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THELMA MARY HOLT, St Catherine's College
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10 March 2 p.m.
17 March 2 p.m.
¶ Members of Congregation are reminded that written notice of any proposed amendment to, or intention to vote against, the following general resolution, signed by at least two members of Congregation, must be given to the Registrar by noon on Monday, 2 March (see the Guide to Procedures in Congregation cited in the note at the end of `University Agenda').
Council and the General Board have also agreed that there are two key issues in the report which require early attention. These are Chapters 46 on university governance and Chapter 7 on academic appointments. Council and the Board have set up a joint working party to give initial consideration to Chapters 4--6 (comprising Mr Vice-Chancellor, the Chairman of the General Board, the Principal of Linacre, the Principal of St Anne's, Professor R.J. Cashmore, Dr K.A. Fleming, Professor A.S. Goudie, and Dr R.C.S. Walker), and have agreed that there should be a joint working party between the General Board and the colleges (under the chairmanship of the Chairman of the Board) to give initial consideration to Chapter 7. The first Congregation debates on the report will be held on the Tuesdays of Eighth and Ninth Weeks, 10 and 17 March, and it is the intention that these debates should inform the discussions of the two working parties.
In order to give some structure to the debates, that on 10 March will be primarily devoted to:
(a) Chapter 3 (objectives, structure, size and shape);
(b) Chapters 4--6 (governance); and
(c) Chapter 12 (resources in the collegiate University).
That on 17 March will be primarily devoted to:
(a) Chapter 7 (academic appointments);
(b) Chapters 8--10 (teaching and learning with specific regard to quality assurance, undergraduate education, and graduate education); and
(c) Chapter 11 (the organisation of research).
Mr Vice-Chancellor intends to limit each meeting to two and a half hours, and asks each speaker to restrict his or her remarks to a maximum length of five minutes.
Members of Congregation who wish to speak in these debates are asked in so far as possible to let Mr Vice-Chancellor know of that, by at latest the Thursday of the week before the meeting concerned, and to inform him of the particular topics which they wish to address. Any member of Congregation will, however, be free to speak, whether or not such notice has been given.
The report covers many important issues, which will involve wide consultation within the University, including a range of university committees, faculty boards, departments, the Conference of Colleges, the Committee of Senior Tutors, the Estates Bursars' Committee, and others. Informed by the discussion on 17 March, the General Board will consider the substance of the recommendations in the report on teaching and learning (Chapters 810) and on the organisation and support of research (Chapter 11) under its existing processes, pending decisions on the possible establishment of new arrangements for governance. It is recognised that faculty boards and departments are heavily engaged during Hilary Term in a major exercise of academic planning, and Council and the General Board have decided that it would therefore be better for them to be consulted in Trinity Term. The issues raised in Chapter 12 (resources in the collegiate University) are being referred to the Conference of Colleges in the first instance, and the College Accounts and College Contributions Committees will also need to be involved in further consultation. In general the major process of consultation with colleges and all relevant bodies within the University will take place during Trinity Term. It is the expectation of Council and the General Board that the first major proposed changes in legislation will be drafted for consideration by Congregation during Michaelmas Term 1998. All changes in university legislation are subject, either explicitly or implicitly, to the approval of Congregation.
Any members of Congregation (or other members of the University or members of staff of the University) wishing to comment in writing on any aspect of the report of the Commission, and especially on the chapters which are the subject of initial consultations, i.e. governance and academic appointments, are invited to send their views to Mr Vice-Chancellor.
The general resolution set out below asks Congregation to take note of the report of the Commission. This is a `technical' device to enable the debates on 10 and 17 March to be held. The intention is that there should be a free and wide-ranging discussion of the issues raised in the report.
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