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Information for the Secretariat of Senate Committees

Who are the Senate Team?
The Senate Team consists of Roberta Wooldridge Smith (Deputy Academic Registrar and Assistant Secretary to the Senate), Phil Griffiths (Administrative Officer, Academic Registrar's Office), and Helen Hotten, Clerical Officer. The Senate Team can be contacted via Senate at warwick dot ac dot uk to help with any Senate related question.

What drives the submission deadlines for papers to the Senate?
Submission deadlines are driven partially by Steering Committee meetings, as all Senate papers are firstly submitted to a meeting of the Steering Committee. Our submission timetable therefore cites submission deadlines that allow for Senate papers to be prepared for the preceding Steering Committee meeting.

Do I need to produce a cover sheet?
In combination, Senate papers produced for a meeting are usually in excess of 400 pages, so cover sheets provide the reader with a useful summary of the contents of a paper and an indication of what action is expected. However, if a paper is no longer than two sides of A4 paper, you do not need to produce a cover sheet.

Why do I need to produce a route map?
Route maps allow members and attendees to understand which committee has already seen a paper, and which further committees it will be submitted to. The Senate Team should be grateful if you would remember to populate the route map on cover sheets.

Why do I need to use a template?
The templates for cover sheets and papers ensure that relevant information is included and that it is organised in a consistent way to help members and attendees to access information as quickly as possible. Templates have been produced for papers which emanate from a committee of the Senate, and for papers which are 'general', and have therefore not come forward from a committee.

How do I obtain urgent approval for a matter via Senate Chair's Action?
All Senate Chair's Actions request must be emailed to the senate at warwick dot ac dot uk resource account once they are ready to be referred to the VC (please note that any requests sent direct to the Vice-Chancellor/Executive Office will be redirected to the Senate Secretariat). The request will be checked by the Senate team and logged so that duplicate requests are not created and also so that it can be reported correctly at the next Senate meeting once approval has been obtained.

Approval will be obtained by the Registrar (as Secretary to the Senate), and then by the Vice-Chancellor as Chair of the Senate - this process is now entirely by email so it is important that you provide with your request a supporting text which:

  • provides a brief high-level summary of the change(s) you are requesting, bearing in mind that the Registrar and VC may not be familiar with the context for the request.
  • lists any staff/committees/committee chairs who have seen and approve of the request. Please attach any relevant documents, and particularly emails to your request which show a chain of approval.
  • explains why it needs to be approved via Chair’s Action and cannot be considered and approved at the next Senate meeting

If you are requesting an urgent change to a regulation via Chair's Action, it is important that you speak with the Senate Secretariat as early as possible.

What is the best way of proposing changes to a University regulation or ordinance?
A guidance document is available here. It is important that you consult widely with all stakeholders regarding amendments to Regulations. The most up to date regulations and ordinances are published on line in the University's Calendar. Once any changes have been approved by both the Senate and the Council, colleagues in Institutional Governance Services update the Calendar. If you wish to propose changes please make sure you use the on-line version as the starting point for your paper in order to ensure that you are working with the current version and that proposed changes are conveyed clearly. An easy way to remove all of the formatting/shading etc. is to paste the text into Notepad (a text editor that can be found in the Accessories folder on your Start menu). Doing this removes all of the additional formatting from the text, so it can then be cut and pasted into MS Word and edited as needed.

When making proposals please strike through any portions that you wish to propose are removed, and underline any proposed new portions. It would be preferred if you did this directly in Word, rather than using track changes. Please see 'Can I use track changes in papers?', below.

Please ensure that any papers that include proposed changes to regulation or ordinance are provided in Word format, as this is required for onward transmission to the Council.

Please note that colleagues must consult as widely as possible with other departments and key staff members who may be affected by changes to a regulation which you wish to amend in order to avoid unforseen consequences.

How do I report changes in committee membership?
Please follow the online process at: https://warwick.ac.uk/services/gov/committees/senate/committeemembership/

May I use track changes in papers?
Track changes can cause issues for the Senate Team, as the mark up can turn off or on unprompted when documents are re-opened. Also, when PDFs are converted en masse track changes are lost. For this reason, with respect to illustrating proposed changes to text, it would be appreciated if you marked these changes up in Word, rather than using track changes. If the use of track changes is unavoidable, please flag this when you submit your paper.

May I use coloured ink in papers?
Please keep the use of coloured ink in papers to a minimum, using only if it is required to make a point, rather than for aesthetic reasons.

Will you tell me if you make changes to my paper?
If it is felt that significant changes to your paper are needed, these will be discussed with you, and you may be needed to re-work your paper. For this reason, you should ensure you or a nominated colleague is available to discuss your paper following submission. However, sometimes smaller, stylistic changes are made by the Senate Team. To prevent reoccurrence of stylistic anomalies, we would suggest that you refer to any final version of your paper and use this as a template for future papers (particularly in the case of papers from committees that are likely to be produced on a fairly regular cycle).

Who can give me advice on creating a paper for Senate?
If you need any more support regarding originating a paper, please don't hesitate to get in touch by the Senate at warwick dot ac dot uk.

Are there any other sources of advice with respect to committees of the Senate?
A meeting of the Secretaries of the Senate is arranged on a termly basis, and this acts as a communication and information forum for the exchange of briefings, to alert the wider group to issues on the horizon and to share best practice. Attendance at these meetings is therefore encouraged.