A consultation on governance has been published with academics, staff, students and the wider public all encouraged to make their views known.
The consultation proposals include:
- Replacing the Privy Council with a new Scottish-based committee to consider amendments to universities’ existing governance arrangements
- Ensuring the composition of goonrning bodies is fully representative
- A more transparent process for selecting the chairs of university courts, including elections
- A new wider and stronger definition of academic freedom.
The consultation closes on January 30, 2015.
Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning Michael Russell said:“Higher Education is one of the great strengths of the Scottish nation and the country’s higher education institutions are at the forefront of global academia, with four of our universities in the world’s top 200.
“This Government has invested heavily in our university sector and remains committed to placing free tuition at the core of our offer to students and ensuring access to higher education is as wide as it can be. But we must continue to evolve and innovate if we are to keep our standards high.
‘Our Higher Education institutions, with such a rich history and exciting future, are, by their own account some of the most autonomous in the world . They must continue to have a strong democratic accountability in their governance arrangements and they remain fit for purpose in a modern Scotland.
“This includes having elected chairs and a better gender balance. I would like to see a 40% female membership on Higher Education boards, and the Scottish Parliament obtaining the necessary powers to consider legislating for that.
“The Von Prondzynski report on university governance produced these recommendations. While Scotland’s universities have made progress with implementation of the Code of Good Higher Education Governance, we always said we would bring remaining key elements of Von Prondzynski into play to ensure continued improvements.
“I hope our consultation draws the widest possible range of views from the sector, its students and the public at large. We will be bold and willingly listen as the debate develops. I hope that everyone who values Scottish universities gets involved.”
The consultation can be found at: https://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2014/11/2389.