The University Council
On this page:
- The Vice-Chancellor
- Committees of the Council
- Governance Documents
- Constitution of Council
The governing body of the University is the Victoria University Council, established under section 165 of the Education Act 1989. The Functions and Powers of the Council are consistent with those prescribed in the Education Act 1989, sections 180, 181 and 192.
The Council's key functions are:
- To appoint a chief executive in accordance with the State Sector Act 1988, and to monitor and evaluate his or her performance;
- To prepare and submit a proposed plan if the institution is seeking funding under a funding mechanism that provides for funding via plans;
- If the institution has a plan,
a) to ensure that the institution is managed in accordance with that plan; and
b) to determine the policies to implement that plan;
- To determine, subject to the State Sector Act 1988, the policies of the institution in relation to the management of its affairs;
- To undertake planning relating to the institution's long-term strategic direction.
The Chancellor of the University chairs the Council.
The Education Act 1989 assigns the Vice-Chancellor, as Chief Executive of the University, with the academic and administrative management of the institution. The State Sector Act 1988 designates the Vice-Chancellor as the employer of all staff.
The University Council has appointed, under section 193 of the Education Act 1989, specific committees, each with terms of reference. These committees advise Council on matters relating to audit and risk, finance, governance, the appraisal of the Vice-Chancellor, the University’s relationship with Māori communities, disciplinary appeals, and the awarding of Honorary Degrees and Hunter Fellowships.
The Academic Board, established under sections 182(2), 193 and 194 of the Education Act 1989, advises Council on matters relating to courses of study, awards, and other academic matters. The board may also exercise powers delegated to it by Council and the Vice-Chancellor under sections 222 and 197 of the Education Act 1989.
Strategic Plan and Investment Plan
The Council is responsible for approving the University’s Strategic Plan; the overarching governance document which defines the University’s mission, values and commitments to the Treaty of Waitangi. The Council is also responsible preparing and submitting an Investment Plan in order to seek government funding.
The Investment Plan is an articulation of how the goals in the Strategic Plan will be achieved. It is the responsibility of the Council to ensure that the University is managed in accordance with that plan, by determining the policies for its implementation.
The Annual Budget identifies the projected revenue, and operating and capital expenditures required to achieve the implementation of the Investment Plan in a calendar year. It is the responsibility of Council to approve the Annual Budget for each ensuing year.
Included in the Annual Report are the University’s financial statements, and the Statement of Service Performance (SSP) which reports against performance measures specified in the Investment Plan. The Council approves the Annual Report.
The constitution of Council, originally promulgated in the University of Victoria notice 1990 pursuant to section 168 of the Education Amendment Act 1990 [The New Zealand Gazette, Issue No. 159 of 13 September 1990], was amended in 2010. The amendment was approved by the Minister of Tertiary Education [The New Zealand Gazette, Issue No.61 of 3 June 2010].
The Officers of the Council are the Chancellor, the Pro-Chancellor (Deputy Chair), the Chair of the Finance Committee and the Vice-Chancellor. The composition of the Victoria University Council is:
- Four persons appointed by the Minister of Education.
- The Vice-Chancellor of Victoria University of Wellington.
- Three permanent members of the academic staff of the University, one at least of whom shall be a Professor of the University and one at least of whom shall not be a Professor, elected by the permanent members of that staff in accordance with the VUW Council Elections Statute.
- One permanent member of the general staff of the University elected by the permanent members of the staff in accordance with the VUW Council Elections Statute.
- Two persons who are or have been students of Victoria University of Wellington appointed by the Executive for the time being of the Victoria University of Wellington Students' Association.
- One person appointed by the Council of Victoria University of Wellington after consultation with the central organisation of employers within the meaning of the Labour Relations Act 1987.
- One person appointed by the Council of Victoria University of Wellington after consultation with the central organisation of workers within the meaning of the Labour Relations Act 1987.
- Four persons being graduates of the Victoria University of Wellington or of any University in New Zealand, to be elected by the Court of Convocation for the University in accordance with the VUW Council Elections Statute.
- Three persons co-opted by the Council of Victoria University of Wellington.
- What does the Chancellor do?
- What is a Pro-Chancellor?
- What is the Court of Convocation?
- What is the register of the Court of Convocation?
As Chair of the University Council, the Chancellor is responsible for providing leadership to Council in the execution and review of its governance responsibilities. The Chancellor represents the Council at meetings concerned with governance issues across the sector (e.g. Chancellors' meetings, meetings with representatives of government) and provides advice and support to the Vice-Chancellor. The Chancellor is also typically the spokesperson for Council and the University on governance issues.
The Chancellor is elected by the Council, holds office for one year and is eligible for re-election.
As Chair of Council, the Chancellor:
- convenes Council meetings;
- when presiding at a meeting, has a deliberative vote on any question and, on any question where the deliberative votes for and against are equal, the Chancellor also has a casting vote;
- convenes or is a member of committees or working parties of Council as deemed appropriate;
- convenes meetings of the Officers of Council as and when required;
- attends meetings of the NZ Chancellors; and
- is a Trustee of the Victoria University of Wellington Foundation (ex officio).
As Ceremonial Head of the University, the Chancellor:
- presides at the Graduation Ceremonies of the University and, on behalf of the Council, confers the degrees; and
- represents the University at corporate and cultural functions.
The Pro-Chancellor is the Chancellor's deputy in governance and ceremonial roles and, on occasion as required, acts on the Chancellor's behalf. The Pro-Chancellor is Deputy Chair of the University Council, elected by the Council, holds office for one year and is eligible for re-election.
If the Chancellor is not present at a meeting of Council or if there is no Chancellor, the Deputy Chair presides at the meeting and has all the powers and functions of the Chancellor for the purpose of the meeting.
- is an Officer of Council;
- deputises for the Chancellor as the Ceremonial Head of the University;
- is a member ex officio of the Audit Committee, the Finance Committee and the Governance Committee; and
- represents the University at corporate and cultural functions.
The Court of Convocation was established under The Victoria University of Wellington Act 1961 s.4., and is the body of graduates eligible to make nominations and to vote in the University Council Elections.
All graduates of Victoria University of Wellington and persons who, not being graduates, voted in one or both of the two preceding contested elections, are eligible to be members of the Court.
The Court of Convocation is responsible for electing four of the 20 members that make up the University Council. Elections for these positions are held every two years. The next ordinary election to elect two Court of Convocation members will be held in 2012.
Members must be on the active role of the Court of Convocation Register in order to receive voting papers, and to make a nomination or stand for election.
The Secretary to the Court of Convocation is the Secretary to Council.
The Register is maintained in two rolls, active and inactive.
The active roll of the Register lists those members who:
- Voted at the last preceding contested ordinary election (2010)
- Voted at the penultimate contested ordinary election (2008), or
- Have had their names enrolled in the Register since the penultimate election. (All new graduates of the University since 2000 have been automatically enrolled in the Register.)
- Have applied, in writing to the Secretary, requesting that their names be included in the active section of the Register.
The inactive roll of the Register lists those members who have not exercised their right to vote in an election since 2002.
To check your eligibility and voting status, please contact the alumni Office, VUW, PO Box 600, Wellington, or email giving your full name (and name at graduation if different), your postal and email addresses, degree(s) and date(s) of graduation if known. If your name is not listed, or is listed on the inactive roll of the Register, and you wish to receive voting papers for the election, you should apply in writing to the Secretary of the Court of Convocation, Victoria University of Wellington, PO Box 600, Wellington, or email.