Senate Powers and Bylaws

The Senate of Victoria University


The 1981 Victoria University Act gives the Senate power to grant degrees, establish student awards, summon Convocations, "make regulations and deal with all such matters of a strictly educational nature as have not in this Act been assigned to either of the Colleges", and "deal with other matters and affairs as may from time to time be committed to it by the Board".

By the terms of the Federation agreement which brought Victoria University into the University of Toronto in 1892, Victoria has held in abeyance its power to grant degrees except in Theology.  Victoria College students do not receive Victoria University degrees; their degrees are conferred by the University of Toronto.  For Emmanuel College, however, the Senate is an important upper chamber.  It must approve any changes in the theological degree requirements and vote on the granting of all theological degrees.  The degrees granted by the Senate to students of Emmanuel College are Master of Divinity, Master of Pastoral Studies, Master of Religious Education, Master of Sacred Music, Master of Theological Studies, Master of Theology, Doctor of Theology and Doctor of Ministry.  The first five are referred to as basic degrees, the other three as advanced degrees.  The Senate also votes on the granting of the three honorary degrees, the Doctor of Divinity, Doctor of Sacred Letters, and Doctor of Humane Letters.  The first of these is usually conferred only upon ministers of religion, the other two upon lay persons. 

In addition to granting degrees, the Senate deals with matters that transcend the Victoria College - Emmanuel College division and are of equal concern to both Colleges and to the broader academic community.


1. These by-laws supersede all previously approved by-laws.

2. At meetings of the Senate, a quorum shall continue to be nine members.

3. The powers of Senate as described in the Victoria University Act 1951 revised 1981, are delegated to the Executive Committee.

4. Notwithstanding 3 above, the Senate shall appoint the Nominating Committee and approve the membership of the Executive Committee at its annual meeting.

5. The business of Senate shall be conducted according to Bourinot's Rules of Order. The Chancellor, or the Vice-Chancellor, shall preside (Victoria University Act 11.1,2).

6. The full Senate shall meet annually, normally early in the fall term, for the purposes of hearing reports from the Executive Committee of its deliberations and resolutions from the preceding year, and approving the membership of the Executive Committee.

7. The Executive Committee

(a) The Executive Committee shall be composed of four ex officio members (the President & Vice­ Chancellor who shall chair the Executive Committee,the Principal of Victoria College,the Principal of Emmanuel College, the University Registrar who shall act as Secretary), four Fellows of Victoria College at least two of whom teach in the College's programs and two faculty members of Emmanuel College, two students and two alumni of Victoria College, one student and one alumni/a from Emmanuel College, and at least one professor emeritus/a of the University.
(b) Membership shall be drawn from the full membership of the Senate and may be held for up to three years renewable once.
(c) The Committee shall meet at the call of the chair.
(d) The Committee shall conduct the business of Senate, but may strike standing and special subcommittees where appropriate, such as for awards, library policy or honorary degrees; membership may include other members of the Senate.
(e) The agendas of the Executive Committee and its minutes shall be posted on the Senate site of the Victoria University website.
(f) The College Councils and the Board of Regents may request the Executive Committee to consider any matter within the jurisdiction of the Senate.
(g) The Executive Committee shall make a report to the full Senate at its annual meeting.
(h) The Executive Committee shall transmit its report to the Board of Regents at least annually.

8. The Nominating Committee

(a) There shall be a nominating committee to oversee (i) the filling of vacant positions on the Senate itself, and (ii) the appointment of the Executive Committee.
(b) The Nominating Committee shall call for nominations to the Executive Committee from the faculty, and insure that the student societies and alumni associations of each College select names according to agreed procedures. The Committee shall prepare a slate to be adopted at the annual meeting of Senate.
(c) Membership of the Nominating Committee shall include at least three of the ex officio members of the Executive Committee, and a faculty member from each College selected from its academic council.

About Victoria