Boards of Studies
1 The Duties and Responsibilities of a Board of Studies
(a) A Board of Studies shall have as its principal objective and reason for existence the academic advancement of the subject area which it represents, both inside the University and, where appropriate, outside the University also.
(b) It shall seek to do this by:-
(i) The planning of appropriate programmes of study and the organisation and implementation of effective teaching.
(ii) The fostering, encouragement and development of research.
(iii) The allocation and monitoring of those duties relating to teaching, administration and supervision, and the discussion of the distribution of those resources, of finance, secretarial and technical support and working space allocated to it, with a view to ensuring the efficient functioning of the Department or Departments within its remit, and the proper conduct of those programmes, for which it is solely or jointly responsible.
(iv) The maintenance, through liaison, where appropriate, with the University Library, of appropriate resources for the acquisition of material for both teaching and research purposes.
(v) The development, through liaison with the University's IT Service or provider, of appropriate IT resources for the support of teaching and research.
(vi) The admission, in co-operation with the Colleges, and subject to such limitations on numbers and entry standards as might be imposed by Senate, of undergraduates to programmes within the Board's jurisdiction; and the monitoring of the academic progress of individual students on these programmes.
(vii) The acceptance of candidates for higher degrees (subject to the approval of the appropriate Committee), making satisfactory arrangements for their supervision and monitoring their progress.
(viii) The proper conduct of examinations in the subject, the recommendation for appointment of internal and external examiners, and the provision of guidance on conventions to the Board of Examiners.
(ix) The maintenance of adequate liaison with other Boards with similar or complementary interests, especially with regard to the provision of Joint Honours programmes. Where such programmes are offered, an Annual Joint meeting of the Boards concerned, or of a substantial number of representatives of the Boards should be held and a 'lead' Department shall be assigned in respect of each programme.
(x) The establishment of suitable and well-publicised arrangements for consultation of the student body, and for the receipt of student opinion.
(c) A Board of Studies shall conduct its business in a fair, proper, transparent and ethical manner, having regard to the values of the University as stated in the University Strategy and following the Seven Principles of Public Life set down by the Nolan Committee (accessible on the web at: http://www.public-standards.gov.uk/Library/Seven_principles.doc)
(a) A Board of Studies may seek permission from Senate, by written case submitted to the Vice-Chancellor, to vary from the standard arrangements concerning the roles and responsibilities of officers and committees.
(b) There shall be four classes of members of Boards of Studies, defined as follows:
(i) Ex officio Members
- All those holding full-time teaching appointments in the area concerned.
- The Head of the relevant Faculty.
- Such Deputy Heads of Faculties as may be approved by the Vice-Chancellor on the nomination of the Head of the relevant Faculty.
- Those holding dual teaching/College appointments shall be ex officio members unless the teaching and research commitment are together clearly less than half time.
- Heads of Houses shall be ex officio members of the appropriate Board of Studies.
(ii) Student Representatives
(a) Each Board of Studies should appoint at least one undergraduate student, one taught postgraduate student (where the board of studies offer taught postgraduate programmes) and one research student from its Staff/Student Consultative Committee to be members of the Board of Studies.
(b) Student representatives may only attend that part of the Board's discussions that falls outside the reserved area, as determined by the joint statement of the CVCP/NUS of 1968.
(iii) Appointed Members
(a) The Board shall (with the approval of the Head of the appropriate Faculty) ensure that there is at least one representative of any contract research staff within its budget centre appointed to the Appointed Membership of the Board.
(b) The Board may (with the approval of the Head of the appropriate Faculty) invite ex officio members of other Boards of Studies to be Appointed Members. Where one Board engages in extensive collaboration with another via shared Joint Honours programmes or a large amount of service teaching, the Boards concerned shall normally each invite an Appointed Member from the other Board. The Board making the appointment may choose either to invite an individual or to seek a nominee from the other Board.
(c) The Board may (with the approval of the Head of the appropriate Faculty) invite to Appointed Membership the following:-
- Persons holding part-time teaching contracts in its area;
- Persons holding honorary appointments in its area;
- Persons holding appointments elsewhere in the University, or in appropriate cases outside it, with a special interest or expertise in the subject area;
- Departmental Administrators
(d) Such other persons as the Head of the relevant Faculty may from time to time determine.
(e) The number of Appointed Members (excluding those holding honorary appointments, joint honours representatives and one representative of the research staff) should not normally exceed one half of the number of ex officio members. Appointed membership shall be for a period of three years, and shall be renewable.
(a) The Board may, if it should so decide, invite a representative member or members of the non-academic staff of the relevant Department to attend meetings of the Board for items directly affecting their work and interests.
(b) Observers may speak at Board meetings but do not have the right to vote. Observers shall be appointed for a period of one year, with the possibility of renewal only if the individual remains eligible for observer membership.
(c) Each Board of Studies shall have the following identified officers whose duties and manner of appointment are detailed below:
- A Chair
- A Secretary
- A Director of Postgraduate Research
- A Director of Undergraduate Studies
- Chair of the Research Committee
- Chair of the Education Committee
(d) For some Boards of Studies it may be appropriate for more than one post to be held by the same person but the post of Chairman/Chairwoman of the Board of Studies and the post of Secretary should not be held by the same person.
