Role of the University.
The Agricultural University of Iceland is a scientific education and research institute at the tertiary level, pursuant to Act No. 57/1999 concerning agricultural education with subsequent amendments as per Act No. 71/ 2004, Act No. 136/1997 concerning universities, and Act No. 64/1965 concerning research in the interests of industry with subsequent amendments as per Act No. 79/2004. The Agricultural University of Iceland provides its students with education and scientific training, such that they can undertake specialised work in Icelandic agriculture and research in this field. The University is authorised to award postgraduate degrees (Masters’ degrees and Doctorates) and vocational and continuing education in those fields which are taught at the University. The University shall provide education to the public and serve the community through its knowledge.
The University Council
The Agricultural University of Iceland is led by the University Council and Rector under the authority of the Minister for Agriculture who oversees operation of the institution according to the aforementioned laws.
The University Council sets the teaching and research strategy and drives planning. It stipulates faculty planning within the University and the overall arrangement of work. The University Council can set special additional entry requirements for each specified study programme (cf. Art. 10 of Act No. 57/1999). It advises the Minister for Agriculture on the appointment of the Rector.
The Rector chairs the University Council and calls meetings as required. If three members of the University Council request a meeting, then the Rector is obliged to call one. Substitutes attend Council meetings in the absence of full members.
The University Council Forum is resolved if two thirds of those eligible to vote attend a meeting. The casting of votes determines the resolution of a matter. If the voting is split equally, the Rector has the deciding vote. University Council decisions shall be recorded.
The Minister for Agriculture appoints a Rector for a five-year term at the recommendation of the University Council. The Rector is the head of University administration and is responsible for its operation. S/he is responsible for vocational and operational planning and for gaining University Council approval for this, and leads the University Council in devising a comprehensive policy for University business. The Vice Rectors are deputies of the Rector and work under her/his authority or in her/his absence.
The Rector has managerial responsibility for all staff of the University. S/he shall ensure that there is a job description for all University staff.
The Rector employs an Operational Head who is the head of the University’s Office of Operations and Physical Plant, and manages its finances, under the authority of the Rector. The Operational Head prepares an annual financial plan and monitors the legal operation of the University.
Head of Research and Division of Research
Research within University faculties shapes University’s Division of Research. The Rector employs a Head of Research for a two-year term who supervises the coordination of research. S/he is also the Vice Rector of Research. S/he handles the legal role of research with respect to industry and initiates collaboration and consultation with representatives in agriculture about research and research requirements. S/he initiates collaboration and consultation with other scientific institutes on the authority of the Rector and calls upon Deans, leaders of research projects and other University professionals for assistance. S/he has the authority to form research teams which are independent from faculty division and ensures that faculties shape their research policy.
Head of Academic Affairs and the Division of Academic Programmes
Study programmes within faculties shape the University’s Division of Academic Affairs. The Rector appoints a Head of Academic Affairs for a two-year term who supervises programme coordination. S/he is also the Vice Rector of Academic Affairs. S/he safeguards links with other educational institutions and initiates study coordination. S/he is responsible for quality management of courses (cf. Art. 14). Her/his role is also to forward applications for research degrees to the Rector and nominate moderators in
accordance with regulations concerning research degrees. The Education Office handles the daily running of the Division of Academic Affairs under the supervision of the Academic Coordinator.
Leadership of University faculties is in the hands of Deans, appointed by the Rector for two-year terms following nomination at the Faculty Forum, and leadership of the Department of Vocational and Continuing Education is in the hands of a Head appointed by the Rector. They manage, under the authority of the Rector and University Council, each area of the University and initiate the formation of faculty strategy. They work on the faculty’s financial plan in consultation with the Operational Head and make recommendations about personnel, resources, and responsibilities of research and educational projects in consultation with the Project Leader and Programme Coordinator. The University Council approves regulations about the eligibility of Deans and voting arrangements.
Programme Coordinators are appointed by the Rector for two-year terms following nomination at the Faculty Forum. They manage professional supervision of programmes, have oversight of the realisation of education in the respective programme and initiate the development and quality work in that programme. They liaise with Deans to recommend changes to programmes and choice of teachers, both permanent and occasional teachers. A Programme Coordinator handles professional interaction between teachers and students within that programme. A Programme Coordinator, in consultation with the Education Office, edits promotional material and the Course Catalogue pertaining to that programme.
Project Leaders manage the organisation of individual research projects and the leadership of research teams. They have professional and financial responsibility for research projects in relation to Deans, and for the personnel and financial management therein.
The Faculty Forum and University General Forum
A Faculty Forum addresses professional faculty concerns and shall be held at least twice a year. A Faculty Forum should be attended by all permanent faculty staff and two student representatives elected for one year at a time. The purpose of a Faculty Forum is to:
-be a forum of discussion about the purpose and aims of the faculty
-nominate University Deans (cf. Art. 15)
-address academic planning, the range of courses and programmes
-address research within the University faculties
-inform staff about various professional concerns pertaining to the faculty
-elect councils and committees and decide their roles and responsibilities.
