UNIVERSITY OF ABERDEEN

SENATUS ACADEMICUS

Minutes of the meeting held on 9 October 2002

 

Present: Principal, Professors The Lord Sewel, Logan and Houlihan, Dr JG Roberts, Professors Rodger, Torrance and MacGregor, Mrs C Macaslan, Professors Hubbuck, Sleeman, Urwin, Bruce, Baker, Jolliffe, Macinnes, Gane, Killham, Jordan, Fraser, Chandler, Graham, Lomax, Dawson, Watson, Ingold, Leboutte, Howe, Player, Beaumont, Hunter, Ohlmeyer, Secombes, Duff, Hotson, Lurie, Salmon, Saunders and Swanson, Dr B Fennell, Dr S Kunin, Dr AD Clarke, Mrs L Stephen, Mr C Buchanan, Mr G Pryor, Mr WTC Brotherstone, Dr IG Craw, Dr P Edwards, Dr J Geddes, Dr D Hay, Dr D Heddle, Dr J King, Dr PR Kinnear, Dr WD McCausland, Dr J MacDowall, Dr D Macphee, Dr MR Masson, Dr AJ Mordue, Dr LJ Philip, Mrs ML Ross, Mr SC Styles, Dr C Thomson, Dr SP Townsend, Mr D Cockburn, Ms C Lowe, Mr M Raith, Ms S Kemp, Mr C Galleitch and Ms D White with Ms J Duncan in attendance

Apologies for absence were received from Professors Mordue, Forrester, Templeton, Seaton, Buckland, Sharp, Little, Hukins, Bryden, Flin, Logie, Simpson, Mitchell, Gow and Reid, Ms R Buchan, Dr J Murdoch, Ms M Ramsay, Dr WF Long, Ms L Clark, Dr J Farmer, Mrs B Hookey, Dr H McKenzie and Ms DW McKenzie Skene

 

APPROVAL OF MINUTES

633. The minutes of the meeting of 12 June 2002, and of the In Absentia and In Person Graduation Ceremonies held between 1 and 10 July 2002, were approved.

 

STATEMENT BY PRINCIPAL

634. At the request of the Principal, Professor Logan informed the Senate of two recent major awards:-

 

ADMISSIONS AND REGISTRATIONS FOR 2002/03 ENTRY: INTERIM REPORT

635.1 At the request of the Principal, Professor Houlihan introduced an interim report of initial admissions and registration for the new academic year. The major points were as follows:

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635.2 The Principal commented that the picture presented overall represented a success story, which reflected the significant input of effort made by both academic staff and support services.

 

UNIVERSITY OF ABERDEEN AND THE ROBERT

GORDON UNIVERSITY MERGER : NEXT STEPS

636.1 The Principal introduced discussion of the draft paper which had been circulated by stressing that it dealt with a major and significant issue for the future the University. He emphasised that as yet he had reached no personal conclusions on the merits or otherwise of a merger, but urged Senate to agree that the academic issues should be considered in an organised and dispassionate way.

636.2 The background to the current discussions, he indicated, was the need to strive constantly to strengthen the University’s academic base and competitive position. One of the issues brought up frequently in discussions both with prospective and current staff was that the University would benefit from a greater critical mass in many disciplines and that merger was one way in which this could be achieved. However, a dispassionate analysis of the advantages and disadvantages in financial terms, attractiveness to students, and trade-off of potential long-term benefits against the disruption of short-term change had to be undertaken before any reasoned decision could be reached. He then invited Professor Logan, who had been leading the preliminary discussions with The Robert Gordon University, to introduce the draft paper before Senate more formally.

636.3 Professor Logan suggested that it was important to look on what might emerge as a new model of institution, and not simply the expansion of an existing one. It was envisaged that the new model institution would comprise a number of Colleges or Institutes, some of which might be drawn wholly from the existing University, some wholly from The Robert Gordon University, and some from elements of both. There was, however, no defined structure of units at this stage. It was hoped that the next phase of analysis and discussion could be completed by the end of the current calendar year. While the paper envisaged discussions which were joint, it was agreed that the outcomes would also need to be reflected on by each institution individually. A template of issues to be explored was currently being defined: this would be supported by a wide range of statistical and other data from both institutions. Discussions on estates, financial and governance issues would proceed in parallel.

