Responsibility for the governance of the University rests with the University Court and the Senatus Academicus (Senate). To assist them in their work, the Court and Senate have each established committees, including eight joint committees.
The Senate is responsible for all academic matters relating to teaching and research. This includes approving teaching and learning (including assessment) policies and practices, regulations that govern students’ programmes of study, their progress and their awards, and admission requirements to the University’s various degrees (known as “Going Rates”); and ensuring that appropriate and effective arrangements are in place for student support (academic and non-academic). It is on the authority of the Senate that degrees and other awards are conferred.
The core functions of the Senate are exceedingly broad and are defined by the Higher Education Governance (Scotland) Act 2016 as the body which ‘is responsible for the overall planning, co-ordination, development and supervision of the academic work of the institution’.
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- History and Ordinances
History and Constitution
For 267 years there were two separate universities in Aberdeen, each with its own statutory rights and degree-granting privileges. The first, King’s College, was founded in Old Aberdeen by William Elphinstone, Bishop of Aberdeen, under a papal bull dated 10 February 1495. The second, Marischal College, was founded in New Aberdeen by George Keith, Fifth Earl Marischal of Scotland, under a charter dated 2 April 1593. The two colleges remained rival institutions until 15 September 1860, when a Royal Ordinance united them under the title of the “University of Aberdeen”. Before the union of 1860, each of the two Universities was governed by its Chancellor supported by the Principal, the Rector and the Senate Academicus or Senate.
King’s College was the third University to be established in Scotland, following St Andrews (1411) and Glasgow (1451). Together with the University of Edinburgh (1583), these first Scottish Universities are generally referred to as “the four ancients”. Their governance was prescribed by the Universities (Scotland) Act of 1858 which created the University Court and other such instruments “for the better government and discipline of the Universities of Scotland”: the latter included the General Council (or assembly of graduates). The Senatus also retained its authority to regulate the teaching programmes and its responsibilities for discipline. The Universities (Scotland) Act of 1889 confirmed the structure of the University Court and invested it with major new powers, including the sole responsibility “to administer and manage the whole revenue and property of the University”. The 1858 and 1889 Acts were confirmed by a further Act, in 1966, which extended the role of the Senate to include “the promotion of research”.
Ordinance & Resolutions
An Ordinance is a further definition, clarification or stipulation of existing powers, as prescribed by Acts of Parliament. The passing of an Ordinance requires a detailed process of internal consultation before it is submitted for the consent of the Privy Council. In practice, this means that the Court must consult with the General Council, the Senate and the wider community.
A Resolution represents the elucidation of a power which is within the Court’s own competence to enact. In practice, it requires the General Council and Senate to be consulted and for representations to be sought within the community. To satisfy the latter requirement, it is necessary for Draft Resolutions to be on public display on campus for a stipulated period of weeks.
- Remit and Composition
- The core functions of the Senate are exceedingly broad and are defined by the Higher Education Governance (Scotland) Act 2016 as the body which ‘is responsible for the overall planning, co-ordination, development and supervision of the academic work of the institution’.
- The Senate is responsible for all academic matters relating to teaching and research.This includes approving teaching and learning (including assessment) policies and practices, regulations that govern students’ programmes of study, their progress and their awards, and admission requirements to the University’s various degrees (known as “Going Rates”); and ensuring that appropriate and effective arrangements are in place for student support (academic and non-academic). It is on the authority of the Senate that degrees and other awards are conferred.
- Much of the detailed work in regard to the above matters is delegated by the Senate to the University Committee on Teaching and Learning (UCTL), which is a joint committee of the Senate and Court. The UCTL is responsible to the Senate for the assurance of the quality of the University’s educational provision, particularly in relation to the design, implementation, evaluation and review of mechanisms for quality assurance and quality control, for the enhancement of the quality of teaching and learning, and for the safeguarding of academic standards. The UCTL has three sub-committees (the Quality Assurance Committee, the Undergraduate Committee and the Postgraduate (Taught) Committee) which inform its work.
