University Governance

Victoria’s public universities and their governing councils are each established under State Acts of Parliament. The Minister for Training and Skills is accountable to the Victorian Parliament and public for the overall performance of these eight university councils and for the use of ministerial powers relating to them.

For copies of the current Victorian university Acts, see:

University Council

The Council is a university's governing body and has responsibility for both the general direction and superintendence of the university. All council members are expected to share the same corporate vision and to contribute to the university’s strategies and performance.

The responsibilities of a university council include:

  • appointing and monitoring the performance of the Vice-Chancellor as president and chief executive officer of the university;
  • approving the mission and strategic direction of the university;
  • approving the university's annual budget and business plan;
  • overseeing the management of the university and its performance;
  • establishing policy and procedural principles for the operation of the university, consistent with legal requirements, Government policies and community expectations;
  • approving and monitoring systems of control and accountability for the university, and any entity controlled by the university;
  • overseeing and monitoring the assessment and management of risk across the university;
  • overseeing and monitoring the academic activities of the university; and
  • approving any significant commercial activities of the university.

University Council composition

Victoria's publicly funded universities rely on the stewardship of councils that contain a range of talented people. Council members are selected for their distinguished experience across commercial and non-commercial areas, such as corporate governance, education and community engagement.

University council membership is determined by legislation and comprises:

  • three ex-officio members:
    - the university Chancellor
    - the Vice-Chancellor
    - the president of the academic board (or equivalent);
  • Government members:
    - at least three members appointed by the Governor in Council
    - one member appointed by the Minister; and
  • at least four members appointed by the university council itself.

The Education Legislation Amendment (TAFE and University Governance Reform) Act 2015 which commenced on 1 January 2016, amends all eight Victorian public university Acts to:

  • increase the minimum number of council members from 11 to 13;
  • require each university council to include the following elected members:
    - at least one elected member of staff
    - at least one elected student; and
  • require each council to contain in its Government or council appointed members:
    - at least two members with financial expertise
    - one person with commercial expertise

Universities will determine individually how many elected members will join councils on 1 July 2016.

Government appointments to University Councils

In 2015, the Victorian Government committed to ensuring that 50 per cent of all new appointments to paid Victorian public entity board positions will be women. Both the Minister and the university council must consider the gender balance of the council when making appointments. Government appointments are generally made for three year terms.

If you are interested in becoming a director of a Victorian public sector entity, it is recommended that you visit the Get on Board website which is designed to connect you to Victorian public sector board opportunities, see: Get on Board

For women interested in Victorian public sector board opportunities, see: Victorian Women’s Register . The Office for Women advertises upcoming board and committee vacancies and other opportunities to all registrants via a general email alert.