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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: 18 March 2024

Collegiate and single-member bodies participate in the administration and government of public universities. Article 44 of Organic Law 2/2003 on the University System (LOSU) define that the statutes of each public university must establish and regulate at least the following governing, representative and participatory bodies:

  • collegiate bodies: University Senate, Governing Council and Student Council;
  • single-member bodies: rector, vice-rectors, secretary general, manager, as well as, where appropriate, faculty deans, directors of Schools, Departments or other specific bodies.

With regard to collegiate bodies, in addition to those previously mentioned, the university statutes must also establish the Social Council and may establish and regulate School and Faculty Councils, Department Councils or other specific bodies that may be determined.

Article 98 of the LOSU states that the rules of organisation and operation of private universities shall establish their governing, participatory and representative bodies, as well as the procedures for their appointment and removal, guaranteeing the presence in them of representatives of teaching and research staff, technical, management and administration and services staff, and the student body, and guaranteeing the principle of a balanced composition between women and men.

The single-member governing bodies of private universities may have the same name as that established for those of public universities.

Requirements for appointment and functions

Collegiate bodies

The statutes of each university establish the applicable electoral rules, which must promote a balanced presence of women and men in the collegiate bodies. These statutes must also establish mechanisms to encourage the participation and representation of the different sectors of the university community in the governing bodies of the university, centres, departments and institutes, with special attention to the participation of the student body, and with updated information on the transparency portals of the spaces for participation that are set up at any given time. To this end, they may develop participatory processes, consultations and other mechanisms for the participation of the university community as a whole.

University Senate

Its regulation is established in Article 45 of the LOSU. It is the highest representative and participatory body of the university community. The statutes establish the duration of the term of office and the number of members of the Senate, with the rector, who chairs it, the secretary general and the general manager being ex officio members of this body. The statutes of each university establish the percentages of representation of non-permanent teaching and research staff, non-permanent research staff, associate teaching staff, student body and technical, management and administration and services staff, ensuring a minimum of 25 percent representation of the student body. Staff from the civil servant university teaching staff and permanent lecturers have a representation of 51 per cent of the members of the Senate.

Its functions include the following:

  • to draw up and approve the university statutes and, if necessary, modify them, as well as the general regulations of centres and structures, and other regulations;
  • to debate and make proposals on university policy to be submitted to the Governing Team. When these proposals may have a normative nature, they shall be submitted to the Governing Council;
  • to draw up and modify its operating regulations;
  • to elect the representatives of the Senate in other university governing bodies;
  • to exercise any other function established in the university statutes;
  • to analyse and debate other issues of special importance.

Governing Council

Its regulation is established in Article 46 of the LOSU. It is the highest governing body of the university. Its functions include the following:

  • to promote and approve the university's strategic plans at the proposal of the Governing Team;
  • to establish the fundamental guidelines and procedures for the application of all university policies;
  • to propose the Multiannual Funding Plan to the Social Council for its approval;
  • to approve the university's teaching offer and programming;
  • to approve the calls for applications for posts and the list of posts, and their modification, for teaching and research staff and technical, management and administration and services staff, which must be finally approved by the Autonomous Communities;
  • to propose to the Social Council for approval the budgets of the university and its dependent bodies, and the annual accounts of the university;
  • to approve the collaboration and academic and research cooperation agreements signed between the university and other national or foreign universities, as well as with other institutions, bodies, entities or companies for academic or research purposes, unless this power is attributed to other statutory bodies through the university's internal mechanisms for the distribution of powers;
  • to define and promote, in coordination with the equality unit, a gender equality plan for the university community as a whole;
  • to define and promote, in coordination with the diversity unit, a plan for inclusion and non-discrimination of all university staff and sectors on the grounds of disability, ethnic and national origin, sexual orientation and gender identity, and any other social or personal condition, draw up protocols and develop measures for prevention and response to violence, harassment at work or discrimination;
  • to define and promote a Climate Change Mitigation Strategy that includes plans for energy efficiency and the substitution of renewable energies, sustainable and local food, and mobility;
  • to approve the regulations governing the functioning of the services inspectorate and its annual accountability procedures.

Social Council

Its regulation is established in Article 47 of the LOSU. It is the body for participation and representation of society, a space for collaboration and accountability in which institutions, social organisations and the productive fabric interrelate with the university. Each autonomous community regulates its composition and guarantees the presence of people proposed by the different representative sectors of the economic, social and cultural life of the area, who are knowledgeable about university activity and dynamics, as well as the absence of conflict of interest with the university.

