Organisation and operating rules for Reykjavik University

1. Role

Reykjavik University (RU) is an academic institution responsible for higher education, research and scientific projects. The role of RU is to create and disseminate knowledge to improve competitiveness and quality of life for individuals and society with ethics, sustainability and responsibility as guiding principles.

Reykjavik University is a non-profit organisation and thus will not provide any financial dividends to the University's owners or backers. All operating profits are used to advance and strengthen the operations.

RU provides education at all levels of university studies, preliminary study programmes according to Article 19 in Act no. 63/2006 and professional continuing education for professionals. All studies at RU shall be accredited by the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture in accordance with Act no. 63/2006.

2. Organisational Structure

2.1 University Council

The University Council is a forum for discussion on the strategy of the University regarding studies, teaching and research, as well as the ties between the University and the business community. The University Council formulates the primary strategy of the University in consultation with the Board of RU. The University Council is furthermore responsible for reviewing the organisation and operating rules of RU, decides on the establishment of new departments pursuant to a proposal by the RU Board and determines the overall operating organisation of the University. The University Council shall monitor the internal quality control of the University by discussing results of internal assessments at least annually and external appraisals as needed.

The University Council meets 2-3 times a year and meetings are called by the chair of the Council who also serves as chair of the RU Board. The University Council has 10 permanent members, appointed by the owners of the University at the annual meeting, generally for two year term. The  shareholders' agreement provides further provisions on the appointment of the University Council.

Efforts shall be made to ensure the University Council includes formal representatives of the owners of the University, representatives from industry, academia and administration. Members of the University Council shall not serve for longer than eight consecutive years. The Rector attends University Council meetings and handles the meeting preparation in collaboration with the chair. The Deans of RU Schools and the Chair of the RU Student Organisation  generally attend the meetings of the Council.

2.2 Board

The Board of RU consists of five members and one alternate member, elected at the annual meeting for a two year term. The members of the Board allocate  tasks among themselves. The shareholders' agreement contains further provisions on the appointment of the Board.

The Board hires the Rector of RU and determines the terms of employment. It also assigns powers of procuration on behalf of the organisation. The Rector attends Board meetings. The Board attends to general board duties as they apply to the boards of companies and is responsible for strategy formulation, organisational structure, financial matters, including tuition fees and general operations. The Board shall set itself work procedures and regulations that further specify how the board executes its duties.

The Board approves the University's budget and investment plan, as well as its annual financial statements.

2.3 Rector

Article 2.2 covers the appointment of the Rector.

The Rector represents the University, is in charge of its day-to-day activities and is responsible for its operations to the Board. Day-to-day activities do not include exceptional or extensive decisions or measures. The Rector may only take such measures if they have been authorised by the Board, with the exception of circumstances when waiting for the Board's authorisation may severely impede the University's operations. The Board shall be notified of all such instances without delay.

The Rector submits the RU budget annually to the Board for approval. The Rector presents to the Board and University Council the results of internal quality assessments, as well as the results of the external assessment when needed. The Rector is responsible for the quality of RU's operations and the execution of internal assessment. Furthermore, the Rector is responsible for the annual publication of a report on the operations of the University.

The Rector appoints Deans, Executive Directors and other University personnel who answer directly to the Rector, but the Rector consults with the Board concerning their selection and primary tasks.

The Rector shall hold a staff meeting at least once every semester where employees are informed about the state of the University, strategy and emphases of the Rector and Board of the University.

The Rector shall organise an open annual assembly where the University finances and the main aspects of its operational plan are presented.

2.4 Executive Board

The Executive Board of Reykjavik University is composed of the Rector, who is also the chair, Deans, Executive Directors and other key personnel as decided by the Rector. A  student representative shall attend the meetings of the Executive Board with the right to speak and propose motions. It is permissible to have the student representative leave a meeting if requested by the Executive Board.

The Executive Board shall discuss rules and other strategic documents and decide on them. The Executive Board shall furthermore discuss the operating plan and budget of the University, annual reports on the operations of schools and departmens, and internal assessment results.

The Rector shall set rules for the Executive Board stating its role and procedure.

2.5 Schools

2.5.1 School Deans

The Dean of a School is appointed by the Rector, taking into consideration the report of an evaluation committee.

Deans of RU's Schools are responsible for their academic management and shall initiate the development of strategy for their School. Deans have operational and financial responsibility for their School towards the Rector.

School Deans are, for example, responsible for:

  • The School's administrative structure in accordance with the strategy of Reykjavik University and shall ensure the participation of academic personnel and students in the School's administration.
  • Preparation and publication of organisation and operating rules for the School.
  • Preparation of a budget for the School, to be submitted to the Executive Board of RU as part of the overall budget for the University.
  • Management of the School and follow-up to the budget.
  • Information dissemination to the School's staff members and students.
  • Hiring of permanent faculty and staff at the School.
  • Contracting with external lecturers and other part-time employees in the School.
  • Adherance of the organisation of study programmes to the National Qualification Framework for higher education.
  • Regular review and updating of study programmes, considering the needs of the business community and development of comparable studies abroad.
  • Preparation and publication of the course catalogue for the School.
  • Organisation and execution of an annual internal quality assessment of the School.
  • Organisation and participation of the School in external assessment according to the criteria of the Quality Board for Higher Education.
  • Formulation of a future vision and strategy for the School.

