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Terms of Reference (Council approved) - Graduate Research Subcommittee - Annex A to the University Research Committee Terms of Reference

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Section 1 - Overview

Graduate Research Subcommittee

(1) The Graduate Research Subcommittee is established as a subcommittee of the University Research Committee.

(2) This Annex to the Terms of Reference of the University Research Committee prescribes the following:

  1. the members and observers of the Graduate Research Subcommittee, and the members' method and term of appointment;
  2. the functions and terms of reference of the Graduate Research Subcommittee, and
  3. other matters in connection with the Graduate Research Subcommittee and its operation.

(3) The provisions of this Annex take effect under the authority of Council.

(4) The delegation of Council powers under this Annex are actions authorised under Section 17 of the UNE Act.


(5) The Graduate Research Subcommittee functions as an academic governance and management advisory body, supporting the Academic Board and University Research Committee in relation to the following:

  1. the design, development, approval, statutory compliance, standards (threshold, admissions, discipline, assessment and qualifications), monitoring, review, revision and accreditation of the University's (HDR) programs of study (awards) and pathways;
  2. academic rules, policies, procedures and guidelines to assure the quality of the design, approval, admissions, compliance, monitoring and review of the University's HDR awards, HDR supervision, research training and the research student experience;
  3. proposals for new, amended and disestablished HDR awards;
  4. admissions and candidature progress, and the award of higher degrees by research;
  5. matters relating to HDR supervisors and HDR supervision;
  6. the allocation of Australian Postgraduate Awards and other major research postgraduate scholarships, and
  7. policies and procedures relating to research training and the research student experience.

Section 2 - Graduate Research Subcommittee Membership


(6) The members of the Graduate Research Subcommittee are as follows:

  1. Chair
    1. Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research), or nominee.
  2. Membership
    1. Chair of Academic Board or nominee who is a senior academic (level D or E) and an elected member of the board;
    2. Higher degree research (HDR) coordinators from each School;
    3. University HDR Coordinator, or equivalent;
    4. Deputy Director, Graduate Studies.
  3. Observers (non-voting)
    1. Senior HDR Support Officer;
    2. At the discretion of the Chair, observers may be invited to attend regular or individual meetings and to contribute to the discussion but not to vote.

In attendance

(7) The Graduate Research Subcommittee can co-opt where needed any members required to achieve or maintain gender balance, where the membership does not include at least two women and two men. The committee can also invite individuals as observers to provide additional appropriate expertise as necessary.

Acting ex officio members

(8) An ex officio member of the Graduate Research Subcommittee includes a person who has been appointed on an 'acting' basis to the role.

Term of office

Ex officio members

(9) The ex officio members will be Graduate Research Subcommittee members while they hold their primary office.

Co-opted members

(10) Members co-opted under paragraphs 6 or 7 of this Annex shall have tenure for one year renewable to a maximum of three years.


(11) The Graduate Research Subcommittee will be chaired by the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research) or their nominee.

Gender representation objectives

(12) Gender representation shall accord with the Gender Representation on Decision-Making and Advisory Committees Policy. The objective will be to ensure, so far as is practicable, that the membership of the Graduate Research Subcommittee includes at least two members of each gender.


Section 3 - Graduate Research Subcommittee Functions


(14) The functions of the Graduate Research Subcommittee are as follows

Approval functions

(15) Review and approval of new, amended and disestablished HDR courses and course rules, subject to final approval by the Vice-Chancellor or the Vice-Chancellor's delegate;

(16) Approval of academic procedures and guidelines relating to higher research degrees and the admission, candidature and supervision of HDR students, subject to final approval by the Vice-Chancellor or Vice-Chancellor's delegate;

(17) Allocation of Australian Postgraduate Awards and other major research postgraduate scholarships, and

(18) Matters relating to higher degree research candidature management, subject to final approval by the Vice-Chancellor or Vice-Chancellor's delegate.

Monitoring functions

(19) Higher degree by research programs and pathways;

(20) Matters related to HDR supervisors and supervision.

