Frequently asked questions about the management and structure of academic activity at Victoria University.
On this page:
- What is a Faculty?
- What is a Pro Vice-Chancellor (PVC)?
- What is a Dean?
- What is an Assistant Vice-Chancellor (AVC)?
- What is the University's Academic Board?
- What is Toihuarewa?
- What is a Head of School?
- How is a new course, programme or degree approved and put in place?
- How do academic decisions get made?
- Where do Centres and Institutes fit into the University?
In 2001 the University changed its structure. Faculties are now concerned solely with academic matters relating to qualifications offered by the Faculty. Faculty members comprise all academic staff who research or teach within the relevant disciplines, irrespective of the School, Centre or Institute within which they work. Each Faculty is headed by a Dean.
Students enrol in qualifications offered by a Faculty, although the specific courses which make up each qualification are taught through Schools and other teaching and learning entities which report to a Pro Vice-Chancellor.
A Pro Vice-Chancellor (PVC) is a senior academic leader of the University who also has senior strategic University-wide management responsibilities. Each PVC oversees a number of Heads of School and may oversee a specific Central Service Unit or have a University-wide area of responsibility. The PVC manages staff directly reporting to the office of the PVC.
Victoria has seven PVCs, six of whom are responsible for either:
- government relations;
- international relations; or
- Māori/iwi relations.
PVCs are members of the Senior Management Team (SMT) and report to the Vice-Chancellor. A Pro Vice-Chancellor is different from a Pro-Chancellor.
Deans provide academic leadership within a Faculty. Each Faculty is the guardian of programmes (degrees, diplomas and other qualifications) in which students enrol. Each Faculty has a Faculty Office which supports the Dean. The Dean chairs the relevant Faculty Board which is a sub-committee of the Academic Board. At Victoria, the role of Dean is held by senior managers who are also Pro Vice-Chancellors. However, the two roles are distinct.
Victoria has three Assistant Vice-Chancellors - the AVC (Academic), the AVC (Pasifika) and the AVC (Research).
The AVC (Academic) is responsible for University-wide academic policy and is the line manager for the Director of the University Teaching Development Centre and reports to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic).
The AVC (Pasifika) also reports to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) and is responsible for the further development and leadership of Victoria’s plans and programmes to improve participation, retention and the academic success of Pacific students.
The AVC (Research) has responsibility for a team of portfolio managers as well as initiatives to increase the University's share of external research funding. The AVC (Research) reports to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research).
Victoria's Academic Board advises the Council on matters relating to courses of study, awards, and other academic matters, and exercises powers delegated by the Council and the Vice-Chancellor. In so doing, the Board honours and promotes the University's purpose, roles and responsibilities as specified in the Education Act and the Victoria University of Wellington's Investment Plan. The Board's Convenor is the Vice-Chancellor.
The membership, functions and powers of the Academic Board are defined in the Academic Board Statute, available on the University’s Policy page. For further information about the Academic Board visit Academic Office, which provides administrative support to Academic Board.
Toihuarewa is an expression of the University's commitment to the Treaty of Waitangi. As a sub-committee of the Academic Board, its main focus is on Māori learning, Māori teaching and Māori research. It provides a Māori perspective and a Māori voice on academic issues, and operates from a base of tikanga and kaupapa Māori. Its meetings are held on the University's Te Herenga Waka Marae.
The convenor of Toihuarewa is the Toiahurei, who is also the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Māori).
The PVC (Māori) is charged with ensuring appropriate strategies and policies are introduced and monitored to develop Victoria's partnership with Māori. The PVC (Māori) provides advice to, and acts on behalf of, the Vice-Chancellor and Chancellor, and actively promotes the development of policy as it relates to Māori, including providing leadership in Māori academic development in teaching and research. The PVC (Māori) reports directly to the Vice-Chancellor and has responsibility for the Manager of Te Herenga Waka Marae and the Tumuaki (Head of School) of Te Kawa a Māui, the School of Māori, Pacific & Samoan Studies.
All Māori academics may elect to become members of Toihuarewa, and non-Māori academics teaching papers or undertaking research with a significant Māori content may be invited to be part of Toihuarewa. Members also include iwi representation from Te Āti Awa and Ngāti Toa. Māori students are represented through their association, Ngāi Tauira.
Victoria University has 27 Schools, each of which has an academic Head. The role of each Head of School is to provide academic and management leadership to the School. This involves strategic planning, managing the people and resources of the School and management of teaching and research programmes, including quality assurance. The Head of School is a member of the Pro Vice-Chancellor's Management Team, Faculty Board and Academic Board.
In general, the following process is followed when introducing a new course or programme at Victoria University.
Firstly, the Head of School or another member of a School may have an idea for a new course or programme. This may be in relation to student demand or the strategic direction of the University. The idea is first discussed at School level, and a preliminary proposal developed.
The Senior Management Team (SMT) considers preliminary proposals for all new programmes involving significant resources, and decides if the new programme is a sound direction for the University to be taking. This step is omitted for proposals (such as new courses or restructuring of existing programmes) that do not involve significant resources.
The School, assisted by the Faculty Office, then prepares a full proposal, justifying why it is an appropriate development, and identifying the resources required to support it. The proposal is then considered by a number of committees, each of which may require the School to amend or reconsider any aspects that are not satisfactory.
The first of these committees is the Faculty Academic Committee where the proposal is normally examined in detail before being forwarded to the Faculty Board for consideration.
If the new programme involves or affects other Faculties, those Faculty Boards are also given opportunity to consider the proposal.
Schools are encouraged to discuss proposals with Toihuarewa as they are being developed to ensure that issues of concern to Māori are fully considered. In particular, Toihuarewa representatives on Faculty Boards have a role in facilitating this discussion.
Once Faculty-level agreement has been reached, the proposal goes to the Academic Committee and to Toihuarewa. Both of these committees provide a report to accompany the proposal to the University Academic Board.
The Academic Board gives final approval for new courses and other relatively minor changes to existing programmes.
Approval of new programmes and significant restructuring of existing ones requires further steps. In order to complete the internal approval process, proposals involving resources go back to SMT with detailed financial information for final resource approval. All proposals are then considered by the Council Committee on Course Statutes which has delegated authority to approve these proposals on behalf of University Council.
The final step is to submit the proposals to the Committee on University Academic Programmes (CUAP), a subcommittee of the New Zealand Vice-Chancellors' Committee (NZVCC). This is one of two bodies (the other being NZQA) given authority under the Education Act to approve new tertiary programmes in New Zealand.
CUAP accepts proposals from all New Zealand universities twice each year - Round 1 and Round 2 proposals are submitted on 1 May and 1 September respectively. All proposals are then distributed to all other universities for comment and, once any necessary clarification or amendment has been made, submitted for approval. Normally in each round, a number of proposals are not approved during this e-mail discussion. These are discussed further when CUAP meets, and either approved or turned down, in which case the proposing university has the option of reworking the proposal for submission to a future CUAP round.
Once approved by CUAP, the University can offer the new programme immediately.
Changes to existing academic programmes (such as changing subject requirements or the mode of delivery) go through a similar approval process.
The level of any academic decision to be made determines where in the University it will be addressed. For example, some academic decisions may be made by individual academics, others at Faculty Board level, while others require consideration by the Academic Board.
About 50 Centres and Institutes are an integral part of Victoria University. These units provide a focus for particular areas of research interest and expertise. A number of applied research centres have recently been established at Victoria, along with a Government-funded Centre of Research Excellence: the MacDiarmid Institute for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology.