Role of Senate

Senate is the peak governing body of the University as constituted by the University of Queensland Act 1998. The 33rd Senate began its four-year term on 1 January 2014.

The primary role of Senate is to exercise oversight of the University and its affairs. In particular, Senate ensures that the appropriate structures, policies, processes and planning are in place for UQ to effectively manage its activities and achieve its goals. Senate reviews and approves the strategic direction of the University as outlined in The University of Queensland's Strategic Plan 2014-2017.

Senate membership

There are 22 members in official, appointed and elected capacities. The Chancellor is appointed by members to lead Senate. Senate members, including the Chancellor, receive no remuneration. Composition of the 33rd Senate can be viewed here.

The role of a Senate member is similar to that of a director of a large company. External members bring a range of knowledge and expertise and are able to offer special skills and advice. Members who are staff or students bring a knowledge and understanding of the University's activities and culture and provide a link between Senate and staff and students.

Apart from attending Senate meetings, members usually also participate in one or more of the Senate Committees and some members are representatives on faculty boards.

Duties and responsibilities of members

Members of Senate have duties and responsibilities to:

  • act in the University’s best interests as a whole rather than as a representative of any constituency;
  • act honestly and in good faith;
  • disclose relevant third-party interests and avoid conflicts of interest (the University maintains a register of interests of members of Council);
  • exercise a duty of care, skill and diligence;
  • exercise a duty of confidence and observe confidentiality protocols;
  • familiarise themselves with Standing Orders and understand operating protocols for the conduct of business;
  • understand the work of the University;
  • develop linkages and use networks on behalf of the University to assist in achieving its goals; and
  • be able and willing to participate in the work of Senate and its boards and committees through regular attendance at meetings.

Senate endorses the Voluntary Code of Best Practice for the Governance of Australian Universities.

Senate meetings and minutes

Senate meets seven times a year and the 2017 dates are as follows:

  • 27 February 2017
  • 27 April 2017
  • 24 May 2017
  • 29 June 2017
  • 17 August 2017
  • 12 October 2017
  • 4 December 2017

Papers for inclusion in the agenda are required two weeks prior to the meeting. The Senate Secretary, Dr John Montgomery, can assist.

Minutes of previous meetings are uploaded to the Senate Minutes webpage.

Senate committees and Academic Board

Senate’s committees are:

  • Buildings and Grounds;
  • Equity, Diversity and the Status of Women;
  • Finance;
  • Honorary Awards;
  • Legislative;
  • Membership and Nominations Advisory Committee;
  • Risk; and
  • Student Appeals.

The Academic Board advises Senate and the Vice-Chancellor and President on academic matters. The Board reports regularly to Senate on matters of academic quality and standards.