At least twice each semester, the School Dean shall invite all permanent employees engaged in research and/or teaching to a School meeting. At School meetings, everyone is permitted to raise issues concerning organisational structure and management of the School, as well as other issues related to the School as a whole.

The Dean of a School can hire employees to serve in management roles in the School, such as study programme directors,  department heads etc.

School administrative offices handle general administration of studies and teaching under the auspices of a School, in addition to other projects assigned to them by School management.

2.5.2. Councils of Schools

The organisation of Schools shall be clear and visible in the organisation and operating rules of Schools.

Each School shall operate a School Council, Curriculum Council (one or more) and Research Council. Councils are appointed by the Dean.

School Council: The School Dean and chairs of  the Research Council and Curriculum Council serve on the School Council. In other respects, the Dean decides on the appointment of the School Council. The role of the School Council is to discuss subjects related to the administration of the School as well as key decisions regarding teaching and research, in addition to proposing changes to School regulations.

Curriculum Councils in Schools participate in the development of teaching and act in an advisory role to the Dean as regards development of studies, including development of learning outcomes for courses and study programmes as appropriate. There can be one or more Curriculum Councils in a School. Annually, the course catalogue for each study programme is presented to the appropriate Curriculum Council for discussion and approval, with participation from students. The councils are also involved in the execution of internal assessment and follow-up on the basis of the results of internal and external assessment, also with participation from students. The Curriculum Council is composed of permanent School employees appointed by the Dean for a two year term. The chair(s) of the Curriculum Council(s) of a School are appointed by the School Dean.

The Research Council of a School shall advise the Dean on the development of the School's research strategy and support the execution of the strategy. The Research Council shall actively participate in internal and external assessment related to research. The Research Council shall support the organisation and execution of Doctoral studies at the School. The Research Council is composed of permanent School employees appointed by the Dean for a term of two years at a time. The chair of the Research Council of a School is appointed by the School Dean.

2.6 Executive Directors and support services

The Executive Directors of RU are appointed by the Rector. Executive Directors are responsible for the organisation and operations of RU's support services and serve in specified roles defined by the Rector. Among the tasks of support services are support for internal quality control, teaching, research, human resources, real estate, finances, service and communication. The Rector defines the roles and tasks of support services in accordance with the needs of the University at each time.

Executive Directors hire, when appropriate, the Directors of their support services in accordance with their fields of work.  Directors of support services are responsible for the progress of tasks in their work fields.

2.7. Curriculum Council of RU

The Curriculum Council of RU is composed of representatives from School Curriculum Councils, in addition to the chair who is appointed by the Rector for a two year term. A representative of preliminary studies also serves on the Curriculum Council. A representative of Teaching Affairs is the registrar of the Council. A student representative, appointed by the RU Student Organisation, attends meetings of the Curriculum Council with the right to speak and propose motions. It is permissible to have the student representative leave a meeting if requested by the Curriculum Council.

The Curriculum Council addresses issues related to studies and teaching at RU.

The Curriculum Council shall maintain and review the teaching strategy of the University and advise the Rector and Executive Board on issues relating to teaching, in addition to acting strategically in quality and appraisal issues.

The Curriculum Council is asked to deliberate on:

  • all applications of the University for accreditation of new academic fields and study programmes
  • reports relating to the internal and external quality system of the University
  • new rules and changes to rules relating to teaching and/or the human resources at the University

The RU Curriculum Council's areas of responsibility are discussed in more detail in the RU Curriculum Council's letter of appointment issued by the Rector and approved by the Executive Board.

2.8. Research Council of RU

The RU Research Council is composed of representatives of School Research Councils, in addition to a chair appointed by the Rector for a two year term. A representative of Research Services is the registrar of the Council. A student representative, appointed by the RU Student Organisation, attends meetings of the Research Council with the right to speak and propose motions. It is permissible to have the student representative leave a meeting if requested by the Research Council.

  • The Research Council deliberates issues relating to research at RU.
  • The RU Research Council maintains the strategy of the University in the field of research and encourages further development of research work at RU.
  • The Research Council is asked to deliberate on issues concerning research and development of a research culture at RU.
  • The Research Council actively participates in the internal and external assessment of the University.

The Research Council's areas of responsibility are discussed in more detail in the Research Council's letter of appointment issued by the Rector and approved by the Executive Board.

2.9 Ethics Committee

The Ethics Committee of the University is composed of six representatives, appointed by the Rector: the chair comes from support services of the University, one faculty representative comes from each School and one student representative is appointed by the RU Student Organisation.

