University Court is a forum which brings external independent and friends of the University together with governors and senior managers of the University at meetings presided over by the Chancellor. The purpose of the meetings is to explore strategic issues through lively discussion in a critical but supportive atmosphere. The University Court is therefore a sounding board for the University. The existence of the University Court is required by the Articles of Association.
The University looks to members of the University Court for supportive advice in strategic matters which may relate to the academic direction of the University, the human and physical resources, financial considerations and other matters of profound importance. Although the status of the Court is advisory, the views and suggestions put forward by members are greatly valued and influence the development of strategy. In order to assist members in this role, each meeting is centred on a presentation in which University managers, sometimes with the involvement of external members of Court, describe a major area of activity and identify the issues currently under consideration.
Membership of University Court is normally by invitation by the Chancellor. Membership is approved by the Governing Council. Membership of the University Court is normally for an indefinite period. In some instances it will be appropriate to hold membership only as long as the individual occupies a particular office. Members of the Court are expected to engage with the work of the Court and attend the formal meetings of the Court. The University asks those whose circumstances change and do not permit regular attendance of the Court in future to let the University know and stand down. The University writes to all members approximately every three to four years to confirm that they wish to continue their role. Non-responses are taken to indicate that the member is unable to continue membership and wishes to stand down.
University Court meets three times each year: in October, March and July. The meetings are normally held at either the Kedleston Road site, Derby or the Devonshire Campus in Buxton.