Approved at a meeting of the Board of Governors on 2 May 2016
CHAPTER 1 – ADMINISTRATIVE STRUCTURE
Bifröst University is a private non-profit institution that operates on the basis of its Charter. The University’s operations are in accordance with legislation on higher education institutions and with the Rules for Accreditation of Higher Education Institutions.
The Board of Governors is responsible for the operation, finances, and assets of the University. The Board of Governors shall uphold the mission and role of the University pursuant to the University Charter and shall at all times respect the University’s academic independence. The Board of Governors has the authority to appoint and dismiss the Rector. The Chair of the Board of Governors shall negotiate the terms of the Rector’s employment on behalf of the Board.
The Rector is responsible for the management and operation of the University under the authority of the Board of Governors and is accountable to the Board. S/he has a responsibility to ensure that working arrangements are consistent with the role, objectives and quality requirements of the University. The Rector has the authority to appoint and dismiss employees. The Rector is responsible for the finances of the University under the authority of the Board of Governors. S/he must submit a financial and operating plan for the coming fiscal year to the Board of Governors in due time for making it possible to be discussed at two meetings of the Board prior to the turn of the year. The Rector is the University’s representative in external relations and takes the initiative in policy-making and development activities. The Rector is responsible for quality management at the University. The Rector manages the day-to-day operation of the University; however, s/he will consult with the Chair of the Board of Governors between meetings of the Board on all decisions regarding policy or extraordinary decisions. Such decisions shall be submitted to the Board of Governors at the first possible opportunity.
The Rector appoints her/his substitute from among the University’s academic employees.
The University Council acts as an advisory body on the internal affairs of the academic community and has the right to appoint members for the University’s Board of Governors and the Council of Representatives pursuant to the University Charter. The University Council is composed of the Rector; the Director of Academic Services; three representatives of the teaching staff, appointed by the Education and Research Board; one representative of the University’s non-teaching staff, nominated at a staff meeting; three undergraduate students; one representative of students in the Department of Preparatory Studies; and one representative of Master’s students. Student representatives are elected by students. One alternate member shall be elected for each principal member. The Rector is permitted to offer further parties the right to sit in the University Council as needed. These parties have the right to speak and make proposals, but they do not have voting rights. University Council meetings discuss major issues concerning the University at any given time, its internal operations, and amendments of its rules and regulations and its strategy. The University Council has the competence to make decisions and may submit proposals to the Rector or the Board of Governors. The Rector shall take initiative in setting the agenda for University Council meetings; however, each member of the Council is permitted to place an item on a meeting’s agenda. A quorum is achieved at meetings of the University Council if the majority of those entitled to attend a meeting are present, the meeting having been called with a minimum of twenty-four hours’ notice. Decisions are taken by a simple majority vote; in the event of an equality of votes, the Rector shall cast the deciding vote. A meeting of the University Council must be called if a third of all persons entitled to attend its meetings so request. The minutes of University Council meetings shall be posted on the University website.
