Terms of Reference
Academic Senate (Senate) is established under the University of Wollongong Act 1989 and is the principal academic body of the University, having responsibility for advising the Council and the Vice-Chancellor on matters relating to teaching, scholarship, research and related activities in accordance with these terms of reference. Senate plays an important role in the governance of the University by working in collaboration with the University Council (Council), the University Executive and the academic community.
Senate exercises academic oversight and provides advice and recommendations, where appropriate, to Council and the Vice-Chancellor on all academic matters of the University, including academic priorities and policies, academic aspects of the University’s strategic plan, and the assurance of academic standards. Specifically, Senate ensures academic quality assurance, monitoring of learning and teaching, research and research training, academic and research integrity and risk, educational innovations, and the student experience.
Senate is a key forum for its members to consider University-wide academic issues including those relating to the broader governmental, political or market environment. Issues or policies with substantial academic implications may be referred to Senate for review and input prior to consideration by Council.
Senate represents the University Community regarding matters relating to the academic life of the University.
Academic Senate Values
Senate is committed to the following values which act as: a reference point for academic excellence; a catalyst for discussion and awareness; an aid to accountability; and an aid to informing the awareness and expectations of those who interact with Senate and its subcommittees:
- respect for individuals
- diligence and efficiency
- academic integrity
Academic Governance Framework
Through its business, the business of its subcommittees, and reports of its members, Senate assures itself that the academic governance framework of the University is consistent with the Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards), requirements of which include that:
- Processes and structures are established and responsibilities are assigned that collectively:
- Achieve effective academic oversight of the quality of teaching, learning, research and research training.
- Set and monitor institutional benchmarks for academic quality and outcomes.
- Establish and maintain academic leadership at an institutional level.
- Stablish and maintain academic outcomes, policies and practices.
- Academic oversight assures the quality of teaching, learning, research and research training effectively, including by:
- Developing, monitoring and reviewing academic policies and their effectiveness.
- Confirming that delegations of academic authority are implemented.
- Critically scrutinising, approving and accrediting courses of study and their associated qualifications.
- Maintaining oversight of academic and research integrity, including monitoring of potential risks.
- Monitoring and initiating action to improve performance against institutional benchmarks for academic quality and outcomes.
- Critically evaluating the quality and effectiveness of educational innovations or proposals for innovations.
- Evaluating the effectiveness of institutional monitoring, review and improvement of academic activities.
- Monitoring and reporting to the corporate governing body on the quality of teaching, learning, research and research training.
- Students have opportunities to participate in academic governance.
The Senate shall:
- Advise the Vice-Chancellor and Council about academic matters including:
- Teaching, research and educational programs
- The academic goals, plans and priorities of the University and the actions required to sustain and develop such objectives;
- Academic aspects relating to the University’s Strategic Plan, including significant changes to the academic organisation; and
- Policies relating to the academic life of the University
- Consider and report on any matter referred to it by the Council or the Vice-Chancellor, exercising such functions, responsibilities or authority as may be assigned or delegated to it from time to time by Council.
- Make determinations on proposals for introduction of new or amended courses, or the deletion of existing courses.
- Make recommendations on proposals for new or amended, University-wide policies relating to research, education, the student experience and administration of courses.
- Request reports or statements from members of the Senior Executive, Executive Deans, University Directors, major University Committees and other relevant committees to promote effective monitoring of academic standards.
- Receive the minutes of Senate’s subcommittees and from the Academic Boards of UOW’s entities, and consider any matters arising from those minutes.
- Refer matters for consideration and report to a Faculty or any other academic committee or unit, as appropriate.
- Consider academic matters raised by any member of the University through a member of Senate.
- Establish subcommittees and management groups to consider, advise on and/or determine matters on which Senate may deliberate in accordance with these Terms of Reference.
- Report to the Vice-Chancellor and Council at least annually to provide oversight of academic governance and to provide assurance to the Vice-Chancellor and Council that UOW is meeting the Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) for academic governance.
Academic Senate Subcommittees
The following subcommittees currently support the Senate:
- University Education Committee
- University Internationalisation Committee
- University Research Committee
- Strategic Course Development Committee