Go to top of page

Organisational Unit

A unit which a higher education provider has formed in order to undertake particular functions, or a unit which is used for statistical reporting purposes. Types of organisational units are:

Academic Organisational Unit (AOUs)

Units within a higher education provider which have as their primary objective the undertaking of teaching only functions, teaching‑and‑research functions or research only functions. Such units are referred to by various names, such as "schools" and "departments". The staff working within an academic organisational unit would include people undertaking or supporting teaching or research functions and in most cases would also include people undertaking other functions such as clerical and administrative work. If they are not classifiable as independent operations and if the higher education provider is legally responsible for them, field operations which enable teaching or research to be undertaken (e.g. farming operations, fishing operations, research operations) may be classified as being academic organisational units.

Excludes organisational units undertaking teaching or teaching‑and‑research functions relating to continuing education or adult education (which are classifiable as "public service organisational units").

Return to top


Academic Support Services Organisational Units

Organisational units which provide direct support for the higher education provider's academic activity. The following types of organisational units are to be classified to academic support services activity:

  • Libraries. Central libraries and branch libraries under the control of the central library. Libraries under the control of an academic organisational unit are to be regarded as a part of that academic organisational unit and hence are to be classified as academic activity.
  • Computing centres. Centralised computing operations providing services to more than one type of activity. Where a computing operation is dedicated to one type of activity (e.g. a dedicated library computer facility), then the computing operation should be included as part of that activity and is not to be classified as a computing centre activity.
  • Educational research and development centres: Centralised operations which undertake research and/or development relating to the functioning of the higher education provider for its higher education provider purposes (e.g. research concerning development of curricula, educational processes and practices).
  • External studies centres (excluding academic functions): Centralised operations undertaking administration of clerical work associated with the operation of external study courses. Academic functions associated with external study courses are to be classified as being an academic activity.
  • Audio‑visual and media centres: Centralised operations providing audiovisual and media services to more than one type of activity.
  • Other centralised services: Centralised operations providing other types of academic support services to more than one type of activity (e.g. those responsible for animal houses, language laboratories, museums providing support to academic organisational units, photographic services etc).

Return to top


Student Services Organisational Units

Organisational units whose primary function involves the provision of services directed at the welfare of students. Includes the work of organisational units responsible for:

  • health services;
  • counselling and, if they are not classifiable as independent operations, accommodation services and student residences ;
  • employment services;
  • student loans/scholarships/assistance services;
  • other student services (e.g. if they are not classifiable as independent operations: bookshops; student unions; child‑care centres established primarily for students).

Return to top


Public Services Organisational Units

Organisational units that provide services that are related to the academic functioning of a higher education provider, but which are primarily of benefit to individuals or groups that are external to the higher education provider. Organisational units in which teaching or research activities relating to continuing education are undertaken are to be classified to public services activity rather than the academic organisational unit category. Includes units responsible for:

  • continuing education;
  • public broadcasting services;
  • other public services (e.g. public lectures)

Return to top


General Higher Education Provider Services Organisational Units

Organisational units providing centralised services relating to the administration of the higher education provider as a whole or to the planning, development and maintenance of the structure and functioning of a higher education provider, or to the functioning of the higher education provider as a corporate entity. Excludes administrative sub‑units located within other organisational units. Sub‑classes of general higher education provider services organisational units to be reported in this collection comprise:

  • Administration and Overhead Services: Organisational units undertaking work associated with the day‑to‑day functioning of the higher education provider and its longer term development, and the functioning of the higher education provider as a corporate entity. Includes units responsible for:
  • administrative computing;
  • administrative processes associated with staff advertising, interview, and appointment;
  • central printeries and stores;
  • central registry;
  • central telephone and telex services;
  • ceremonies, prizes and awards, orientation activities;
  • conduct of examinations.
  • corporate entertainment and hospitality;
  • corporate publicity;
  • elections, operation of councils and convocations;
  • financial administration (budgeting, purchasing, accounting) for the higher education provider as a whole;
  • information services;
  • higher education provider secretariat;
  • higher education provider statistics;
  • legal services;
  • museums and displays for general use;
  • planning;
  • safety;
  • staff administration; and
  • student administration (students records, admissions, enrolments, examinations, public relations);
    • Buildings, plant and grounds: Organisational units undertaking the design, repair and maintenance of the plant, equipment and buildings of the higher education provider and the maintenance of its grounds.
    • Cleaning services: Organisational units undertaking the cleaning of the higher education provider's buildings and grounds.
    • Security and caretaker services: Organisational units responsible for the general security of the higher education provider's buildings and grounds, and for the higher education provider's caretaking services.
    • Other general higher education provider services: Organisational units providing general higher education provider services other than those listed above (e.g. if not classifiable as independent operations and if the higher education provider is legally responsible for them: childcare centres which do not cater primarily for students).

Return to top


Independent Operations

Organisations that are corporate entities which in legal terms are separate from the higher education provider. Independent operations may include ones providing:

  • computing services;
  • research, development, testing or consultancy services; and
  • higher education provider is not legally responsible for them: student unions, sports unions, bookshops, staff clubs, student residences, collegiate residences, and childcare centres.

Where an operation is the legal responsibility of the higher education provider and there is no separate entity responsible for it, the operation is not to be classed as being an independent operation. For example, where the higher education provider is legally responsible for such units as student unions, sports unions, bookshops, student residences, collegiate residences and childcare centres catering primarily for students, such units are to be classified as being student services organisational units. Similarly, where the higher education provider has a legal responsibility for such units as staff clubs and childcare centres which do not cater primarily for students, such units are to be classified as general higher education provider services organisational units.


Return to top


This glossary item applies to the collection types:
  • Higher Education Staff Collection