The Rector was originally the active head of the University, exercising jurisdiction over all its members. He was invariably a cleric and elected by the votes of the four 'nations' The 'nations' were constituencies to which all the teachers and students were allocated according to their place of birth - originally Clydesdale, Teviotdale, Albany and Rothesay. 'Nations' were abandoned in 1977. Under the nova erectio of 1577 the Rector was made president of the Senate but was not a member of the Faculty; the office gradually became an honorary one, although until the end of the eighteenth century the Rector occasionally exercised visitorial functions. The Rector is now elected by the matriculated students; he is president of the University Court and holds office for three years. Since 1980 the Rectors have increasingly become popular media figures albeit at times with clear agendas either for political change or improved student welfare.
A L Brown and Michael Moss . The University of Glasgow: 1451-1996 . Edinburgh : Edinburgh University Press , 1996 .
Michael Moss, Moira Rankin and Lesley Richmond . The History and Constitution of the University of Glasgow . Glasgow : University of Glasgow , 2001 .