Bifröst University offers studies in the Departments of Business, Law, and Social Sciences. The University also operates a Department of Preparatory Studies, called Háskólagátt, for students who do not meet the minimum requirements for admission to undergraduate programmes and a continuing education programme offering shorter, work-related study programmes. The departments are responsible for academic policy-making, the development of lines of study, course content, and quality of studies. Heads of Departments direct departmental policy and are in charge of professional matters within their department, quality management included. Furthermore, they are responsible for finances within the scope defined in the budget. Each department has a department board, consisting of the Head of Department, one teacher, appointed by the department’s teachers, and one student, appointed by the department’s student union. The department board acts as an advisory body to the Head of Department. The Head of Department calls department meetings at least six times a year. Department meetings shall function as a discussion venue for permanently hired teachers on issues concerning the department. The Rector sets rules and regulations on the admission of students, course assessment, examinations, and other issues concerning study and teaching at the University. Furthermore, s/he lays down rules and procedures concerning the development of new lines of study or new courses, as well as concerning other issues relating to the work of teachers, as needed. Proposals and drafts on amendments of the University’s rules and regulations must be discussed and handled in due consultation with all parties concerned. The Rector consults with the University Council prior to making decisions. Should complaints arise concerning the admission of students, course assessment, the arrangement of examinations, or the implementation of University rules, they shall follow defined procedures for appeals within the University. Academic Services receives formal matters from students and decides accordingly as relevant. Should a student not accept the decision, he is entitled to appeal to the Appeals Committee. The Rector appoints an Appeals Committee, consisting of three members, who are appointed for a period of two years. One of the members shall be nominated by the Education and Research Board, one jointly by the student unions at the University, and finally, one member, who shall act as the Chair of the Committee, shall be appointed without nomination. Alternates shall be appointed in the same way. Rules on the operations of the Appeals Committee must be approved by the Bifröst University Board of Governors. Should the decision of the Appeals Committee not be accepted, the case may be remitted to the Rector as the final arbiter within the University.
The Executive Board is a consultative forum for the Rector and the University’s managers on issues relating to the day-to-day operation of the University. It consists of the Rector, Heads of Departments, and the Directors of the various administrative departments and services. Meetings of the Executive Board shall be held as required; these meetings shall also be attended by other employees of the University, at the discretion of the Rector. Permanent committees for departmental cooperation and consultation operate as required for the coordination and harmonization of the University’s operations. Workgroups are appointed for working on specific tasks as needed. The Rector issues letters of appointment for committees and workgroups.
The Education and Research Board is a consultative forum for the academic staff of the University, and nominates representatives of the teaching staff for boards and committees within the University as required. The Rector calls at least two meetings of the Board each year, where policy decisions relating to education and research shall be presented and discussed.
The Rector is responsible for the development and implementation of the University’s quality policy and hires a Quality Director, who is responsible for the University’s quality management. S/he shall cooperate with the department boards and meet with them as necessary. Department boards are accountable to the Rector for the implementation of the University’s Quality Assurance Policy in their respective fields. Furthermore, they shall take initiative in the development of quality management at the University, and submit their proposals pertaining thereto to the Rector and the Quality Director as relevant. Department boards shall cooperate with the Quality Director and with one another as needed in order to promote the best possible implementation and development of quality affairs at the University. The Director of Academic Services is responsible for carrying out a regular evaluation of teaching and reports on the results to the Rector, Heads of Departments, and department boards. The results of the teaching evaluation are to be introduced to the University Council for informational purposes. The Quality Director is responsible for the University’s Quality Handbook and its regular reviewing. Propositions regarding the amendment of the University’s regulatory environment shall be submitted to the Quality Director. The Quality Director shall submit to the Rector an annual report on her/his work and the work of department boards regarding the University’s quality management.
It is a matter of utmost importance for Bifröst University that staff members are competent in their field of work. Therefore, the University has developed a personnel policy, stating its objectives and emphases regarding personnel issues. The professional titles of teachers at Bifröst University shall be professor, associate professor, assistant professor, and adjunct lecturer. The Rector appoints an evaluation committee for evaluating the qualifications of professors, associate professors, assistant professors, and specialists. Those who carry the aforementioned professional titles shall have both knowledge and experience in accordance with international guidelines on the respective professional titles in their field of study. This shall be attested by the Evaluation Committee or by way of a doctoral degree from a recognized university. Furthermore, they shall have demonstrated sufficient achievement in their work to enjoy recognition in the respective field of study. Only those who have completed a doctoral degree from a university or have equivalent knowledge and experience may be appointed to the Evaluation Committee. The Evaluation Committee shall include at least one representative who is not an employee of Bifröst University. The appointment, functions, and conclusion of the Evaluation Committee shall occur in accordance with the provisions of the Higher Education Institutions Act No. 63/2006, Article 18, as well as in compliance with rules laid down by the Board of Governors. These rules shall ensure that all applications are processed in an unbiased and professional way. Heads of Departments shall take initiative in hiring academic employees. The Rector hires academic employees, i.e., professors, associate professors, assistant professors, adjunct lecturers, and specialists, cf. the foregoing. The recruitment shall be based on the opinion of the Evaluation Committee (except in the case of the position of adjunct lecturer), experience, and testimonials. Vacant positions of university teachers and those who are solely hired for scholarly and research work shall be publicly advertised. In order to ensure the University’s access to the most competent employees at any given time, vacant positions shall be advertised internationally and in local newspapers and other media as required. A position shall not be advertised in the case of promotion or transfer to another professional title. Following the publication of an advertisement, the Rector hires a managing director and other University managers, based on their career, work experience, managerial experience, relevance of education for the respective position, and testimonials. Heads of Departments hire sessional teachers in consultation with the Rector. The Directors of the Department of Preparatory Studies and of the Continuous Education Programme take initiative in hiring teachers for those departments. The Rector reports on recruitments to the University’s Board of Governors.
