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The University is an independent corporation whose legal status derives from a Royal Charter granted in 1905. Its objectives, powers and governance framework are set out in the Charter and its supporting Statutes. The University's Charter requires the existence of the following bodies:

The Council

The University's Council is the governing body of the University, responsible for the strategic development and overall performance of the University's business.

Council membership comprises lay and academic persons appointed under the Statutes of the University, the majority of whom are non-executive. Much of the work of Council is carried out through formally constituted committees.

The minutes of Council meetings are available on the Council web page.

The Senate

The Senate is the academic authority, whose role is to direct and regulate the teaching and research work of the University.

Its membership is drawn mainly from the academic staff of the University. Much of the work of Senate is carried out through formally constituted committees.

The minutes of Senate meetings are available on the Senate web page.

The Faculties

The University's five faculties are responsible for teaching, research and examining of subjects within departments and for regulating admission of students to them.

Faculties also make recommendations to the Senate on the award of degrees, fellowships and prizes as well as on academic staff appointments and promotions.

Officers of the University

As well as requiring the existence of the above bodies, the Charter also requires there to be a number of specific Officers:

The Chancellor is formally the lay head of the University and attends on a number of special occasions, including degree ceremonies. Other lay officers comprise the Pro-Chancellors, one of whom acts as Chair of Council, and the Treasurer.
The Vice-Chancellor, assisted by a deputy Vice-Chancellor and seven Pro-Vice-Chancellors, is the chief academic and executive officer of the University. He is Chair of Senate, is responsible for the executive management of the University and is accountable to Council for the exercise of these functions. The Vice-Chancellor undertakes his responsibilities for the operational running of the University with the support of senior executive colleagues who meet weekly as the University Executive Board.

For the session 2015-16 the Officers of the University are:

Chancellor The Right Honourable Lady Justice Rafferty, DBE
Chair of Council/Pro-Chancellor Mr Tony Pedder
Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Keith Burnett
Pro-Chancellor Mrs Sarah Harkness
Treasurer Mr David Young
Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Shearer West
Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Research & Innovation Professor Richard Jones
Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Learning and Teaching Professor Wyn Morgan
Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Faculty of Arts & Humanities Professor Jackie Labbe
Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Faculty of Engineering Professor Mike Hounslow
Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry & Health Professor Tony Weetman
Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Faculty of Science Professor Tony Ryan
Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Faculty of Social Sciences Professor Gill Valentine
The University Secretary Dr Andrew West