A University General Forum is a joint meeting of all faculties which is held at least annually to:
-discuss the division of funds to various projects within the institution
-discuss general strategy for the institution in the field of education and research discuss various other concerns of the institution as they arise.
General staff meetings
General staff meetings are held to discuss University matters. The Rector calls staff meetings as required.
The Education Committee comprises the Vice Rector of Academic Affairs, who is the Chair, the Academic Coordinator, Programme Coordinators and three student representatives – a vocational, undergraduate and research student. The Education Committee deals with the Course Catalogue for individual programmes, shapes registration rules and the supervision of study progress, defines course requirements, sets guidelines for assessment and for appraisal of other courses, monitors the quality of courses and teaching and determines improvements as required in cooperation with University management. The Committee also handles technical issues in training and teaching collaboration with other universities. The Education Committee settles controversial issues which may arise in the process of teaching or course assessment. Decisions made by the Education Committee may be appealed to the Rector.
About consultation with other universities and joint university institutions
The Agricultural University of Iceland and its faculties shall consult and collaborate with other universities in order to utilise fully the available work force and data sources and work efficiently towards more diverse educational benefits in accordance with Act No. 57/1999. Agreement shall be sought with collaborators about reciprocal acknowledgement of elements of study. The University is also authorised to make collaboration agreements with related institutions. The Vice Rector in each field shall initiate collaboration and coordination in the above-mentioned functions.
There shall be regular assessment of the inner workings of the Agricultural University of Iceland with continuous improvements in mind, with reference to the domestic and foreign competitive position and in accordance with regulations concerning agricultural education set by the Minister for Agriculture, cf. Art. 5. Act 57/1999, and current laws concerning university study. The University shall have an environmental, personnel and equal rights policy.
Faculties and professional staff of the University.
Faculties of the University
The Agricultural University of Iceland’s main spheres of activity are broken down into faculties which are each responsible for education and research in their respective field. The faculties of the Agricultural University of Iceland are:
Faculty of Land and Animal Resources
The main goal of the Faculty is to preserve and develop Icelandic genetic resources in livestock and crops and develop sustainable production systems which safeguard quality and traceability of products from producer to consumer. Education and research challenges are treatment, cultivation and usage of vegetation and land, livestock and fresh-water animals for the manufacture of food and other industrial and value-adding goods, taking into consideration biological, economic and technological factors.
Faculty of Environmental Sciences
The main goal of the faculty is to ensure that the development of land use is environmentally, socially and economically sustainable and supports human and natural diversity. Education and research challenges include natural resources, their use, planning and regional development. Faculties of the University shall collaborate, e.g. with teams across faculties which have, among other things, the aim of stimulating professional debate and prompting new directions in research. This shall entail sharing human resources, experimental facilities, educational technology and other facilities and strive to bolster diverse scientific work and ensure operational efficiency.
Department of Vocational and Continuing Education
The Department of Vocational and Continuing Education is an independent faculty within the Agricultural University of Iceland which handles vocational and continuing education in the institution’s fields of expertise. A head leads the faculty and manages the Programme Coordinators, responsible for professional oversight of programmes of study (cf. Art 8), and the Coordinator of Continuing Education, responsible for the daily running of continuing education courses. See Art 10 about the role of Faculty Forums.
Professors, Associate Professors and Assistant Professors work at the Agricultural University of Iceland. They teach, supervise, undertake research and/or other work at the behest of the Rector and Deans and in general come under the University’s field of work. Other staff may be recruited for specialised work. Other teachers may be employed in the Department of Vocational and Continuing Education who do not fulfil the requirements of university teaching cf. Art 28 of Act No. 57/1999. Staff contracts and more detailed provisions in laws and regulations cover employee rights and obligations.
About research sabbatical
The Rector is authorised to grant permanent staff of the University research sabbatical in accordance with specific regulations.
Office of Operations and Physical Plant
At the Agricultural University of Iceland, the Office of Operations and Physical Plant is under the leadership of the Operational Head. The Office is responsible for such things as: administration office, personnel, finance, oversight of real estate and management of support elements such as information service, libraries, experimental and teaching facilities, and chemical analysis services.
Students, teaching and exams.
Existing regulations concerning students, teaching and exams, and the organisation of study programmes remain in effect until the Rector and the University Council decide otherwise.
These regulations are passed by the authority of Act No. 57/1999 with subsequent amendments as per Act No. 71/2004 and are in effect. They shall be reviewed no later than two years from signature. Agreed by the University Council, 16 February 2005.
Reykjavik, 16 February 2005