Recruitment of our new Vice-Chancellor: an update and a thank you


Thank you to everyone who provided comments in the January survey which have helped inform the role description and person specification. We are also pleased to announce the staff members appointed to the Selection Committee.

In January we asked students and staff to complete an online survey to help us identify what the priorities of our new Vice-Chancellor should be and the attributes that we should seek when selecting a new Vice-Chancellor. We also invited applications from staff to serve on the Selection Committee which the Governing Body has established to oversee the search process.

We're pleased to announce that in light of the number of good applications, the staff positions on the Selection Committee have been increased from two to four.

Applications were successful from the following staff:

  • Academic staff: 
    • Professor Andrew Westby, Director of the Natural Resources Institute 
    • Dr Richard Wild, Principal Lecturer, Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences;
  • Professional Services staff: 
    • Mr Ross Porter, Head of International Compliance and Advice 
    • Ms Sara Ragab, Assistant Director of Student Services.

We'd like to thank all staff who applied, and we have offered other opportunities to become involved in the search process to those who were unsuccessful.

We're also grateful to students and staff who completed our survey.

Completed responses were received from 85 students and 243 staff. 

The results of the survey and the comments have been considered by the Selection Committee and have helped to inform the development of the role description and person specification. In summary, these show that:

  • In terms of the potential priorities of a new Vice-Chancellor, both students and staff regarded 'maintaining and improving staff morale and staff engagement', 'maintaining and improving the University's reputation', 'improving the student experience and student satisfaction', 'maintaining and improving academic quality' and 'improving outcomes for graduates' as very important (more than 75% rating the priority as 4 or 5 on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being very high priority' / 'very important');
  • In terms of the potential attributes of a new Vice-Chancellor, both sets of respondents rated 'able to engage with and motivate staff', 'able to engage with and inspire students', 'strategic vision', 'excellent communication skills', 'good negotiating skills' and 'warm and empathetic' as very important attributes (more than 75% rating the attribute as 4 or 5);
  • The comments from staff emphasised the importance of leadership, engagement, strategic vision, the ability to inspire staff and students, and excellent communication skills. The theme of wanting the new Vice-Chancellor to be an active, engaged, visible, approachable and empathetic leader came through strongly, as did the desire to build a sense of community in the University and treat all campuses equally. 
  • The smaller number of student comments were more variable, but a number emphasised the theme of improving student wellbeing and ensuring sufficient support for students.

Our recruitment consultants, Perrett Laver, also met with a number of stakeholders in January, including the Students' Union, representatives of the trade unions and two open meetings for staff on the Greenwich and Medway campuses.

We will advertise the Vice-Chancellor role shortly in the national media and the higher education press. The candidate pack will be made available on the university website.

Peter Garrod
University Secretary