Glossary and Terms

Glossary and Terms relevant to committees and meetings
Term Description
Adjournment Postponing or breaking off a meeting for later resumption.
Amendment An alteration or proposed alteration to the terms of a motion, designed to improve the motion without contradicting it. It can be to leave some words out, or to leave some words out and insert others in their place, or to add new words.
Business Schedule Also known as Annual Schedule. At the commencement of each year, the Executive Officer, in collaboration with the Chair of the committee, will draft a schedule of the anticipated flow of business to the Committee. This will be distributed to key stakeholders for input and once drafted, will be presented to the committee at the commencement of each year for endorsement.
Circular resolution

Where it is not possible for a committee to meet and the majority of members agree, a committee may consider a resolution by either electronic or certified documentation.

This will entail the circulation of the motion and any supporting documentation to all eligible members along with directions about how and in what form to respond and the period of time designated for such a response.

If a majority of the members eligible to vote indicate that they are in favour of the resolution, then a resolution in those terms must be taken to have been passed at a meeting of the committee held on the day on which the last of the members making up the majority indicated their written response.

Co-opted Member Co-opted members are usually members additional to a committee ie. they are not within the required list of members but provision is made in the terms of reference of the committee for their appointment to be made. They have the same rights and responsibilities as other members.
Ex Officio Members Members of committees who are appointed to the committee by virtue of the office they hold within the university, eg. Vice-Chancellor, Executive Dean, Head of Department, University Librarian.
In camera This is a decision made by the committee to deal with such matters confidentially. Non members are invited to leave the meeting and no record of the discussion is recorded. The Chair may wish to have a record of the discussion in camera which will not be published outside the immediate committee.
Motion A motion is a proposed resolution before it has been adopted (that is, passed or carried) by the meeting.
Notice of Motion At the end of the meeting, members may give notice of their intention to move certain points at the next meeting. This enables the other members to familiarise themselves with the issues involved in the meantime, and it ensures inclusion of the motions in the agenda of the next meeting.
Point of Order Is taken when a person officially draws the attention of the chairperson of a meeting to an alleged irregularity in the proceedings. The alleged irregularity may be one involving facts (eg. that a quorum is not present), or one involving opinions (eg. that a speaker's remarks are not relevant to the subject of debate), or a mixture (eg. that a motion is outside the scope of the agenda).
Procedural matters These are matters included on the agenda that deal with the operation of the meeting itself. Eg. Apologies, confirmation of previous minutes
Procedural Motion Deals with the conduct of the meeting itself, eg. 'that the meeting be adjourned', 'that Item 5 be discussed after item 12'.
Quorum Quorum is the minimum number of members of a committee necessary to conduct the business of that group. The quorum is usually specified in the Terms of Reference of the committee. If not, it is usually 1/3 +1 of the membership. For more detailed information on quorum please refer to section 5.2 of the Manual of Secretariat Procedures.
Recommit A motion previously passed by the committee may be recommitted if 2/3 of the membership vote to do so. Once the decision has been approved the motion should be moved and seconded before debate commences.
Rescission Motion A motion proposing that a resolution be removed from the books, either later in the meeting which adopted it or at a subsequent meeting, eg. 'that resolution [number and date] on [topic] be rescinded'
Resolution Is the decision made by the body, the outcome of the motion debated at the meeting.
Special/Extra-ordinary Meeting Held to discuss a specific topic(s) outside the normal meeting schedule.
Standing Orders Or Rules of Order and Debate, the permanent rules for the regulation of the business and proceedings at the committee/board meetings. La Trobe University generally follows the Academic Board standing orders.
Starring System

Depending upon the type of committee/board, all items (or only selected items) may be discussed, using a starring system. Items may be starred before the meeting by the executive officer, in consultation with the chair. At the commencement of the meeting, members are given the opportunity to nominate items which they wish to star for discussion. Following is a suggested form of words for inclusion on agendas:

Certain items appearing in the agenda have been marked with an asterisk. These are items that appear to need discussion by the Committee. Items that do not are unstarred.

The Chair will move that the items remaining unstarred be adopted without discussion, and the action recommended be taken or the information therein noted by the Committee as appropriate.

Tabled A paper that is tabled is one that is presented in hard copy at the meeting. As this practice does not support good governance, tabled papers can only be presented to the meeting with the prior agreement of the Chair of the committee and conditional upon the fact that they do not contain a significant resolution.
Terms of Reference

Outline the powers, duties and responsibilities of the committee. Annual business schedules are developed using the Terms of Reference and annual committee self-reviews also use these to measure their effectiveness.

Terms of Reference can only be amended by the establishing body.

To follow This signifies a paper that was not available for distribution to members at the time of the sending of the agenda and papers. This is usually sent or embedded into the agenda and papers file prior to the meeting.

Source: Renton, N.E., Guide for Meetings 5th Ed.