The EIS wishes to submit further evidence to the Review Group on areas that its oral evidence touched upon.
Effective university courts govern their institutions; they shape and control their managements, develop effective policies which they ensure are well implemented to best support teaching and research.
Ineffective university courts do not govern properly; they often do not hold the management to account but act as a ratifying body to university management and therefore allow the university to function in an arbitrary manner which is not conducive to developing policies and working practices that promote teaching and research.
The EIS believes that university courts should govern rather than simply to provide ‘oversight'; courts should ensure that all university policies are effectively developed and implemented. Furthermore, courts should not be seen as simply providing oversight to University Executive Groups (UEG), courts should govern HEIs. This means that they should set the management standards, expectations and not only promote leadership but ensure good management at all levels.
Universities should be autonomous and accountable; these are not mutually exclusive terms. Although autonomous charities, Scottish universities are responsible for spending over a billion pounds of public money each year, and should be more accountable for their actions.
Current external regulation remains unfocussed and too light-touch, and the EIS believes that the Scottish Funding Council is unable to provide accountability and external scrutiny of HEIs for Parliament.
More effective and consistent HE governance is required across the sector; the EIS believes that there needs to be a step change in how university courts see their role and more importantly, carry out this role.
The HE Sector seems unwilling to accept major change in the way that HEIs are governed and therefore a single statute may be necessary to realise the necessary governance improvements.
The EIS believes that university courts should play a more active role in ensuring good management and leadership by considering the following areas.