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Academic Board Procedure

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Section 1 - Summary

(1) The purpose of this Procedures is to provide members of the University with an understanding of the values, operations and responsibilities of the Academic Board and its committees.

(2) The Academic Board is the chief academic body of the University and is established by the Victoria University Act 2010. Its powers and composition are determined by the Governance, Academic and Student Affairs Statute 2013 and the Academic Board Regulations 2017. This Procedure is designed to spell out how and in what manner the Academic Board carries out its functions as specified in legislation.

(3) The Academic Board along with its committees are collectively responsible for the rigorous scrutiny and peer review of academic activities as identified in the TEQSA Guidance Note: Academic Governance.

(4) The Academic Board and its committees identify the particular relevant regulatory standards relevant to their respective objectives and Terms of Reference and include them in their annual work plans.

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Section 2 - HESF/ASQA/ESOS Alignment

(5) HESF: 6.1 Corporate Governance; 6.2 Corporate Monitoring and Accountability; 6.3 Academic Governance. 

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Section 3 - Scope

(6) This Procedure applies to the Academic Board and its standing committees.

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Section 4 - Definitions

(7) Any terms appearing in this Procedure are defined as per clause 4 of the Academic Board Regulations 2017.  

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Section 5 - Policy/Regulation

(8) See Academic Board Regulations 2017.

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Section 6 - Procedures

Part A - Summary of Roles and Responsibilities

(9) The roles and responsibilities are outlined in the Charter of Responsibilities below.

Culture and Values

(10) The Academic Board values a culture of openness and transparency in the University's decision making processes and promotes the following in all its activities:

  1. opportunities for staff and students to provide meaningful input into all of its deliberations;
  2. honest and respectful discussions about items within its remit;
  3. setting and monitoring academic standards and outcomes that support and enhance the University's reputation; and
  4. the best interests of the University as whole.

(11) The Academic Board values its interactions with Council and the Senior Management of the University and embraces its shared role in the attainment of its strategic goals and mission.

Communications

(12) The Academic Board and its committees will communicate, as appropriate its decisions and deliberations with all key stakeholders in a timely manner through minutes, reports and emails.

(13) The Academic Board takes the initiative to invite communications from all areas of the University to present relevant items of business to committees and invites stakeholders to present at forums.

Code of Conduct for Members

(14) The Code of Conduct for Academic Board and Committees should be read in conjunction with the Appropriate Workplace Behaviour Policy, Student Charter Policy and the VU Values.

(15) All members on the Academic Board and its committees, will:

  1. participate constructively in governance activities in a lawful, ethical and justifiable manner;
  2. demonstrate respect, concern and courtesy at meetings;
  3. accept as a personal duty, to inform oneself about the committee’s role and purpose within the University and associated matters affecting the committees' business;
  4. participate actively and work cooperatively with other committee members and University staff for the betterment of the University;
  5. not improperly influence other committee members;
  6. where required, respect confidentiality of committee business;
  7. openly declare any conflicts of interest and, where appropriate, disqualify themselves from discussions and decisions at such time;
  8. share the responsibility for ongoing improvements in the committees' operations, culture and good standing; and
  9. ensure decisions are consistent with any regulatory and policy requirements.

Charter of Responsibilities

(16) Whilst all members will abide by the Code of Conduct for Members above, the following table provides a list of specific responsibilities:

Roles Responsibilities
Chairs Lead discussions on matters of importance and ensure that all members' voices are heard during meetings.

Make sure that all meeting time is efficiently used and outcomes of the meeting are clearly understood by all members.

Actively contribute to the development of agenda and presentation of items of business.

Liaise with other Chairs to ensure alignment of governance business through convened meetings.

Ensure that all meetings are conducted in an orderly and agreed fashion.

After each meeting, clear the draft minutes presented by the Executive Officer for distribution and action within 5 business days.

In conjunction with the Executive Officer, monitor the volume of business submitted to the Committee.

Follow up outstanding actions outside scheduled meeting times.

Represent the Committee at Chairs' meetings and other forums.
 
Members Attend all meetings, or where attendance is not possible provide apologies and proxies, verbally or in writing, to the Executive Officer prior to the meeting.

Actively contribute to the agenda and papers.

Read the agenda and papers prior to meetings.

Actively contribute to meeting discussions by addressing the item/issue under discussion.

Listen to and value others when they have the floor.

Respect the role of the Chair as leader of the meeting and abide by their rulings in relation to meeting procedure.

Ensure that records related to confidential items are stored and maintained in a way that protects the confidentiality.

Avoid using their position to gain an advantage for themselves or another person.

Always act in the best interests of the University as a whole.
 
Executive Officers Prepare and circulate agendum and papers a week before the meeting.

In conjunction with the Chair, develop annual work plan for committees.

Record the business and outcomes of the meeting and report for the parent body within a week of the meeting.

Maintain the distribution platforms and associated intranet sites.

Ensure appropriate communications with the Chair, members of the committee and other bodies.

Follow up and monitor actions arising from meetings and liaise with key staff or students.

Oversee the annual review of the Board or committee and report findings to the parent body.

Support the implementation of membership surveys and present reports on the outcomes of surveys.

Prepare appropriate briefings for the Chairs of Committees.

Provide advice to the Chairs and Committees on policy and regulations relevant to the committees’ Terms of Reference and general governance operations.

Provide information about venue, date and timing of items to all presenters in a timely manner. 
 

(17) Members of the University who wish to present items of business to the Academic Board or one of its committees have the responsibility to present the item within the published timelines and utilising the correct cover sheet.