In accordance with an agreement between the University of Iceland and Bifröst University, the University of Iceland will perform an annual evaluation of the academic competences of Bifröst University’s academic employees. The evaluation is based on Article 18 of the Higher Education Institutions Act No. 63/2006 and is performed in accordance with the Evaluation System for Public Universities in force. For the purpose of this Article, academic employees shall refer to professors, associate professors, assistant professors, and specialists. They hand in a research and teaching report for the previous year prior to 1 February each year. Heads of Departments submit evaluation results to the Rector.
An assistant professor may apply for promotion to the position of associate professor, given that s/he fulfils other requirements for holding that position pursuant to the Evaluation System for Public Universities. An associate professor may apply for promotion to the position of professor, given that s/he fulfils other requirements for holding that position pursuant to the Evaluation System for Public Universities. An application for promotion shall be addressed to the Head of Department, who in turn remits it to the Bifröst University Promotion Committee.
The Rector appoints a permanent promotion committee, which evaluates applications for promotion on the basis of existing data and the Evaluation System for Public Universities. The Promotion Committee shall submit a proposal to the Rector regarding whether the applicant should be promoted. The Rector shall make the decision about promotion on the basis of this evaluation. Where applicable, the provisions on evaluation committees in Article 10 pertain to the appointment and procedure of the Promotion Committee.
Academic staff members of Bifröst University enjoy freedom of research. They determine their research topics and the focus of their research activities independently. Heads of Departments, in consultation with the Rector, negotiate the proportion of employment time that academic staff members spend on research as part of their job requirements as well as negotiating minimum output requirements in keeping with this proportion.
The Bifröst University Research Institute is an independent institution, under the auspices of the University, engaging in research and consultancy activities. Its operations are in keeping with the University’s research policy. The Director of the Bifröst University Research Institute is accountable to her/his next superior and to the Chief Financial and Operating Officer for the activities and operation of the Research Institute. The Bifröst University Research Institute submits to the Rector an annual report on its activities and the activities of research centres under its authority. A research board, consisting of three scholars and/or specialists who are not employees of the University, is operated under the auspices of the Research Institute. The role of the Research Board is to evaluate the standard of research at the University and give advice on policymaking and promoting research. The Rector appoints the Research Board after consultation with all the relevant parties at the University.
The University is authorised to establish research centres in the University’s academic fields for the purposes of promoting research as per the University’s research policy and improving opportunities for academic staff members to collaborate with other universities and research institutes. The Rector appoints the head of the research centre, who holds professional authority over the centre. Such authority may be granted to an independent board. Research centres operate as part of the Bifröst University Research Institute, whose director supervises their operation. Research centres are funded by revenues that they generate themselves.
The Director of Academic Services is responsible for the processing of applications for admission to the University. Department heads review applications for admission to their respective departments as applicable. The Director of the Department of Preparatory Studies reviews applications for admission to the preparatory studies programme as applicable.