The role of the Ethics Committee is to review reports of potential breaches of the Code of Ethics and  make a determination as to whether the Code of Ethics has been breached and on the severity of breaches. The RU Ethics Committee operates according to the appointment and operating procedures of the Ethics Committee , which are approved by the Rector and Executive Board of RU.

3. Faculty

Employees engaged in teaching and research are called faculty. The following position titles are used to refer to members of faculty:

  • Professor
  • Associate Professor
  • Assistant Professor
  • A professor of the practice is a business leader in a specific field who has attained prominence for outstanding achievement as well as recognition for having made an impact in the field. This individual shall also have demonstrated undisputable teaching abilities at university level.
  • A specialist is a permanent employee primarily engaged in research.
  • An adjunct is either a full-time or part-time employee mainly engaged in teaching.
  • A lecturer is a part-time faculty member engaged in teaching at Reykjavik University.
  • A post-doctoral researcher is a recent PhD graduate hired on a temporary basis to engage in research and possibly teaching.

In order to attain the position of assistant professor, associate professor or professor, the individual in question must undergo a qualification evaluation. Criteria, assessment of qualifications and appointments to positions based on promotion are discussed in Rules on Appointments and Promotion . The Rector shall submit those rules for comment by both the Curriculum Council and Research Council and for approval by the Executive Board. Schools are permitted to establish more specific rules on promotion.

Special rules apply to appointment and assessment of qualifications for the position of professor of the practice. The Dean of a School makes decisions on appointments and job titles for other academic positions as needed. 

4.  Study programmes, teaching, assessment and admittance requirements

4.1 Study programmes

The study programmes of the University shall be defined in accordance with the instructions specified in the Higher Education Institutions Act no. 63/2006 and announcement no. 530/2011 on issuing of the National Qualification Framework for higher education.

The Dean of a School submits a proposal for new studies and/or study programmes to the Executive Board for introduction and to the Rector for approval after discussion and comments by School and University Curriculum Councils and Research Councils.

Proposals for new study programmes shall be be in accordance with Rules on Approval of New Study Programmes approved by the Executive Board.

4.2 Studies and teaching

Teaching at RU takes place in defined study programmes consisting of courses that are evaluated for credit and organised in accordance with the National Qualification Framework for higher education no. 530/2011.

Full-time studies generally consist of 60 credits (ECTS) per academic year, which reflects all the work done by students, attendance and exams.

Teaching methods shall generally be diverse and shall take into account the learning outcomes of the course and study programme.

Course assessment shall generally be diverse and shall take into account the learning outcomes for each course. Criteria on teaching methods and course assessment are further defined in the Quality handbook and the teaching strategy of RU. In addition, specific  Study and examination rules shall cover student work and issues related to examinations.

4.3 Admittance requirements

Rules on admittance requirements are in accordance with Article 19 in the Higher Education Institutions Act no. 63/2006. A School is permitted to specify additional requirements that are defined as the admittance criteria of the School and are published as such on the School web site. A School can also administer admittance or placement tests. A School is also permitted to depart from the requirement for a matriculation examination or equivalent, on the condition that the student possesses equivalent maturity and knowledge in the estimation of the School. A School may decide that studies pursued by a student outside the School, including at other domestic universities or at foreign universities, shall be evaluated for credit transfer according to more detailed rules set by the School . RU shall maintain consistency and equality in the processing of applications.

5. Rights and obligations of students

RU observes the guiding principle of objective administration in its dealings with students. Decisions concerning the rights and obligations of students shall, as applicable, adhere to the provisions of administrative law and good administrative practices.

5.1 Studies

Article 19 in the Higher Education Institutions Act no. 63/2006 shall apply to the admission of students. This issue is also covered further in Article 4.3 in these organisation and operating rules.

Students shall work on their own studies wholeheartedly. They shall adhere to RU's Study and examination rules the RU Code of Ethics and other rules that may apply to each study programme.

The rights detailed in Rules on the University Student Complaints Committee no. 1152/2006 apply to the RU student body. Rights of students to object to the results of course assessment are covered in further detail in RU's Study and examination rules.

The Deans of RU's Schools are the final authority in cases concerning the rights and obligations of students. The procedure for such cases is governed by the  Study and examination rules and rules on the appointment and purview of the Ethics Committee .

5.2 Management

RU students shall have a representative on the University Council, Executive Board and Curriculum and Research Councils at RU, and they shall at least have the right to speak and propose motions.

RU students shall have representatives at School meetings and they shall at least have the right to speak and propose motions.

Student representatives shall always work faithfully on the long-term interests of students and the development of RU.

6. General Provisions

These organisation and operating rules are set on the basis of the Higher Education Institutions Act no. 63/2006 and enter into force upon confirmation by the University Council.

The organisation and operating rules of RU shall be set in accordance with resolutions by Reykjavik University.

The organisation and operating rules of RU shall be reviewed at least every three years. The review shall take into account the assessment conducted of the University's operations and the changes proposed by the government regarding the arrangement of university education.

Approved by University Council on 14 July 2014.


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