Chair of Council | Bishop Grosseteste University

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    Peridot Partners

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    about 2 months ago

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    Peridot Partners

About the Role

Bishop Grosseteste University is a vibrant community of 2,700 Foundation Year, undergraduate, postgraduate, doctoral and apprenticeship students studying across a breadth of subjects in the Humanities, Education, Business, Sports and Social Sciences, located in the heart of historic Lincoln.

The University is led by the Vice-Chancellor, the Reverend Canon Professor Peter Neil, who is supported by an Executive Team. Together they manage the day-to-day operations of the institution and are responsible for managing the business of the University, including the experience, performance and outcomes of the student cohort, the research activities of the Faculty, and oversight of 360 academic and professional services staff across the University.

Overseeing the performance of the Executive Team and with responsibility for the strategic direction and financial sustainability of BGU is the University Council, the governing body of the University.

The Council is permitted up to 23 members, including independent members, members of the Executive Team, and those nominated by the Diocese of Lincoln, and is led by the Chair of Council. The business of the Council is supported through the work of sub-committees, and Council Members are expected to contribute to at least one of the following:

  • Audit
  • Finance, Employment and General Purposes
  • Governance and Nominations
  • Remuneration
  • Selection

The University Council

The University Council meets four times a year and sets ambitious and achievable performance targets for the Executive Team through an effective planning process and ensuring the performance of the University is assessed against Council-approved objectives.

The Council consists of members from a breadth of industries and sectors, bringing knowledge and insight of key areas of expertise and professional skillsets required to effectively oversee the business of the Council. Council Members are expected to contribute in a meaningful way to collective Council discussions and decision-making processes, establishing a constructive and supportive working relationship with the Executive Team and other University staff to provide a robust and suitable level of challenge in their role as ‘critical friend’ to the organisation.

With a strong personal commitment to the values and objectives of Higher Education and BGU, all Council Members are expected to uphold the principles of governance in a public role, acting fairly and impartially in the best interests of the University, and representing the University at all times.

Chair of the University Council

The Chair of Council is expected to provide effective leadership of the Council, establishing a good working relationship with key University staff and stakeholders, including the Vice-Chancellor and Executive Team, and ensuring the Council operates within the Articles of Association, with the support of the University’s Governance Team.

The Chair will ensure that the Council exercises collective responsibility, encouraging members to work together and contribute their expertise and skills to participate in Council and sub-committee discussions and decision-making processes. The Chair is involved in the appointment of new Council Members and carries out annual performance appraisals of the Vice-Chancellor and the Secretary to the Council. The Chair also carries out annual Council Member reviews. As the University is a registered charity, the Chair of Council is responsible for ensuring that the University Council exercises effective and efficient use of the University’s resources for the furtherance of its charitable objectives, is financially viable and safeguards its assets.

The Chair is a Member and Chair of the Governance and Nominations Committee and the Selection Committee, and an ex-officio member of Remuneration Committee.

The postholder will act as Pro-Chancellor in the absence of the Chancellor of the University and is a key external ambassador for the University, promoting the mission and values of BGU and utilising their networks in the interests of BGU where possible.

The Chair of Council should expect to commit to between 24-36 days a year, which includes chairing four Council meetings and chairing the Governance and Nominations Committee (two meetings per year) and the Selection Committee (when required).

You will be invited and encouraged to attend key events throughout the year to become fully involved in the community of the University, including Matriculation and Graduation Days, the Christmas Carol Service, and other events. You will receive a full induction and training opportunities throughout your term of office.

The term of office is three years, for a maximum of two consecutive terms of office.

The role of Chair of Council is not remunerated, but reasonable expenses will be reimbursed.

Who we are looking for

With the planned departure of its current Chair of Council, the University is looking to engage an experienced strategic leader with a strong commercial outlook to join the Council as its next Chair. Candidates must demonstrate not only a passion for the values and mission of BGU as a small, specialised higher education institution but also be in sympathy with its ethos, inspired by the University’s Church of England foundations.

Ideally bringing knowledge or understanding of the Higher Education sector, our preferred candidate will be able to demonstrate a strong track record as a high-level senior or executive leader, with experience of successfully managing a large and/or complex organisation. You must demonstrate financial literacy, commercial acumen, strong performance and risk management skills, and a strong grasp of non-executive governance.

As Chair, you will be required to establish strong professional relationships with executive staff, build and develop a strong and effective Council membership, and provide confident, effective and collaborative leadership to ensure the business and performance of the University is managed, monitored and evaluated to the highest standards of governance and in line with the Articles of Association.

With ambitions to increase student numbers and plans for a successful research-degree awarding powers bid by 2023, the new Chair will need to feel a strong affinity to the mission of BGU as an independent institution. The Chair will need to demonstrate their commitment and ability to steer BGU on a strategic journey that may impact on the current curriculum pathways and require some difficult decisions to be taken by the Council to ensure BGU’s sustainability into the future as a provider of high-quality Higher Education for the communities it serves. The new Chair will therefore need to demonstrate a business-like and purposeful approach towards change and transformation in a complex organisation, demonstrating strong diplomacy and negotiating skills to manage relationships with key internal and external stakeholders, including the Office for Students and the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA).

Financial sustainability planning in line with an ambitious strategic plan will be a key priority for the new Chair. With expert support from Council Members, the Chair must take into consideration changes to HE policy on tuition fees and admission entry grades, which could impact on plans for growth and expansion.

The Chair should be able to demonstrate, through professional experience of sitting on and/or reporting into a board at a senior or executive level, the key differences between the strategic governance role and the operational management role. The Chair must embrace and uphold the principles of diversity and inclusivity, recognising the value of diverse perspectives in governance and leadership, and facilitate a welcoming culture that respects and listens to all Council Members’ views. This approach must be underpinned by the Nolan Principles of Standards in Public Life, and the Chair should facilitate a culture of accountability and professionalism, in line with an organisation that is values-driven and people-focused.

BGU is committed to diversity and supports diverse appointments across University staff teams, management and at governing body level through fair and transparent recruitment processes. We strongly encourage and welcome applications from candidates who identify with one or more of the following protected characteristics that are underrepresented currently on the University Council – women, LGBTQ, disabilities, black and ethnic minorities.