Reporter 399, 17 March 1997

Senate set to debate new structure

Senate will debate detailed proposals on a new structure for the University at its meeting on Wednesday. A paper outlining the results of discussions and consultation across the campus over the last six months will be considered.

Discussion of specific proposals follows last month's agreement "in principle" by Senate to the creation of seven new faculties and research schools as the basis for the new structure.

The restructuring plans have undergone considerable change since they were first discussed by the Academic Development Committee last September. A new faculty - Earth and Environment - is now proposed and the number of new resource centres has increased from the proposed 18 by some 50 percent.

Departments are to retain clearer identities within the federal resource centres. It is currently envisaged that while a number of functions - such as promotion committees and staff management - will be formally vested in the new resource centres, they will, in practice, continue to be carried out at departmental level.

The majority of boundary issues - where departments and schools will be located within the new structure - have now been resolved. The proposed seven new faculties, each mirrored by a research school, are set out opposite.

Discussions were continuing as the Reporter went to press on a number of operational questions, such as how administrative support for the new resource centres will be provided. Proposals for the development, funding and constitution of centres and other inter-disciplinary units - central to the University's research mission - are being formulated by the University's Research Board.

Detailed job descriptions are being drawn up for the new Heads of Resource Centres, of which there will be some 24. There will be consequent changes to the nature and responsibilities of the post of Head of Department, which are also being reviewed by the relevant Academic Development Committee restructuring group.

Departments will continue to have their own constitutions, as will the new federal schools and sub-faculties. While schools will be charged with shaping their own constitutions to meet their particular needs, Senate will be considering principles upon which the new constitutions will be based, such as the requirement to involve all staff by means of regular meetings of school members.

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