Senate Effectiveness Review 2021-22

The effectiveness of the University Senate was reviewed under the three core headings of Purpose, People and Policy/Process (as endorsed by the Senate in July 2021).


The Senate Effectiveness Review final report was adopted, without qualification, at Senate’s 5 July 2022 meeting.

The work of the Senate Review Group (SRG) was the culmination of a detailed internal review process conducted over nine months from September 2021-June 2022.

The mixed-methods approach is described in detail in the report. It sought to provide a robust and flexible framework for gathering and analysis of a broad range of data and viewpoints from a variety of information sources and internal stakeholders, centring on Senate members and supplemented by external data and benchmarking.

The SRG considered interim reports on various aspects of the review over the course of six meetings, participating in a constructive, collegial and wide-ranging approach underpinned by evidence-informed debate.

The overarching conclusion of the SRG as expressed in the report is that on the whole Senate is well-functioning with many positive aspects, but that there are nevertheless areas for improvement.

In accordance with the guiding structure for the review process, the report makes recommendations across three areas.


The Terms of Reference for Senate have been refocused and aligned in format to those of the University Council to enable it to be more strategic, developmental and balanced in its consideration of academic policy and initiatives.


The constituency of Senate has been partially re-modelled with an increased focus on EDI and student representation; key features include a slight reduction in the overall membership, reduction in Head of Department ex officio membership through the introduction of Faculty-nominated members, representation from the staff equality networks and non-Faculty-aligned academic staff, and an increase in student members.


The range of recommendations here aims to improve the clarity and efficiency of Senate operations, with particular reference to balance across core academic activities, use of UEB/Council coversheets and report-drafting guidance, enhanced processes for member induction/development, improved agenda planning, profile-raising for Senate itself and more transparent interactions with Council as the governing body and in the delegation of decision-making authority to subcommittees.

Final Review Recommendations as approved by Senate (PDF , 134kb)


  1. Professor Saul Tendler, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Chair) ex officio
  2. Dr Adam Dawkins, former University Secretary ex officio
  3. Professor Tracy Lightfoot, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Teaching, Learning and Students) ex officio
  4. Professor Matthias Ruth, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research) ex officio
  5. Professor Brian Fulton, Dean of Faculty – appointed by VC
  6. Professor Helen Smith, Head of Department (from different Faculty to the Dean) – appointed by VC
  7. Three elected members of Senate (one from each Faculty, to be selected by and from the elected group on Senate)
    1. Dr Philip Garnett (Social Sciences)
    2. Dr Mona Kanaan (Sciences)
    3. Dr Kenneth Clarke
  8. The SU and GSA Presidents ex officio
    1. Patrick O’Donnell
    2. Viviane Cao
  9. Dr Wayne Campbell, The Academic Registrar ex officio
  10. Professor Dame Vicki Bruce (observer), one lay member of the University Council – appointed by VC

Contact us

Chair: Professor Charlie Jeffery
Vice-Chancellor and President

For agendas and minutes: Richard Harrison
Deputy University Secretary

Contact us

Chair: Professor Charlie Jeffery
Vice-Chancellor and President

For agendas and minutes: Richard Harrison
Deputy University Secretary