Further update on governance

Further update on governance

7 months ago

Further to previous announcements over the past 12 months regarding reform of the College’s governance, the College Council has resolved the proposed principles for a new St Paul’s College Act and is now seeking feedback from the College community.

St Paul’s College was established as an Anglican “College of and within the University of Sydney” by an Act of the NSW Parliament in 1854. The Act was slightly amended in 1857 but no further amendments have been made. The College also has By-Laws, which set out certain arrangements for the governance and administration of the College in accordance with the Act. The By-Laws were last amended in 1991.

The current Act stipulates that the College is governed by a Council made up of the Warden (who must be an Anglican clergyman) and eighteen Fellows. Six Fellows must be Anglican clergymen and twelve must be laymen. The Act and By-Laws set out that Fellows are elected by the alumni of the College. In the last 12 months the St Paul’s College Council has come to the conclusion that the College will be better governed by establishing a new Act of Parliament to bring the Council structures into conformity with twenty-first century governance practices.

Now is an opportune time for reform of the College governance for at least three reasons.

Firstly, the scale and complexity of the College will change significantly over the next eighteen months with 50% more undergraduates in residence and 140 women and men beginning a new graduate community in the Graduate House now being built.

Secondly, there are significant new revenue generating and debt management needs that will be overseen by Council in the years to come, and more flexibility in assembling the necessary range of skills is essential in future governance.

Thirdly, in order to provide the opportunity for the best possible candidates to lead the College, it is desirable that the requirement that the Warden is a clergyman be altered.

Earlier this year St John’s College established a new Act through the NSW Parliament which means that now St Paul’s is the only Sydney University college that still operates under its nineteenth century Act.

The Council of St Paul’s College is seeking to have the widest possible support for a new Act and is inviting feedback on the proposed changes from the College community, the University of Sydney and the Anglican Church.

The summary of the proposed new Act can be found here. The substantial changes include the following:

  • The Warden does not need to be an ordained Anglican clergyman. (Dr Markwell has been appointed formally as Head of College and Vice-Warden until the Act is changed.)
  • The size of the Council is reduced from 19 to 13 (Warden and 12 Fellows, four clerical and eight lay).
  • The balance of skills and diversity on Council can be enhanced through two Fellows being appointed by the Council.
  • Gender diversity can also be enhanced through both male and female Anglican clergy being eligible for election.
  • The formal link with the University of Sydney will be strengthened by a requirement for one Fellow being an academic staff member of the University.
  • An ordained Anglican chaplain must be appointed. (The Revd Antony Weiss was appointed Chaplain earlier this year.)

These changes aim to provide the best and most efficient management and governance of the College in the years to come. They allow greater flexibility to ensure that the Council can maintain a breadth of experience and skill while allowing the links between the College and the University of Sydney to flourish.

Furthermore, the proposed Act will maintain the Anglican heritage of St Paul’s and safeguard its foundational place in the College’s future. It should also be noted that the majority of Fellows (10 of 12) will continue to be elected by the alumni of the College, therefore preserving the Pauline community’s place in the governance of the College.

If you would like to make comments or suggestions on the summary of the proposed new Act, please do so by emailing governance@stpauls.edu.au, or by writing to the Revd Dr Ed Loane C/o St Paul’s College, 9 City Road, Camperdown NSW 2050.