University of Auckland Charter 2003

A high-level governance document that sets out the University's mission and role in the tertiary education system.

I) The Mission of the University of Auckland

The Mission of The University of Auckland is to be 'a research-led, international university, recognised for excellence in teaching, learning, research, creative work, and administration, for the significance of its contributions to the advancement of knowledge and its commitment to serve its local, national and international communities.' The purpose of the University is to engage in teaching, learning, and research of a standard comparable to that of research-intensive, comprehensive universities worldwide. In carrying out this purpose, the University aims to develop the knowledge, understanding and talents of its students, foster the research and creativity of its staff, enrich the cultures and promote the prosperity of Auckland, its region and the nation, and enhance knowledge in the various fields of its endeavour.

The University is committed to the following institutional values:

  • Conserving, advancing and disseminating knowledge through teaching,learning, research and creative work of the highest standard.
  • Creating a diverse, collegial scholarly community in which individuals are valued and respected, academic freedom is exercised with intellectual rigour and high ethical standards, and critical enquiry is encouraged.
  • Placing a strong emphasis on serving its student body.
  • Working to advance the intellectual, cultural, environmental, economic and social well-being of the peoples of Auckland and New Zealand.
  • Recognising a special relationship with Māori under the Treaty of Waitangi.
  • Providing equal opportunities to all who have the potential to succeed in a university of high international standing.
  • Engaging with national and international scholars, educational and research institutions to enhance intellectual development, educational quality and research productivity.
  • The development and commercialisation of enterprise based on its research and creative works.
  • Providing high quality management marked by open, transparent, responsive, and accountable academic and administrative policies, practices and services.

II) The Character of the University of Auckland

The University of Auckland shares with other universities in New Zealand and overseas a character that makes universities distinctive from other tertiary education institutions. It is primarily concerned with advanced learning and the development of intellectual independence. As an autonomous, independent institution, it upholds academic freedom, acts as a repository of knowledge and expertise and embraces its role as a critic and conscience of society.

In addition to these shared characteristics of universities, the University is a comprehensive, research-intensive, international university, domiciled in the Auckland region of New Zealand. These aspects of its role confer much of its special character.

The University offers a comprehensive portfolio of academic programmes at both the undergraduate and postgraduate level. Faculties of Arts and Science and the School of Theology provide a broad-based education in fundamental and specialist areas. Professional training is provided in the Faculties of Business and Economics, Creative Arts and Industries, Engineering, Law, Medical and Health Sciences. The clustering of a wide range of disciplines enables students to take advantage of a liberal education alongside professional training, sometimes in conjoint degrees which cross faculty boundaries. The professional faculties are engaged in developing high level knowledge and skills that are critical in professional education and professional practice.

The University has a culture of continuously broadening and deepening its portfolio of academic programmes. This broadening is aimed at anticipating and responding to new directions in international advances in knowledge. At times it occurs in the inclusion within existing areas of study, such as history, languages or economics, of cultures of growing relevance to New Zealand. At other times, it reflects New Zealand's need for research and learning in fields of study such as law, engineering, creative arts or teacher education which reflects its unique culture and demographic diversity. Often such a broadening arises from the ability of a comprehensive university to work across knowledge boundaries and establish new knowledge frontiers, as in biotechnology and multimedia.

The deepening of the portfolio of academic programmes arises from the continuous quest to enhance the quality of academic activity, its contribution to international learning and value to New Zealand and New Zealanders. The University aims to ensure critical mass in each of its areas of study and to embed its research in teaching in ways that develop the knowledge, wisdom and skills of students.

The academic programmes of the University are underpinned by intensive research and scholarly activity and by a resource base that serves members of the University and the external community. The University fosters original scholarship and research across established and emerging disciplines and bodies of knowledge, both pure and applied. It values independent and critical enquiry into current and accepted theories, and upholds the right to contest them.

The University plays a special role in the discovery and transmission of knowledge, and in technology transfer, both fundamental elements of wealth and well-being in the current world. It gains much of its special character from the excellence, extent and impact of this research, reflected in particular through its hosting of four national Centres of Research Excellence, its commitment to research-based teaching, and the quality of its research infrastructure, especially its Library. The range of intellectual disciplines offered by the University enables researchers to work in interdisciplinary teams and to make research connections across fields of study.