- Much of the work of the above committees is forwarded to the Senate after discussion with, and approval by Schools as appropriate. This detailed iteration, coupled with the fact that all Schools are represented on each of the above committees, often results in proposals from these committees being approved routinely by the Senate. Senate plays an important role, however, in that, occasionally, questions or suggestions are raised that are referred back to the relevant committee for consideration and amendment of proposals, as deemed appropriate.
- The research aspects of the Senate’s remit are covered through the above committees in regard to research students. Non-student research interests are overseen by the Senate through regular reports from the Vice-Principal (Research & Knowledge Exchange) who chairs the Research Policy Committee and through consideration of national initiatives as and when appropriate, e.g. in regard to the research assessment exercise.
- The Senate plays a broader, strategic, role in commenting on draft responses to external consultations on a variety of issues relating to teaching and learning, including research, and on internal matters such as the Strategic Plan.
- The Senate is also responsible for approving, for its part, policies relating to student academic appeals, discipline and complaints; and for hearing and determining the outcome of related issues through sub-committees (the Senate Appeals and Complaints Panel; the Students’ Progress Committees; the Student Disciplinary Committee).
The composition of the Senate is as follows:
a) Ex officiis
- Principal (Convener)
- Senior Vice-Principal
- Vice-Principals (4)
- Heads of School (12)
- Deans for Research (4)
- Deans for International (2)
- Deans for Education (3)
- Deans for Student Recruitment (3)
- Quality Assurance Committee (4)
- The University Librarian
b) Elected Members
- 79 teaching and research (including honorary and part-time) staff (i.e. approximately twice the number of ex officio members) elected approximately pro rata by, and on the basis of, the total electorate within each School (see below), to serve for a four-year period, with half retiring every second year and with retiring members eligible for re-election for one further four-year period.
c) Student Members
- President of the Students’ Association
- Education Officer
- Vice-Chair of AUSA Education Committee
- The School Conveners (13)
- Three postgraduate representatives
In addition, the Welfare Officer is in attendance.
Distribution of Elected Seats by School
Name of Constituency Number of Seats allotted to Constituency (a) University of Aberdeen Business School 5 (b) School of Divinity, History and Philosophy 5 (c) School of Education 4 (d) School of Language, Literature, Music & Visual Culture 5 (e) School of Law 4 (f) School of Social Science 5 (g) School of Biological Sciences 6 (h) School of Medicine, Medical Sciences & Nutrition 25 (i) School of Psychology 4 (j) School of Engineering 5 (k) School of Geosciences 5 (l) School of Natural & Computing Sciences 6
The number of seats allotted to individual constituencies (a) to (l) above may be varied by the University Court on the recommendation of the Senatus Academicus.
- George Boyne
- Karl Leydecker (Senior Vice-Principal)
- Ruth Taylor (Education)
- Richard Wells (International Relationships)
- Marion Campbell (Research)
- Alan Speight (Student Recruitment)
Heads of School
- Greg Gordon (Law)
- Paula Sweeney (Divinity, History & Philosophy)
- Chris Collins (Language, Literature, Music & Visual Culture)
- David Smith (Education)
- Mervyn Bain (Social Science)
- Martin Meyer (Business)
- Graeme Paton (Biological Sciences)
- Arash Sahraie (Psychology)
- Siladitya Bhattacharya (Medicine, Medical Sciences & Nutrition)
- Pete Edwards (Natural & Computing Sciences)
- David Muirhead (Geosciences)
- Igor Guz (Engineering)
Dean of Qatar
- Russell Williams
Deans for Research
