QMU Appendix 5 Terms of Reference and Composition of Senate and Senate-Standing Committees

Terms of Reference and Composition of Senate and Senate-Standing Committees

The Senate and the standing committees of Senate shall be established as set out below. The following shall be committees of the Senate:

  • Student Experience Committee

  • Research Strategy Committee

  • School Academic Boards x 2

  • Honorary Degrees Committee

  • Boards of Examiners

Terms of reference common to all Senate standing committees shall be:

  • To act on behalf of Senate in accordance with such powers as may be delegated to the Committee by the Senate.
  • To consider and report on such matters as may be referred to the Committee by Senate.
  • To establish such sub-Committees and Working Parties as are required to enable the Committee to discharge its responsibilities.
  • To account formally to Senate for the discharge of the Committee’s responsibility.
  • To submit minutes of meetings to Senate;
  • To identify issues and advise Senate on the implications for resource allocation of matters within the Committee’s remit.

Constitution Common to all Senate Committees shall be:

  • Members are appointed by the Senate unless specified otherwise.
  • The term of office shall be three years;
  • On the expiry of a period of office, members shall be eligible for re-appointment for a further period of office;
  • The Principal is an ex-officio member of all Senate Committees.
  • The University Secretary shall appoint the Secretary to all Senate committees.

Procedure common to all Senate committees shall be:

  • The procedure followed by the Committee will be that of the standing orders of Senate unless specified otherwise.

1 Senate

1.1  Purpose

The Court shall establish a Senate, which shall be constituted and regulated in a manner specified by the Court from time to time on the recommendation of the Principal.

The Senate shall be responsible for maintaining the academic standards of the University.

In discharging any functions delegated to the Senate by the Court, the Senate shall have all the powers and duties of the Court in relation to those functions and may make recommendations to the Court on such matters, as it shall think fit.

1.2  Function

The Court shall delegate to the Senate:

a)  its functions relating to the academic work of the University and any functions incidental or ancillary there to;

b)  its function of conferring on any person higher and other education awards including degrees, diplomas, certificates and other academic awards or distinctions and honorary degrees; and

c)  its function of depriving the recipient of an award of that award:

1.3  Constitution: Interpretation of ‘The Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh (Scotland) Order of Council 2007’

Ex-Officio Membership

Principal [Convener]
University Secretary [Secretary]
Deputy Principal
Deans of School
Heads of Division
Director of IGHD
Director of CAP
Director of Campus and Commercial Services
President and one other executive member of the Students’ Union; Conveners of standing committees of the Senate, not already in membership.

Elected Membership

Three members of academic staff elected by:
Division of Business, Enterprise and Management
Division of DNBS, Physiotherapy, Podiatry and Radiography Division of Media, Communication and Performing Arts Division of Nursing
Division of Occupational Therapy and Arts Therapies

Division of Psychology and Sociology Division of Speech and Hearing Sciences

In attendance

Director of Operations and Finance
Assistant Secretary, Governance and Quality Enhancement [Minute Secretary]

The University Secretary shall appoint a Minute Secretary

1.4 Period of Office of members

A member (other than a member appointed ex officio) shall hold office for a 3 year term. On the expiry of that term such member shall be eligible to be re-elected for one further term of a maximum of 3 years. Such member shall not serve as a member for more than 6 years. For the purpose of calculating 6 years, any period of office as a member shall be counted towards the 6 year term.

2 Student Experience Committee

2.1  Remit

To establish and review strategies, policies and procedures that support and enhance the student experience, that assure and enhance academic standards and the quality of the student learning experience, and promote best practice in curricula, learning and teaching and in the support of students.