A research University has the responsibility and the opportunity to ensure that all of its students, undergraduate and postgraduate, benefit from their contact with a learning environment that is intellectually rich and diverse. The University is a major provider of postgraduate education and trains a significant proportion of the country's emerging researchers. Postgraduate programmes cover coursework and research Masters, a range of professional postgraduate Diplomas, and a full doctoral programme, including the Doctorate of Philosophy and a number of named, or professional, doctorates.

Māori and Pacific engagement in academic life confer much of the distinctive and special character of this University. The University recognises the importance of engaging Māori and Pacific students in high level degree education that will provide the chance to enhance their potential and life choices and prepare them to participate fully in rewarding professional and knowledge based vocations. But, more than this, there are benefits, both to the University and to the country, of building a strong core of Māori and Pacific staff, providing programmes that attract Māori and Pacific students, and contributing to Māori and Pacific intellectual, social, economic and cultural advancement.

The demographic character of Auckland city and its surrounding region, and the emerging multi-cultural basis of New Zealand society, add to the distinctiveness of the University. Auckland city has a rapidly growing migrant population and, given the youth of this population and the expansion of international student numbers, the University's composition illustrates the demographic diversity of the community in a very special way.

The University's role is international and national. Its staff and students engage with national and international scholars, educational and research institutions in the pursuit of intellectual development, educational quality and research productivity. It attracts students from all over New Zealand and overseas. Its staff set their standards by the best of their international colleagues and peer institutions. These international standards guide the University in its development and in its leadership role in New Zealand's tertiary system.

Together with the international universities with which it is associated, in particular the universities in the Universitas 21 network and the Association of Pacific Rim Universities, the University is continually examining ways to implement and enhance policies, practices and programmes that provide staff and students with the capacity and opportunity to engage in the global community and the global search for knowledge. Internationalisation challenges key areas of activity in the University, such as research, curriculum, teaching and learning, staff development and mobility, international student recruitment, and relations with ethnic communities. The University has undertaken to increase significantly the proportion of students who undertake study abroad as part of their degree programme.

The internationalisation of the University is creating a cosmopolitan university that reflects the contribution of New Zealand to a multicultural world where ability, initiative, and achievement are the principal factors in global competitiveness. Students have the advantage of studying in a diverse, dynamic, international academic community, and travelling a pathway to future employment worldwide.

III) The contribution of The University of Auckland to New Zealand's identity and economic, social and cultural development

The University has the responsibility and the capacity to foster the country's identity and advance its economic, social and cultural development through teaching, learning and research and through the contribution it makes directly to the achievement of national goals and national development. The University contributes in a leadership role to the scientific, cultural, social, environmental and economic debates and life of its communities and of the nation. As teachers and researchers, members of the University seek to assist all New Zealanders to become better informed and to participate more fully in the knowledge society. Staff engage in groundbreaking research and scholarship across the spectrum of medicine, science, engineering, humanities, law, social sciences, business and creative and performing arts, expanding and enriching the country's knowledge base and directly contributing to social, economic and policy development.

The University aims to provide its graduates with key, high-level generic skills such as the capacity for lifelong critical, conceptual and reflective thinking, and attributes such as creativity and originality. These qualities help to develop a willingness to engage in constructive public discourse and to accept social and civic responsibilities. Graduates of the University are leaders in their communities, and possess an awareness of the complexity and distinctive qualities of New Zealand, and of New Zealand's place in the world.

The University actively builds links with the local and national communities within which it operates. It has a commitment to education in the broader community and provides general studies and community issues courses, short courses in continuing professional education, and bridging programmes for students wishing to enter tertiary education. Mutually beneficial links exist between the University and regional and national social and cultural institutions, with its alumni and community organisations. A close working relationship with these organisations and institutions assists the University to identify and meet its public responsibilities.

In its role as a research institution, the University aims to provide quality independent advice to local and central government and to strengthen its relationship with the professions, the media, business and industry, and encourage their involvement in University activities. Through its commercial arm, UniServices, it engages in research and development contracts with a wide range of business partners, including Crown Research Institutes, the private and public sector. In order to uphold its special responsibilities under the Treaty of Waitangi, the University has developed research partnerships with iwi.

