The University Senatus Academicus or Senate, is the supreme academic body under the presidency of the Principal. Until the end of the Academic Year 2019-20, the majority of the Senate’s non-ceremonial business was delegated to a smaller body, the Academic Council. In September 2020, and in consequence of the changes required by the Higher Education Governance (Scotland) Act 2016, the current Academic Council was formally reconstituted as the University Senatus Academicus (the Senate), with an increased elected component of staff and students, to a maximum of 55 members in total.
The Senate provides academic governance within the University and considers business associated with research, learning and teaching matters and the related student experience. It is also a forum for discussing the University’s academic strategy and new academic initiatives that have importance for the University as a whole. Its membership consists of ex officio members (Principal’s Office members, Deans of Faculty and Heads of School) and elected members (Senate Assessors on the University Court, student representatives and staff members elected directly from constituencies representing the academic schools).
The Senate also approves all degrees to be conferred by the University, and graduations ceremonies are officially an adjourned meeting of Senate. Senate is chaired by the Principal as President of Senate and meets four times a year (twice per semester).
The membership of Senate is regulated by Ordinance No.133 of the University Court.