Director of a University centre appointed by the President on the nomination of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) (appointed member).

(2) A member of the Board elected to be a member of the Standing Committee, who loses the qualification by virtue of which that member is a Board member, shall remain a member of the Board until the declaration of the next election of the Board or that member ceases to be a full-time member of staff.

6.3 Period of office of elected and appointed members

  1. Elected staff members hold office for three years.
  2. Postgraduate and undergraduate members hold office for one year.
  3. An appointed member holds office for one year.

6.4 Vacation of elected members

(1) An elected member or a successful candidate at an election is deemed to have vacated office as an elected member if that person -

  1. becomes an ex officio member, or
  2. becomes an appointed member, or
  3. is absent from every meeting of the Board of which notice has been given for any period of six months without leave granted by the Board, or
  4. gives the Secretary of Academic Board written notice of resignation, or
  5. ceases to be qualified for election.

(2) An elected member or successful candidate at an election may immediately be deemed to have vacated office where the member indicates to the Board, or it comes to the notice of the Board, that the member will be, or intends to be, absent from meetings for six months without leave granted by the Board.

6.5 Casual vacancies

(1) A casual vacancy in the case of an elected staff member is filled -

  1. by the consenting person who polled the highest of the unsuccessful candidates in the most recent election for the relevant class, or
  2. if not, and the President so directs, by a supplementary election, or
  3. in any other case, at the next annual election.

(2) A casual vacancy in the case of postgraduate or undergraduate members is filled by the Council of the University of Queensland Union nominating a postgraduate or undergraduate student as the case requires.

(3) A casual vacancy in the case of an appointed member is filled by the President, after consultation with the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), nominating another Director of a University centre.

(4) A person filling a casual vacancy holds office for the remainder of the term of office of that person’s predecessor.

(5) Where there are positions to be filled having different terms of office, the positions with the longest term shall be filled by those candidates in the relevant election that poll highest and so on and, in the case of equality or in the absence of a poll, in an order determined by lot.

7. President and Deputy President

7.1 Election and term of office of President and Deputy President

Each year, subject to the final decision of Senate pursuant to s35A of the University of Queensland Act 1998, the Board elects a member to be President of the Academic Board and a second member to be Deputy President for the ensuing calendar year. However, if a vacancy arises in the office of either President or Deputy President during a calendar year then an election can be held during a calendar year.

The President and Deputy President are eligible for re-election for two further successive terms but, except in special circumstances, are not eligible for election for a fourth successive term.

7.2 Position Description of the President

The President of the Academic Board is a senior member of the academic staff of the University who, under the University of Queensland Act 1998, is selected by a ballot of members of the Board and confirmed by the University Senate for a term of office as specified in 7.1.

The President -

  • provides academic leadership;
  • acts with integrity and professionalism;
  • upholds the highest ethical and academic standards;
  • promotes diversity in the interests of fairness and of good governance;
  • is committed to transparency, accountability, and responsible stewardship of the University’s reputation;
  • promotes the development of a Board that in itself and through its committees, sub-committees and working parties -
    • is collegial;
    • is broadly representative of the diversity of the University’s academic staff;
    • demonstrates integrity and independence in its activities;
    • supports academic freedom, open discussion and debate;
    • serves as an effective custodian of academic integrity and standards of excellence;
    • brings a diversity of points-of-view and forms of expertise to bear on University-wide issues;
    • provides the principal forum for University-wide discussion and debate about the academic implications of strategic and operational approaches;
    • provides advice to Senate and to the Senior Executive that is independent, timely and authoritative; and
    • is efficient and influential.

As a member of the University Senior Management Group and a direct report of the Vice-Chancellor, the President works collaboratively with the Senior Executive and Senate to promote the aims, ethos, morale and values of the University and to ensure effective communication, cooperation and collaboration among the three principal components of institutional governance.

The President reports regularly to Senate in order to give assurance that academic governance is effective, that academic standards are upheld, and that risks associated with the University’s academic activities have been identified and mitigated.

The President represents Academic Board at University graduations and other University functions.