2.2  Terms of reference

The Student Experience Committee will have delegated authority to:

  •  Develop, periodically review and evaluate the Student Experience Strategy, and agree an annual action plan for the delivery and enhancement of the student experience in line with the objectives of the University’s strategic plan;
  • Maintain a strategic focus on academic standards, quality assurance and quality enhancement within the University, advising Senate on the development of best practice within higher education nationally and internationally;
  • Develop and evaluate effective mechanisms to report on student satisfaction, and feedback from other stakeholders, including applicants and alumni;
  • Oversee the development and implementation of the University’s Student Recruitment strategy, monitoring and evaluating trends in student admission
  •  Review and evaluate student progression and completion, with a particular focus on mechanisms to support student transition, induction and persistence established through the Widening Participation and Student Retention Strategy and overseen by the Widening Participation and Student Retention Board (WISER Board);
  • Develop and evaluate mechanisms to promote high levels of student engagement in their learning, including participation in University representation systems;
  • Establish effective mechanisms to assure and enhance service delivery across identified services that support or influence the student learning experience;
  • Remit particular issues for discussion and/or review by standing Committees of Senate or of Court as appropriate;
  • Act and advise on issues remitted to it by other Committees of Senate and Court; and
  • Submit minutes of its meetings to Senate.

2.3 Membership


  • Dean, Student Experience 

Vice Convener

  • Deputy Principal


  • Deans of School
  • University Secretary
  • Student President
  • Director of Centre for Academic Practice
  • Head of Information and Learning Services
  • Assistant Secretary, External Liaison and Student Services Assistant Secretary, Registry and Academic
  • Administration Director of Campus and Commercial Services


  • Two academic representatives nominated from the academic staff of each of the Divisions and one from IGHD
  • One undergraduate student
  • One taught postgraduate student
  • One doctoral postgraduate student


  • Up to four additional members with specific expertise as identified by the Committee


  • Secretary to be appointed by the University Secretary


  • Up to 5 times per academic year

2.4 Learning and Teaching Panel

2.4.1 Remit

The Learning and Teaching Panel will report and make recommendations to the Student Experience Committee on the following:

  • Appointment of External Examiners, extension to tenure and reallocation of duties (referred from SAB);
  • Approval of Programmes through validation and review – consideration of reports and monitoring of status of conditions; and
  • Proposals for extension to periods of approval (referred from SAB).

2.4.2 Membership

Convener : Member of SEC, appointed by SEC Convener

Academic staff: Four from each School, and one from IGHD

CAP representative: To be appointed by the Director, CAP

Secretary:Member of staff from GQE

2.4.3 Conduct of business

The number and timing of meetings will be informed by the volume of business arising from and scheduling of the School Academic Boards. Where possible, meetings will be conducted virtually, but there will be a face-to-face meeting at least once a year to consider the outcomes of validation and review (typically, this meeting will take place towards the end of semester two). Additional face-to-face meetings may be scheduled as determined necessarybythePanelConvener. AllPaneldecisionswillberecordedbytheSecretary, and summary papers presented to the SEC.

2.5 Collaborations Operations Group

The purpose of the Collaborations Operations Group is to promote best practice in relation to both UK and overseas collaborative provision and to facilitate co-ordination of support across the University. It reports into the Student Experience Committee.

2.5.1 Remit

  • To maintain an overview of procedures for the management of collaborative provision, highlighting areas for further development as required.
  • To share and promote best practice in support for collaborative provision.
  • To share and promote best practice in the management of risks related to collaborative provision.
  • To discuss operational issues in relation to collaborative provision, suggest solutions and facilitate cross-departmental working.
  • To oversee staff development for partners and University staff involved in support for collaborations.
  • To make recommendations regarding University policy and procedures.

2.5.2 Membership


  • Head of Devision


  • Partnership Development Manager


  • Partnership Development Officer

Additional members

  • All academic link staff
  • All academic staff appointed specifically to support partnerships


  • Information and Learning Services representative
  • Centre for Academic Practice representative
  • School Managers
  • Divisional Project Manager (Academic Administration)
  • Collaborations Administration Team representative

Additional members with relevant expertise may be co-opted by the agreement of the membership. Other staff with particular responsibilities may be asked to attend individual meetings if relevant issues arise.

Reporting :

Notes of meetings passed to Student Experience Committee. May make recommendations regarding University procedures and regulations to Student Experience Committee. May refer issues to other University committees as appropriate


Two full meetings per year; up to three sub-meetings to discuss particular topics or themes


All members may propose agenda items. One third of the membership must be present for a meeting to be quorate.

