Congregation

  • Thursday 4 October 2012
  • NO. 5000
  • VOL. 143

Congregation8 October

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Congregation9 October

2 pm

¶ No notice of opposition having been given and no request for adjournment having been received, Mr Vice-Chancellor will declare the legislative proposals at 1–4 and the resolutions at 5 and 6 below carried at the meeting under the provisions of Sect 7 (1) of Statute IV.

(1) Voting on Legislative Proposal: Statute VIII: Boards of Visitors of the University Museums and the Oxford University Museums Board

(For explanatory note and text of legislative proposal see Gazette No 4997, 19 July 2012, p 641.)

(2) Voting on Legislative Proposal: Douglas Byrne Marconi Fund

(For explanatory note and text of legislative proposal see Gazette No 4997, 19 July 2012, p 642.)

(3) Voting on Legislative Proposal: Prendergast Fund

(For explanatory note and text of legislative proposal see Gazette No 4997, 19 July 2012, p 643.)

(4) Voting on Legislative Proposal: Statute I: definition of the terms 'person' and 'member' in the context of committee membership

(For explanatory note and text of legislative proposal see Gazette No 4997, 19 July 2012, p 643.)

(5) Voting on changes to Congregation Regulations 3 of 2002: entry of names for degree ceremonies

(For explanatory note and text of regulations see Gazette No 4997, 19 July 2012, p 643.)

(6) Voting on changes to Congregation Regulations 3 of 2002: degree ceremony attendance

(For explanatory note and text of regulations see Gazette No 4997, 19 July 2012, p 644.)

(7) Question and Reply

G P Tapsell, Fellow of Lady Margaret Hall, and R Lewis, Fellow of St Hugh's, to ask Council:

'Given that radical and potentially irreversible changes are taking place in Oxford's historic libraries, notably the Old Library and Radcliffe Camera, what steps will Council take to do as the Resolution of Congregation of May 2005 required, and procure "that the Curators of the University Libraries present to Congregation a full report on their plans for reorganisation of the University's libraries in the short, medium and long-term"; and will it present this report as a Green Paper to Congregation early in Michaelmas Term?'

The following reply to the above question has been approved by Council:

'Council notes that the question raises the important issues of consultation and communication between the Curators of the University Libraries and Congregation, which are especially necessary in times of rapid changes in provision.

The last five years have seen a period of unprecedented change in libraries worldwide as a result of the transformations of the information age. The Bodleian Libraries themselves are undergoing significant change while at the same time they have reduced their dependence on University and HEFCE funding.

Council notes that the Curators already undertake considerable consultation on important decisions regarding Library strategy, and that it is always possible to improve the means and processes by which such consultation takes place.

It notes also that Curators of the University Libraries review and approve policy and strategic plans for the Bodleian Libraries and encourage consultation on policies at the local and University level. Council notes also that the Curators have provided regular updates on the strategic direction and implementation of changes in the Library, based on consultation with academic staff and students. (The most recent of these updates can be found at www.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/notices/updates-strategic-direction-bodleian-libraries, along with responses to the 2005 Resolution.)

The Curators of the University Libraries will provide a report on the short-term plans for the Libraries in Michaelmas term 2012. Bodley's Librarian is organising a series of meetings in the coming weeks for members of Congregation to learn about and contribute to the Bodleian's plans. Since many people are likely to be away during the Long Vacation, there will also be town meetings and small group sessions scheduled at the beginning of Michaelmas term.

The Curators are also currently undertaking a number of actions that will inform the next revision of the Libraries strategy affecting the medium- and long-term plans. Among these are two key activities.

First, a joint working group of the Humanities Division and the Bodleian has initiated consideration of the Humanities Library provision in the context of changes in planning for the ROQ site. The working group will consult and discuss widely in Michaelmas and Hilary terms.

Second, work is underway to renew the strategic aims for the Libraries in alignment with the revision of the University Strategic Plan. Key stakeholders from the academic staff across all divisions, students and other readers have already been consulted, and this will result in a draft Libraries plan, upon which wider consultation across Library users, including Congregation, will take place in Michaelmas term.

Curators will provide a paper to Council on progress on these strategic planning activities in Michaelmas term, and a full report on long-term plans following the consultations that will take place in 2012–13.

One of the key roles of the Curators is the assurance of good communications with all members of the collegiate University, as well as with other Library users. Clearly, the question and other letters from members of the University community to the Curators show that more and different forms of communication are required. Consequently, Curators will review their communications strategies during Michaelmas term. They will include in this communications plan further opportunities for members of Congregation to contribute to the development of Library strategies and priorities. Council has asked the Curators of the University Libraries to submit a report on their revised communications plan following their meeting in 7th week of Michaelmas term. 

By these actions, the Curators of the University Libraries will provide short-, medium- and long-term reports on the plans of the University Libraries in the coming academic year, and they will also undertake to develop a communications plan that will provide effective and timely information on Library policy development and strategic direction. Consultation with users of the University Libraries is a critical element in the development of policy and strategy and readers are encouraged to contribute to this process over the vacation and during Michaelmas term in the ways outlined above.'

¶ Arrangements for the meeting

The meeting will be held at 2 pm on Tuesday, 9 October, in the Sheldonian Theatre. Attendance at the meeting is open to members of Congregation and to nominated representatives of the Oxford University Student Union (OUSU) as agreed in advance by the Vice-Chancellor. Admittance to the Theatre will be on the production of a valid University card and will be on a first-come, first-served basis. The doors of the Sheldonian Theatre will open at 1.45 pm.

Under the provisions of Part 5 of Congregation Regulations 2 of 2002, the reply to the question above shall be read in Congregation; no debate shall be permitted upon the reply, but at the Chairman's discretion supplementary questions may be asked to elucidate the reply given.

Congregation13 November

2 pm

The libraries and their future: topic for discussion

Members of Congregation may be aware from the Congregation webpages that a resolution concerning the libraries was received by the Registrar on 6 July 2012 (the text of the resolution can be found at www.ox.ac.uk/congregation-meeting).

As indicated in the most recent Council briefing note from the Vice-Chancellor (www.admin.ox.ac.uk/council/201112/vcbriefingforcouncilmeetingon9july2012), it had been planned to put the resolution on the agenda of the Congregation meeting on 16 October (week 2). However, following discussion with representatives acting on behalf of the signatories and subsequently at Council, it has been agreed that the proposed debate should be replaced by a Congregation Discussion on the topic of 'The libraries and their future'. This Discussion will take place at the Congregation meeting on 13 November (week 6); further details about the arrangements will follow.

As a consequence of this agreement, the resolution received on 6 July 2012 shall lapse, in accordance with regulation 3.21 of Congregation Regulations 2 of 2002 (www.admin.ox.ac.uk/statutes/regulations/529-122a.shtml#_Toc28141440). Finally, for the avoidance of any confusion, the Congregation meeting of 9 October, at which the Question and Reply concerning the libraries will be read out, will take place as planned.

Note on procedures in Congregation

¶ Business in Congregation is conducted in accordance with Congregation Regulations 2 of 2002 (www.admin.ox.ac.uk/statutes/regulations/529-122.shtml). A printout of these regulations, or of any statute or other regulations, is available from the Council Secretariat on request. A member of Congregation seeking advice on questions relating to its procedures, other than elections, should contact Mr P Burns at the University Offices, Wellington Square (telephone: (2)70193; email: paul.burns@admin.ox.ac.uk); questions relating to elections should be directed to the Elections Officer, Ms S L Stacey (telephone: (2)80463; email: elections.office@ox.ac.uk).