Recommended Senate Model
Details of the new model which Senate has recommended to comply with the Act
Since the current constitution of Senate is not compliant with the new Act, Senate has considered various options for its composition to comply, and has concluded that a model of around 300 members would best enable Senate to function effectively. Under this model, the majority of members would be elected, with 100 places for elected professorial members, 100 places for other elected academic staff, and 30 places for elected student members.
Although all professors would no longer become members automatically, Senate has concluded that the 100 places for elected professorial members should be sufficient to accommodate current levels of attendance of professors at Senate, and allow for good cross-University representation.
In arriving at this recommendation, Senate has considered various other models which would comply with the Act and has taken account of data on the average attendance by members at meetings, which is currently around 60 members per meeting. A benchmarking exercise of Senates at other Higher Education Institutions has also been undertaken.
It is hoped that the favoured model will support an engaged political culture at the University and provide an effective forum for discussion, and that, while smaller than the current Senate it will nonetheless be sufficiently large and representative to reflect the University’s diverse academic community.
The recommended Senate is illustrated below, beneath an illustration of the composition of the current Senate
Alternative model considered
In reaching this proposal, Senate considered adapting the current model into a larger Senate.
Under this model, all professors would remain members automatically. This would mean that Senate would need to increase in size to around 1,200 members in order to comply with the additional electoral provisions of the Act.
It would be very difficult to sustain a Senate of this size, since the number of non-elected members (professors and ex officio members) would need to be matched by the number of elected non-professorial and student members. It would also be challenging to recruit members to a forum of this size.
The very large size of this Senate would also undermine its ability to achieve a quorum (one third of membership, meaning c. 400 members) and to conduct engaging and meaningful discussion.