In my last job, 155 always referred to artillery (being the calibre of a NATO standard artillery shell in millimetres). In this last week, the same number has resonated with the Committee on the Office of Vice-Chancellor, for that is how many people our recruitment agents, Saxton Bampfylde have spoken to as sources and potential candidates. These people have been from 56 UK Universities, 22 overseas Universities and 10 other organisations. As a result we had 38 applications to review with the aim of selecting somewhere between 8 and 12 people to put on a 'long list' of potential candidates. This is a fairly large list for a role of this type, and underpins the fact that this is an attractive job at a prestigious University. Many candidates have commented on the profound scrutiny we have been under as a University, but they all recognise that we are in a strong position with an enviable and distinctive reputation. It has been good hearing candidates say many of the same things our staff, students and alumni said during the discussions we had back in February.
The Royal Artillery have 'ubique' on their cap badge, which is sometimes unfairly translated as 'all over the place'. I like to think that now the long-listing meeting is over we are getting quite tightly focussed in this process. We have agreed a long-list of 11 candidates without ever having to resort to the use of tossing a coin (an HR standby in such situations). Its an interesting mix of people who all currently have existing senior leadership roles in Universities with a wide range of external profiles, academic credibility and management experience. Its a strong list and its going to be difficult to narrow it down. The next step is for Saxton Bampfylde to interview all these candidates to understand their motivation and how their skills and attitudes fit with what we are looking for at Bath.
Next job is the detailed design of the final selection processes in which we hope to engage a range of staff and students as well as some of our key external stakeholders. I hope to be able to say more and seek expressions of interest soon.