Role of the National University of Ireland
The National University of Ireland (NUI) is a federal university comprising the largest element of the Irish university system at the present time. The continuing mission for NUI in modern Ireland is to provide a supportive framework for its confederate institutions, to promote the objects of the University, thus contributing to educational, cultural, social and economic advancement.
The NUI currently comprises four Constituent Universities, four Recognised Colleges and three Colleges of a Constituent University. Each institution within the NUI federation has its own Governing Authority; the overall Governing Authority of the University is the NUI Senate and headed by the Chancellor.
The Universities Act, 1997, which came into effect on 16 June 1997, redefined the nature and role of the National University of Ireland. It reconstituted the Senate, which is the Governing Body of the University, with a membership of thirty-eight, as follows:
- The Chancellor
- The Chief Officers of the Constituent Universities
- The Registrar of the University
- Four members nominated by the Government
- Four persons elected by each of the Constituent Universities
- Eight members elected by Convocation
- Four co-opted members
Under the Act, the Senate of the National University of Ireland has functions and responsibilities in relation to the following:
- determining basic matriculation requirements; reviewing the content and teaching of courses;
- appointing external examiners; awarding degrees and other qualifications.
The 1997 Act also reconstituted the three Constituent Colleges of the National University of Ireland, and the Recognised College, St Patrick's College, Maynooth as Constituent Universities.
The Qualifications and Quality Assurance (Education and Training) Act 2012, which came into effect in November 2012, defines the University as a “designated awarding body”. As such, the Act requires the University to establish quality assurance arrangements in respect of “linked providers” that deliver educational programmes leading to awards of the University. The Act also provides for periodic review of the University’s quality assurance procedures by Quality and Qualifications Ireland, the Authority established under the Act to oversee quality assurance of further and higher education and training in Ireland.
The Chancellor is the head and chief officer of the University. The Chancellor holds office during his/her life or until his/her resignation.
The Vice-Chancellor is the chief executive officer of the University. In 1914, the Senate decided that the President of each of the Constituent Colleges should be elected to the position of Vice-Chancellor, in rotation.
A Pro-Vice-Chancellor may act as Vice-Chancellor during a vacancy in that office, and may act for the Vice-Chancellor during his/her absence.
Under the provisions of the Charter of the National University of Ireland, the Governing Body of the University is styled ‘The Senate’
Powers and Functions of the Senate
Subject to the provisions of the Irish Universities Act 1908, the Charter of the National University of Ireland, the University Statutes, the Universities Act 1997, and the Qualifications and Quality Assurance (Education and Training) Act 2012, the Senate, as Governing Body of the University, shall exercise all the powers and discretions of the University and shall regulate and determine all matters concerning the University. Section 47 of the Universities Act, 1997, (‘Relationship of Constituent Universities to National University of Ireland’) assigns the following specific functions to the Senate:
(i) The Senate of the National University of Ireland shall determine the basic matriculation requirements for the Constituent Universities but each University may prescribe additional requirements generally or in respect of particular faculties of the University.
(ii) Each Constituent University shall inform the Senate of the courses established from time to time by that University and the Senate may establish a committee for the purpose of reviewing the content and teaching of the courses and may appoint external examiners to assist in any review.
(iii) The results of a review conducted by a committee shall be communicated by the Senate to the University concerned.
(iv) The Senate shall appoint such and so many external examiners to a Constituent University, including examiners appointed for the purpose of subsection (2), as that University shall from time to time recommend and the functions of those external examiners shall be determined by the Senate, with the concurrence of the University.
(v) The degrees and other qualifications awarded by a Constituent University shall be degrees and qualifications of the National University of Ireland and shall be so designated.
(vi) Where the President or any other employee of a Constituent College was appointed by the National University of Ireland, the powers and functions of that University in respect of his or her removal from office shall, notwithstanding anything in this Act, remain in force in relation to that person’.
Composition of the Senate
In accordance with Section 45(2) of the Universities Act, 1997, the Senate consists of thirty-eight members as follows:
(a) The Chancellor and the Registrar of the University and the Chief Officers of the Constituent Universities
(b) Four persons nominated by the Government, two of whom shall be women and two men
(c) Four persons elected by each of: University College Dublin, University College Cork, National University of Ireland, Galway, and National University of Ireland, Maynooth.
(d) Eight members of Convocation elected by Convocation, four of whom shall be women and four men
(e) Not more than four persons co-opted to be Members of the Senate by the Senate, as constituted by the Members as referred to in (a), (b), (c) and (d) above’.