636.4 There followed a wide-ranging debate to which 15-20 Senators contributed, the main points of record being as follows:-

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636.5 Drawing the debate to a conclusion, the Principal re-stated his opinion that improving teaching as well as research was an essential part of the consideration of the merit of merger. He suggested, however, that the nature of research excellence already varied widely between disciplines within the University: it was not necessarily easy in his view to define what was meant by a ‘research-driven institution’. He thanked members of Senate for their constructive contributions for the debate, which would be taken into account in taking the draft paper on the Next Steps forward. Professor Hunter’s suggestion that an early Minute of Senate’s discussions should also be circulated was agreed.

 

REPORT FROM THE UNIVERSITY COMMITTEE ON TEACHING AND LEARNING

637.1 The Senate approved, for its part, recommendations arising from the University Committee on Teaching and Learning meeting of 24 May 2002, as under:-

    1. that the University should support the proposals of Universities UK (i) that an office of an Independent Adjudicator should be established as the ultimate, independent, stage in a UK system for dealing with student complaints and (ii) that, until the necessary statutory instruments were approved, it should be a matter for each HEI to decide whether to participate voluntarily in such an arrangement for review by an Independent Adjudicator; and
    2. that until the relevant statutory framework was in place for a UK-wide system, the University of Aberdeen should join a Scheme developed by Universities Scotland for Independent Consideration of Student Complaints in Scotland, as summarised below, subject to formal approval by the University of the costs of participating in this scheme.

Implications

637.2 The implications of joining the Scottish scheme would be as follows:-

    1. Students, having exhausted the University’s appeals and complaints procedures, would be able to refer their complaint to an Independent Reviewer for Scottish HEIs.
    2. Once the Independent Reviewer (or their nominee) had made a judgement, it would be for the University Court to decide whether or not to accept the judgement and on any remedial action to be taken. Universities Scotland expect that governing bodies would accept the Independent Reviewer’s advice in all but the most exceptional circumstances.

Background

637.3 Universities Scotland had proposed a scheme for the independent consideration of student complaints in Scotland, which was available to all members on an "opt-in" basis. The scheme was ready for implementation in 2002/03.

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637.4 Currently, all universities in Scotland had agreed to join the scheme with the exceptions of the University of Glasgow and the University of Aberdeen, the University of Edinburgh having recently agreed to join the scheme.

637.5 Progress on implementing a UK-wide scheme had been slow, primarily because Universities UK (UUK) and the Committee of University Chairmen (CUC) differed in the proposed methodology for a system of independent review.

637.6 The Chief Executive of UUK hoped that Vice-Chancellors and Principals would support UUK’s preferred way forward (i.e. through the establishment of an office of an Independent Adjudicator). Since, in its early stages of existence, the office of the Independent Adjudicator would have no statutory framework, it would be a matter entirely for each HEI whether to participate in the arrangement. UUK hoped that governing bodies would agree that this was the best way forward at this stage.

 

REPORT FROM THE ACADEMIC STANDARDS COMMITTEES

The Senate approved recommendations from the Academic Standards Committees since the last meeting of the Senate, as under:-

(A) Regulations for a Key Learning Opportunities Lifelong Learning Award

638.1 The Senate approved draft Regulations, [copy filed with the principal copy of the minutes], recommended by the Academic Standards Committee (Arts & Social Sciences, Education, Divinity and Law), to govern award of a KEY Learning Award.

(B) Amendments To Regulations

638.2 The Senate approved the following amendments to the Regulations governing awards in Education, which had been approved by the Undergraduate Programme Committee (Education):

  1. Degree of Bachelor of Education (B Ed)
  2. Re-number the previous Regulations 4 to 9 as 5, 6, 8, 4, 10 and 9, respectively.

    New Regulation

    Following the previous Regulation 5 [re-numbered 6] insert a new Regulation to read as follows:

    ‘Notwithstanding General Regulation 7, the validity of the Class Certificate for any period of School Experience shall be limited to the academic year in which it is awarded.’

  3. Degree of Bachelor of Music (B Mus)
  4. Regulation 7

    From the existing Regulation delete the second sentence.

    New Regulation

    Following the existing Regulation 7 insert a new Regulation to read as follows:

    ‘Notwithstanding General Regulation 7, the validity of the Class Certificate for any period of School Experience shall be limited to the academic year in which it is awarded.

    Re-number subsequent Regulation accordingly.

