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Glossary of terms – University of Reading

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Glossary of terms


The University's Royal Charter, granted in 1926. The Charter constitutes the University as a legal entity. It establishes the Council as the University's Governing Body and makes provision for the existence of the Senate and the appointment of the Chancellor and Vice-Chancellor. It sets out certain rights of the University and defines some of our constitutional rules. It gives us the power to award degrees.

The Charter can only be amended by the Privy Council, acting on the authority of the monarch.


Council is the University's executive governing body and meets at least four times during each academic year. It sets the University's strategic direction, ensures compliance with statutory requirements and approves constitutional changes. The Council is ultimately responsible for managing the University's estate, finance and staff, with much of the detailed work falling to sub-committees. A broad representation of lay members, drawn from commercial, community and professional organisations, provide the Council with a valuable perspective.


Together, the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances are known as the University's instruments of governance.


See Statutes and Ordinances


Senate is the University's main academic administrative body. Reporting to the Council and meeting at least four times a year, the Senate advises on areas such as student entry, assessment and awards. With around 100 members, the Senate comprises Deans, Heads and elected representatives of Schools, as well as professional staff and students. University Boards responsible for developments and innovation in research, teaching and learning report to the Senate.


The Statutes and Ordinances accompany the Charter and set out further rules around matters such as the constitution and governance of the University, the qualifications we award and the management and appointment of staff. This includes Statute XXXIII which sets out the procedures for members of the academic staff relating to discipline, grievance, ill health, redundancies and appeals.

Statutes can only be amended by permission of the Privy Council.

Ordinances can be amended by the University's Council.


The University Executive Board consists of the Vice-Chancellor, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, the Pro-Vice-Chancellors and the two Heads of Service. It meets weekly throughout most of the year and deals with all aspects of academic management, including finance. It also advises the Strategy and Finance Committee on the allocation of resources. The University Executive Board reports to the Senate and to the Strategy and Finance Committee.


The University's strategy to take the institution forward towards its centenary in 2026. You can read all about the Strategy on the dedicated web pages -


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