(a) Each Board of Studies shall meet at least once each term. Additional meetings may be called by the Chair or by written request of not less than one quarter of the ex officio members of the Board. Notification of the meeting, together with its Agenda prepared in consultation with the Chair, shall be sent out by the Secretary not less than seven days in advance of the meeting. An extraordinary meeting, called at less notice, may be held if requested by not less than one third of the membership of the Board. No meeting may proceed without a quorum of one third of the ex officio members of the Board. The Minutes of each meeting shall be circulated to all members of the Board, including the appropriate Head of Faculty, who shall maintain a central record of the Minutes, no later than with the Agenda of the following meeting.
(b) One meeting of a Board of Studies each academic year shall be used to review the overall performance of the Department in its teaching and postgraduate supervision.
(c) In the event of the absence of the Chair from a meeting, those present shall elect a deputy for the purposes of that meeting from amongst the ex officio members of the Board of Studies. In the absence of the Secretary from the meeting, those present shall elect a deputy for that meeting.
(d) Where more frequent meetings of academic staff are necessary for the smooth running of a Department, a Board may wish to consider holding Departmental Staff Meetings on a regular basis. Such meetings may handle routine business, and may make recommendations to the Board on matters that are, and remain, the responsibility of the Board.
(a) The Head of Department shall be Chair of the Board of Studies. (See also the "Appointment of Heads of Department" section within these Standing Orders.) **
(b) The duties of the Chair are many and varied. Some basic responsibilities are listed below. Others will be unpredictable and will vary from Board to Board. The Chair will be expected to exercise academic leadership in furthering the interests of the Board, but also acts frequently as the representative of the Board or on its behalf. When acting as the representative of the Board, the Chair shall be obliged to convey the majority opinion of the Board in addition to his/her own where he/she knows them to differ. When acting on behalf of the Board, as will frequently be necessary in the interests of speedy and efficient administration, the Chair will report action taken to the Board at its next meeting.
(c) The Chair's duties include:-
(i) By Statute, except where otherwise approved by the Council, acting as Budget Officer.
(ii) Chairing meetings of the Board: the Chair and Secretary are jointly responsible for ensuring that meetings are held when required, that proper notice is given and an Agenda agreed between them sent to all members.
(iii) Ensuring that all matters which are the responsibility of the Board are brought to and adequately discussed by the Board and that those decisions of the Board requiring action are implemented.
(iv) Representing the interests and views of the Board in the University at large, and especially on those University bodies of which the Chair is an ex officio member.
(v) Taking executive decisions within the framework of such policy as has been approved by the Board in such matters as the admission of students to, and the exclusion of students from, programmes; and supplying information to the appropriate Committees.
(vi) Preparing an annual financial report detailing expenditure during the previous year and presenting a programme for the coming year for discussion by the Board. After consulting the Board, where possible, taking decisions on the allocation of technical and secretarial assistance, working space and financial resources, and the commitment of routine expenditure. Decisions which are at variance with a majority view previously expressed by the Board must be brought to the attention of the Board, and if necessary to that of the Vice-Chancellor. While the responsibility for the correct use of resources allocated to a particular Board rests with the Chair concerned, such responsibility must be discharged in consultation with the Treasurer whose duty to report irregularities to Council is inescapable.
(vii) After having carried out the procedure for the consultation of other members laid down by Senate, making recommendations to those Committees concerned with promotions and probation which relate to ex officio members of the Board. (In the event of the Chair being as yet unpromoted, the Vice-Chancellor shall appoint a deputy who already holds a senior post to act on behalf of the Chair in dealings with the Academic Progression Committee.)
(viii) After consulting the senior teachers in the Department, making recommendations for the promotion of technical and secretarial staff. (In the case of technical staff, the senior member of the technical staff should be consulted where appropriate.)
(ix) Ensuring that all possible steps are taken to stimulate and foster research within the subject or subjects appropriate to the Board of Studies concerned.
(x) Ensuring that proper departmental records are kept, especially of the academic progress and performance of students, and of financial expenditure.
(xi) Being responsible for interpreting and implementing the University Safety Policy to the needs of their Department and for reporting defects and safety hazards relating to their buildings and areas to the Director of Estates and Buildings who has overall responsibility for buildings, plant and grounds.
The Board shall elect its own Secretary from among its members. The appointment shall be for a period to be agreed at the time of the election. The period should be chosen to avoid so far as is possible a simultaneous or near simultaneous change of both Chair and Secretary. The Secretary's duties include:-
(a) Ensuring, in consultation with the Chair, that meetings are held when required, that all members of the Board are given due notice and an opportunity to submit matters for inclusion in the Agenda, and that they are then sent an Agenda agreed with the Chair.
(b) Keeping the Minutes of the meetings of the Board, in which are recorded all decisions of the Board and the names of all those present at the meeting. Circulating the Minutes as indicated in 3(a) above, and presenting them for approval at the Board's next meeting. Maintaining also any other documentation relating to the Board's discussions.