- Graeme Nixon (Dean for Postgraduate Research)
- Michael Brown (Dean for Cultural Strategy and Research Governance)
- Gary MacFarlane (Dean for Interdisciplinary Research and Impact)
- Mirela Delibegovic (Dean for Industrial Engagement in Research and Knowledge Transfer)
Dean for International
- Harminder Battu (Dean for International Student Pathways and Progression)
- William Naphy (Dean for North American Affairs) (until 31 July 2020)
Deans for Education
- Abbe Brown (Dean for Student Support)
- Kirsty Kiezebrink (Dean for Educational Innovation)
- Kath Shennan (Dean for Quality Assurance/Enhancement)
Deans for Student Recruitment
- Hazel Hutchison (Dean for Portfolio Development and Programme Promotion)
- Alison Jenkinson (Dean for Widening Access, Articulation and Outreach)
- Adelyn Wilson (Dean for International Stakeholder Engagement)
Dean for Employability and Entrepreneurship
- John Barrow (Dean for Employability and Entrepreneurship)
Quality Assurance Committee Representatives
- Jerry Morse (Health Subjects)
- Marie-Luise Ehrenschwendtner (Arts, Humanities,Social Sciences and Business)
- Malcolm Hole (Physical Sciences)
- Jason Bohan (Health Subjects)
- Simon Bains
University of Aberdeen Business School (5 seats – 0 vacancies)
School of Divinity, History and Philosophy (5 seats – 0 vacancies)
School of Education (4 seats – 0 vacancies)
School of Language, Literature, Music & Visual Culture (5 seats – 0 vacancies)
School of Law (4 seats – 0 vacancies)
School of Social Science (5 seats – 0 vacancies)
School of Biological Sciences (6 seats – 0 vacancies)
School of Medicine, Medical Sciences & Nutrition (25 seats – 2 vacancies)
- Vacant (2018-2022) (re-elected)
- Kate Gillies (2019-2022)
- Cosimo de Bari (2018-2022)
- Lynda Erskine (2018-2022)
- Iain McEwan (2018-2022)
- Fiona Murray (2018-2022)
- Jonathan Pettit (2018-2022)
- Justin Rochford (2018-2022)
- Amanda Lee (2018-2022) (re-elected)
- Diane Skåtun (2018-2022) (also Senate Assessor to Court until 30 September 2021)
- Samantha Miller (2018-2020)
- David Watts (2018-2020)
- Derek Scott (2018-2020) (re-elected)
- Jaya Jayasinghe (2016-2020)
- Ann Rajnicek (2016-2020) (re-elected)
- Vacant (2016-2020)
- Jennie Macdiarmid (2016-2020)
- Miriam Brazzelli (2017-2020) (re-elected)
- Neil Vargesson (2016-2020) (also Senate Assessor to Court until 30 September 2023)
- Donna MacCallum (2016-2020) (re-elected)
- James Hislop (2017-2020)
- Alison Jack (2017-2020)
- Gareth Jones (2017-2020)
- Peter Murchie (2017-2020)
- Heather Wallace (2017-2020)
School of Psychology (4 seats – 0 vacancies)
School of Engineering (5 seats – 0 vacancies)
School of Geosciences (5 seats – 0 vacancies)
School of Natural & Computing Sciences (6 seats – 0 vacancies)
- Cecilia Wallback, Student Association President
- Dariya Koleva, Education Officer
- Ondrej Kucerak, Vice-Chair of AUSA Education Committee
- Vacant, School Convener (Business)
- Miguel de la Cal Moreno, School Convener (Divinity, History & Philosphy)
- Sean Nugent, School Convener (Education)
- Ivana Drdakova, School Convener (Language, Literature, Music & Visual Culture)
- Louise Paterson, School Convener (Law)
- Fiona Gyoeri, School Convener (Social Science)
- Anton Kuech, School Convener (Biological Sciences)
- Thomas Short, School Convener (Medicine & Dentistry)
- David Mercieca, School Convener (Medical Sciences)
- Sophie Levine, School Convener (Psychology)
- Amy Connolly, School Convener (Engineering)
- Vacant, School Convener (Geosciences)
- Mihail Beshkov, School Convener (Natural & Computing Sciences)
- Kwadwo Boateng, Postgraduate Representative (Programmes taught in Arts, Humanities & Business and Science)
- Jessica Brook, Postgraduate Representative (Programmes taught in Science, Engineering & Medicine and Physical Sciences)
- Christopher Lewis, Postgraduate Representative (Research students)
Student Members – in attendance
- Alexander Acheampong, Welfare Officer
There are four Senate Assessors on the University Court.