3. Research Strategy Committee

3.1  Remit

To provide strategic leadership on all matters associated with the University’s research endeavour and associated knowledge exchange activities, to establish and review policies, strategies, and procedures that promote best practice in research and doctorate registration, education, supervision and examination, and that ensure that research conducted in the University complies with appropriate ethical standards.

3.2 Term of Reference 

The Committee has delegated authority to:

  • Develop and evaluate the Research and Knowledge Exchange Strategy, and agree an annual action plan for its delivery in line with the objectives of the University’s strategic plan to build capacity and capability in areas of niche distinctiveness;
  • Develop mechanisms that foster a multidisciplinary research environment and promote the generation of research income and knowledge transfer;
  • Review and evaluate School, Institute and Centre research and knowledge exchange performance against strategic objectives and targets;
  • Establish and implement effective mechanisms for the allocation of funds in support of University’s research and knowledge exchange activities;
  • Develop, implement and evaluate Codes of Practice for research and knowledge exchange, to include the Research Code of Practice, Research Degrees Code of Practice, the Framework for Research Governance, the University’s Guidelines on Ethics related to research, and the Concordat for Contract Research Staff;
  • Develop and oversee the University’s submission to future frameworks for research assessment;
  • Develop and evaluate policies, regulations and procedures that assure and enhance the quality and standard of research degrees and professional doctorates, to include the nomination of examiners and the ratification of examiners’ recommendations for award;
  • Determine the ethical propriety of such research projects referred to it and provide advice to researchers and supervisors on the ethical propriety of their research; and
  • Submit minutes of its meetings and annual performance indicators to Senate.

3.3 Membership

Convener :

  •  Deputy Principal


  • Dean, Arts Social Sciences and Management


  • Dean, Health Sciences
  • University Secretary
  • Director of Centre for Academic Practice Head of the Graduate School
  • Research Centre Directors
  • Convener of the Research Ethics Panel Head of Research and KE Development Unit Head of Research
  • Grants and Contracts Unit

Nominated : 

Two members of academic staff who are actively involved in research from each Division and one from IGHD - this total is inclusive of Research Centre Directors
Two doctoral candidates elected by the Doctoral Candidates’ Association

Co-opted :

Up to four co-opted members

Secretary : 

Secretary to be appointed by the University Secretary

Frequency : 

Minimum 5 times per academic year

3.4 Research Ethics Panel

3.4.1 Remit

The Research Ethics Panel (REP) will be responsible for reviewing and approving research ethics applications remitted from Heads of Division. In addition to this, the Panel will debate and make recommendations to the Research Strategy Committee on proposed changes to Research Ethics guidelines, as and when they are needed.

3.4.2 Conduct of Business

The majority of Panel business is managed virtually, but the Panel also meets face-to- face at least once a year. There is an option to call meetings at any time where it is considered that applications merit face to face discussion, or where changes to the Research Ethics guidelines are proposed. Meetings may be called in exceptional circumstances, such as to discuss particularly difficult ethical applications, or in cases where changes to regulations are proposed. Meetings must be proposed to the Convener and the calling of a meeting will be at the Convener’s discretion. In order to pass judgement on issues, meetings must be quorate, which would require four members to be present.

3.4.3 Membership

Convener :

Member of RSC, appointed by RSC Convener

Academic staff :

Six from each School – members must be research active and aware of the ethical considerations necessary in order to conduct research.


Member of staff from GQE

3.5 Graduate School Academic Board Remit

3.5.1 Remit

The purpose of the Graduate School Academic Board is to provide an institution level forum for consistent decision making on matters relating to the Doctoral student journey. The Board may make recommendations for enhancement of the quality framework governing the Doctoral student journey, based on evaluation of reports and individual student cases.

3.5.2 Terms of Reference

The Graduate School Academic Board has authority from the Research Strategy Committee as set out below:

PhD and Professional Doctorate students

Delegated powers to approve:

  • The appointment of supervisory teams for new students and any subsequent changes to the composition of the supervisory team;
  • Applications for prior credit;
  • Requests to suspend studies;
  • Examination arrangements, including any exceptional arrangements, for example permission to hold the viva at a location other than QMU and permission to exceed the word limit;
  • Requests to submit early and requests to extend the submission deadline, either for the viva or amendments thereafter
  • Requests to restrict publications on theses;
  • Requests for change from part-time to full-time study, or vice versa; and
  • Requests for change from campus based to non-resident status, or vice versa.

