Students to be consulted over VC appointment

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For the first time in the history of Durham University, both staff and students will be consulted over the appointment of a new Vice-Chancellor.

The University’s decision to consult students was revealed in an e-mail from Robert Gillespie, Chair of the University Council, which said:

“I would like to take this opportunity to invite staff and students to share their thoughts on the type of skills and expertise you feel are required for the role of Vice-Chancellor and any names you would like to be considered as part of the search. The following e-mail address has been set up for this purpose:”

Student consultation sessions are due to take place in the first two weeks of term, with students set to be joined by Durham University Human Resources staff, Dan Slavin, the Students’ Union President, and staff from Perrett Laver, the global executive search firm that is assisting the University in its appointment of a new Vice-Chancellor.

Clare Curran, Director of Human Resources, told Palatinate why the University has decided to consult students:

“This is the first time the University has consulted all staff as well as students, this is all about being inclusive. The search company shared that those universities that have undertaken a similar exercise have learnt a lot from the outcomes of these decisions.

“Therefore we wanted to ensure we engaged in all such activities that have proved successful elsewhere, as we want to ensure we recruit the right person for Durham University.”

The Students’ Union is due to announce the exact dates of the student consultation sessions later this week.

Dan Slavin explained to Palatinate what the Union and the University are hoping to gain from the sessions, saying:

“We want to understand where students see the University currently and gain a student’s view on the role of the Vice-Chancellor.”

When asked whether he believes student opinion will have a real influence on the University’s appointment, he said:

“I’m very optimistic. From the first communication about this students have been mentioned. Personally I was on the appointment panel for the headhunter, I have met Dan Perrett already and he was very open to student opinion and is interested in what we have to say.”

Whilst the selection process is ongoing, Professor Ray Hudson will fill the position of Acting Vice-Chancellor, taking on full responsibilities from today.


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