(c) Helping to advise the Board of Studies on appropriate quality assurance procedures to underpin the learning and teaching arrangements.
(d) Bringing before the Board such requests for its views as are from time to time requested by other bodies, and communicating back those views.
(e) Bringing before the Board requests for representatives to other bodies and reporting back the Board's nominated representatives.
(f) Ensuring that references to the Board and to programmes within its jurisdiction in the University prospectuses, Faculty Handbooks and other publications are correct and maintained up to date.
6 Director of Postgraduate Research
The Board shall elect a Director of Postgraduate Research, normally a member of the Departmental Research Committee, from among its members. The appointment shall be for a period of three years and the member appointed shall be eligible for re-nomination. The Director's duties include:
(a) Acting as the Departmental representative on the Faculty Advisory Group
(b) Acting as the main point of contact for postgraduate matters and the University's Graduate School.
(c) Promoting and ensuring best practice within the Board of Studies with regard to:
(i) The selection, admission, enrolment and induction of research students.
(ii) Supervisory arrangements for research students.
(iii) Initial review and subsequent progress of research students.
(iv) The development of research and other skills for research students.
(v) Feedback from research students.
(d) Overseeing the annual monitoring of research student progress.
(e) Co-ordinating the implementation of the University's Postgraduate Recruitment Strategy including departmental management of schemes such as the Doctoral Fellowship Scheme.
(f) Identifying the resources required to support the University's and Department's strategy in postgraduate research student recruitment.
7 Director of Undergraduate Studies
The Board shall elect a Director of Undergraduate Studies from among its members. The appointment shall be for a period to be agreed at the time of the election. The Director's duties include:
(a) Promoting the Board's undergraduate work.
(b) Acting as the main point of contact for the University's Education Committee.
(c) Promoting best practice within the Board of Studies for the development of learning and teaching for undergraduate students.
(a) Any member or members of the Board shall have the right of appeal against any decision of a Board of Studies, or of its Chair acting on its behalf. Such appeals should be directed to the Vice-Chancellor in the first instance.
(b) An appeal by a student registered for a Research Degree against a decision of a Board of Studies, or of its Chair acting on its behalf, should be directed to the appropriate deputy to the Head of Faculty in the first instance.
(c) An appeal by a postgraduate taught Masters, diploma or certificate student against a decision of a Board of Studies, or of its Chair acting on its behalf, should be directed to the appropriate deputy to the Head of Faculty in the first instance.
(d) An appeal by an undergraduate degree, diploma or certificate student against a decision of a Board of Studies, or of its Chair acting on its behalf, relating to a programme for which they are registered and for which the Board is responsible, should be directed to the appropriate Head of Faculty or a deputy to the Head of Faculty in the first instance.
9 Staff/Student Consultative Committees
(a) There shall be a joint Staff/Student Consultative Committee for each Board of Studies offering tuition for Bachelors and/or Higher Degrees.
(b) The student membership of the Consultative Committee shall be elected and, as a minimum, should consist of:
(i) Where there are postgraduates, one postgraduate taught representative and one research student representative elected by the postgraduates in the Department in each October.
(ii) One fourth-year student representative to be elected by the fourth-year students at the beginning of their fourth year.
(iii) One third-year student representative to be elected by the third-year students at the beginning of their third year.
(iv) One second-year student representative to be elected by the second-year students at the beginning of their second year.
(v) One first-year student representative to be elected by the first-year students in the fifth week of the Michaelmas Term.
(vi) Where a Board of Studies offer part-time programmes, one part-time representative to be elected by the part-time students in the Department each October.
(vii) Where a Board of Studies contributes to any or all of the Combined Honours programmes in Arts and Social Sciences and the Natural Sciences degree, at least one student representative from one of these programmes.
(c) Each Board of Studies shall, if requested by the student representatives, agree to the holding of at least one meeting in each term, electing not less than three of its members (normally including the Chair of the Board of Studies) to serve on the Consultative Committee.
(d) A report of each meeting of the Staff/Student Consultative Committee should be presented to the next meeting of the Board of Studies concerned.
10 Education Committee
There shall be a Board of Studies Education Committee to advise on all aspects of learning and teaching for both undergraduate and postgraduate students. The Committee shall include the Secretary, the Director of Postgraduate Research and the Director of Undergraduate Studies.
11 Chair of the Education Committee
The Board shall elect a Chair of the Education Committee from among its members. The appointment shall be for a period to be agreed at the time of the election.
12 Research Committee
There shall be a Research Committee to advise on fostering, encouragement and development of research.
13 Chair of the Research Committee
The Board shall elect a Chair of the Research Committee from among its members. The appointment shall be for a period to be agreed at the time of the election.
14 These Standing Orders shall apply to all Boards of Studies established under Statute 29. Additional duties may be assigned to individual Boards of Studies under Statute 29(5)(b) by the appropriate Head of Faculty acting on behalf of the appropriate Board of Faculty.
** Except in those cases where a contractually defined responsibility to Council or Senate lies through an individual other than the Chair of the Board of Studies, in which case the division of responsibility shall be separately defined and made known to the membership of the Board.