Guidelines for Processes and Authorities with Respect to Re-Structuring Proposals that have Academic Implications

These Guidelines were developed in consultation with Faculty Boards in July 2013.


The purpose of these guidelines is to

  • inform and support Deans and other senior managers in terms of the committee processes and authorities that they should normally follow with respect to re-structuring proposals that have academic implications
  • inform Faculty staff about the committee processes that they can normally expect to be followed with respect to re-structuring proposals that have academic implications.

Academic units in the Faculties

A Dean is, according to the job description, "the senior academic leader and business manager of the Faculty ...responsible for shaping the intellectual, professional and operational culture for the Faculty".

Specific performance standards for Deans include the requirement that "...the Faculty's human, financial and physical resources are effectively managed to maximise Faculty and University benefits".

Deans are also required to operate and manage their Faculties within the budgets that they are allocated each year.

In order to fulfil these responsibilities, Deans are expected to regularly review their organisational structures and staff profiles to ensure that they remain effective and efficient. Changes are sometimes necessary.

The Deans may recommend any organisational re-structures within their Faculties to the Vice-Chancellor. Authority to approve changes to organisational structures rests with the Vice-Chancellor. Authority for associated staffing and employment decisions also rests with the Vice-Chancellor. Depending on the significance of the matter, the Vice-Chancellor may choose to consult with the Council before making a decision.

Responsibility for providing advice to Deans with respect to the staffing and employment aspects of proposed re-structures rests with the Head of the Human Resource Management Division.

Changes to organisational structures within the Faculties may have implications for, or be associated with changes to, academic offerings (papers, programmes or qualifications) and/or other aspects of teaching, learning or research. Any associated changes to, or implications for, academic offerings etc are academic matters and subject to consultation and approval through the normal academic and committee processes. The structural and academic implications of such changes should normally be considered together by the relevant Faculty Board(s) and by the Academic Board.

Consistent with the provisions of the Education Act 1989, neither the Council nor the Vice-Chancellor may make a decision in respect of an academic matter unless they have first invited and considered the advice of the Academic Board. In practice, this obligation is applied broadly, and is extended to any matter that has, or is likely to have, academic implications.

The terms of reference of Faculty Boards include the following:

  1. To provide a forum for discussion and formulation of advice to the Dean regarding the establishment, disestablishment or re-structuring of academic units within the Faculties.

The terms of reference of the Academic Board include the following:

  1. To serve as a forum for discussion and formulation of advice to the Vice-Chancellor, whether on its own initiative, an initiative of its Faculty Boards or other committees, or by invitation, with respect to the academic implications of alternative structural or organisational arrangements within the University.

Set out below are guidelines with respect to consultations with Faculty Boards and the Academic Board about organisational changes that have, or may have, academic implications.

These guidelines apply only to Faculty Board and Academic Board consultations. Other processes and consultations will also need to be followed in many cases beforehand or in parallel, both within the Faculty(s) and otherwise, as determined by the relevant Dean (and taking account of advice by the Head of the Human Resource Management Division where appropriate).


At the point of having identified the potential need for structural changes (and before a detailed proposal has been developed), the Dean should raise the matter with the Faculty Board as a substantive agenda item (normally in Part 2), outlining the reasons for a potential change. The Dean should also outline the proposed process and timeline for consulting with Faculty staff (both academic and general).

The Dean should consult with his or her HR Advisor or the Head of the Human Resource Management Division about the potential for staff to be affected and about the need to inform any potentially affected staff and their representatives before the proposed change is raised on a Faculty Board agenda.

The Faculty Board's preliminary advice to the Dean with regard to academic implications should be formally minuted, and should be taken into account by the Dean in his or her review of the potential need for changes.

When the Dean has developed a draft proposal, it should be included in full on the Faculty Board agenda as a substantive item (normally in Part 2). The Faculty Board's advice should be minuted and should be taken into account by the Dean in his or her review and/or revision of the draft proposal.

Depending on the extent to which the draft proposal is changed through the course of consultation, the Dean may consult with the Faculty Board more than once. On all occasions when the Dean consults with the Faculty Board, the matter should be included as a substantive item on the relevant agenda, with as much detail as possible provided to members in writing as an attachment to the agenda item, so that the discussion by the Faculty Board can be as well-informed and well-considered as possible. The consultation with the Faculty Board should conclude with a clear outline of the Dean's intentions with respect to the final proposal.

The Dean may, on the advice of the Vice-Chancellor, choose to report to the Academic Board on the consultation process within the Faculty, before a proposal is finalised.

Once the Dean has finalised a proposal for consideration by the Vice-Chancellor, the Faculty staff should be notified of the details of the final proposal. A report on the final proposal should then be referred to the Academic Board for comment, as a substantive item (normally in Part 2) before being referred to the Vice-Chancellor for approval to proceed with implementation. The Vice-Chancellor will take account of any advice by the Academic Board before making a decision.

Administrative and other organisational units in other parts of the University (i.e. not Faculties)

Proposals for changes to administrative and other organisational units in other parts of the University (i.e. not the Faculties) would not necessarily have academic implications. Any that did would be subject to the same processes outlined above.


Any enquiries about these guidelines may be referred to the Director of the Office of the Vice-Chancellor, Brandon McGibbon.

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