Nominations for Senate Assessors are sought from, and elected by, the Senate members within each constituency. There are two separate constituencies:
- two of the Senate assessors shall represent and be elected by the elected members of academic staff of Senate from the: School of Engineering, School of Geosciences School of Natural & Computing Sciences, School of Biological Sciences, School of Medicine, Medical Sciences and Nutrition and School of Psychology; and
- two of the Senate assessors shall represent and be elected by members of academic staff of Senate from the: Business School, the School of Divinity, History and Philosophy, the School of Education, School of Language, Literature, Music and Visual Culture, School of Law and the School of Social Science.
There shall be an equal gender balance among the Senate Assessors. There shall be one male and one female Assessor elected to represent each constituency. Where a Senate Assessor's term of office on Senate ends before the conclusion of their term of office as a Senate Assessor, in accordance with Ordinance 111 their period of Senate membership is extended for the remainder of that period. The usual term of office shall be four years. Senate Assessor appointments are limited to two terms of four years.
The remit of the Senate Assessors is summarised below:
- to attend meetings of the University Court (and, where appointed, the Policy and Resources Committee) and to provide an academic viewpoint, on behalf of the Senate, at these meetings;
- to report back to the Senate on items discussed at the University Court, subject to careful caveats concerning boundaries e.g. in regard to confidentiality or other sensitive issues.
[Note: Minutes of Court and Policy and Resources Committee will be published after they have been approved at the following Court/Policy and Resources Committee meeting and will be accessible by all staff].
The elected membership of the Senate has been based on School constituencies, with the number of seats allocated to each constituency being indicated below:
Name of Constituency Number of Seats allotted to (a) University of Aberdeen Business School 5 (b) School of Divinity, History and Philosophy 5 (c) School of Education 4 (d) School of Language, Literature, Music & Visual Culture
(e) School of Law 4 (f) School of Social Science 5 (g) School of Biological Sciences 6 (h) School of Medicine, Medical Sciences & Nutrition 25 (i) School of Psychology 4 (j) School of Engineering 5 (k) School of Geosciences 5 (l) School of Natural & Computing Sciences 6
The number of seats allocated to individual constituencies (a) to (l) above may be varied by the University Court on the recommendation of the Senatus Academicus.
Members are elected to the Senate on the basis of serving for a four-year period, with half retiring every second year and with retiring members being eligible for re-election.
Election is by Single Transferable Vote to ensure an adequate spread of disciplines and grades among the elected members.
Each constituency comprises the Professors, Readers and Lecturers, including clinical staff and the holders of research posts of equivalent status, who at the time of election are not members of the Senate ex officio.
Elected Senators are appointed to represent the views of their constituency on items that are to be discussed/debated at the Senate. They are not elected to represent their individual views.
In carrying out their role, elected Senators should note the following expectations regarding their role:
- There are five Senate meetings per year. Elected Senators should attend the majority, if not all, of the five Senate meetings each year. Attendance is taken at all meetings, is published on the Senate website and reviewed annually by the Senate Business Committee.
- Elected Senators are responsible for representing the views of their constituency and consider their responsibility as individuals to act for the good of the whole university community, both academics and students. It is therefore important for Senators to be pro-active in seeking input from their constituency on matters of Senate business in advance of meetings.
- Senators should work together with fellow Senators in their School to determine the most effective mechanism for obtaining feedback from colleagues in advance of meetings. The way in which this should be done is not prescribed but may include holding an open meeting for staff to seek input ahead of the meeting or providing an email route for colleagues to provide feedback.
- Senate business is informed by a number of Senate committees. Elected Senators should ensure that they keep abreast of the ongoing work of these committees. The agendas and papers are made available on the Senate website and notification is provided when papers for the next meeting are available. Senators should ensure effective communication between themselves and their School representative on these committees and feed any matters they wish raised to their School representative in advance of meetings.