Its functions include the following:

  • to draw up, approve and evaluate a three-year action plan aimed primarily at fostering interrelations and cooperation between the university, its alumni and its cultural, professional, scientific, business, social and territorial environment, as well as its institutional development;
  • to inform, in advance, on the offer of official degrees and lifelong learning, as well as the creation and suppression of its own centres and those abroad;
  • to promote actions to facilitate the university's connection with society and to strengthen the lifelong learning activities developed by the universities;
  • to promote the attraction of economic resources for the financing of the university from the various social, business and institutional spheres at local, national and international level;
  • to analyse and evaluate the performance of academic activities and propose actions for improvement;
  • to create, by mutual agreement with the Governing Council of each university, joint committees to promote, deploy and evaluate initiatives aimed at strengthening the role of the university in the social environment;
  • to approve, at the proposal of the Governing Council, the university's Multiannual Funding Plan and to monitor it;
  • to approve the allocation of salary complements;
  • to participate, with voice and vote, in the Governing Council in accordance with the provisions of the Statutes;
  • to ensure compliance with the principles of ethics and academic integrity, as well as with the anti-fraud guidelines that must guide teaching and research, in collaboration with the bodies and plans that each university has for this purpose.

Student Council

Its regulation is established in Article 48 of the LOSU. This is the highest collegiate body representing and coordinating the student body at the university. Its members shall be elected from among students from the different centres, for the duration and in the manner determined by the university statutes. The Student Council shall enjoy full autonomy for the fulfilment of its aims within the university's own regulations, and the university shall provide it with the means and spaces necessary for the development of its functions.

Its functions include the following:

  • to defend the interests of the student body in the governing bodies;
  • to ensure compliance with and respect for their rights and duties;
  • to make proposals to the governing bodies on matters related to its competences for inclusion in the agenda;
  • to promote student associations and student participation in university life.

Single-member bodies

Article 44 of the LOSU 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.


Its regulation is established in Articles 50 and 51 of the LOSU. It is the highest academic authority of the public university. It exercises the functions of direction, governance and management of the university and represents it before other universities, bodies, institutions, public administrations or local, national and international social or business entities. It also exercises the functions of the highest academic body of the university. They must be permanent, full-time doctoral teaching and research staff and have the merits in research, teaching and university management experience determined by the statutes and be elected by direct election by universal suffrage weighted by all members of the university community. Their functions include the following:

  • to exercise overall management of the university;
  • coordinating the activities and policies of the university's governing team;
  • to promote the main lines of university policy;
  • to define the fundamental guidelines of the university's strategic planning;
  • to develop the lines of action approved by the corresponding collegiate bodies and to execute their agreements, especially with regard to the programming and development of teaching, research, the transfer and exchange of knowledge and innovation, the management of economic resources and staff, internationalisation, university culture and promotion, and institutional relations;
  • appointing and dismissing the members of the Governing Team.

Other single-member positions

Article 50 of the LOSU establishes that the Vice-Rectors are appointed from among the civil servants who make up the staff of the university teaching bodies and the permanent teaching staff, for the development of university policies. The Secretary General shall be appointed from among the teaching and research staff who hold a doctorate or the technical, management and administration and services staff who hold a university degree and who provide services at the university, acting as a notary public and chairing the Electoral Commission. The person in charge of management shall be appointed, in agreement with the Social Council, in accordance with criteria of professional competence and management experience, and shall be responsible for the management of the university's administrative and financial services and human resources. Once this person has taken up the post, he/she may not carry out teaching or research functions.

In accordance with Article 52 of the LOSU, universities with faculties, schools or departments must have the following unipersonal bodies, which represent their centres and exercise their ordinary management and administration functions:

  • Dean of the Faculty;
  • Head of School;
  • Director of the Department.

Likewise, these single-person bodies appoint the members of the Management Team of their centres in accordance with the provisions of the university statutes, and elect a Secretary of the centre, who acts as a notary public of the decisions taken by the Faculty, School or Department Council.

The Deans of the Faculty and the Heads of School are elected by direct election by universal suffrage from among the staff of the university's civil servant teaching staff and permanent teaching staff.

Department Directors are elected by direct election by universal suffrage by all the members of the Department Council from among the staff of the university's civil servant teaching staff and permanent teaching staff.

The universities must also have a Secretary, who acts as a notary public. The method of election is set out in the statutes of each university.

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).