Advisory functions

(21) Admissions and candidature progress, and the award of higher degrees by research;

(22) Rules, policies, procedures and guidelines relating to research training (e.g. HDR courses, standards, admission, candidature, training, assessment, issuing of medals and prizes), the research student experience and HDR supervision.

Communication functions

(23) Effective two-way communication and exchange of ideas between the Schools, Research Services, senior management and academic governance in relation to all HDR matters.


(24) To seek data and information from the University through the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research) to meet the Graduate Research Subcommittee's duties and functions.

Section 4 - Delegations

Delegation from the Council

(25) The Graduate Research Subcommittee has delegated authority from the UNE Council to perform on its behalf the approval, advisory, monitoring and communication functions set out in the terms of reference above and all matters ancillary to those functions.

Section 5 - Conduct of Graduate Research Subcommittee Business

Reporting to University Research Committee

(26) The Chair of the Graduate Research Subcommittee reports to the University Research Committee and the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research).


(27) The Graduate Research Subcommittee will typically meet eight times per year and as required in order to perform its functions.

Business papers

(28) Unless the Chair directs otherwise, Graduate Research Subcommittee business papers will be distributed to subcommittee members and official attendees at least seven days prior to the meeting, or such shorter period as is practicable in the circumstances.

(29) Public disclosure of business papers, minutes and other information received by the subcommittee should be made via the Chair or Secretary to the subcommittee.


(30) At any meeting of the Graduate Research Subcommittee, one half of the voting membership plus one constitutes a quorum.

Use of technology

(31) For its business papers, meetings and otherwise to conduct its business, the Graduate Research Subcommittee and its members may use technology including telephone, video-conferencing, telepresence, email and internet as arranged by the Chair and/or subcommittee Secretary.


(32) The Graduate Research Subcommittee may pass a resolution by 'flying minute' provided that the resolution has been approved by a simple majority of the subcommittee members at the time the resolution is made.

Confirmation of minutes

(33) Draft minutes will normally be circulated to members for comment promptly after each meeting. Next the minutes (with any necessary changes) will be circulated for adoption by the Graduate Research Subcommittee. The minutes will be finalised and adopted when they have been approved by a majority of the members that were present at the relevant meeting. Alternatively, the minutes may be included in the business papers for the next subcommittee meeting and considered and adopted by the subcommittee at that meeting.


(34) Once in every twelve-month period, the Graduate Research Subcommittee shall devote at least a part of one meeting to the review of its policies, practices and procedures over the preceding twelve months.

Secretary to Graduate Research Subcommittee

(35) Research Services will provide secretarial and administrative support to the Graduate Research Subcommittee.

Standing Orders

(36) The subcommittee may make Standing Orders relating to the way it conducts its meetings and business generally. To the extent of any inconsistencies between these Terms of Reference and the Standing Orders, these Terms of Reference prevail.

Section 6 - Definitions and Interpretation


(37) Words and phrases used in this document have the following meanings, unless the context requires otherwise:

  1. Student means a person who has been accepted into a course at the University and is entitled to enrol in units for the purposes of that course.
  2. UNE Act means the University of New England Act 1993 (NSW).
  3. UNE By-law means the University of New England By-law 2005 (NSW).


This document should be interpreted using the following principles.

(38) Where Graduate Research Subcommittee membership is defined by reference to an office held (e.g. 'Chair of Academic Board'), that office-bearer is a member ex officio and has all of the same rights and responsibilities (including voting) as other subcommittee members whilst holding the office specified.

(39) This document does not override or otherwise affect:

  1. the Authorities Retained by Council Rule, or
  2. the Functions of the Vice-Chancellor Rule.
  3. However, it operates as a delegation of certain authorities that have been retained by Council.

Graduate Research Subcommittee governing documents

(40) The existing terms of reference, constitution and any other documents governing the Graduate Research Subcommittee or Higher Degree Research Committee at the time these new Terms of Reference are approved, are replaced and have no further operation.