- Following meetings of Senate, elected Senators are responsible for ensuring there is appropriate feedback to their constituents on the outcome of discussions at Senate. To facilitate this, a digest of the outcome of Senate is provided to the University community 48 hours after Senate has met.
The following are student members of the Senate:
- President of the Students' Association
- Education Officer
- Vice-Chare of AUSA Education Committee
- The School Conveners (13)
- Three postgraduate representatives
In addition, the Welfare Officer is in attendance at the Senate.
The primary role of all student members of the Senate is to represent student opinion on matters that are discussed or debated at the Senate.
In regard to the Sabbatical Officers, this representation generally would be on behalf of the Students’ Association.
The School Conveners, represent the student views within their parent school.
In regard to the postgraduate student representatives, this representation would be primarily in regard to the students registered on postgraduate programmes within the respective College.
It shall be for the Students’ Association to decide how best its representatives on Senate should iterate with the student body in general and the various student constituencies in regard to Senate business.
- Senate Committees
There are a number of sub-committees of the Senate, as under, whose membership is restricted to Senate members:
In addition, there is a composite Students’ Progress Committee for undergraduate students, which is a sub-committee and acts with the power of the Senate and a Student Disciplinary Committee.
The Honorary Degrees Committee’s primary role is to consider nominations for honorary degrees and make recommendations to the Senate. Ultimate approval of decisions on whether to offer honorary degrees to a particular candidate rests with the Senate.
The Committee meets bi-annually, in October and April/May, with its recommendations being considered by the Senate at its November and June meetings. Occasionally nominations are considered by circulation.
The Honorary Degrees Committee also, from time to time, reviews the University’s practices and procedures in regard to honorary degrees and makes recommendations to the Senate, as appropriate.
Access further details about Honorary Degrees and the nomination process on the tab below.
You can access the web pages for the Honorary Degrees Committee here.
The Senate Business Committee has a primary role to agree Senate agendas. In order to engage Senate in open debate, the Senate Business Committee identifies for each meeting of Senate at least one major strategic topic for discussion.
The Committee also has delegated responsibility from the Senate to approve the appointment of Senate members or representatives to University Committees and the schedule for Senate elections. You can access the web pages for the Senate Business Committee here.
The Senate Appeals/Complaints Panel hears and determine, on behalf of the Senate, the outcome of academic appeals and complaints submitted by students in accordance with the University’s Policy and Procedures on Student Appeals and Complaints
The Students’ Progress Committee hears and determine, on behalf of the Senate, the outcome of representations submitted by students in accordance with the University’s Policy on Undergraduate Student Progress and the associated Guidance Notes.
The Student Disciplinary Committee considers cases that are referred to it in accordance with the Code of Practice on Student Discipline.
- Standing Orders
- Five Standing Meetings of the Senate shall be held each academic year, with two meetings in the Winter Term, one meeting in the Spring Term and two meetings in the Summer Term. All meetings shall be held at King's College, unless the Principal decides otherwise.
- Other meetings of the Senate may be held at any time at the request of the Principal or on at the written request of at least ten members of the Senate.
- (a) The agenda and papers for all meetings shall be circulated by the Secretary not less than ten working days before the date of the meeting. The Principal, or, in his or her absence, the Senior Vice-Principal, may waive the time requirements of this rule if and when he or she considers that it is necessary to deal sufficiently speedily with urgent business (b) Where an item has been submitted in less than the ten working days specified in Standing Order 3(a) but has been ruled insufficiently urgent for inclusion on the Agenda of the immediately subsequent meeting of Senate then that decision and the reasons for it shall be recorded in the minutes of that Senate meeting.
- (a) The Senate Business Committee shall have responsibility for setting the Senate agenda and for determination of whether agenda items are for discussion and approval or for discussion to provide an academic view. (b) The Senate Business Committee shall normally meet at least 14 working days before the next meeting of Senate.
- Notice of all matters of business for inclusion on the agenda shall be submitted to the Secretary in writing not less than seven calendar days before the date of the Senate Business Committee at which the Senate agenda will be agreed.