The University shall endeavour at all times to grant equal opportunities for study. The University shall endeavour to choose a broad group of students who reflect the cultural diversity of the community at large. At all times, students at the University shall enjoy rights pursuant to the Rules no. 1152/2006 on the procedure of the Board of Appeal for student complaints at higher education institutions.
In confirmation of admission, applicants shall pay a confirmation fee. For studies at the University, students shall pay a school fee decided by the Board of Governors upon receiving a proposal thereon from the Rector.
For admission to the Department of Preparatory Studies, an applicant must have completed the equivalent of 140 (FEIN) credit units at an upper secondary school level and fulfil conditions of rules on preparatory studies for higher education, which are published by the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture. Applicants may be admitted to the Department of Preparatory Studies without having completed the prescribed number of credits, provided that they have work experience that amounts to the equivalent number of credits.
For admission to undergraduate studies, applicants must have completed a matriculation examination (stúdentspróf) or other comparable upper secondary school studies. Heads of Departments have the authority to grant exemptions from the above provision if an applicant possesses experience or knowledge that can be assessed as equivalent to completion of a matriculation examination.
The requirement for admission to Master’s studies is an undergraduate university degree (baccalaureate) or its equivalent, which has been completed with a grade of 7.25 or higher. Heads of Departments have the authority to grant exemptions from the above provision if an applicant possesses experience or knowledge that can be assessed as equivalent to completion of an undergraduate university degree.
In the Department of Preparatory Studies, students earn FEIN (framhaldsskólaeiningar) credits. Individual courses or lines of study in continuous learning programmes may also provide FEIN credits. Preparatory studies at the University consist of 62 FEIN credits. Credits for university-level studies are awarded pursuant to the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS). Study programmes concluding with a diploma shall consist of 30-120 ECTS credits. Undergraduate study programmes concluding with a Bachelor’s degree from Bifröst University shall consist of 180 ECTS credits. Graduate study programmes concluding with a Master’s degree from Bifröst University shall consist of 90-120 ECTS credits. It is permissible to assess up to 90 ECTS credits earned in exchange studies, at other universities or in other study programmes as part of a student’s undergraduate studies at Bifröst University. It is permissible to assess up to 30 ECTS credits earned in exchange studies, at other universities or in other study programmes as part of a student’s graduate studies at Bifröst University. A general requirement for the evaluation of credits for undergraduate and graduate studies is a grade of 6.0 or higher.
Bifröst University confers a Bachelor’s degree at the completion of undergraduate studies and a Master’s degree at the completion of graduate studies in the following departments: Business Department, Social Sciences Department, and Law Department. Heads of Departments may permit students to graduate with composite degrees. Such degrees shall consist of a minimum of 120 ECTS credits. Students may also be awarded a diploma degree from all lines of study provided that they have completed a minimum of 60 ETCS credits. A decision thereon shall be taken in consultation with the Rector. Heads of Departments, in cooperation with the Rector, may organise lines of study in collaboration with other universities and graduate candidates with composite degrees. Degrees conferred by the University are published on the University’s website.
Studies at Bifröst University are normally divided into three semesters: fall, spring, and summer semesters. The Director of Academic Services takes initiative in creating the academic calendar in cooperation with the Heads of Departments. Before the end of February each year, the academic calendar for the coming academic year shall be approved by the Rector upon consultation with the University Council and posted on the University website.
The Director of Academic Services oversees all teaching and administration of examinations at Bifröst University and is responsible for student and teacher services.
Bifröst University keeps a record of the academic progress of each individual student and maintains this record after completion of studies, pursuant to the stipulations of the Higher Education Institution Act. Students shall register in courses each semester by a predetermined date as decided by the Director of Academic Services. The same applies to withdrawals from courses. Students have access to their course registration information and are responsible for ensuring that it is correct.
