About Senate

Senate history

Changing composition from 1850

The following summarises the changing composition of Senate from 1850 to the present. The information source is the University Calendar archive.


1850: 16 Fellows of Senate

Under the University Incorporation Act 1850, Senate comprised:

  • sixteen Fellows of Senate, twelve of whom shall be laymen

Note:
— The original 16 Fellows were nominated and appointed by the NSW Governor by Proclamation in December 1850.
— Fellows had the power to elect, out of their own body, by a majority of votes, a Provost of the University for such period as the Senate shall from time to time appoint; and to elect out of the said Senate a Vice Provost.
— Vacancies were to be filled by the election of such other fit and proper persons as the remaining members of the Senate shall from time to time elect, until there were one hundred Graduates of the University who had taken the degree of Master of Arts, Doctor of Laws, or Doctor of Medicine. Once there were one hundred graduates entitled to vote, vacancies as they occurred would be filled up by such graduates assembled in convocation.

1861: 19 Fellows of Senate

Under the Incorporation Act Amendment Act 1861, Senate comprised:

  • sixteen elective Fellows of Senate, twelve of whom shall be laymen
  • not fewer than three nor more than six ex-officio Members who shall be Professors of the said University in such branches of learning as the Senate shall from time to time by any Bye-law in that behalf select*

Note:
— The Act of 1861 provided that vacancies were now to be filled by means of a convocation of electors. The Act of 1861 provided that all full graduates holding the Degree of M.A., LL.D., or M.D now possessed the right of voting at elections of Fellows of the Senate, which right, under the original Act of Incorporation, was not to be enjoyed by them until their number had reached 100. This right was also now extended to the Heads of Colleges within the University, to all University Teachers, and all Superior officers of the University, declared to be such by By-Law.
— The Act also provided that the titles of Provost and Vice-Provost were altered to Chancellor and Vice-Chancellor.
— Fellows had the power to elect, out of their own body, by a majority of votes, a Chancellor of the University for such period as the Senate shall from time to time appoint; and to elect out of the said Senate a Vice Chancellor.
— *The Senate passed a By-Law selecting for the present, three Professors as ex-officio Fellows of Senate, namely, the Senior Professor of Classics, the Senior Professor of Mathematics, and the Senior Professor of Chemistry and Experimental Physics. (3 ex-officio members)

1862-1899: 19-21 Fellows of Senate

Between 1862 and 1899, Senate's composition did not change from that in 1861 (see below), but the number of Fellows varied from 19 to 21 according to the changing University Bylaws relating to ex-officio members:

  • sixteen elective Fellows of Senate
  • not fewer than three nor more than six ex-officio Members who shall be Professors of the said University in such branches of learning as the Senate shall from time to time by any Bye-law in that behalf select*

Note:
— 1881: Under the Ad eundem Degrees Act, 1881, the privilege of voting at such elections to fill vacancies on Senate was extended to Bachelors of Arts of three years' standing so that the legally qualified voters were Fellows of the Senate for the time being, Professors, Public Teachers and Examiners in the Schools of the University, Principals of Incorporated Colleges within the University, Superior Officers of the Univereity declared to be such by By-law, Graduates who shall have taken the Degrees of M.A., LL.D., or M.D. in this University, and Bachelors of Arts of three years' standing.
— 1884: Under the University Extension Act 1884, the same rights and privileges were extended to all degrees of equivalent rank to the Bachelor of Arts degree, which included "the privilege of attending and voting at the election of Fellows".
— *1880: Under the Bylaw, the Professor of Classics, the Professor of Mathematics, and the Professor of Experimental Physics shall be ex officio members of the Senate under the provisions of the Sydney University Incorporation Act Amendment Act of 1861. The present Professor of Chemistry and Mineralogy shall also be an ex officio member. (4 ex-officio members)
— *1881: Under the Bylaw, the Professor of Classics, the Professor of Mathematics, and the Professor of Experimental Physics shall be ex officio members of the Senate under the provisions of the Sydney University Incorporation Act Amendment Act of 1861. The present Professor of Chemistry and Mineralogy shall also be an ex officio member. (4 ex-officio members)
— *1884: Under the Bylaw, the Senior Professors of Classics, Mathematics, and Experimental Physics, the present Professor of Chemistry and Mineralogy, and the Professor of Anatomy and Physiology, were constituted ex officio Members of the Senate. (5 ex-officio members)
— *1890: Under the Bylaw, the Professors of Classics, and Mathematics, Chemistry and Mineralogy, Physiology, and of Geology and Palaeontology, were constituted ex officio members of the Senate. (5 ex-officio members)
— *1891: Under the Bylaw, the Professors of Classics, Mathematics, Chemistry, Physiology and Law, were constituted ex officio members of the Senate. (5 ex-officio members)
— *1892: Under the Bylaw, the Professors of Greek, Mathematics, Chemistry, Physiology and Law, were constituted ex officio members of the Senate. (5 ex-officio members)
— *1893, 1894: Under the Bylaw, the Professors of Greek, Chemistry, Physiology, and Law, were constituted as ex officio members of the Senate. (4 ex-officio members)
— *1895, 1896, 1897, 1898, 1899: Under the Bylaw, the Professors of Mathematics, Chemistry, Physiology, and Law, were constituted ex officio members of the Senate. (4 ex-officio members)

