Academic Services

Conduct of Senate Business

The operation of Senate and format of meetings.

The operation of the Senate is largely determined by the framework set out in the Senatus Standing Orders.

Senate Meetings

Senate meets three times per year, usually in October, February and June.

Meetings begin with a presentation and discussion session on an issue of strategic importance, followed by consideration of any formal business. The agenda and papers are posted on the Senate web pages one week in advance of the meeting and Senate members are notified by email when papers become available.

Closed papers (confidential papers to which Freedom of Information exemptions apply) are emailed separately to committee members. It is good practice to minimise closed business, in order to ensure as much transparency as possible regarding the operation of Senate.

Reserved business is business which, for reasons of confidentiality, is not discussed by the whole committee. Reserved business papers are emailed separately to those members of the committee who are entitled to receive them. When these papers are discussed at the committee meeting, those who are not entitled to be part of the discussion are asked to leave the meeting. Reserved business is very rarely used by Senate.

E-Senate

Each meeting of the Senate is preceded by an electronic Senate through which the majority of the routine formal business is conducted.

Items of E-business are posted on the Senate webpage for seven days, during which time members are invited to submit any comments, observations or reservations by email to SenateSupport@ed.ac.uk. Any comments made are posted online (accessible only to University account holders). Nil response from members is regarded as agreement.

Following the close of electronic business the Principal will consider any comments received and will decide, consulting as appropriate, whether the business may be concluded or should be referred to the Senate meeting.

E-Senate allows most of the formal Senate business to be dealt with electronically, thereby freeing up time at meetings for the discussion of high level academic issues. Any formal business not resolved via the E-Senate is referred to the next Senate meeting. The outcome of electronic business is reported at the next Senate meeting.

Senate Exception Committee

Senate Exception Committee has delegated authority to make urgent business decisions which would otherwise require Senate approval between the meetings of Senate, on the understanding that any matter so referred can be referred by the Exception Committee to the full Senate should this be the wish of the Exception Committee. Decisions of the Senate Exception Committee are reported to the next meeting of Senate.

Senate paper format and deadlines 

All papers submitted to Senate must use the template below and should be submitted to SenateSupport@ed.ac.uk in a single document in Microsoft Word format.  

Meetings Deadline for papers
E-Senate Tuesday 15 September - Wednesday 23 September 2020 Friday 11 September 2020
Senate Wednesday 7 October 2020 Friday 25 September 2020
E-Senate Tuesday 19 January - Wednesday 27 January 2021 Friday 15 January 2021
Senate Wednesday 10 February 2021 Friday 29 January 2021
E-Senate Tuesday 11 May - Wednesday 19 May 2021 Friday 7 May 2021
Senate Wednesday 2 June 2021 Friday 21 May 2021

Agenda setting

Senate agendas for routine business are compiled by the Senate Support team and approved by the Principal as Convener of Senate.

Members of Senate can bring forward motions to be added to the Agenda (referred to as the Billet in the Senatus Standing Orders). These should be communicated by email to SenateSupport@ed.ac.uk and must be supported (or ‘seconded’) by another member of Senate. All motions from members must be received in time to be included on the Agenda: in practice this is 10 days before the Senate meeting. See Standing Orders 7 and 10 for further details.

Agenda items may also be received from Senate Standing Committees, University Court, and other University committees.

Conferral of Emeritus status