The term 'academic governance' refers to how the academic matters of the institution are governed. Typically, academic governance will cover matters such as student admissions, academic standards and academic quality.
By contrast 'Corporate governance' is normally describes areas such as finance and estates. Together 'academic' and 'corporate' governance form the system of governance for most higher education institutions (HEIs).
The academic governance of an institution is normally the work of the Senate (or academic board). Senate will in turn be supported by a number of committees. Corporate governance will be responsibility of the governing body and its committees.
For the institution's system of governance to work, the two elements of goverannce need to work in tandem. If they do not do so, there is the risk of governance failure.
While the governing body is responsible for 'all matter of fundamental concern', it will generally respect the role of Senate, and defer to it on matters of academic governance. However, it may seek assurance from Senate that the institution's system of academic governance is effect.
For further information about academic governance consult Govenors' briefing note No. 4: academic governance and quality
Getting to Grips with Academic Standards, Quality, and the Student Experience provides useful information for governors on 'academic governance'. Chapter 1 consider what is meant by the term 'academic governance', and Chapter 2 looks at the governing body's responsibilities for ensuring the institution's 'academic health and sustainability'.
The Quality Assurance Agency provides information on quality and standards.
Aspects of the differences in the role of governing bodies in academic governance between institutions are explored in the presentation: Engaging Governors in the Academic Agenda.
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