The President’s duties include, but are not exhausted by, the following -

  1. managing the efficient organisation and conduct of the Board’s functions and meetings, in particular by -
    1. acting as executive officer of the Board;
    2. ensuring that the Board has the resources and support that are necessary to carry out its functions in an effective and efficient manner;
    3. developing and approving the agenda for Board meetings and approving the minutes of such meetings;
    4. convening and chairing the plenary meetings of the Board;
    5. chairing the Standing Committee of the Board;
    6. serving as an ex officio member and Deputy Chair of all other Board committees;
    7. facilitating the effective contribution of all Board members;
    8. ensuring that the Board’s members have confidence in the procedures laid down for the conduct of business;
    9. providing for succession in office;
    10. disseminating information about the Board’s activities to the wider University community; and
    11. ensuring regular appraisal of the Board’s performance by reference to recognised standards of good practice;
  2. being well informed about the University’s academic activities, especially through -
    1. participation in the periodic review of organisational units, academic programs, and relevant University policies;
    2. identification and mitigation of risk associated with research and teaching; and
    3. participation in developing and monitoring performance against the objectives identified in the University’s Strategic Plan;
  3. contributing to the recruitment, selection, and development of academic staff by -
    1. chairing the Academic Confirmation and Promotion Advisory Committee;
    2. sitting as a member of the Professorial Confirmation and Promotions Committee;
    3. serving on selection committees for senior academic and executive appointments at the University; and
    4. participating in staff development activities, especially those associated with annual appraisal, confirmation, and promotion;
  4. serving as a member of Senate and of the University Senior Management Group.

7.3 Position Description of the Deputy President

The Deputy President carries out on behalf of the President or assists the President to carry out such functions as the Board or the President may determine.

Whenever the President is unable to act, or if there is a vacancy in the office of the President, the Deputy President is deemed to have been appointed to act in the office of the President and may discharge all the functions of the President. The position description of the President, therefore, applies to the Deputy President when they are deputising.

8. Meetings

8.1 Convening meetings

(1) The President convenes the ordinary meetings of the Board. The President may convene a special meeting when that is considered to be in the interests of the University and must convene a special meeting on the written request of five members stating the business for the Board to consider at the meeting.

(2) The Vice-Chancellor may summon a special meeting of the Board for the purpose of considering any business to be submitted by the Vice-Chancellor, and may preside at the meeting.

8.2 Chair

Subject to 8.1(2) – i.e. when the President chairs meetings of the Board – in the absence of the President and Deputy President, the members present will elect one of themselves to be chair. The chair has a deliberative vote and, if needs, a casting vote.

8.3 Quorum

One quarter of the members of the Board, other than members on leave of absence, shall be a quorum.

8.4 Power to invite persons to attend

The Board may invite a person to attend its meetings generally or for a particular purpose.

9. Committees

9.1 Committees generally

(1) Committees of the Academic Board are chaired by a qualified member of the senior executive. The President of the Academic Board may deputise in the absence of the chair.

(2) A committee may make its own rules for the conduct of its business.

(3) After each of its meetings, a committee must present to the Board a report consisting of the minutes of its proceedings recording recommendations to the Board and matters which it desires to draw to the attention of the Board.

(4) (a) The Board may delegate to any committee power to do any act or hold any enquiry in relation to a matter within the scope of the Board’s authority.

     (b) A function delegated by the Board to a committee may be carried out by the delegate in accordance with the resolution of delegation.

9.2 Standing Committee

There is to be a Standing Committee of the Academic Board consisting of the President and other members of the Board appointed by the Board. Standing Committee may regularly exercise on behalf of the Board such powers as the Board may determine. In any other case where action is necessary before a meeting of the Board can be conveniently held the Standing Committee may act on behalf of the Board, reporting its actions to the next meeting of the Board.

9.3 Other committees

(1) The Board may:

  1. appoint committees either for general or special purposes; and
  2. fix the quorum of a committee.

(2) A committee may be appointed to enquire into or act upon any matter or class of matters which in the opinion of the Board has already arisen or may arise at a future time.

(3) In appointing its members or other persons to a committee, the Board should balance appropriately ex officio membership, representational membership, elected members and membership of academic staff and students drawn from the wider University community.

(4) A committee may co-opt those whom it considers necessary for the efficient conduct of its business.

10. Reporting

10.1 Reporting to Senate

The Board shall regularly report to Senate on matters of academic quality and standards so that Senate can fulfil its academic risk management functions. Senate will provide guidelines on the form, content and frequency of reports that it expects from the Board.

10.2 Reporting to Senate Risk Committee

The Board President and chairs of the relevant Board committees concerned with teaching and research provide Senate Risk Committee with ongoing, appropriate assurances that academic and research risks are comprehensively identified and sufficiently mitigated.

Academic Registrar Mr Mark Erickson
Academic Registrar Mr Mark Erickson