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  5. Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE)

New Regulations

Following the existing Regulation 5 insert new Regulations to read as follows:

‘6. With the exception of School Experience, where the provisions of Regulations 7 or 8 (as appropriate) shall apply, candidates will normally be permitted a maximum of two opportunities of assessment to complete any element of prescribed degree assessment. Candidates must have completed all elements of assessment by the end of the academic year in which they are registered.

    1. Candidates on the PGCE (Primary) programme, whose progress is judged to be unsatisfactory in any period of School Experience, as detailed in the Schedule of Courses appended to these Regulations, may be given the opportunity to repeat that period of School Experience with the permission of the Undergraduate Programme Committee in Education.
    2. Candidates on the PGCE (Secondary) programme who se progress is judged to be unsatisfactory during School Experience 1 and/or School Experience 2, as detailed in the Schedule of Courses appended to these Regulations, may be allowed to progress and make good any unsatisfactory performance in the subsequent period(s) of School Experience. If performance is subsequently judged to be satisfactory, credit will be awarded for School Experience 1 and/or School Experience 2 as appropriate. Candidates who fail to complete satisfactorily School Experience 3 may, exceptionally, be given an opportunity to repeat School Experience 3 with the permission of the Undergraduate Programme Committee in Education.
    3. Candidates who are absent from a period of School Experience placement for 3 or more weeks may be required to undertake a further period of School Experience.’

Re-number subsequent Regulations accordingly.

 

COMMITTEE FOR RESEARCH, INCOME GENERATION AND COMMERCIALISATION

639. The Senate approved, for its part, a proposed change in title of the Committee for Research and Commercialisation to become the Committee for Research, Income Generation and Commercialisation, with a remit and composition, as under:-

Joint Committee

Remit

(i) Develop and facilitate a research culture throughout the University as part of the Institution’s aim of significantly and rapidly improving its research profile;

(ii) Develop strategies for increasing the University's "third stream" and commercial income;

(iii) Report on a regular basis to UMG and hence to the JPFEC, Senate and Court issues related to research and commercialisation;

(iv) Receive and transmit reports from Deans (or Faculty Research Committees) of the use made of research investment and to consider new strategic investments and their institutional priorities;

(v) Review the success of applications to external income programmes, the level of overheads and the net gain to the institution of research and commercialisation initiatives;

(vi) Review the success of Research & Innovation and Research Financial Services in providing support for research and income-generating activities and make recommendations where appropriate;

(vii) Co-ordinate the University’s contribution to the activities of Aberdeen Research Consortium;

(viii) Co-ordinate Institutional submissions to SHEFC, Research Councils Joint Funding Initiatives, Overseas Research Students applications and wherever applications may require institutional support;

(ix) Prepare plans for new building and refurbishment in advance of initiatives such as JIF and SRIF;

(x) Prepare for the next RAE;

(xi) Co-ordinate training for postgraduate research students.

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Composition

Court

Vice-Principal for Research & Commercialisation

Principal

A Lay member

Senate

Eight nominees

In attendance

Deans

Representative of Research, Consultancy and Commercialisation Services

Director of Research & Development, Grampian Universities Hospital NHS Trust

Research Director, Aberdeen Research Consortium

Director, Research Financial Services

 

LATEST DATE FOR THE RETURN OF EXAMINATION RESULTS 2002-2003

640.1 The Senate approved the latest dates for the return of examination results in the session 2002-2003 as under:-

    1. January 2003 Diet of Examinations

    1. Level 1 and 2 courses by Friday 14 February 2003
    2. Level 3, 4 and undergraduate Level 5 courses by Friday 21 February 2003
    3. Postgraduate taught courses by Friday 28 February 2003

    1. May/June 2003 Diet of Examinations

    1. MBChB and BSc Med Sci courses (years 2 and above) by the last date of the relevant Summer Term (i.e. Friday 27 June 2003, 4 July 2003, or 11 July 2003, as appropriate)
    2. All other Level 1 to 4 and undergraduate Level 5 courses and undergraduate programmes by Friday 20 June 2003
    3. Postgraduate taught course and programme results, for those candidates completing all the requirements of their programme and hoping to graduate in July 2003, by Friday 20 June 2003
    4. All other postgraduate taught courses by Friday 27 June 2003

    1. August 2003 Diet of Examinations

    1. Level 1 to 4 and undergraduate Level 5 courses by Wednesday 3 September 2003
    2. Postgraduate taught courses and programmes by Friday 24 October 2003

640.2 In response to a question from the President of the Students’ Association, it was confirmed that the Registry followed up and drew to the attention of Deans, those Departments which failed to return results by the approved deadlines. However, the increasing pressure placed on External Examiners in meeting these deadlines, given increased student numbers, was noted.

