Governing Documents: Academic
Effective Date:
September 7,1971
Revised Date:
May 31, 1988
Review Date:
Approving Body:
Vice-President (Academic) and Provost
Applies to:
Deans/Directors/Department Heads

This is a general statement of policy concerning the organization and administration of departments of the University of Manitoba.

It is not desirable for Senate to attempt to impose a completely uniform structure on all departments of the University. However, it is desirable that the way in which departments are governed should be formalized and made a matter of record.

The following are intended as general descriptive statements of university policy with respect to the organization and administration of departments to form a basis for the establishment of formal bylaws to be framed by faculty and school councils, with the assistance of the Senate Committee on Rules and Procedures.


Academic departments are administrative subdivisions of the University established by the Board of Governors, normally on the recommendation of the Senate, for the purpose of conducting teaching and research in specified fields of study.


The constituents of an academic department are as follows:

  1. Academic Staff - those professors, associate professors, assistant professors, lecturers, instructors and such others designated by the Board and appointed by the Board to the department.

  2. Support Staff - other staff who are appointed by the Board to the department.

  3. Students - all students registered in courses taught by the academic staff of the department.

Definition of Membership
  1. Members of departments are those referred to in "Constitution"#1 above.

  2. Members of department councils are those referred to in "Constitution of Department Councils" below.


Each department is administered by a head of department in consultation with a department council, and in accordance with bylaws approved by the faculty or school council.

  1. Head of Department

    The head of a department is the chief executive officer of the department appointed by the Board in accordance with procedures approved by the Board on the recommendation of Senate.

  2. Department Council

    A department council is constituted by a faculty or school council in accordance with guidelines established by Senate.

Role of Department Head
  1. Chief Executive Officer

    As chief executive officer, the head of a department is responsible to the Board through the dean (or director) and the President for the performance of the duties and responsibilities assigned to the head in accordance with the General Bylaws of the University.

  2. Chair of Department Council

    The head of a department or his/her delegate is chair of the department council, subject to the right of the dean (or director) or the President to preside at any meeting.

  3. Responsibility to Department

    The chief responsibility of the head to the department is to exercise leadership in all aspects of the work of the department.

  4. Accountability

    Accountability of the staff to the Department Head

    Members of the academic and support staffs are accountable to the head of their department for the performance of the responsibilities assigned to them.

    Accountability of the Head to the Department

    Accountability of the head to the department is assured by providing for:

    a) full and adequate access of academic staff and students to the disclosure of the process by which decisions are made, including openness of department council meetings and access to minutes thereof, limited only by legitimate requirements of confidentiality. (This provision is not to be interpreted as enlarging or replacing in any way provisions of any other bylaw or policy of the University); and

    b) the right of appeal by those affected by decisions, using ways established for communicating of critical opinions to the dean or director, the President, or the Board.

Role of Department Council

The role of a department council is:

  1. to advise the head on all matters submitted to it by the head;

  2. to recommend to the head or, through the head, to any appropriate officer or body in the University, such actions as it may deem to be desirable;

  3. to carry out such duties and responsibilities as may be assigned to it by the faculty or school council.

Constitution of Department Councils

The constituents of a department council are as follows:

  1. the head of the department;

  2. either all members of the department, or such representatives as may be elected by them from the following procedures approved by them and by the faculty or school council;

  3. such representatives of the students in the department as may be elected in accordance with procedures approved by the faculty or school council following guidelines approved by Senate;

  4. such other persons as may be approved by the faculty or school council on recommendation of the department council.

Committees of the Department Council
  1. A department council may delegate any of its powers to standing or ad hoc committees (see "Role of Department Council" above).

    Some committees may be elected, some appointed by the chair of the council and some may be made up of both elected and appointed members.

  2. The head of a department may also on his or her own initiative appoint standing or ad hoc committees to advise him or her.

  3. The head of a department is an ex officio member of all committees.

  4. It is not necessary for all committee meetings to be open, but reports of committees, except on confidential matters, must be made accessible to all staff and students in the department (see "Role of Department Head" #4 above).