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Durham University

University Committees

Provost's Board

Standing Orders

(Sub-Committee of University Executive Committee (UEC))

These Standing Orders should be read in conjunction with the Joint Standing Orders of Senate and Council.

Membership (Composition)

Members 2021/22
Ex officio members:
The Vice-Chancellor and Warden (not expected to attend) Professor Karen O'Brien
The Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Provost Professor Antony Long (Chair)
The Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Education) Professor Alan Houston
The Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Colin Bain
The Executive Deans
  • Faculty of Arts and Humanities
Professor Janet Stewart
  • Faculty of Business/Business School
Professor Kieran Fernandes
  • Faculty of Science
Professor Jacqui Ramagge
  • Faculty of Social Science and Health
Professor Charlotte Clarke
The Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Global) Professor Claire O'Malley
The Deputy Provost Professor Richard Crisp
The Director of Strategic Planning John Pritchard
The Director of Advancement, Marketing and Communications Lucian Hudson
Appointed members:
Representative from Durham Students’ Union Charlie Procter (AY 2021/22)
In attendance:
University Secretary Alison Blackburn (Interim)
Senior colleagues are invited for specific agenda items
* A Vice-Provost shall take the Chair in the absence of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Provost.


The Secretary of the Committee shall be from Governance Support Services.


Meetings are generally held on a bi-weekly basis from September to July, holiday periods excepted. The Board routinely reports to the UEC.

Terms of Reference

a) To review, including through the Annual Planning Round, the quality and performance of the academic units (Faculties, Departments/Schools, Research Institutes and Centres) and support services that deliver the core academic mission of the University;

b) To commend annual and medium-term Department plans, including requests for new posts and capital expenditure, for consideration by the UEC as part of the annual Planning Round and at other times as necessary;

c) Within the strategic envelope of University size and shape agreed by the UEC, Senate and Council, agree annual and short-run plans for student and staff recruitment, including the determination of student numbers at University and Departmental levels;

d) To review in Green Paper form proposals for major new academic strategies and initiatives prior to their scrutiny by Education/Research Committee, and Senate. Feedback to inform the development of White Paper proposals for subsequent discussion and approval in White Paper form at the UEC, and if endorsed, then Senate and Council;

e) To sign off under delegated authority research grant proposals requiring matching funds (and other approved funding proposals in the education and research domains) up to £500,000, within relevant budgets. All sign-offs will be reported to the UEC and as required to Senate and Council.

f) To identify the implications of major sector developments which are likely to have an important bearing on the development and sustainability of the University’s academic strategy. This will involve horizon scanning in relation to policy changes, changing patterns of demand for education and research, and examples of institutional good practice

Items considered by the Provost’s Board include, but are not restricted to:

a) Green Papers from the UEC Academic Leads relating to the quality and efficacy of education and research, as indicated, inter alia, by data and commentary returned from submissions to TEF, REF, QAA, NSS and MEQs;

b) Periodic external reviews of academic Departments/Schools, Faculties and University Research Institutes and Centres;

c) Student number planning and recruitment with the strategic framework agreed by the UEC, Senate and Council;

d) Annual reports on academic recruitment, mentoring and retention and Green Papers on strategy, policies/initiatives in relation to Faculty;

e) Green Papers from the UEC Academic Leads on new policy proposals in the academic domain (education and research, including knowledge exchange and impact, and enterprise and innovation activities and support).

Endorsement, under delegated authority from the UEC, for approval by Senate and Council, of nominations from Boards of Studies for the appointment of Heads of Department:

f) Green Papers from the UEC Academic Lead in relation to timetabling and the academic year, curriculum reform and efficiency and academic workload models;

g) Periodic reviews of academic support services;

h) Reports from the Students’ Union on academic matters;

i) Reports on academic support provision, including the Library, IT, Advancement, fundraising in support of the University’s academic activity, EDI in relation to academic activity, and the Estate.

The following bodies report to the Provost's Board:
  • Financial Awards Committee
  • Library Steering Group
  • Programme Development Group
  • Research Equipment Group

Further Information

Flow diagram of the development and approval process for new strategies, major changes to existing strategies, major new policies and policy initiatives within Education and Research.


James Walsh

0191 334 6153

Deborah Evans

0191 334 6150