This document provides a set of definitions and notes that seek to clarify the meaning and role of the following governance instruments within the University of Newcastle:
A by-law in general terms is 'a formal rule governing the internal management of a corporation'. Within the context of the University of Newcastle, a by-law is a formalised addendum to the University of Newcastle Act 1989, providing updated directives regarding the internal management of the University. By-laws must be proposed by the Council of the University and approved by the Governor of NSW. When approved they have the force of a statutory obligation.
Under the University of Newcastle Act 1989, the Council of the University has authority to make by-laws with respect to a very broad range of matters from 'the management, good government and discipline of the University' to 'the form and use of academic costume'. (University of Newcastle Act 1989 No 68, Sect 28: By-laws).
In August 2005, The University of Newcastle By-law 2005 replaced the University of Newcastle By-law 1999.
A rule is a formal statement of the conditions which must apply to the conduct of key aspects of the University's operation.
Under the By-law, authority has been given to the Council (i) to make rules and (ii) to authorise the Vice-Chancellor to make rules. Rules may be made on most of the matters for which by-laws may be made. Examples of such rules are: "Rules Governing Undergraduate Academic Awards" or "Rules Governing Faculties". (The University of Newcastle By-law 2005, Part 6: Rules)
Under the Act a rule has the same force and effect as a by-law.
A schedule is an approved document prescribing the way in which the principles of a rule or policy are applied in specific instances. The Schedule for the Bachelor of Business, for example, stipulates the way in which the regulations laid down in the Rules Governing Undergraduate Academic Awards are to be applied in this degree.
Schedules have the authority of Rules.
A policy is a concise, formal statement of principles which indicate how the University will act in a particular area of its operation eg in relation to academic promotion or to racism. In short, policy provides members of the University with the approved way of operating in relation to a particular matter.
It is the role of policy to:
- Translate our values into the way we operate
- Achieve compliance with our responsibilities - statutory and other
- Guide us towards the achievement of our Strategic Plan
- Set standards
- Improve our management of risk.
A procedure is a formal statement describing the actions or steps to be taken to implement a policy or an aspect of a policy. The role of the procedure is to:
- Provide clear instructions on the way policy will be implemented
- Ensure uniformity and compliance across the University
- Allow monitoring of policy implementation
Procedures are developed in conjunction with policy and apply wherever the policy is implemented. Procedures will be followed by all Units across the University to avoid variation and inconsistency in the application of policy.
A guideline is a document which offers detailed suggestions on how to implement particular aspects of a rule, or policy or procedure. Thus, a Policy on Inclusive Teaching and Learning might prompt the development of a set of Guidelines on Inclusive Assessment which translate the principles of the Inclusive Teaching Policy into practical steps and examples for applying an inclusive approach to the task of assessment.