Professional Development for Board/Committee Members

(18) All new members of the Academic Board's committees will normally receive an induction briefing from the Chair or Deputy Chair as soon as practicable after their appointment and prior to their first meeting.

(19) New members of committees and the Academic Board may be allocated a mentor to assist them with their ongoing Academic Board or committee activities and to develop their capabilities.

(20) Each year the Academic Board will conduct an Induction Session for all newly elected members to the Academic Board.

(21) Office bearers will be encouraged to broaden their skills and knowledge about governance, its principles and processes.

Work Load Provisions for Chair Academic Board

(22) Provision will be made for the Chair of the Academic Board at 0.5 time release. The University Secretary or equivalent and the relevant Dean or equivalent will operationalise.

Accountability and Committee Monitoring

Annual Work Plans and Annual Reviews

(23) At the end of each year, the Executive Officer, in liaison with the Chair, will prepare an annual work plan for the following year. The annual plan will schedule business that is consistent with the Committee/Board's functions and all external regulatory standards.

(24) After consultation with key stakeholders, the Work Plan will be presented to the respective Board/committee for consideration and endorsement.

(25) Once endorsed, the Work Plan will be circulated to key stakeholders and proposed presenters for their information and preparation.

(26) The Work Plan will be monitored throughout the year by the Executive Officer, the Chair and the Committee and with key presenters to ensure accuracy and efficiency.

(27) At the first meeting of each year, the Executive Officer and the Chair will present a report on the performance of the committee/Board in the previous year utilising the annual work plan.

(28) The Academic Board will consider the Annual Reviews of each of its standing committees and will make recommendations for improvements. 

Membership Self-Reviews

(29) The Annual Reviews presented to the Academic Board will be supported by a biennial membership survey which will measure the following items: The Role of the Committee, The Membership of the Committee, Meeting Processes, Behaviours of the Committee Chair as well as provide members with the opportunity to make general comments.

(30) The Executive Officer and the Chair of the Board/Committee will present a report on outcome of the Membership Survey as soon as practicable after the results are known.

HESF and the Academic Board

(31) As part of the Annual Work Plan each Committee is expected to report on performance against specific standards related to academic oversight to teaching, learning and scholarship, and research and research training.

Meetings

(32) Meetings will be scheduled and advertised at the end of each year for the following year.

Standing Orders

General

(33) The Chair will maintain order of the meeting and may call upon these standing orders where necessary.

(34) The Chair will conduct meetings according to the order of business as shown on the agenda. Depending on the level of the Board or Committee some minor modifications to the business order may occur but the normal order of business is as follows:

  1. Welcome and Apologies
  2. Conflict of Interest
  3. Acceptance of the Agenda
  4. Confirmation of Minutes
  5. Outstanding Items - Action Register
  6. Matters Arising from Previous Minutes
  7. Matters for Determination, Consideration or Information
  8. Standing Reports- Matters for Consideration or Information
  9. Other Business

(35) Any member of the Board or Committee may request that an unstarred item on the Agenda be starred for discussion.

(36) All unstarred items will be submitted for approval in a single motion without debate during the acceptance of the Agenda.

(37) The Chair may decide to amend the order of the business should the need arise.

(38) These Standing Orders or any of them may be suspended by a resolution of the meeting. A motion to this effect shall be open to discussion.

Speaking

(39) Any member wishing to speak during a meeting should first attract the attention of the Chair, and when recognised by the Chair should speak briefly and to the point on the item before the meeting.

(40) If more than one speaker wishes to speak, the Chair will call on the speaker in order of observation.

(41) No member may speak twice during the discussion of a single item.

(42) The Chair shall endeavour to encourage an atmosphere in which all parties can contribute to the meeting.

Motions

(43) All motions presented to a meeting must be in the form of writing and preferably circulated with the agenda and papers before the meeting.

(44) The mover of a motion should be permitted to speak to the motion for no more than five minutes and all other speakers for and against no longer than three minutes.

(45) Should the Chair wish to speak in the debate, the Chair should first pass the chairing role to the Deputy Chair for the entirety of the item.

(46) A motion may be amended by the meeting after the mover has spoken and if the Chair determines that the amendment is not a direct negation of the original motion.

(47) If an amendment does not receive a seconder then the amendment lapses and the original motion is put.

(48) If there are several amendments to a motion, then the Chair will decide the order in which the amendments will be considered.

(49) If an amendment is carried then the motion as amended becomes the substantive motion before the meeting.

(50) A mover of a motion may reply to the arguments raised during debate but cannot introduce new material. Once the mover is finished their right of reply the Chair will put the motion.

(51) Procedural motions such as the speaker no longer being heard or that the meeting proceed to the next item of business take precedence over the matter before the meeting. Procedural motions need to be put by the Chair once a seconder is found. The Chair will put the procedural motion to the meeting.

Voting

(52) If required, voting will normally be through a show of hands. The Chair will read out the motion prior to a vote being taken.

(53) The Chair has a deliberative vote and the right to exercise a casting vote where the vote is tied.

(54) In matters where some anonymity may be preferred, such as voting for an office bearer of the committee, the Executive Officer will conduct a confidential ballot.

Quorum

(55) Meeting quorum for the Board and its committees will be half the number of the current membership.

Observers

(56) Observers to meetings are welcome but must seek prior approval to attend from the Chair via the Executive Officer prior to the meeting.

(57) The number of observers to any meeting may be limited and requests may not always be accommodated.

(58) Observers will not speak at meetings unless specifically invited by the Chair. 

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Section 7 - Guidelines

(59) Nil