1900: 20 Fellows of Senate

Under the University and University Colleges Act 1900, which consolidated the Acts relating to the University of Sydney and Colleges within the University of Sydney, Senate comprised:

  • sixteen elective Fellows of whom at least twelve shall be laymen.
  • four ex-officio Members who shall be Professors of the said University in such branches of learning as the Senate shall from time to time by any Bye-law in that behalf select*

Note:
— A Chancellor and Vice-Chancellor are elected by the Senate from their own body.
— Every vacancy occurring by death, resignation, or otherwise among the elective Fellows shall be filled up as it occurs by the election, at a meeting duly convened for the purpose, of such other fit and proper person as may be elected to fill such vacancy by the majority of the following persons present at such meetings, that is to say -
(a) Fellows
(b) Officials declared by this Act to have the same rights and privileges within the University as Masters and Doctors
(c) Graduates keeping their names in accordance with any by-law in that behalf on the register of the University who have taken within the University the degree of Master or of Doctor
(d) Bachelors and all other persons who obtain any certificate which the Senate by by-law declares to be equivalent to the degree of Bachelor, if such Bachelors or other persons are of three years standing in the University, after obtaining such degree or certificate, and are of the age of twenty-one years.
— *Under a Bylaw, Senate hereby makes and declares the following selections of branches of learning, the Professors in which shall be ex-officio members of the Senate - that is to say, Modern Literature, Law, Physiology, and Chemistry, such selections to take effect from the date of the Governor's assent hereto, and to endure for the term of two years from that date, unless sooner revoked by the authority of the Senate, and with the approval of the Governor.

1912: 24 Fellows of Senate

Under the University (Amendment) Act 1912, Senate comprised:

  • four Fellows appointed by the Governor
  • two Fellows elected one by each House of Parliament
  • five Fellows to be representative of the teaching staff of the University as follows: The Chairman of the Professorial Board elected by the Board and four Fellows elected one by each of four Faculties.
  • ten Fellows elected by the Graduates
  • three Fellows elected by the aforesaid Fellows

Note:
— A Chancellor and Vice-Chancellor are elected by the Senate from their own body.
— The Amendment) Act provided that the incumbent Chancellor the Honorable Sir Henry Normand MacLaurin and the incumbent Vice-Chancellor His Honor Judge Backhouse shall each during his life be a Fellow in addition to the ten Fellows elected by graduates.

1924: 25 Fellows of Senate

Under the University Amendment (Vice-Chancellor) Act 1924, Senate comprised:

  • four Fellows appointed by the Governor
  • one Fellow elected by the members of the Legislative Council
  • one Fellow elected by the members of the Legislative Assembly
  • five Fellows to be representative of the teaching staff of the University as follows: The Chairman of the Professorial Board elected by the Board and four Fellows elected; one by each of such four Faculties as may from time to time be prescribed by by-laws made by the Senate
  • ten Fellows elected by the Graduates
  • three Fellows elected by the aforesaid Fellows
  • one Fellow, the Vice-Chancellor for the time being

Note:
— The Amending Act provided that the Senate may appoint an officer who shall be styled the Vice-Chancellor and who shall have
and exercise such powers, rights, duties, and functions as may be prescribed by by-laws made by the Senate. The new Vice-Chancellor was also to be a member of the Senate
— The Amending Act also provided that Senate would elect a Deputy Chancellor to fulfil the duties of the present elected Vice-Chancellor
— The Act also amended the words "... four Fellows elected one by each of four Faculties to read "... such four faculties as may from time to time be prescribed by by-laws made by the Senate."

