National University of Ireland, Maynooth was established as one of the seven universities in Ireland by the Universities Act, 1997 . Tracing its origins back over 200 years to the foundation of St Patrick’s College, Maynooth in 1795, the University today is a modern and growing institution with over 11,000 students.
The Universities Act underpins everything that the University does. It provides a foundation for all of its activities, academic and otherwise, and establishes a framework within which these activities should be undertaken and managed. The Act is supported by the Statutes which give effect to its provisions.
The University is an autonomous body which has the status of a charitable institution. It receives a block grant from government through the Higher Education Authority, which has overall responsibility for higher education in Ireland. Additional income is derived from research grants and tuition fees, which for undergraduates are currently paid by government.
The Governing Authority has responsibility for the strategic direction of the University, the management and administration of its revenue and property and the general conduct of its affairs.
Members of the Governing Authority are drawn from the staff, students, graduates and external organisations.
It normally meets six times a year and receives reports from a range of Standing Committees including: Audit & Risk Assessment Committee, Finance, Human Resources and Development Committee and Remuneration Committee.
Governing Authority is chaired by an external Chairperson, Baroness Nuala O'Loan DBE, or in her absence, the Deputy Chairperson, Mr Peter Cassells, and adheres to the Governance of Irish Universities 2012 as its primary code of practice.
The Academic Council, subject to review by the Governing Authority, controls the academic affairs of the University, including the curriculum of, and instruction and education provided by, the University. It is chaired by the President, and includes the Vice-Presidents, Registrar, Deans, Heads of Schools and Departments, the Librarian, Directors of the Computer Centre and Language Centre, and representative of all grades of academic staff and students. It is supported in its activities by a committee structure and by Faculties.
Following a restructuring of the University in 2006, there are now three faculties, which act as advisory bodies to the Academic Council. In addition, Council has formally delegated some of its powers to Faculties.