640.3 It was further agreed that the list of dates should be expanded, where necessary, to include deadlines for those MBChB examinations held at times other than the normal examination diets, such as December, March and late April/early May.

 

DEADLINE FOR REFUSAL OF CLASS CERTIFICATES

641.1 The Senate considered a recommendation that the deadline for the notification to the Office of the refusal of Class Certificates be as follows:-

First half-session courses: 5.00 p.m. on 7 January 2003 i.e. on the first Tuesday following the Christmas closure

Second half-session courses: 5.00 p.m. on 20 May 2003 i.e. on the Tuesday following the last day of teaching

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641.2 It was agreed to refer to the University Committee on Teaching & Learning a request from the Students’ Association that the deadlines be advanced to the end of week 10 of the half-session. It was, however, noted that this might pose problems for some Departments with large numbers of laboratory courses or which offered 6-week courses in the second part of a half-session.

 

DATES OF TERMS

642. The Senate approved the Dates of Terms for 2003-2004 and, provisionally, those for the sessions to 2012-2013 [copy filed with the principal copy of the minutes].

 

BURSARIES, PRIZES AND SCHOLARSHIPS

643. The Senate approved recommendations, made in accordance with precedent:-

    1. that following the creation of the Faculty of Education any bursaries, prizes or scholarships tenable immediately prior to 1 December 2001 by students registered in Arts & Social Sciences and which were not specific as to discipline, along with any unrestricted awards (open to students in all Areas of Study) be regarded as available to students registered in Education also. In appropriate cases, e.g. the Lyon Prize, this would be by rotation;
    2. that oversight of the following endowments, which were specific to Education, be transferred from Arts & Social Sciences to Education:-

Kay Prize

Dey Scholarship

Alfred Gilchrist Lectureship.

 

ELECTION OF READERS AND LECTURERS TO THE SENATUS ACADEMICUS

644.1 The Senate approved the following:-

    1. that, to comply with recent legislation, those eligible to participate in the election of Readers and Lecturers to the Senatus Academicus as stipulated in Ordinance No. 111 should be extended to include all members of the Research Staff and not just those on full-time and permanent contracts;
    2. that the timetable for by-election of Readers and Lecturers to the Senatus Academicus for 2002-2006 should be as under:-

Friday 11 October 2002 Issue of Nomination Papers to all Electors

Wednesday 23 October 2002 at 5.00 p.m. Close of receipt of Nomination Papers by the Secretary

Friday 25 October 2002 Issues of Voting Papers to all Electors

Wednesday 6 November 2002 at 5.00 p.m. Close of receipt of Voting Papers by the Secretary

644.2 In accordance with the Schedule to University Court Ordinance No. 111, the constituency in which staff would be eligible to propose, stand and vote is the Faculty to which their Department or School had been assigned by the University Court. The number of vacancies in each constituency was as follows:-

(a) Arts & Divinity - 1 for 4 years, 1 for 2 years

(b) Education - None

(c) Medicine & Medical Sciences (full-time) - 2 for 4 years

(d) Medicine & Medical Sciences (part-time) - 3 for 4 years, 1 for 2 years

(e) Science & Engineering - 7 for 4 years, 5 for 2 years

(f) Social Sciences & Law - 3 for 4 years, 3 for 2 years

 

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REPORT FROM THE UNIVERSITY COURT

The Senate noted the actions taken by the University Court at its meetings of 25 June and 17 September 2002, as under:-

1. Institutional Collaboration with The Robert Gordon University

645.1 The Court, at its meeting in June 2002, received a Joint Report, from the Inter-Institutional Group of the University of Aberdeen and The Robert Gordon University to the Governing Bodies of the two institutions, which reflected the outcome of analysis, undertaken, with input from a range of external consultants, of five main options for future institutional collaboration, namely general collaboration, strategic alliance, federal structure, traditional merger, and new model merger. The Court approved the recommendation that the two Universities explore in detail the option of merger to establish a new model institution, engage a risk assessment of the option, and consult widely with staff, students and other stakeholders.

645.2 The Court had noted that the Governing Body of The RGU had also approved the above recommendation, and that the first stage of the next phase of the analysis would be to consider the academic costs and benefits of a merger, to be undertaken through inter-institutional working groups across all academic areas.