- Papers presented to Senate should clearly detail the origin of the paper, the action required by Senate and the reasons why the paper is presented for approval or for discussion to provide an academic view. Papers not originating from a committee should identify the proposer and seconder.
- At all meetings one-third of the members of the Senate shall form a quorum. (Univ. (Scotland) Act 1858).
- (a) At all meetings, the Principal (or Acting Principal), if present, shall preside as Convenor of Senate. If absent, the Senior Vice-Principal or, if he or she is absent, one of the other Vice-Principals, as chosen by the Principal shall preside. (b) Matters of business requiring a decision by vote shall be determined, except where specifically provided otherwise, by the majority of members present and voting on the question. No proxy votes shall be allowed. In the case of an equality of votes the Convenor shall have a second casting vote.
- (a) Minutes of Senate meetings shall be taken, all votes shall be recorded and noted, and the minutes submitted for approval by senate at the subsequent meeting of Senate by means of email, and if necessary at the subsequent meeting of Senate. The method for amending the minutes is set out in (b) below:
(b) Within 10 days of a Senate meeting the draft minutes of a Senate meeting shall be distributed via email to all senators by the Academic Registrar. Any senators wishing to correct the minutes must then reply with their corrections within 10 days of receipt of the draft minutes to the Academic Registrar. The Academic Registrar will then circulate via email to all senators the revised minutes. If any of the corrections are disputed by other senators, then that objection must be notified to the Academic Registrar within 5 days of the senators’ receipt of any proposed amendments. Where there are any such objections then the decision as to whether or not to amend the minutes in the manner proposed will be deferred to the next meeting of Senate. The Academic Registrar will then publish the amended minutes on the Senate website no less than 30 days after the meeting of Senate, with a note if necessary indicating that certain amendments have to be approved by the next meeting of Senate. (b) will be renumbered and amended as follows (c) All meetings will be audio- recorded. All recordings of Senate meeting will be placed on the senate website
- Any meeting may be adjourned on motion duly made and approved by a majority of the members present.
- Subject to the right of the Senate to give precedence at any meeting to matters of special importance or urgency, the first business at each meeting shall be the approval of the Agenda. The second item of business shall be the approval of the Minutes of the last meeting. No discussion shall be allowed upon the Minutes except as to their accuracy, and any objection on that ground shall be made by motion, and if necessary, decided by a vote.
- (a) At any meeting the business shall be confined to the particulars in the agenda which will include opportunity for an informal question and answer session on matters of academic interest. (b) Items on the Agenda shall be divided into (i) those items which are for express approval following discussion and which will be voted on and (ii) those items which are for routine approval and this distinction is to be clearly indicated on the face of the Agenda. (c) When, in accordance with Standing Order 11, Senate is considering the Agenda any senator may propose that an item marked for routine approval be changed to an item for express approval.
- (a) Where an item has been marked for express approval by Senate on the Agenda under Standing Order 12(b)(i) then it shall be decided by a vote of Senate. A simple majority shall suffice to carry a motion, except where otherwise provided for by these Standing Orders. (b) Where a motion which has been marked for express approval on the Agenda under Standing Order 12(b)(i) is not opposed by a proposal to reject it then the Convenor, having invited a direct negative motion and no such motion having been made, then the Convenor shall declare the motion passed nem. com. (c) Where a motion which has been marked for routine approval on the Agenda under Standing Order 12(b)(ii) then such an item will have been deemed to be approved by Senate.
- (a) In the case of items for approval, a formal vote will be taken at the end of the debate. (b) Following the conclusion of each agenda item, the University Secretary will confirm the outcome which will be formally recorded in the minutes of the meeting in bold type.
- No member of the Senate shall be entitled to propose a motion other than one directly arising out of the discussion of a subject on the agenda unless due notice has been given in writing, as under Standing Order 5 above.
- No discussion shall be allowed on a motion or amendment which has not been seconded, but such a motion or amendment shall, if the mover so desires, be entered in the Minutes. All motions except formal motions (e.g. for the closure of debate or for adjournment of the meeting) and all amendments shall, if the Convenor so decides, be handed to the Secretary in writing, signed by the mover.
