The Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt Senate is a democratically elected body that represents all AAU faculties, internal stakeholder groups and a variety of different subject areas. For this reason, Senate has a very special role to play at the university. Senate’s influential place within the university means it is perfectly positioned for the following duties: fostering transparency and introducing representative opinion-forming processes at AAU; as an arena for the discussion of fundamental conflicts of interest (reconciliation of interest, mediation and conflict settlement).
Senate is an active committee that is concerned primarily with strategic matters relating to the organisation and development of the university, as well as the duties outlined in the Universities Act 2002. In the performance of this role, Senate should therefore focus on themes of key importance to the university and on the development of a balanced profile reflecting the interests of all organisational units at the university. Due to the interdisciplinary nature of Senate’s membership and its duty of care to the entire university community, Senate is required to keep a certain amount of distance between itself and the day-to-day activities of the university. Focussing on a select group of themes at the university, Senate identifies matters requiring action and makes any problems or areas for reform a point for official discussion.
Senate is a collegial board that acts in an advisory and monitoring capacity and seeks active information exchange with university management (the Rectorate) and the supervisory body and control committee prescribed by law (the University Council). The flow of information from Senate to all members of the university and vice versa – from members of the university to the Senate – should also be as transparent as possible, making Senate a potential contact for and promoter of innovative ideas.
Given the increasing movement back towards hierarchical structures in the university sector, Senate focuses specifically on the challenges of supporting internal communication processes, prompting vertical (cross-hierarchical) and horizontal (cross-subject and cross-faculty) information exchange, and enabling discourse on key issues relating to the development of the university.
In conclusion, the duty of the Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt Senate is to support “life in a community of teaching and learning” and act as an example.
The duties of Senate and Senate rules of procedure are specified in the Universities Act 2002. The responsibilities of Senate are specified in Section 25 of the Universities Act 2002.