Teachers determine how course assessment will take place on the basis of the Rules on Studies and Teaching at Bifröst University. Assessment shall reflect the University’s policy of training students in using both scholarly and applied working methods. Students must meet a minimum grade requirement of 5.0 for final examinations; if this is not achieved, the student in question must take a resit examination. Should a student receive a final grade lower than 5.0 for a course after taking a resit examination, the student shall be permitted to take the course again when it is next offered by the University. If, after exhausting the regular make-up options, the student does not then pass the course, this is equivalent to withdrawal from the University. An application may be submitted anew.
At all times, students must abide by rules and instructions regarding the use of sources in essays and projects. Any students who fail to do so may receive a grade of 0 (zero) for a project, essay, or course. Should a student violate examination rules or behave dishonestly, the student shall receive the grade of 0 (zero). Such violations may lead to a reprimand or expulsion from the University; cf. Article 34 of these Regulations. Students who do not present themselves for an examination or leave before the appointed time will receive the grade of 0 (zero) and must pass the resit examination in order to pass the course. In the event of confirmed illness, a student is entitled to take a make-up examination; applications for make-up examinations should be submitted to the Director of Academic Services or to the Exam Manager, who operates under the authority of the Director of Academic Services. Students with disabilities as defined under the Act on the Affairs of People with Disabilities are entitled to special arrangements when they take their examinations. Students whose native language is not Icelandic are entitled to special arrangements, as possible, and additional time when taking examinations in courses taught in Icelandic.
A student has the right to an interview with his/her teacher concerning the results of a written examination (an examination viewing). Examination viewings are arranged by the teacher. The viewing shall be advertised to students with adequate advance notice.
If a student who has not passed an examination is unsatisfied with the teacher’s assessment, s/he may appeal the assessment to the Academic Council. The appeal shall be submitted in writing within four weeks of the examination viewing. A student is entitled to such a reassessment as long as the examination remains in the constant custody of the teacher or other University staff members until it is delivered to the external examiner. A student wishing to appeal an assessment of an examination may obtain a photocopy of the examination from the teacher or learning management system. The external examiner shall submit a grade as soon as possible; this grade is final. For oral examinations, an external examiner shall be present along with the teacher (or teachers) and they shall jointly decide on the grade; this grade is final.
If a student is endeavouring to complete his/her studies after the regular period of time in which to do so has passed, individual grades will remain valid for five years from that time, after which the student must retake the course in question or a comparable course. The Head of Department does, however, have the authority to evaluate older examinations.
Mutual respect, courtesy, and honesty shall be observed in communications between students and University employees. All members of the academic community have a duty to defend the University’s honour. Students and employees shall refrain from anything in their studies, their teaching, or their conduct within and outside the University that could dishonour them, damage their reputation, or discredit their studies, their teaching, or the University.
If a student is found guilty of breaking the law or the rules of the University, the Rector may reprimand or suspend that student from the University, either temporarily or in full.
he University may, with the approval of the Board of Governors, commit itself to participation in organisations. The organisations in question may be companies or institutions wholly or partly owned by the University, with limited or unlimited liability, depending on the decision of the Board of Governors at any time. The fiscal year of the University is the calendar year.
In April of each year, the Rector shall hold an open annual general meeting, pursuant to Article 23 of the Higher Education Institution Act no. 63/2006, where the University’s finances and the main aspects of its operational plan are presented. The Rector shall hold a University Forum at least twice a year.
The Board of Governors of Bifröst University establishes Regulations pursuant to the legislation on higher education institutions and the University Charter. The Rector or individual board members may submit proposals for amendment of the Regulations to the Board of Governors. Amendments to the Regulations take effect on their publication. The Rector shall formally publish all amendments on the University website no later than one week after their approval. Rules on major University operations shall be confirmed and approved by the Board of Governors upon a foregoing discussion in the Executive Board and presentation to the department boards. Other rules are confirmed by the Rector. With the entry into force of this Regulation, earlier Regulation with subsequent amendments is repealed.
This Regulation, which was approved at a meeting of the Board on 2 May 2016, will enter into force on 1 August 2016.