The research undertaken in the University and disseminated within the wider community has important cultural and social outcomes. It impacts on the way New Zealanders view themselves and the society they live in, contributing to New Zealand's identity and cultural development. In some disciplines,University research has a strong inter-dependency with public agencies, such as law with the legal system, and with the provision of quality public services, such as health and education. Other disciplines, such as music, fine arts and the performing arts, are embedded in the cultural fabric of the society. The University's commitment to high-level research, and to supporting emerging researchers, increases world knowledge in a range of fields and provides insights into and responses to the needs of the New Zealand community. It relates directly to the national strategy for innovation and to priorities for development and growth in the areas of Creative Arts and Industries, Biotechnology, and Information and Communications Technology.

The University is committed to enhancing education, stimulating innovation and identifying opportunities for creating wealth from ideas and knowledge. It has taken a leadership role among tertiary institutions in working to achieve these goals.

The nature of the scholarship and research of the University transcends national boundaries. It links with the international academic community and keeps New Zealanders in touch with international scholarship, research and intellectual developments. The internationalisation of the University further stimulates an awareness of multiculturalism in New Zealand society, and advances research that places New Zealand in a position of strength in a competitive global knowledge economy.

The University's relationships with other international universities and its links with community, industry and professional organisations in New Zealand improve knowledge uptake and the social, cultural and commercial application of new knowledge. The University will continue to advance its strengths in these areas and to make a major contribution to the social, economic, cultural, and intellectual development of the nation.

IV) The contribution of The University of Auckland to the tertiary education system

The University is a principal contributor to academic development and innovation in New Zealand's tertiary education system. The University aims to provide leadership to the sector through the comprehensiveness of its teaching portfolio, its international links, its research and resource strengths, and the quality of its academic staff.

The University contributes to the tertiary education system by producing high-level researchers and developing innovative research-based and multidisciplinary academic programmes. Its research culture is linked to teaching at all levels, ensuring that learners, graduates and teachers are involved in, and informed by, leading-edge research. This, in turn, generates high levels of expertise and stimulates innovation among staff and students, benefitting the tertiary system as a whole. The University expects its graduates to become leaders in teaching and research throughout the tertiary education system.

Through its specialised provision of education in Medical and Health Sciences, Law, Business and Property, Engineering, Education, Architecture, and Planning, the University makes a major contribution at a high level to the training of skilled and knowledgeable professionals. An important dimension of the University's contribution to the overall system of tertiary education is its commitment to providing staircased entry into its degree programmes. This goal aligns with objectives to engage underrepresented groups, particularly Māori and Pacific students, in degree education. Foundation programmes offered by the University, and in collaboration with other institutions, also promote the improvement of adult foundation skill levels.

The University is engaged constructively with the pre-University education system throughout the country. In seeking to improve linkages between secondary and tertiary education, it contributes to the national goal of raising the foundation skills of all New Zealanders. Outreach programmes established and run by the University assist Māori and Pacific students and students in low-decile schools to realise their potential to succeed in tertiary level education.

V) The approach of The University of Auckland to collaboration with other tertiary providers and external organisations

The University seeks to sustain positive contacts with universities and other education institutions and research organisations in Auckland, elsewhere in New Zealand, and worldwide which bring benefit to its core activities of teaching and research and assist in meeting equity goals. Research alliances and collaborative partnerships with public agencies, such as Crown Research Institutes, and the private sector are pursued when there are research synergies and advantages to be gained. The University encourages partnerships with business and industry through consortia, co-location and clustering arrangements.

Interaction between staff and students of the University and major overseas institutions has long been seen as an essential means of enhancing achievement and scholarly collaboration. The University is the only New Zealand member of the Universitas 21 network and the Association of Pacific Rim Universities. Universitas 21 is a grouping of major research-intensive international universities with which the University benchmarks and cooperates in areas such as student mobility and flexible learning. In addition, the University has some seventy bi-lateral agreements with other international tertiary education institutions for staff and student exchanges.

Alongside its international links, the University has co-operative agreements and alliances with tertiary institutions in the Auckland region, including the Auckland University of Technology, the Auckland College of Education, and Manukau Institute of Technology, and with cultural institutions such as the Auckland War Memorial Museum and the Auckland Philharmonia. These agreements provide for shared administrative structures and processes, cooperation in research and teaching, and opportunities for the rationalisation of courses and programmes. Collaborative teaching arrangements are in place with Manukau Institute of Technology, Waiariki Institute of Technology, and Te Whare Wananga o Awanuiarangi. Some of these programmes are designed to enhance the education of Māori.

