Edit Magazine

General Council Update

An update from the General Council of the University of Edinburgh.

February Half-Yearly Meeting 2018

At its Half-Yearly Meeting on 24 February the General Council was delighted to meet the new Principal, Professor Peter Mathieson, who introduced himself and shared his perceptions and priorities having recently taken up post. The annual report, based on the University’s Annual Review, of another outstanding performance from the University in 2016/17, was given by the Senior Vice-Principal, Professor Charlie Jeffery. Members applauded the invaluable service given to the General Council by its retiring Secretary, Dr Mike Mitchell, and approved the motion for new procedures for appointing General Council Assessors. JJ Chalmers, gold medal winner at the Invictus Games and sports media presenter, earned a standing ovation for his inspiring after-lunch presentation.

General Council Assessors

In implementing the Higher Education Governance (Scotland) Act 2016 the University Court intends to retain three General Council (GC) Assessors, although the Act does not require it to do so. One of the three will be the Chancellor’s Assessor. These positions will be filled by appointment not election. New procedures will be introduced as the terms of office of current Assessors expire. Thus two positions, one GC Assessor and one Chancellor’s Assessor, will be appointed to take up office in August 2019.

Henceforward the recruitment process will be overseen by a selection panel, including GC Business Committee and Court Nomination Committee members. Applicants will be assessed on the skills and experience they offer, with consideration of the equality and diversity of Court membership. These are formal Court appointments. The Chancellor’s Assessor has a final stage of formal appointment by the Chancellor.

New Secretary of the General Council

The General Council has approved the appointment of a new Secretary. Professor Ann Smyth graduated from the University of Edinburgh BSc (1970); PhD (1974); and MPhil in Clinical Psychology (1975). After a career in clinical psychology involving clinical practice, research and professional education she was a General Council Assessor to the University Court 2007–15, serving on the Business Committee during that time. June Half-Yearly Meeting 2018 The General Council Half-Yearly meeting took place on 9 June 2018, with lunch and presentations in Appleton Tower followed by a tour of the University Main Library and Centre for Research Collections.


Election for five members of the Business Committee will be in February 2019. All General Council members are eligible to stand. Further information and nomination forms are available from the General Council Office or website. Nominations should be received in the General Council Office by 21 November 2018.

February Half-Yearly Meeting 2019

Saturday 16 February 2019, in the Law School, followed by lunch in the Playfair Library Hall. Motions should be received in the General Council Office by 21 November 2018.

About us

Much more information on the General Council and its work is to be found on our website. News and meeting papers are in Billet which is once again a separate publication. This has been sent out by email or is available on the website under Publications. Remember, all graduates of the University are members.

The University of Edinburgh General Council