The University's governance structure is established by The University of Regina Act and is bicameral - simply put, there is one decision stream for academic decisions and another for administrative ones.
Decisions on academic programs and related matters generally originate in the faculties, are reviewed by a University academic committee, are considered by Executive of Council on behalf of the University's Faculty Council, and then are decided upon by Senate.
Issues requiring administrative decisions may originate almost anywhere, and the Board of Governors makes major final administrative decisions, particularly where significant expenditures are concerned.
The two streams often come together at the Board; for example, Senate decisions regarding establishment of new or major expansions of academic units and programs or major changes thereto are subject to ratification by the Board of Governors.
The Board is responsible for the general oversight of the University, including the administrative and business affairs of the institution. As such, it sets non-academic institutional policies. While the legislation gives the Board broad responsibilities, it has delegated a number of them focusing more at the strategic level.
The Board recruits, appoints and reviews the President, and also appoints the Vice-Presidents and the University Secretary. The Board has delegated other staff and faculty appointments.
By reviewing and approving the operating, ancillaries, and capital budgets, the Board approves expenditures. The Board also directs the annual audit and approves the annual financial statements. In addition, negotiated collective agreements go to the Board for approval.
A broad range of policies are subject to Board approval, including, for example, policies concerning the pension plans.
The Board has five regularly scheduled meetings a year; special meetings may be called from time to time. The Board of Governors relies on its committee structure for performing the work of the Board. As of 2009, it has five standing committees: Audit and Risk Management, Finance and Facilities, Governance and Nominations, Human Resources and Distinguished Service Awards.
The Board of Governors has 11 members: five are appointed by the provincial government (order-in-council), three are elected (one faculty representative and two Senate representatives), and three are ex officio (Chancellor, President, and Student Union President). The process for determining the order-in-council appointments are done as per the Protocol Agreement signed in 2000 between the University of Regina, University of Saskatchewan and the Ministry which at that time was called Post-Secondary Education and Skills Training. The process as defined by the Protocol Agreement is as follows:
1. The Board of Governors or its representatives will be invited to contribute to the development of a list of names of individuals to be considered for future appointments.
2. The Minister will maintain that list of persons whose qualifications for appointment have been assessed and approved by the Minister and the Board of Governors of the respective institutions.
3. The Minister will recommend to Cabinet only individuals whose names appear on the approved list.
Very few universities in Canada have an advisory body that includes external persons. The University of Regina not only has such a body (the Senate), it has academic decision-making powers that the faculty senate or council exercises at most universities.
Sometimes described as the University's ‘window on the world', the Senate may more accurately be described as the world's window on the University. It includes representatives from about 40 professional/occupational organizations, 14 representatives of graduates from 12 electoral districts throughout Saskatchewan, as well as the present and past chancellors of the University, the president, vice-presidents, and academic and student affairs associate vice-presidents, the heads of federated and affiliated colleges, deans and academic directors, six student representatives, and the minister and the deputy minister of Saskatchewan Advanced Education. The Chancellor is the chair of Senate, and the President and Vice-Chancellor is vice-chair of Senate.
The University of Regina Act establishes Senate as the senior academic decision-making body. Its primary responsibility is to consider and decide on academic matters referred to it by Council, particularly concerning: student appeals; student discipline; granting of degrees (including honorary degrees), diplomas and certificates; establishment of faculties, schools, departments, chairs and courses of instruction or major changes therein (on academic grounds); establishment of advisory councils; admission requirements; academic standards for students; and applications for affiliation and federation. In essence, the Senate cannot act independently on academic matters - it requires recommendations from Council and major decisions are subject to Board approval.
The Senate By-Laws establish each faculty and identify the membership on each faculty council. Each faculty council has representation from other faculties, from Senate, and from the senior administration.
Senate has several standing committees, some of which are naturally more active than others: Affiliation and Federation, Student Appeals, By-Laws, Executive, Membership and Elections and Nominating.
The Joint Senate and Council Committee on Ceremonies is a joint standing committee of both Senate and Council.
Senate currently meets three times per year (normally in February, and immediately prior to Spring and Fall convocations).
The University of Regina Act also establishes a Council for the University. The Council makes recommendations to Senate on those areas for which Senate decisions are required (see above.) Council also determines the dates for the academic year and the timetable for examinations.
Council consists of the University's president, vice-presidents, university secretary, registrar, librarian, assistant librarians, and the deans, directors, professors, associate professors, assistant professors, full-time lecturers, special-lecturers and instructors employed by the University or its federated colleges, and a number of students.
The President is the chair of Council and of Executive of Council.
Since 1976, Council has delegated its responsibilities to Executive of Council, and the full Council meets bi-annually.
Executive of Council generally meets monthly, except in July, August and December. In addition to considering various proposals for academic programs and regulations, Executive of Council has been delegated the authority to approve lists of graduands by Senate.
Most of the items considered by Executive of Council come to it via its committees and usually originate in an individual faculty or unit.
Currently, in addition to Executive of Council, Council has the following standing committees: Council Agenda Committee, Council Committee on Academic Mission, Council Committee on Budget, Council Committee on the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research, Council Committee on Research, Council Committee on Student Appeals, Council Committee on Undergraduate Admissions and Studies, Council Committee on Undergraduate Scholarships, Council Discipline Committee and the Council Nominating Committee.
As well, the Joint Committee on Ceremonies is a standing committee of both Senate and Council.
There are many other bodies within the University that have responsibility for providing advice or making operating decisions. Many of these are at the faculty and administrative department level; others such as the University Executive Team, the University Leadership Team, the Dean's Council, and the Budget Committee, are at the institutional level.