Open Training College - Academic Council

Academic Council – Membership


Membership 2023/24

Chair Dr. Lavinia McLean (TUD - External Member)
College Director Dr. Karen Finnerty

Assistant College Director (Vice-chair)


Mr. Raymond Watson
Head of Quality and Academic Affairs Mr. Ronnie Harrison
Programme Director –

(Social Care)


Ms. Eimear Ryan
Programme Director –

(Applied Management)


Mr. Brendan Collins
Programme Director –

(HET/FET Short Courses)

Ms. Claire Hopkins
Student Representative Ms. Linda Cassidy
Tutor Representative Mr. Joe McDonald
Secretary Ms. Louise Littlefield

External Academic Representatives:


Governance Dr. Pat McGarty (MTU)
Higher Education Dr. Lavinia McLean (TUD)
Further Education Lindsay Malone (WWETB)
Quality Ann King (SMSI)

Terms of reference:

“In foreseen circumstances when the Academic Council cannot be convened for approval of timebound matters/issues, authority be delegated in advance to the Executive on a case-by-case basis.” (Approved by AC, 24th June 2021)


  • Governance of all Academic Matters;
  • Monitoring, review and ongoing improvement of all QA policies and procedures;
  • Approve policy amendments of College pertaining to academic matters;
  • Appoint, review and monitor functioning of academic subcommittees;
  • Dissolution/modification of subcommittee(s) when and if required;
  • Finalise and ratify decisions relating to the work of subcommittees;
  • Consider appeals from any of the subcommittees, which have not been rectified at the level of that committee;
  • Appoint external members and approve appointments of internal members of Boards and sub-

New Programmes

  • To review and agree new programme proposals submitted by new programme development team(s);
  • Review Research in support of new programmes proposed;
  • Review and approve new programme submission documents prior to submission to


  • Review the application of penalties applied to assessment activities and approve policy and procedures for penalties;
  • To review and decide on student appeals relating to assessment outcomes (grades/marks);
  • To review and decide on student complaints relating to assessment methodology and/or implementation;
  • Review the operation of Examination Boards and sign-off on minutes of same;
  • Review External Examiner Reports;
  • Approve appointments of External Examiners;
  • Monitor the implementation of QQI guidelines, policy and regulations pertaining to the assessment of learners.

Ongoing monitoring

  • To review the findings and approve of changes generated by the ongoing monitoring procedures relating to academic matters, i.e., module content, readings, workshops, and assessment;
  • To make final decisions on matters referred to Council by Programme Board(s);
  • Review the operation of Programme Boards and sign-off on minutes of same;
  • Approval of QA reports prior to publication;
  • Approval & review of mechanisms for stakeholder

Periodic Evaluation

  • To monitor the recommendations and implementation of improvements made by all review processes relating to programmes and academic functioning of the College including (but not limited to):
    • Re-validation (Programme Review)
    • Institutional Review
    • Strategic Review
  • Ongoing review and enhancement of the procedures for periodic

Membership of the Academic Council:


Title No How appointed Term Notes
Chair 1

of 5

Rotated amongst the External Members and the Head of Quality & Academic Affairs Ongoing External Members will usually step down

following 3 years on the Academic Council

but may be asked to extend for a year.

The Head of Quality &

Academic Affairs is Ex- officio.

College Director


1 Ex-officio Ongoing
Assistant College Director

(Vice chairperson)

1 Ex-officio Ongoing
Programme Directors 4 Ex-officio Ongoing Any new future PD posts will also sit on


Head of Quality & Academic


1 Ex-officio Ongoing
Tutor Representative 1 Elected by fellow


2 years
Student Representative 1 Elected by student


2 years
External Academics:

·      Governance Profile

·      QA profile

·      HE profile

·      FE profile

4 By nomination and approval of AC 3 years In exceptional circumstances external board members

may be invited to extend their term

Secretary 1 Ex-officio Ongoing In attendance


Table 1: Membership of Academic Council

Note: Student feedback will be facilitated at Programme Boards and brought to Academic Council by Programme Directors and the Head of Quality & Academic Affairs.

Chairing of meetings: Each Chairperson will hold the seat for a six-month period which will include overseeing two corporeal meetings of the Academic Council. The Chair will rotate amongst the External Members and the Head of Quality & Academic Affairs.

Frequency of meetings: 3 times per year – November, February, June (A minimum of one meeting per year is compulsory for all members). Incorporeal meetings are convened on occasion for specific matters requiring overview/ratification prior to the next meeting.

Quorum for meetings: 7 representatives; must include a minimum of two external members.

Decision-making: By vote. Each member will have an equal vote. Chair will have casting vote.

Breath of responsibility: Accredited programmes run by College.

Meetings’ agenda: Prepared and circulated in advance by Chair or officer on behalf of the Chair.

Meetings’ minutes: The recording secretary will attend and produce minutes within 3 weeks of meeting. Minutes will be stored electronically on the College’s shared folder. Items of a confidential nature (e.g., specific student matters) may be recorded separately and stored securely.