- A motion, notice of which has been duly given, may be moved by the member who has given the notice or by some other member on his or her behalf; provided that if any motion is not moved at the appropriate time in the agenda it shall, unless postponed by leave of the Senate, be considered as dropped and shall not be moved without fresh notice.
- When a motion or amendment has been moved and seconded it shall not be withdrawn, except by the mover (with consent of the seconder) and with the agreement of the Senate.
- Every amendment must be relevant to the motion on which it is moved, and the question of relevancy shall be decided by the Convenor.
- Only the mover of a motion shall have the right of reply; but shall in reply confine himself or herself to answering previous speakers and shall not introduce any new matter.
- All changes to a motion shall be deemed amendments, and shall be treated as such, unless made by the mover with consent of a majority of the members present.
- (a) All decisions and proposals must be voted on. (b) Only one motion or amendment may be voted on at a time and no further amendments shall be voted on until the amendment under discussion has been dealt with. (c) Where there is a proposal but no amendment to that motion then there shall be a vote for and against that motion. (d) When only one amendment is made to a motion the vote shall be taken between the motion and the amendment, the latter being put from the chair first. (e) When there is more than one amendment, the amendment last proposed shall be put against that immediately preceding, and then the one which is carried shall be put against the next preceding, and so on until there remains only one amendment, between which and the original motion the vote shall be taken. (f) After the vote the motion or amendment shall, if demanded by any member, be put as a substantive resolution without further discussion. (g) The foregoing order of voting may, however, be altered by the Convenor with the consent of the meeting.
- (a) At any time in the course of a discussion at Senate a member may speak to a point of order, and the discussion shall be suspended until the point of order has been decided by the Convenor. (b) A point of order shall relate only to an alleged breach of the application of (i) these Standing Orders (ii) the provisions of the various Universities (Scotland) Act as they apply to this University (iii) a University Ordinance or Resolution. (c) The member raising the point of order shall specify the Standing Order, Statute, Ordinance or Resolution the way in which s/he considers it has been broken and give the reasons for this assertion. (d) The Convenor shall then giving a ruling as to whether a point of order was correct or not, which ruling shall not be open to discussion but which may be overturned if a motion to that effect is passed by a two- thirds majority of members present and voting. (e) Standing Orders may be suspended by a resolution to that effect passed by a two-thirds majority of members present and voting.
- Members may dissent from any resolution come to by the Senate, such dissent being intimated before the next business is taken up, or before the Convenor leaves the chair in the event of there being no other business; and they shall be entitled to have the dissent recorded in the Minutes of the meeting; provided that they shall have proposed a motion or recorded a vote on the matter under discussion. They shall be entitled also, but not bound, to add reasons for the dissent, to be recorded therewith, provided they submit them to the Secretary in writing within one week of the meeting.
- No member shall speak more than once on the same question, except in reply upon the original motion, or in explanation, or by leave of the meeting.
- A motion for the closure of debate shall be put to the vote without discussion. If it is carried, the mover of the original motion shall have a right of reply, as provided in Standing Order 20, and the original question shall then be put forthwith.
- Any of the foregoing orders may be suspended at any meeting after a motion to that effect has been passed by a majority of two-thirds of the members present and voting.
- The Convenor shall determine all questions of procedure not expressly provided for in these Standing Orders.
- These Standing Orders may be amended by a motion passed by Senate in accordance with Standing Orders 3-5 above.
Approved by the Senate on 8 June 2016
- Five Standing Meetings of the Senate shall be held each academic year, with two meetings in the Winter Term, one meeting in the Spring Term and two meetings in the Summer Term. All meetings shall be held at King's College, unless the Principal decides otherwise.
- Honorary Degrees
The University’s mission is to be excellent in delivering learning and teaching, in undertaking research and commercialisation, in promoting research and scholarship, and in governance and management. The University of Aberdeen will be accessible and inclusive. The award of honorary degrees is one mechanism by which the University can enhance its profile and broaden its influence in the national and international communities by extending the range and quality of those associated with the University. To this end, Honorary Graduates will be asked to assist the University in whatever way they consider most appropriate.