1936: 26 Fellows of Senate

Under the University (Amendment) Act 1936, Senate comprised:

  • four Fellows appointed by the Governor
  • one Fellow elected by the members of the Legislative Council
  • one Fellow elected by the members of the Legislative Assembly
  • five Fellows to be representative of the teaching staff of the University as follows: The Chairman of the Professorial Board elected by the Board and four Fellows elected; one by each of such four Faculties as may from time to time be prescribed by by-laws made by the Senate
  • ten Fellows elected by the Graduates
  • three Fellows elected by the aforesaid Fellows
  • one Fellow, the Vice-Chancellor for the time being
  • one Fellow who shall be a graduate of the University of such standing, and who shall be elected, as may from time to time be prescribed by by-law made by the Senate, to be representative of the undergraduates of the University

Note:
— The Amending Act provided for an additional Fellow, a Graduate of the University of Sydney, to be representative of the undergraduates.

1973: 32 Fellows of Senate

Under the University and University Colleges (Amendment) Act 1973, Senate comprised:

  • (a) four Fellows appointed by the Governor
  • (b) one Fellow elected by and from the members of the Legislative Council
  • (c) one Fellow elected by and from the members of the Legislative Assembly
  • (d) eight Fellows elected by and from such members of the full-time staff of the University as may be prescribed by the by-laws*
  • (e) ten Fellows elected from persons who are ineligible for election under paragraph (d) by persons who are graduates of the University
  • (f ) three Fellows elected from persons who are enrolled as candidates proceeding to a degree or diploma in the University and who are ineligible for election under paragraph (d) by persons who are enrolled as candidates proceeding to a degree or diploma in the University
  • (g) one Fellow who shall be the person for the time being holding the office of Chancellor, where he is not otherwise a Fellow
  • (h) one Fellow who shall be the person for the time being holding the office of Vice-Chancellor
  • (i) three Fellows elected by the other Fellows referred to in this subsection

Note:
— *The University Bylaw provided that the eight Fellows elected by and from such members of the full-time staff of the University comprised:
(a) one Fellow shall be elected by and from those members of the Professorial Board who are members of the full-time permanent staff;
(b) three Fellows who are Professors shall be elected from the full-time permanent members of the academic staff;
(c) three Fellows who are not Professors shall be elected from the full-time permanent members of the academic staff; and
(d) one Fellow shall be elected by and from the full-time permanent members of the non-academic staff who have been employed by the University continuously for at least three years prior to the date on which nominations for the election close and who are still so employed on that date.

1978: 32 Fellows of Senate

Under the University and University Colleges (Amendment) Act 1978, Senate comprised:

  • (a) four Fellows appointed by the Minister
  • (b) one Fellow elected by and from the members of the Legislative Council
  • (c) one Fellow elected by and from the members of the Legislative Assembly
  • (d) eight Fellows elected by and from such members of the full-time staff of the University as may be prescribed by the by-laws*
  • (e) ten Fellows elected from persons who are ineligible for election under paragraph (d) by persons who are graduates of the University
  • (f) three Fellows elected from persons who are enrolled as candidates proceeding to a degree or diploma in the University and who are ineligible for election under paragraph (d) by persons who are diploma in the University
  • (g) one Fellow who shall be the person for the time being holding the office of Chancellor, where he is not otherwise a Fellow
  • (h) one Fellow who shall be the person for the time being holding the office of Vice-Chancellor
  • (i) three Fellows elected by the other Fellows referred to in this subsection

Note:
— *The University Bylaw provided that the eight Fellows elected by and from such members of the full-time staff of the University were:
(a) one Fellow shall be elected by and from those members of the Academic Board who are members of the full-time permanent staff:
(b) three Fellows who are Professors shall be elected from the full-time permanent members of the academic staff;
(c) three Fellows who are not Professors shall be elected from the full-time permanent members of the academic staff;
(d) one Fellow shall be elected by and from the full-time permanent members of the non-academic staff who have been employed by the University continuously for at least three years prior to the date on which nominations for the election close and who are still so employed on that date.

