University governanceSenate information

A guide to the University of Strathclyde Senate for new members

1. What is Senate?

Senate is the University's most senior academic committee with responsibility for the academic governance of the University including academic standards and quality. It has a key strategic role in relation to the direction of the University’s teaching and learning, research and academic business. It is responsible for establishing and overseeing the development of academic policies, procedures and the regulatory framework within which Faculties and departments operate, thereby ensuring consistency and good practice in superintending of the University’s awards and of students enrolled at the University.

A Self-Effectiveness Review of the role of University Senate was undertaken in 2016, with a range of recommendations arising from this being taken forward to ensure the continued effective governance and operation of Senate. Further reviews will be undertaken periodically.

Senate’s role and purpose are set out in the University Statutes .

2. How often does Senate meet?

Senate normally meets five times during the academic year.

3. Who are its members?

Senate is chaired by the Principal and has as members: the Vice Principal, Associate Principals, Executive Deans of Faculty, Heads of the academic departments and schools, elected academic, teaching, research and knowledge exchange staff, Directors of Professional Services, and student representatives.

4. What are the responsibilities of a member of Senate?

Senate members have responsibilities in a range of areas, including:

  • Safeguarding academic quality and standards across the University
  • Advising on academic strategy
  • Considering issues based on first-hand knowledge and experience of academic practice

Members of the University of Strathclyde Student Association (StrathUnion) comprise 10% of the membership and bring knowledge and experience of the learning experience at the University, as such ensuring that interests and concerns of the student body are considered at the highest level of academic governance.

Senate members should:

  • Demonstrate commitment to the University and specifically to maintaining academic quality and standards
  • Understand the University’s internal teaching and research processes
  • Be prepared to debate academic issues in an open and transparent manner
  • Consider the issues brought to Senate for approval, and be accountable for their decisions
  • Read the papers provided, contribute to the debate and participate in the decision-making process

Senate members are encouraged to gather views and comments on agenda papers from their colleagues ahead of meetings to enable them to express an informed view, which ensures that there is effective engagement between Senate and the wider University community.

5. What does Senate do?

University Statutes sets out the powers and functions of Senate.

6. How does a Senate meeting normally operate?

The order of business at an ordinary meeting will normally be:

  • Minutes
  • Matters arising from the Minutes
  • Report of the Senate Business Committee
  • Principal’s Update
  • Matters for discussion by Senate under Substantive Items
  • Matters for report to the Senate
  • Confidential and reserved business for Senate

7. Where do I access Senate papers?

Senate papers are available on Senate’s SharePoint site, which Senate members have access to. Access is arranged through the Senate Manager. Please contact

Minutes are available publicly at the end of each academic year.

Contact the Senate Committee Manager for a copy of the Handbook for Senators.