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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Management staff for higher education


10.Management and other education staff

10.5Management staff for higher education

Last update: 27 November 2023

Collegiate and single-member bodies participate in the administration and government of public universities. Articles 13 and 27 of Organic Law 6/2001 (LOU) on universities, as amended by Organic Law 4/2007 (LOMLOU), define that the statutes of each public university must establish at least the following governing and representative bodies:

  • collegiate bodies: Social Council, Governing Council, University Asembly, School and Faculty Boards and Department Councils;
  • single-member bodies: rector, vice-rectors, general secretary, manager, faculty deans, directors of Schools, Departments and University Research Institutes.

In private universities, their rules of organization and operation establish their governing and representative bodies.

Requirements for appointment

Collegiate bodies

The statutes of each University establish the applicable electoral regulations, which must encourage a balanced presence of women and men in the collegiate bodies.

The election of representatives of the different sectors of the university community in the University Faculty, the Department Boards and the Department Councils is conducted on the basis of universal, free, equal, direct and secret voting for each of them.

Single-member bodies

Article 68 of the LOU, as amended by the LOMLOU, establishes that the full-time dedication of university teachers is a necessary requirement for the exercise of single-member governing bodies, which in no case can be carried out simultaneously.

Public universities must establish, at least, the following unipersonal governing bodies:

  • The rector, single-member governing body, is the highest academic authority of the public university. The rector represents the university, is the president of the Governing Council, and is in charge of the institution’s direction, governance and management according to the Article 20 of the LOU, as amended by the LOMLOU. In addition, the rector develops the lines of action approved by the relevant collegiate bodies and executes their agreements. The rector is chosen by the Assembly or by the university community, from among the senior professors of the university currently teaching in that university, through an election and through a universal ballot, according to the statutes of each university. The statutes also regulate the procedure for election and the office period. The statutes of each university establish the rectors' responsibilities. Their functions include:
    • running the University and representing it at institutional, legal and administrative levels;
    • summoning and presiding over the University Council, the Governing Board and the Executive Board;
    • implementing the agreements of the Social Council;
    • presiding academic events;
    • designating, appointing and dismissing academic and administrative members of staff;
    • issuing degrees and diplomas;
    • signing collaboration agreements, and other agreements or contracts;
    • awarding the University' s distinctions. 

The vice-rectors, according to the Article 21 of the LOU, are appointed by the rector from among dotor professors who work at the university. The duties of the vice-rectors are regulated by the statutes of each university and may include the following:

  • directing and coordinating the different areas of activity assigned to them;
  • monitoring and assessing the fulfilment of the University's policies, plans, projects, programmes and objectives;
  • representing the University at organisations and events delegated by the rector;
  • directing, coordinating and monitoring the self-evaluation processes of academic programmes;
  • monitoring the processes of admission, enrolment and registration of students;
  • suggesting reforms, or the creation or cancellation of academic programmes;
  • controlling the legal requirements of academic programmes.

The secretary-general, who is also the secretary of the Governing Council, is appointed by the rector from among public officials serving at the university, belonging to bodies which require a Doctor, Graduate or equivalent status, following what is decreed in Article 22 of the LOU, as amended by the LOMLOU. The functions of the Secretary General include:

  • organising the Legal Affairs Department;
  • keeping the minutes book of the bodies on which the secretary serves;
  • safeguarding the official seal of the University;
  • organising events and ensuring compliance with protocols;
  • drawing up the University's annual report;
  • running the University Registry;
  • managing the Central Archive.

Article 23 of the LOU, as amended by the LOMLOU, defines that the manager is responsible for managing the administrative and economic services of the university. It is proposed and appointed by the rector in agreement with the Social Council, according to criteria of professional competence and experience. The manager may not carry out teaching duties. Its responsibilities, according to the statutes of each university, may include the following:

  • managing and supervising the University's assets and budget;
  • drawing up the preliminary draft budget;
  • managing the administration and service staff;
  • updating the assets and rights inventory of the University's heritage.

The Deans of the University Faculties and the Directors of the University Schools represent their institutions and are responsible for the management and administration of the Faculty or University School Board, as established in Article 24 of the LOU, as amended by the LOMLOU. They are chosen, in the terms established by the statutes, from among tenured lecturers. The duties of the deans may include the following:

  • representing the institution;
  • appointing the members and presiding the meetings of the faculty and the board of the institution;
  • coordinating and supervising the activities of each department or school;
  • organising and directing the administrative services of each department or school;
  • drawing up the timetable proposal;
  • approving the budget of each department or school;
  • ensuring compliance with the centre's regulations.

The Heads of department represent the department and are responsible for its management and administration. According to Article 25 of the LOU, as amended by the LOMLOU, they are elected by the Department Council in accordance with the statutes, from among tenured PhD lecturers. The duties of the heads of department, established in the statutes of each university, include, among others:

  • representing and managing the department;
  • coordinating and supervising the teaching, administration and services in the department;
  • summoning and chairing meetings of the department board;
  • supervising the implementation of the department's activity plans;
  • drawing up the annual report on the department's activities;
  • ensuring the adequate commitment of teaching and research staff.

The directors of University Research Institutes represent their institutions and act as directors and ordinary managers, as established in Article 26 of the LOU. They are appointed from among PhD lecturers, in accordance with the statutes. The directors of the University Research Institutes attached to public universities must comply with the provisions of the agreement of attachment. The responsibilities of the directors of university research institutes include:

  • representing, directing and managing the Institute;
  • directing and coordinating the activities of the Institute;
  • implementing the agreements of the Council;
  • managing the budget allocated to the Institute;
  • managing the provision of the necessary infrastructure for the Institute.

Article 27 of the LOU, as amended by the LOMLOU, decrees that single-member governing bodies in private universities must be named exactly like those established for public universities. Similarly, in order to access any of these governing bodies, their staff must hold a Doctorate degree.

Conditions of service

In public universities, headship posts have the condition of civil servant teachers, which means that they have an indefinite contractual relationship with the Education Authority. The working conditions for rectors, Faculty deans, University School directors and heads of Department are similar to the rest of the civil servant teachers, with a few exceptions.

The statutes of each university regulate the procedure for the election of the rector, the duration of their office and the possible substitutions in the event of a vacancy due to an absence or illness.

The rector appoints the vice-rectors, the secretary general and proposes and appoints the manager in agreement with the Social Council of the university.

Faculty deans, University School directors and heads of Department are also elected according to the university statutes.

Each headship post has a different retribution depending on the degree of responsibility and required dedication. Therefore, the salary is the same as any other civil servant teacher according to the subgroup to which they belong, to the professional level or category and to seniority (triennials). In addition, Article 2 of Royal Decree 1089/1989 defines a specific supplement, consisting of:

  • a general component for each university professor, university assistant professor, tenured professor or university school professor;
  • a specific component by virtue of the performance of the academic roles of rector, vice-rector and secretary general, dean and director of the Faculty, Higher Technical School, University School and University College, director of the University Department, department secretary, director of the University Institute and at the Stomatology School and coordinator of the University Orientation course.

Private universities establish the regulations, organisation and functioning for the procedures of designating and removal of its governing bodies and representation, as for its functioning in the 8th National collective bargaining agreement for private universities, private university centres and postgraduate training centres).