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Act 16, 2019 (XVI) – Act anent Governance of ETS (as amended by Act 7, 2020 – Correcting Inconsistencies in Legislation Governing Edinburgh Theological Seminary)

The General Assembly, seeking to revise the Governance Arrangements of Edinburgh Theological Seminary in respect of the Roles and Remits of the Senate, the ETS Principal and the ETS Board, enact and ordain the following:

  1. The Senate. The Senate is the Seminary’s senior academic authority and is authorised to oversee the academic governance of the Seminary through its remit, membership and terms of reference as set out below:

1.1 Remit of the Senate. The remit of the Senate is to oversee the academic activity of ETS; to uphold its academic standards, quality and programmes; to approve its academic policies; and to advise the Seminary Board on the academic and strategic direction of the institution.

1.2 Membership. The membership of the Senate shall comprise the Principal (Chairman), Vice-Principal, and the full-time academic staff, two external members appointed by the joint agreement of the Senate and of the Seminary Board, the President or a nominee of the President of the Students’ Representative Council, the Chair of the ETS Board or his nominee, two external advisers from the Church community as determined by the joint agreement of the Senate and Seminary Board. The External Members and Advisers will be appointed for three years in the first instance and may be appointed for a further three years period. Beyond this they shall not be appointed for a further period without a break of at least one year. The External Members should subscribe to the whole doctrine of the Westminster Confession of Faith.

1.3 Powers. The powers of the Senate shall be as follows:

1.3.1 Senate may formulate standing orders for the transaction of its business with a view to ensuring collegiality and equality on the principle that all members have one vote.  Advisers to Senate have no vote.

1.3.2 Senate may appoint groups and sub-committees as it determines necessary for the fulfilment of its remit. It may access such papers and documents within ETS as it deems expedient for the transaction of its business. These can include reports from the Principal and Vice-Principal, other staff and staff groups.

1.3.3 The Senate shall appoint the ETS Secretary to procure agenda, papers and reports and ensure that actions arising from meetings are communicated as necessary.

1.3.4 Senate shall regulate student discipline and execute an appellate function in the case of disharmony between members of teaching staff and one or more of their students

1.3.5 The Senate shall meet at least three times a year and may determine such number of meetings as it deems expedient.

1.4 Terms of Reference. Subject to the requirements of the Board of Ministry of the Free Church of Scotland, of validation and accrediting bodies, the Senate’s Terms of References shall include:

1.4.1 Approving and directing the Academic Strategy of ETS;

1.4.2 Advising and participating in the production of ETS’s Vision, Mission Values and Strategic Plan;

1.4.3 Securing appropriate arrangements for assuring quality and standards of provision.

1.4.4 Ensuring that student experience enables successful outcomes;

1.4.5 Approving and regulating schemes of study and schemes of assessment leading to all awards;

1.4.6 Appointing external examiners and determining their conditions of service;

1.4.7 Approving and regulating a pedagogic framework for teaching and learning and setting up a coherent assessment framework across all departments;

1.4.8 Ensuring coherent student experience across all departments encompassing both pedagogy, assessments and pastoral issues;

1.4.9 Prescribing conditions under which persons may be admitted to the ETS and the regulations under which students shall be permitted to continue their studies in the ETS

1.4.10 Regulating the discipline of students and producing such codes of conduct and appropriate structures for this purpose;

1.4.11 Ensuring and maintaining an appropriate academic support service for libraries and IT;

1.4.12 Ensuring that appropriate counselling and pastoral arrangements are in place for students and promoting a Christian culture amongst students and staff;

1.4.13 Advising on student feedback, reviewing feedback data and taking such actions as are deemed necessary;

1.4.14 Advising the Principal and the ETS Board on reputational and other risks arising out of the academic activities

1.4.15 Maintenance and control of Senate finances;

1.4.16 Advising the Principal and the ETS Board on the effectiveness of the academic programmes and in particular their fitness in respect of candidates for Free Church ministry.

1.4.17 Advising on external partnerships, linkages and memoranda of understanding.

1.4.18 Advising on such other matters as the ETS Board and/or the Principal may refer to the Senate.

1.5 Accountability: The Senate is accountable for the fulfilment of its remit to, and reports, to the ETS Board. Accountability will normally be exercised through the Chairman who is, ex officio, the Principal of ETS.”

  1. The ETS Principal

2.1 The Remit and Role of the Principal. The Principal is the Chief Executive of ETS. He is accountable to the General Assembly through the ETS Board and is expected to carry out the role set out below:

2.1.1. To provide leadership for the strategic development of ETS with a view to managing its affairs and ensuring that it delivers the outputs set out in its strategic plan, agreed by the ETS Board and by the General Assembly.

2.1.2. To chair the Senate and ensure that the Senate fulfils its remit.

2.1.3. To assist the Seminary Board in recruiting staff of appropriate talent, competence and Christian standing who best meet ETS objectives.

2.1.4. To organise ETS staff, departments and structures for the optimal delivery of ETS objectives.

2.1.5. To manage the academic and non-academic staff and ensure the satisfactory performance of their duties.

2.1.6. To participate in the teaching of undergraduate and postgraduate programmes.

2.1.7. To deal with all human resources issues including disputes, complaints and grievances within the prescribed legislation.