1986: 31 Fellows of Senate

Under the University and University Colleges (Amendment) Act 1986, Senate comprised:

  • (a) six Fellows appointed by the Minister
  • (b) one Fellow elected by and from the members of the Legislative Council
  • (c) one Fellow elected by and from the members of the Legislative Assembly
  • (d) six Fellows elected by and from the academic members of the full-time permanent staff of the University, the Fellows so elected to include at least: (i) such number of professors; and (ii) such number of those members who are not professors as is in each case prescribed by the by-laws*
  • (d1) one Fellow elected by and from the members (other than the academic members) of the full-time permanent staff of the University
  • (e) ten Fellows elected from persons who are ineligible for election under paragraph (d) or (d1) by persons who are graduates of the University
  • (f) three Fellows elected from persons who are enrolled as candidates proceeding to a degree or diploma in the University and who are ineligible for election under paragraph (d) or (d1) by persons who are enrolled as candidates proceeding to a degree or diploma in the University, the Fellows so elected to include at least one undergraduate candidate and one postgraduate candidate
  • (g) one Fellow who shall be the person for the time being holding the office of Chancellor, where he is not otherwise a Fellow
  • (h) one Fellow who shall be the person for the time being holding the office of Vice-Chancellor
  • (i) one Fellow who shall be the person for the time being holding the office of Chairman of the Academic Board.

Note:
— Under this Amendment Act the number of Fellows appointed by the Minister for Education was increased to six.
— Under this Amendment Act the category of Fellow elected by the Fellows disappeared.
— *The University Bylaw provided that , for the category of (d), at least two shall be professors and at least two shall not be professors.

1990: 22 Fellows of Senate

Under the University of Sydney Act 1989 which replaced the University and University Colleges Act 1900 (as amended) and came into effect on 1 January 1990, Senate comprised:

  • 2(a) one Member of the Legislative Council elected by that Council
  • 2(b) one Member of the Legislative Assembly elected by that Assembly
  • 3(a) the Chancellor (if the Chancellor is not otherwise a member of the Senate)
  • 3(b) the Vice-Chancellor
  • 3(c) the person for the time being holding the office of presiding member of the Academic Board
  • (4) four persons appointed by the Minister of whom one is to be appointed on the nomination of Senate.
  • 5(a) four persons elected by and from the academic staff of the University
  • 5(b) one person who is elected by and from the non-academic staff of the University
  • 5(c) one person who is elected by and from undergraduate students of the University, and is not a member of the academic or non-academic staff of the University
  • 5(d) one person who is elected by and from postgraduate students of the University, and is not a member of the academic or non-academic staff of the University
  • 5(e) five persons who are elected by and from the graduates of the University (but who are not members of the academic
    or non-academic staff of the University)
  • (6) The Senate may appoint any other person to be a member of the Senate.
2004: 22 Fellows of Senate

Under the University Legislation Amendment Act 2004, Senate comprised:

  • 1(a)(i) the Chancellor (if the Chancellor is not otherwise a member of the Senate)
  • 1(a)(ii) the Vice-Chancellor
  • 1(a)(iii) the person for the time being holding the office of presiding member of the Academic Board (if that person is not the Vice-Chancellor) or of deputy presiding member of the Academic Board (if the presiding member is the Vice-Chancellor)
  • 1(b) 6 external persons appointed by the Minister, one of whom is nominated by the Senate for appointment otherwise than pursuant to subsection (2),
  • 1(c) one external person appointed by the Senate
  • 1(d) 4 persons elected by and from the academic staff of the University
  • 1(e) one person elected by and from the non-academic staff of the University
  • 1(f) one person elected by and from the undergraduates of the University (who is not a member of the academic or non-academic staff of the University)
  • 1(g) one person elected by and from the postgraduates of the University (who is not a member of the academic or non-academic staff of the University)
  • 1(h) 5 external persons elected by and from the graduates of the University
  • 2. The Minister may appoint a person who is a member of the Parliament of New South Wales under subsection (1) (b) but only if the person is nominated by the Senate for appointment. No more than 2 such persons may hold office at any one time as appointed members under subsection (1) (b).

Note:
— The University of Sydney Act 1989 (as amended) was amended by the University Legislation Amendment Act, 2004 in December 2004 to comply with the National Governance Protocols.
— Of the members of the Senate:
(a) at least 2 must have financial expertise (as demonstrated by relevant qualifications and by experience in financial management at a senior level in the public or private sector), and
(b) at least one must have commercial expertise (as demonstrated by relevant experience at a senior level in the public or private sector).
— All appointed members of the Senate must have expertise and experience relevant to the functions exercisable by the Senate and an appreciation of the object, values, functions and activities of the University.
— The majority of members of the Senate must be external persons.