Effective linkages with key stakeholders outside the tertiary sector are a key element of the University's mission. Engagement with the many communities with which the University has mutual interests, and to which it has responsibilities and obligations, benefits both the University and the future development of these communities by enhancing the knowledge base and contributing to social and economic well-being.

The Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences has key partnerships with District Health Boards. The Business School has developed an extensive set of connections with national and international businesses and organisations. A number of faculties and schools have external advisory boards made up of representatives from relevant business or professional organisations and industry.

VI) The approach of The University of Auckland to fulfilling Treaty of Waitangi obligations

The University recognises that all members of its community are encompassed by the Treaty of Waitangi with mutual rights and obligations. In acknowledging the Treaty, the University seeks to promote Māori presence and participation in all aspects of University life and to encourage research in a range of fields important to Māori.

The Runānga of the University is a Council Committee which reports to Council through Senate. It is active in the development of Māori policy, programmes and curriculum initiatives, and helps develop policies and procedures for the appointment of Māori staff in faculties and departments.

The Pro-Vice Chancellor (Māori) chairs the Runānga.

The University aspires to improve the participation of Māori students in degree education, by providing relevant programmes and programmes which create new points of entry into higher education. It is committed to developing quality academic structures and programmes, which support Māori language, knowledge and culture. It is also dedicated to increasing the numbers and improving the qualifications of Māori academic and professional staff, and to identifying and rewarding excellent Māori academic initiatives.

The University considers the continued building and maintenance of relationships with local iwi and Māori communities within and external to the University a significant priority. It has a Memorandum of Agreement with the Ngāti Whatua o Orakei Trust Board which records a relationship based on the mana whenua of Ngāti Whatua and agrees to promote co-operative development. It hosts the James Henare Research Centre to deliver research for the benefit of Tai Tokerau. However, although these local relationships are of prime importance, the University takes the whole of New Zealand as its Māori constituency and is committed to Māori academic development in the broad sense and in the national interest.

The University recognises that the development of portfolios of research that enhance its capacity to carry out research of relevance to Māori is of primary importance. Further to this goal the University is dedicated to increasing the levels of Māori staff participation in research and publication and supporting innovative research using Kaupapa Māori approaches. The University hosts Nga Pae o Te Maramatanga (Horizons of Insight), the National Institute of Research Excellence for Māori Development and Advancement. High quality research will provide the University with a sound interdisciplinary understanding of the factors producing current inequities in educational achievement in New Zealand, and effective ways of addressing these inequities.

VII) The approach of The University of Auckland to meeting the needs of Pacific peoples

The Auckland region is the largest centre for Pacific peoples in the world. This unique demographic situation, in combination with continued underrepresentation of Pacific peoples in tertiary education, gives the University a special responsibility to partner with Pacific communities to ensure that their educational and development needs and aspirations are met.

The Pacific Leaders' Advisory Group, a body representative of all the Pacific communities in Auckland, advises the University on matters of importance to Pacific peoples, including the development and building of the University's Fale Pasifika and associated teaching and research facility. Pacific people are also represented on the University's Community Advisory Group.

The University provides a significant number of courses and programmes, many administered through its Centre for Pacific Studies, which promote Pacific languages, knowledge and culture. It has research capability and teaching expertise to assist Pacific people in meeting their educational needs. Special outreach programmes established and run by the University assist Pacific students and students in low-decile schools to realise their potential to access tertiary-level education. Campus-based programmes such as the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Architecture, Medicine) programme, the Malaga Summer School programme and The University of Auckland Tertiary Foundation Certificate target Pacific secondary school students and school leavers, and exemplify the University's engagement with its Pacific community. The University also has a commitment to nurture and support Pacific research and to develop research capability.

The University aspires to increase the number, and raise the qualification levels of Pacific staff, and to expand opportunities for Pacific academics in teaching and research. Increased numbers of Pacific staff will allow for increased Pacific involvement in decision-making at the highest levels in the University.