2.1.8. To ensure that all management and supporting functions meet the ETS’s needs in an effective and efficient manner;

2.1.9. To establish and maintain good internal communications, both formal and informal, with the General Assembly, its Boards and Committees, Presbyteries and Congregations.

2.1.10. To establish and maintain relations with external individuals and institutions.

2.1.11. To liaise as required with the Seminary Board and Senate and secure for both bodies the reports and information, which they require to fulfil their remits.

2.1.12. To establish and maintain good external communication and relations with accreditation bodies and users of the services of ETS;

2.1.13. To represent ETS effectively to all relevant external constituencies.

2.1.14. To ensure the financial viability of the institution and support the Seminary Board in this task.

2.1.15. To oversee and directly support efforts to raise funding and major gifts for the ETS from private donors, charitable organisations and other sympathetic individuals and institutions

2.1.16. To produce a draft strategic plan and to procure the reports required to sustain the functions of Senate and the Seminary Board.

2.1.17. To implement ETS policies as these are approved by the Seminary Board and Senate.

2.2. The Authority of the Principal

2.2.1. The Principal qua Chief Executive carries the prime burden of ensuring the success of the institution as a whole and must have authority commensurate with the accountability described above.

2.2.2. Any uncertainty or dispute over the extent of the Principal’s authority shall be brought to the attention of the Chairman of the ETS Board, who will resolve the matter in conjunction with the Assembly Clerk.

  1. The ETS Board

3.1 The Remit of the ETS Board: The General Assembly declare that the remit of the ETS Board be as follows:

3.1.1 Finance To be responsible for the financial function of ETS including fund-raising, financial control and liaison with the Board of Trustees. To administer the finances of ETS (always excepting income from donations or bequests placed by donors or legatees at the disposal of the Senate); To prepare the ETS Budget and submit it to the Board of Trustees during the annual budgeting cycle.

3.1.2. Planning To produce and approve a Strategic Plan for ETS, to revise the plan as required and to maintain 3 to 5 years planning horizon. To discuss with the Board of Trustees, in conjunction with the Principal, the funding implications of ETS plans.

3.1.3. Promotion To promote the interests of ETS within and outwith the Free Church and to implement a strategy designed to heighten awareness of ETS as a study destination. To maintain ETS as a centre of Biblical and Reformed teaching.

3.1.4. Property, Facilities and Administration To maintain and improve the fabric and furnishings of ETS. To maintain and oversee the provision of a library function and such other academic and student support services including IT, pastoral support, as are required for the effectiveness of ETS. To ensure an adequate administration function. To set the starting and closing dates of College sessions, giving due notice of any change in the pattern thereof.

3.1.5. Relations with the Senate To ensure that the Senate fulfils and is enabled to fulfil its remit; To examine all measures of output in respect of standards, quality, assessment, pedagogy and student experience in respect of feedback, student satisfaction and reports from the Principal and from Senate including student attrition statistics. To take steps as are necessary for the maintenance of institutional excellence. To adjudicate in staffing disputes and staffing difficulties which Senate may refer to it. To support and maintain such relations with other institutions and accrediting bodies as are proposed and approved by the General Assembly and the Senate.

3.1.6. Staffing To adjudicate with regard to disciplinary or disputed matters affecting College non-Senate staff, both full-time and part-time To recruit and appoint all staff and to determine the terms and conditions of employment of all, other than as determined by Act of Assembly; To keep the salaries of the Principal and of all full-time academic staff under regular review and, if necessary, to bring proposals there anent to the attention of the Assembly. To this end, they direct the Board to fulfil the role previously carried out by the Training Committee, in terms of Act 21, Class 2, 1967, Act 22, Class 2, 1971 and Act 21, Class 2, 1988. To formulate staffing contracts and conditions of service. To review the performance of the Principal on an annual basis. To receive a report of the operation by the Principal of a review system for academic and non-academic staff.

  1. Amendments. The General Assembly, to this end, amend the following Acts:

4.1 Act 4, Class 2, 1979 Act anent Constitution for the Free Church College, as amended by Act 19, Class 2, 1986 and Act 43, Class 2, 2006:

4.1.1 Delete all of Section IV and renumber the following sections accordingly.

4.1.2. Amend Paragraph 1 of current Section V to the extent that they delete the full stop after the word “Professors” and insert the words “and has as its membership those categories of person set out in Act [], Class 2, 2019 paragraph 1.2”

4.1.3 Amend paragraph 3 of current Section V to the extent that they insert after the words “Training of the Ministry Committee” the words “and its successors.”.

4.2. Act 32, Class 2, 2015 anent Regulations for the appointment of a Principal of the Edinburgh Theological Seminary:

4.2.1 Delete Paragraph 2 and renumber the following paragraphs accordingly.

4.2.2 Delete current Paragraphs 3.1 and 3.2 and renumber the following paragraphs accordingly.

4.3. Act 16, Class 2, 1995 anent Institution of College Board as amended by Act 24, Class 2, 2002:

4.3.1 Delete paragraph 3.

  1. The General Assembly declare that where the provisions of any other previous legislation are inconsistent with this Act the provisions are repealed and replaced with the provisions of this Act.