Members are given a general understanding of City’s academic offer through an induction process. This currently consists of arrangements involving a mix of these elements:
- An initial meeting with the Secretary;
- Reading. A list of the reading material with a core consisting of:
- Vision and Strategy 2026
- Sets of Annual Statements and Accounts
- Recent Committee papers - for Council and any Committees in which the new member might serve
- An induction paper on academic quality and standards
- A range of further introductory meetings – with the Vice-Chancellor, the Chief Financial Officer, and other members of the Executive Team; Attendance as an observer at meetings of Senate;
- Training, for example, on the HE sector including courses provided by the Leadership Foundation.
- Members have also had a presentation on academic standards and quality assurance that defined the various terms used and gave a high-level description of the roles, responsibilities, and processes in place.
City University is unusual in the sector since under its revised Charter, Senate is established as a formal Committee of the Council. Council has delegated responsibility for standards and quality matters to Senate (which in turn has delegated much to the President). In that context, academic performance is considered by Council via an annual assurance report from Senate. This is a comprehensive document which this year will reflects the template suggested for annual reporting on academic quality and standards recently proposed by the CUC. The report sets out the various activities of Senate which also gives details of work undertaken by the Executive related to quality and standards under powers delegated from Council to the President; and an action plan on quality and standards for the next year. Four executive members of Council are ex-officio members of Senate. The Student Union President is a member of Council and a member of Senate. Council receives minutes of all Senate meetings and some of the papers presented to Senate are also sent to Council for information.
Additionally, lay members of Council have taken it in turn to attend meetings of Senate as observers. Meetings also take place between the Chair and Deputy Chair of Council, together with the President and lay members of Council, with groups of students and staff each term, at which a wide range of issues, including aspects of the student academic experience, have been discussed. There is academic expertise on the Council, with one Board member a retired VC.
City’s Council holds three ‘Plenary Dinners’ a year, on the evening prior to meetings of Council. These dinners are attended by all members of Council, the Deans of the five Schools at City, and by City’s Senior Elected Senator plus one other elected Senator (chosen by the Senior Elected Senator). These dinners enable longer consideration of issues of interest to Council but where formal decisions are not required. Topics covered have included academic quality and standards and the Teaching Excellence Framework. External speakers are sometimes invited to these Dinners from bodies such as HEFCE or UCAS.