  1. Establishment of Schools in Faculties of Arts & Divinity,

Science & Engineering, and Social Sciences & Law

646.1 The Court approved the proposed formation of Schools within the Faculties of Arts & Divinity, Science & Engineering and Social Sciences and Law, as forwarded by the Senate, and also agreed by the JPFEC.

646.2 The Court approved the names of the new Schools, and noted the appointments of the Heads of Schools, as follows.

Schools Heads

Faculty of Arts & Divinity

School of Divinity and Religious Studies and Philosophy Dr S Kunin

(Divinity and Religious Studies, Philosophy)

School of English and Film Studies Dr B Fennell

(English, Film Studies)

School of History and History of Art Professor J Ohlmeyer

(History, History of Art)

School of Modern Languages Professor J Dunkley

(Celtic, French, German, Hispanic Studies)

Faculty of Science & Engineering

School of Biological Sciences Professor C Secombes

(Agriculture & Forestry, Plant & Soil Science, Zoology)

School of Engineering & Physical Sciences Professor H Chandler

(Chemistry, Engineering, Physics)

School of Psychology, Computing & Mathematical Sciences Professor J Hunter

(Computing Science, Mathematical Sciences, Psychology)

School of Resources, Environment & Society Professor C P Mitchell

(Geography and Environment, Geology & Petroleum Geology

Land Economy (incl Rural Economics, formerly part of

Agriculture & Forestry, Arkleton Centre)

Faculty of Social Sciences & Law

University of Aberdeen Business School Professor C Roberts

(Accountancy & Finance, Economics, Management Studies,

Property (formerly part of Land Economy)

School of Law Professor P Beaumont

School of Social Science Professor S Bruce

(Anthropology, Politics & International Relations, Sociology)

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3. Status of Associate Student

647. The Court approved the proposal, as forwarded by the Senate and also agreed by the JPFEC, to institute a status of ‘associate student’.

4. Partnership Agreements

648. The Court noted the basis on which Partnership Agreements were being signed with Waterford Institutie of Technology, Elmwood College, Angus College and Sabhal Mor Ostaig College.

5. Resolution No 228 of 2002 [Degree of Bachelor of Music (B Mus)]

649. The Court approved the Resolution as forwarded by the Senate.

 

REPORT FROM THE ACADEMIC STANDARDS COMMITTEES

650. The Senate noted that the Academic Standards Committees, on the recommendation of the relevant Faculties, had approved changes to the list of courses and programmes available. [copy filed with the principal copy of the minutes].

 

AWARD OF ENDOWED PRIZES AND MEDALS 2001-02

651. The Senate noted that the List of the Award of University Prizes and Medals for the session 2001-02 was available at www.abdn.ac.uk/registry/prizes.hti

 

UNIVERSITY STATISTICAL REPORT 2001-02

652. The Senate noted that the University Statistical Report for 2001-02 was now available and could be obtained from the Senate Office (ext. 2039). Any member who wished to raise a matter on the Report for discussion at the next meeting of the Senate was asked to submit it in writing to the Academic Registrar by 5.00 p.m. on Monday 11 November 2002.

 

NOVEMBER GRADUATION CEREMONIES

653. The Senate noted the following:-

    1. that the Honorary Degree of Master of the University would be conferred on Ms Isla St Clair at a ceremony in the Mitchell Hall on Friday 29 November 2002 at 3.00 p.m. In addition, First and Higher Degrees in Education, Science, Divinity and Law would be conferred. Dr JG Roberts woulc promote Ms St Clair. The Principal would preside, and would deliver the Graduation Address.
    2. that the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws would be conferred on Mr Iain Fraser at a ceremony in the Mitchell Hall on Saturday 30 November 2002 at 11.00 a.m. In addition, First and Higher Degrees in Arts & Social Sciences, Engineering and Medicine would be conferred. Professor JV Forrester would promote Mr Fraser. The Chancellor would preside. Professor Logan would deliver the Graduation Address.

 

GRADUATIONS IN ABSENTIA

654.1 The Senate noted that a list of those qualified to receive degrees and diplomas who had applied to have them conferred in absentia had been posted on Noticeboards outside of the University Office [See Appendix to Minutes of June 2003].

654.2 The Senate conferred the degrees on, and awarded the diplomas and other qualifications to, the persons stated.

 

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