VIII) The approach of The University of Auckland to meeting the educational needs of learners

The University undertakes to provide quality undergraduate and postgraduate programmes benchmarked to high international standards in an intellectually rich and diverse learning environment. It is committed to the provision of these programmes for everyone with the potential to succeed. The University offers a student-focussed teaching and learning environment which encourages academic excellence, enjoyment of learning, critical reasoning and inquiry. It engages students as active participants in the learning process and pursues learning outcomes that create independent and lifelong learners.

The University considers the connection between teaching and research an important aspect of helping students reach their full potential. It retains a core commitment to research-based teaching and enhancing scholarship through linking research, professional practice, creative work and teaching. The University regularly reviews its academic curriculum, qualifications portfolio, modes of delivery and assessment practices to ensure that it sustains an academic programme of high quality, benchmarked to international standards, responsive to student, community and professional needs, and efficient in its use of resources.

New teaching and learning technologies are transforming the educational experience of students worldwide. The University encourages and promotes the development of flexible modes of teaching and learning, the use of new teaching and learning technologies, and computer assisted course management systems. The University promotes strong disciplinary studies and encourages interdisciplinary programmes that combine existing and new fields in innovative and challenging ways.

In meeting the needs of learners, the University aspires to identify the learning needs of underrepresented groups of students in ways that uphold the Treaty of Waitangi and equity obligations of the University. Improved access and success rates for students in equity target groups, including students with disabilities, require all parts of the University to place a priority on exploring more diverse curricula, inclusive methods of teaching, and innovative access and retention strategies. The University's outreach to students from target equity groups in schools and the community, and the provision of pre-entry pathways, such as the Certificate in Health Sciences, are ways in which the needs of these learners are met. Once students are enrolled in degree-level education, the University strives to improve the retention and success rates of all learners, but particularly those from target equity groups. Students in underrepresented groups are assisted by schemes that provide tutoring and peer group support, dedicated study spaces, facilities and assistance for students with disabilities, and mentoring.

The University must also meet the learning needs of a student population which is highly diverse ethnically and culturally and which is increasingly internationalised. This diverse community creates a stimulating and rich learning environment and provides the opportunity to incorporate appropriate international and cultural material and perspectives into course content and delivery. It also provides the opportunity to encourage tolerance and respect for diverse viewpoints, beliefs and practices.

The University recognises that a culture that respects, values and responds to students, and engages in regular and constructive reflection on and improvement of student life is crucial to creating a successful learning environment and achieving successful learning outcomes. The University of Auckland aims to offer students cultural, recreational and support services of the highest quality. It has committed to a continuous improvement of student life, from the time a student expresses an interest in attending the University, through orientation and transition to the University, to graduation and alumni status.

IX) The approach of The University of Auckland to ensuring that it develops a staff profile that reflects its mission and special character

The University is committed to attracting and retaining national and international staff of the highest quality. It aspires to engage members of staff fully in the University's mission and academic activities, and values the participation of all staff in institutional life. Staff are empowered to exercise initiative and responsibility in their roles, and to achieve to the highest level.

A high priority is given to reward and recognition systems which acknowledge excellence and innovation in teaching and learning, creative work, research, research training and research dissemination, equity contributions, administrative and academic support services.

The development of an academic and professional staff with strong managerial, leadership and technical abilities is a key element of the University's mission. Formal and informal professional development opportunities are provided for all staff. Professional development supports staff to perform in a range of responsibilities and ensures that they do this in a way that brings them personal satisfaction and enables them to contribute to the mission of the University.

The University offers a broad-based multidisciplinary environment for teaching, learning and research, and strives to realise the fullest possible range of international opportunities to enrich research, scholarship and management. Staff are encouraged and supported in taking research and study leave, attending international conferences and participating in exchanges.

The University undertakes to foster the abilities of a diverse staff by providing fair, open and consistent promotion and development practices and procedures, and the opportunity to achieve excellence in their chosen fields. The principles and practices of equity are given a high priority in all areas of staff policy and management.

The University's Equal Opportunity policies and action plans aim to increase the numbers of academic and professional staff from underrepresented groups. A diverse community of scholars and professional staff provides many benefits, including improved understanding and awareness of cultural practices and beliefs. Cross-cultural expertise among staff and the progressive internationalisation of the curriculum help to meet the needs of a culturally diverse learning community and to contribute to our mission as an international institution.

