The University's principal governing body is the Council, comprising up to 16 members.
The powers of the Council are assigned in Section 16 of the University of Newcastle Act 1989 (NSW) and include:
- acting for and on behalf of the University in the exercise of the University's functions
- having the control and management of the affairs and concerns of the University
- acting in all matters concerning the University in such a manner as appears to Council to be best calculated to promote the object and interests of the University.
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 objective of the Audit and Risk Management Committee is to provide independent assurance and assistance to the Council on the University of Newcastle's risk, audit and internal control and compliance frameworks, and its external accountability responsibilities.
The Controlled and Associated Entities Sub-Committee is responsible for advising Council (through the Finance Committee) on matters relating to the oversight, review and development of the frameworks for the University's controlled and associated entities.
The Executive and Senior Remuneration Committee of Council shall advise Council in relation to the outcome of the Committee's consideration of Urgent Business matters under delegated authority; the process of the appointment and termination of appointment and the remuneration of the Vice-Chancellor and senior executive staff. It shall also advise Council on the performance of the Council in relation to the duties of Council members and remuneration of Council members.
The Finance Committee is responsible for advising the Council on the monitoring and review of the University's financial affairs, including the annual budget (including capital expenditure) and business plans, investments, commercial borrowings and oversight of the activities of the University's controlled entities.
The Nominations and Legislation Committee provides advice to the Council on matters relating to membership and appointments to boards and committees (including the Council itself), the conferral of honorary degrees, exceptional service medals and honorary titles, the appointment, termination and remuneration of the Vice-Chancellor and senior executive staff, monitoring the performance of the Vice-Chancellor, and changes to University legislation and committee constitutions that require the Council's approval.
The Strategic Development Committee is responsible for advising the Council in relation to the University's mission and strategic direction including the conduct of an annual planning forum and the preparation, development, review and monitoring of the University Strategic Plan.
It also advises the Council in relation to the University's performance, the performance of its controlled and associated entities, the size and scope of the University, both onshore and offshore, the long term planning of the University's physical and virtual capital infrastructure and environment and the University's commercial activities.
The Council is served by the University Secretariat, and demonstrates a commitment to good governance practices (PDF 126KB).
Academic Senate is the primary forum for debate on academic issues in the University and has a major role in academic quality assurance processes.
The Academic Senate has the mission to protect, promote and enhance the excellence of the University's core academic activities – teaching, learning and research.
The majority of the members of the Academic Senate are elected by the academic staff of the University. Other members are elected student members, or ex-officio.
The Academic Senate reports to the Council through its President, who is a Council member.