Membership of the Senate
The Term of office of the current Senate ends on 31 October 2017
Dr Maurice Manning MA, DLitt
Dr Attracta Halpin, BA, MSc (Dub), MBA (Lond), LLD jure officii
Chief Officers of the Constituent Universities
Dr Hugh Brady, MB BCh BAO, BSC, PhD, MD, FRCPI, Pro-Vice Chancellor, President, University College Dublin
Dr Michael B. Murphy, MB BCH BAO MD, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, President, University College Cork
Dr James J. Browne, BE, MEngSc, PhD (Manc), DSc (Manc), FIEI, Vice-Chancellor, President, NUI, Galway
Professor Philip Nolan, MB BCh BAO, BSc, PhD, President, NUI Maynooth, Pro-Vice-Chancellor
Nominated by the Government
Mr Ross Higgins
Professor Brigid Laffan
Elected by the Governing Authority, University College Dublin:
Professor Thomas Brazil
Professor Pat Guiry
Mr Tom Harrington
Professor Patrick M. Shannon
Elected by the Governing Authority, University College Cork:
Mr Owen J. Dinneen
Dr Piaras MacÉinrí
Dr Barbara Doyle Prestwich
Dr Marian McCarthy
Elected by the Governing Authority, NUI, Galway:
Professor Nollaig MacCongail BA, PhD
Dr Pat Morgan BSc, PhD
Mr John Loftus
Elected by the Governing Authority, NUI, Maynooth:
Professor Jim Walsh
Ms Rosemary Monahan
Mr Sean Ashe
Dr Emer Nolan
Elected by Convocation, 12 October 2012:
Mr Tommy Francis
Mr John Hurley
Dr Helen Gallagher
Ms Linda M.P. O’Shea Farren
Ms. Clíona E De Bhaldraithe Marsh, BA, MA
Professor Mark Rogers, BSc (Dub), Ph.D (Glas), Acting Registrar/Deputy President, University College Dublin
Professor Paul Giller, BSc (Lond), PhD (Lond) Registrar and Vice-President for Academic Affairs, University College Cork
Professor Aidan Mulkeen Vice-President Academic, Registrar and Deputy President, National University of Ireland, Maynooth
Professor Cathal Kelly, Chief Executive/Registrar, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
Phillip Smyth, BA, MBA, Director, Shannon College of Hotel Management
Finbarr Clancy SJ, Acting President, Milltown Institute.
Committees of the Senate
Under the NUI Charter, the Senate ‘shall appoint a Standing Committee and may appoint such other Committees for any particular purpose from amongst the members of the Senate, as the Senate thinks fit’.
The Standing Committee
In addition to the ex officio members, the following were appointed members of the Standing Committee to hold office from November 2007 to October 2012:
Mark Rogers, PhD
Paul Giller, BSc (Lond) PhD (Lond)
Nollaig Mac Congáil, BA, PhD (QUB)
Cliona de Bhaldraithe Marsh, BA, MA
Barbara Doyle Prestwich, BSc, PhD
Pat Morgan, BSc, PhD
Jim Walsh, BA, MA
The Finance Committee
In addition to the Members of the Standing Committee, the following were appointed Members of the Finance Committee:
Linda O’Shea Farren, BCL
(Additional members are currently being appointed.)
Under the provisions of the original Charter, Convocation of the National University of Ireland consists of the Chancellor, the Vice-Chancellor, the Members of Senate, the Professors and Lecturers and the Graduates of the University.
Powers of Convocation
- To elect a person to be Chancellor of the University in succession to the present or any subsequent Chancellor
- To elect its own Chairperson, who shall, in the absence of the Chancellor, be entitled to preside at its meetings
- To elect eight of its own members as its representatives on the Senate;
- To discuss and pronounce an opinion on any matter whatsoever relating to the University, including any matters referred to it by the Senate.
- To make from time to time Regulations for governing its proceedings, subject to the provisions of the Charter and of the Statutes, and to the Regulations of the University
- To make representations to the Senate on any matter affecting the University
Officers of Convocation
Chairman: Linda O'Shea Farren, BCL
Clerk: J Hanley
For information on Meetings of Convocation [www.nuiconvocation.ie]
In accordance with the provisions of the University Statutes, the NUI is obliged to maintain a register of all graduates of the university - the Convocation Register. As all graduates are automatically registered, there is no special registration procedure.