The academic staff members of The University of Auckland have a responsibility to advance and disseminate knowledge. The University undertakes to uphold the academic freedom essential to their research, scholarship, practice and teaching roles and to their statutory role as the critics and conscience of society.

X) Governance and management structure

The Constitution of the Council of the University is attached. The principal responsibilities of the Council are contained in the Education Act 1989 and the Education (Tertiary Reform) Amendment Act 2002. They are to appoint the chief executive, to prepare, negotiate and adopt a Charter, to adopt a Profile, to ensure that the University is managed in accordance with the Charter and Profile and to determine the policies of the University in relation to the implementation of the Charter, the carrying out of the Profile and, subject to the State Sector Act 1988, the management of its affairs.

In performing its functions and powers, the Council strives to ensure that the University attains the highest standards of excellence in education, training and research; to acknowledge the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi; to encourage participation by under-represented groups; to ensure that the University does not discriminate unfairly against any person; to ensure that the University operates in a financially responsible manner, using resources efficiently and maintaining long term viability; and to ensure the maintenance of the proper standards of integrity and conduct and concern for the public interest and the well-being of students.

The Council regularly engages in reviews and discussion of the University's strategic plans and operating priorities. It retains oversight and monitoring of financial planning through its Finance and Audit Committees. It reviews and monitors the performance of the Vice-Chancellor through the Vice- Chancellor's Review Committee.

Council entrusts the academic and administrative management of the University to the Vice-Chancellor who is assisted in this by Deputy and Pro- Vice-Chancellors, the Deans and Directors constituting a senior management team.

The Senate of the University consists of the Vice-Chancellor, and members of the staff and students. The Senate has a statutory obligation to advise Council on 'matters relating to courses of study or training, awards, and other academic matters; and exercises powers delegated to it by Council'. The Senate has a range of Committees which deal with academic matters, the most important being Education Committee, Research Committee, Academic Programmes Committee, Postgraduate and Scholarship Committee and the Library Committee.

University management undertakes to support the mission and activities of the University by high quality, transparent and accountable management and administrative policies, processes and practices.

The University acts to ensure that it receives high quality policy advice from members of the University involved in organisation and administration, and promotes effective and appropriate participation and sound and timely processes in University policy and decision-making. Managers of academic, administrative and support units are required to set performance goals and ensure that performance leads to continuous enhancement of services.The University regards cohesive plans and effective management policies as crucial for achieving excellence. The accurate, timely and efficient collection, reporting and dissemination of information and data assist planning and decision-making.

The University is committed to maintaining and constantly improving a budget cycle that allocates resources in ways that advance the strategic interests and priorities of the University. It seeks ways to improve the net and gross revenues of the University, to increase and diversify revenue streams, and to develop potential revenue streams.

XI) Consultation undertaken in preparation of the Charter

The University views engagement with stakeholders as crucial to its mission and strategic development. Constructive interaction and ongoing consultation with stakeholders allows the University to identify the needs and priorities of its communities of interest and strengthen beneficial collaboration and partnerships.

The Charter consultation process enabled the University to raise awareness, internally and externally, about the University's mission and direction, and the important changes occurring in the tertiary education sector.

In developing its Charter, the University identified the following broad stakeholder groups: students, staff, alumni, Māori and Pacific Island communities, regional and community interest groups or organisations, professional groups and accrediting bodies, industry and business organisations and employers, primary and secondary schools, other educational organisations and providers, local government, government departments and agencies, research funders, Crown Research Institutes, and cultural organizations.

This list of stakeholder groups was published in major daily newspapers, and individuals and groups were directed to the University web-site for a more detailed list of stakeholders, the draft Charter and information on the Charter process. Copies of the draft Charter were sent to some two hundred external stakeholder groups.

The University held meetings on the Charter with its Community Advisory Group, with Māori groups and its Pacific Community Leaders' Advisory Group. A regular meeting with secondary school principals discussed the Charter. All staff received a copy of the draft Charter and Charter forums for staff and students were held on each of the University's three main campuses.

The Runānga discussed the Charter.

The Charter was considered at senior management and faculty level, and by Senate and Council.

All feedback was carefully considered and suggestions were incorporated in the final version as appropriate.