St Mary’s University College is governed under a Scheme of Management agreed between the College and the Department for the Economy. The College, originally established as a college of education, is a higher education institution as defined by Article 30(3) of the Education and Libraries (NI) Order 1993. St Mary’s was granted the University College title by the Privy Council in 1998. The College is funded by, and accountable to, the Department for the Economy under the terms of a financial memorandum agreed between the College and the Department and according to the provisions of the 1993 Order. The College is a recognised provider of higher education. St. Mary’s operates under the direction of a Board of Governors and the College property is owned by its Trustees. Operational control is in the hands of the Principal supported by the Senior Management Team.
The College’s governing body is its Board of Governors. There are eighteen members of the Board comprising lay members, academic staff, and students, appointed under the College Scheme of Management. The majority of the members are non-executive. The role of the Chairman of the Board is separate from the role of the College Principal. The Board of Governors is responsible for the strategic direction of the College, whilst the Principal and Senior Management are responsible for the operational management of the institution. The Board of Governors approves all major developments and receives regular reports on the day-to-day activities of the College. The Board of Governors meets at least four times per year and is supported by four committees: a Finance Committee, a Nominations Committee, a Remuneration Committee and an Audit Committee. All of these committees are formally constituted with terms of reference and have lay majorities. Matters specifically reserved for the Board of Governors are set out in the College Scheme of Management and include the determination of the educational character and mission of the College, approval of the annual estimates and the appointment and dismissal of the Principal.
The Finance Committee recommends to the Board of Governors the annual revenue and capital budgets for the College and monitors actual performance in relation to the approved budgets. The Finance Committee also has oversight of the College Estates and Human Resources Strategies. The Nominations Committee is responsible for reviewing the processes for and recommending the appointment and re-appointment of members of the Board of Governors. The Remuneration Committee reviews and recommends to the Board of Governors the salaries of the senior staff of the College including the Principal. The Audit Committee normally meets four times per year with the College internal auditors in attendance. The College’s external auditors also attend when necessary. The Committee considers detailed reports together with recommendations for the improvement of the College’s systems of internal control and management’s responses and implementation timetables. Whilst senior management attend meetings of the Audit Committee as necessary they are not members of the Committee.