Nominations for the award of honorary degrees are voted on by the Senate after consideration by the Honorary Degrees Committee. All members of staff are eligible to submit nominations. Heads of School may wish to consult their staff in regard to potential candidates for honorary degrees.
The Senate may confer the following honorary degrees honoris causa:-
Doctor of Laws (LLD)
For those (i) who have made an outstanding and distinctive contribution to legal science, through legal research or in the practice of law; or (ii) who have made an outstanding contribution to public life, at either national or international level.
Doctor Honoris Causa (DHC)
For candidates for whom it was considered appropriate to award an Honorary Doctoral Degree and whose candidature did not meet the criteria for the LLD set out in (ii) above).
Doctors of Letters (DLitt), Science (DSc), Music (DMus), or Divinity (DD)
For those who have made outstanding and distinctive contributions to their subject, at national or international level, either through research or as policy leaders within their profession at national level.
Master of the University (MUniv)
for those who have made important contributions to the success of the University, to the local community, and/or to the Region: candidates would be drawn from a wide range of backgrounds to reflect the diversity of our Region and may, for example, have achieved academic excellence or may have made important contributions to community or University service.
All of the University’s Honorary Doctoral Degrees are of equal standing: each, however, has different criteria for their award, as indicated above.
The University’s ambition is to be a world class University. Our aspirations reflect this aim as we seek to confer honorary doctorates on those who can truly be regarded as outstanding internationally, or those whom we believe, by their contributions in their field to date, will achieve such international recognition in the near future.
One benchmark in considering whether to submit a nomination is whether there are others in the field/discipline who are more distinguished than the candidate and, if so, what is the rationale for the University to honour the candidate rather than one of their peers. This is not intended to deter staff from submitting nominations but merely to emphasise that the University seeks to award honorary degrees to people who can truly be regarded as outstanding or potentially outstanding. Indeed, our honorary graduates should be proud to be associated with the University, and we should be proud of our association with them.
One rationale for awarding honorary degrees is the potential to foster close relations with those with whom the University is honouring. The University will continue to recognise and honour, by the award of an honorary degree, distinguished academics and those who have made outstanding contributions to public service or their profession, even where candidates have had no or only a limited connection with the University or its Region. However, in considering nominations for candidates who have no connection whatsoever with either the University or its Region, other than those indicated above, the Honorary Degrees Committee will give careful consideration to such nominations and ensure that there are convincing reasons for recommending any such candidates to the Senate for the award of an honorary degree.
The University is committed to the promotion of equality of opportunity and diversity in all its activities. The nomination of candidates from groups that may be currently considered to be under-represented in higher education would therefore be particularly welcome.
Honorary degree nominations are considered in the first instance by the Honorary Degrees Committee. This Committee, a committee of Senate, reviews all nominations and agrees which should be taken forward for consideration by Senate. A vote is taken at Senate on each nomination with those being supported by a majority of those voting being approved. Invitations are sent to those nominees approved by Senate. Due to the nature of the process, senators are asked to keep the names of those nominated confidential.
Nominations, which may be submitted at any time, should be on the appropriate form, a copy of which can be downloaded (Word) or can be obtained from the Registry (ext 3936).
The Honorary Degrees Committee normally meets twice each year, in May and November. Nominations submitted by 31 March or 30 September will be considered at the next meeting of the Honorary Degrees Committee. Forms should be sent to the Academic Registrar with a brief covering letter indicating by whom the nomination is proposed. Only the form will be considered by the Honorary Degrees Committee (and, where appropriate, subsequently by the Senate).
Staff who would like assistance or guidance in completing the nomination form should contact the Academic Registrar (ext 3936).
Conferment of an honorary degree upon current, retired or honorary members of staff of the University is to be regarded as exceptional and any recommendation for such an award must be supported by special circumstances.
It is also the University’s practice not to award honorary degrees to politicians while still in Office, to avoid the University being considered to have particular political affiliations.