The Board will also make recommendation to the RSC on:

  • Doctoral Awards on the basis of External Examiners’ reports;
  • Student de-registration on grounds set out in the regulations; and
  • The provision of appropriate resources and facilities arising from its review of operational matters.

Professional Doctorate Students

Delegated powers to:

  • Agree the assessment schedule;
  • Approve changes to modules;
  • Monitor quality and approve the annual programme report, including module

    evaluations; and

  • Approve extensions to the maximum period of registration.

PhD students

Delegated powers to:

  • Approve outline proposals including confirmation that adequate resources are in place;
  • Approve assessment panel recommendations on probationary viva outcomes;
  • Approve assessment panel recommendations on assessment seminar outcomes; and
  • Approve requests for extension to the submission deadline for outline proposals, probationary viva and assessment seminars.

Reports and reporting lines

The Board will:

  • Consider an annual summary of all Doctoral student activity, monitoring provision against internal and external indicators in line with Chapter B11 of the QAA Quality Code;
  • Consider periodic reports (generated through ISIS) on the status of all Doctoral students to maintain oversight of progress and identify any trends;
  • Review a summary of student and supervisor progress reports and make recommendations to the RSC for addressing issues of concern, factors to aid student progress or issues pertaining to supervisor/student relationships;
  • Remit particular issues for discussion and/or review by standing Committees of Senate or of Court as appropriate;
  • Receive and consider minutes of Professional Doctorate Programme Committee meetings;
  • Receive and homologate the mid-year Professional Doctorate exam board results
  • Submit relevant minutes to the Health Sciences and Arts, Social Sciences and Management School Academic Boards;
  • Act and advise on issues remitted to it by other Committees of Senate and Court; and
  • Submit minutes of its face-to-face meetings, and other key papers, including all award and de-registration recommendations to the Research Strategy Committee.

3.5.3 Membership


Head of Graduate School


To be appointed from the membership of the Board


Postgraduate School Co-ordinators

Professional Doctorate Programme Leader

Lecturer in Research Development and Support

Doctoral Candidates’ Association Co-Chairs


Six nominated research active staff with experience of Doctoral supervision and/or examination from each School


Graduate Academic Administration

4. School Academic Boards

4.1  Remit

The purpose of the Academic Board shall be to provide a forum at School level for the discussion, review and promotion of School specific objectives and strategies; the receipt, discussion and implementation of University wide strategies, policies, and procedures and discussion and approval of agreed School specific business.

4.2 Terms of Reference

The School Academic Board shall:

  • Promote, monitor and evaluate the strategic development of all areas of the School’s academic operation, to include learning and teaching, research and commercialisation, collaborative partnerships and internationalisation;
  • Promote best practice across the full range of its academic activities, to include quality enhancement of teaching, learning and research, the student learning experience, the promotion of interdisciplinary programmes and the development and promotion of a supportive research culture for staff and students;
  • Receive, discuss and make recommendations to the Dean of School concerning the School Strategic Operational Plan;
  • Receive annual programme monitoring reports and report on action taken and issues arising to the relevant committees of Senate;

4.3 Membership


Dean of School


School Manager


Heads of Division or equivalent


Programme Leaders [to be determined by the School in proportion to portfolio of programmes];
Members of academic staff to represent each subject area within the School [to be determined by the School in proportion to the number of subject areas and the maximum number of nominated members];

Student Representatives x 3

Co-opted :

Up to four members [to be determined by the School and may include representatives from the other Schools as agreed with the Dean concerned]

In attendance: 

Head of Information and Learning Services or nominee

Head of Governance and Quality Enhancement or nominee

Nominee from Centre for Academic Practice

Nominee from Finance

Nominee from Admissions and Recruitment


The School Academic Board will meet at least four times a year.