Information about the Council and the Academic Senate of the University of Newcastle, Australia

Governing bodies

University Council

The University's principal governing body is the Council, comprising up to 16 members. It is responsible for the governance of the University, acts in its best interest, drives performance through strategy and stewardship, provides overall strategic guidance and oversees senior management in carrying out that strategic direction.

Council operates in accordance with the University of Newcastle Act 1989 (the Act) and the University of Newcastle By-law 2005 (the By-law), which set out the powers and functions of the University and how these must be performed.

You can learn more about the role and responsibilities of the Council and its members in the University Council Charter.  This charter plays an important role in the University's governance framework. The Charter is supported by a number of other documents which you can read more about online via the Council Handbook.

Council membership and its committees

Procedures for the appointment and election of members are prescribed under the By-law.

This includes three official members, nine appointed members (two members appointed by the Minister and seven members appointed by the Council) and four elected members. The Council is also required to ensure that among its members there is a diverse range of skills and experience, with emphasis on financial and commercial expertise.

Under the Act, Council has the authority to establish committees to assist in the exercise of its functions. There are six standing Committees of Council:

The People and Culture Committee is established as a Committee of the Council in accordance with Clause 4, Schedule 1 of the University of Newcastle Act 1989.

The People and Culture Committee Charter sets out the membership, operation and functions of the committee.

The Chancellor's Committee is established as a Committee of the Council in accordance with Clause 4, Schedule 1 of the University of Newcastle Act 1989.

The Chancellors Committee Charter sets out the membership, operation and functions of the committee.

The Controlled and Associated Entities Committee is established as a Committee of the Council in accordance with Clause 4, Schedule 1 of the University of Newcastle Act 1989.

The Controlled and Associated Entities Committee Charter sets out the membership, operation and functions of the committee.

The Finance Committee is established as a Committee of the Council in accordance with Clause 4, Schedule 1 of the University of Newcastle Act 1989.

The Finance Committee Charter sets out the membership, operation and functions of the committee.

The Nominations and Legislation Committee is established as a Committee of the Council in accordance with Clause 4, Schedule 1 of the University of Newcastle Act 1989.

The Nominations and Legislation Committee Charter sets out the membership, operation and functions of the committee.

The Risk Committee is established as a Committee of the Council in accordance with Clause 4, Schedule 1 of the University of Newcastle Act 1989.

The Risk Committee Charter sets out the membership, operation and functions of the committee.

The Strategic Development Committee is established as a Committee of the Council in accordance with Clause 4, Schedule 1 of the University of Newcastle Act 1989.

The Strategic Development Committee Charter sets out the membership, operation and functions of the committee.

Academic Senate

The Academic Senate is the primary forum for debate on academic issues in the University and has a major role in academic quality assurance processes. It is the principal advisory committee to the Council on academic matters and has the mission to protect, promote and enhance the excellence of the University's core academic activities - teaching, learning and research.

University Council report templates

The Council meets regularly and meeting agendas include matters that require Council's attention and decision. Papers are prepared for Council's consideration in advance of these meetings. In some cases management will be invited to attend meetings to present on relevant items.

Council papers should be concise standalone documents that provide the information that the Council requires to fully understand the issues being raised and, where required, to make an appropriately informed decision that meets the needs of the University.

You can find the agreed template for papers below. It is important to note that the information needs of management and the Council are quite different. Council papers require context and succinct coverage of the key elements of strategy, risk, financial value and operational impact. The Council will source management reports from the VC where greater detail may be required. Management should avoid re-working or refashioning management committee reports for Council and instead use the template below as a fresh starting point to ensure Council receives the information it needs.

Please use the following templates when submitting a report to Council or Council Committee:

  • Council Committee One-Page Report Template
    Use this template for reports that are routinely provided for noting by the committee or for infrequent reports that are required to be provided on short notice, in response to factors generally outside the control of the University.

The Council is served by the University Secretariat, and demonstrates a commitment to good governance practices (PDF 126KB). If you require further information, the Council Services and Chancellery Secretariat team can assist.