U‌niversity of Galway Academic Council Elections 2024-28

September 2024 marks the beginning of a new 4-year term for Academic Council.  Elections for new members will be held in June 2024. Submit your nominations here.

The upcoming elections present an opportunity for you to shape the future direction of the academic mission of the University.

What is Academic Council?

Academic Council plays a critical role in setting the academic direction of the University.  Academic Council is a democratically-elected representative body with membership based on College affiliation, with representatives across all the academic grades, including researcher, Lecturer, Senior Lecturer and Professorial grades, as well as Heads of School and students. There are a total of 123 members, inclusive of College and ex officio membership which includes, Vice-Presidents, Directors of Academic Support Units and Deans. 

Chaired by the President, Council conducts its business through a number of sub Committees including Academic Standing Committee, Research & Innovation Committee, Teaching & Learning Committee, Quality Enhancement Committee, International Committee, and Library Strategy Committee. Academic Council meets regularly to consider reports from all of the core academic and academic support units, and make decisions on matters of academic policy, procedures and planning.

Academic Council also provides advice to Údarás na hOllscoile in respect of academic matters, through regular formal reports to the Governing Authority.

In addition to the academic responsibilities set out in point 2 below, Academic Council performs a number of important functions:

  • The provision of advice to Údarás na hOllscoile on all Statutes and Regulations, including those which determine the academic governance and management structures of the University
  • Academic direction with regard to various strategic opportunities including the University’s response to sector-led Higher Education initiatives, Strategic Planning, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion activities, etc.
  • Academic Council is the final decision-making body for key Committees including Standing Committee, Research & Innovation Committee, Teaching & Learning Committee, Quality Enhancement Committee Library Strategy Committee, various Committees providing oversight to the Student Experience, etc.
  • Academic policy with regard to all aspects of the University’s research and teaching & learning agendas
  • Academic Council advises the Governing Authority on the details of various academic promotion and progression schemes and academic grade structures

Role of Academic Council?

Legislative Context for Academic Councils in the Irish University sector
Under the Irish Universities Act 1997, as amended by the Higher Education Authority Act, 2022 is the governance arrangements for Irish universities follow a bicameral model, with Governing Authorities exercising overall governance responsibility for Universities and Academic Councils having a particular responsibility for the governance of the academic affairs of universities.  Specifically, section 127 of the HEA Education Authority Act 2022 provides that ‘each University shall have an Academic Council which shall control the academic affairs of the University, including the curriculum of, and instruction and education provided by, the University’.

Responsibilities of Academic Council

The Universities’ Act sets out the following responsibilities of Academic Council:

(a)    to design and develop programmes of study,

(b)    to establish structures to implement those programmes,

(c)     to make recommendations on programmes for the development of research,

(d)    to make recommendations relating to the selection, admission, retention and exclusion of students generally,

(e)    to propose the form and contents of statutes to be made relating to the academic affairs of the university, including the conduct of examinations, the determination of examination results, the procedures for appeals by students relating to the results of such examinations and the evaluation of academic progress,

(f)      to make recommendations for the awarding of fellowships, scholarships, bursaries, prizes or other awards,

(g)    to make general arrangements for tutorial or other academic counselling,

(h)    to perform any other functions, not in conflict with this Act, which may be delegated to it by the governing authority, and

(i)      to implement any statutes and regulations made by the governing authority relating to any of the matters referred to in this subsection.

Election 2024 - 2028

An election will be held by e-voting over a 27-hour window from Tuesday 11th June, 2024 at 9am to Wednesday 12th June, 2024 at 12noon (Irish time). A link to the e-voting portal will be provided here in advance of the ballot opening. 

University staff can run for election and vote in one of two elections as follows:

  • Academic Staff Elections: College elections will be held to elect members across the academic grades of Lecturer, Senior Lecturer and Professor
  • Research Staff Elections: Elections of Research staff will be held in each College to elect 2 Research staff per College

Student Elections

Students’ Union elections will be held in each College to elect 2 students per College.


A call for nominations for Academic Council Elections 2024 – 2028 from the Academic and Research Staff grades is now open and will remain open until 17.00pm on Friday, 17th May 2024.
Visit the nominations portal here


Eligible Nominees

Academic Staff Elections

All College members holding an academic contract at Lecturer, Senior Lecturer and Professor levels by May 1st 2024 are eligible to run for election in the Academic Staff constituency only.

Research Staff Elections

All staff of a College holding research contracts by May 1st 2024 are eligible to run for election in the Research staff election only.

Student Elections

All registered students of a College are eligible to run for election.

Composition of Academic Council Statute CCCLXXXI

CCCLXXXI-(381)-Composition of Academic Council

Academic Council Election Regulations 2024

Academic Council Election Procedures April 2024

Ballraíocht na Comhairle Acadúla Toghcháin na gColáistí

College Quotas

Academic Council Elections 2024 Gender Quotas

Cuótaí Inscne Thoghcháin na Comhairle Acadúla 2024

Timeline for Elections

Schedule for Academic Council College Staff Elections 2024

Board Membership: What is involved?

Time commitment: Academic Council meets five times per year in the middle of the month in October, December, February, April and June. Documentation for meetings is provided two weeks in advance and requires a couple of days reading and preparation.

For informal queries on Board Membership contact the Secretary for Governance & Academic Affairs: govandacademicaffairs@universityofgalway.ie

The benefits to being a member of Academic Council are

  • you get a greater awareness of key issues influencing student and academic life at University of Galway
  • having the opportunity to raise and discuss important university matters,
  • a feeling like I'm contributing in an important way to the strategic direction and development of our university
  • meeting and engaging with colleagues across schools and faculties
  • a deeper understanding of important drivers of my own institution and the higher education sector more broadly, which has proven to be very helpful/useful in successful funding bids
  • seeing how large plenary meetings can be conducted in a professional manner that is open, respectful of and responsive to the needs of members.

Key skills for being a member of Academic Council are

  • openness to continual innovation and development, which are hallmarks of educational change, particularly at tertiary level.
  • the capacity to articulate and communicate key concerns and issues, as needed.
  • having a respectful, inclusive outlook, and capacity to relate to, and understand the perspectives of students and colleagues.
  • an awareness of the constraints on the higher education sector, and our university, but also a progressive attitude that things can change and be improved; and finally an understanding of the prevailing policy context, key stakeholders and the changing higher education landscape in Ireland.

Prof Laoise McNamara

Prof Laoise McNamara, Head of School of Engineering, University of Galway, offers her perspective on serving as a member of the Academic Council.

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Prof Martin Glavin, Lecturer, School of Engineering

Prof Martin Glavin shares his insights as a University of Galway Academic Council member.

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Dr Gary Gillanders, Lecturer, School of Physics

Dr Gary Gillanders shares his insights as a current University of Galway Academic Council member.

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