I would like to invite a member of the audience....

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For many people, the very idea of audience participation is a nightmare. A friend of mine went to a show at the Edinburgh Fringe where the she sat in the back of a car on stage, and the 'comedians' sat in the front. As you can imagine, it didn't accommodate a very large audience and I don't expect it will be transferring to the West End (for economic reasons if nothing else).

We have an event, or series of events on 26 July where potential candidates to be our next Vice-Chancellor will be the main attraction. Audience participation is really important, because this is not just an opportunity for us to see them in action, but their chance to see what we are like as a University. Last week I advertised for people to take part in a presentation and Q&A session with the candidates. We are asking candidates to tell us something about their vision for the University, and then for the audience to ask questions and see how they respond. I always think that you can tell something from the way someone presents; you can tell even more from the way they react to questions and challenges.

We are holding the presentation in 8W2.5 and are looking for a very diverse audience of up to 50 people representing staff, Council and Court members. So far over 100 people have shown interest in being in the audience, so I am afraid that we will disappoint some. There will be an opportunity for those who can't attend to post questions in advance which may help those who are attending to formulate their ideas. A separate event for students  is being organised by the Students' Union which I am assured will take the candidates out of their comfort zone.

The three Universities who have been running 'in parallel' with us to recruit a new Vice-Chancellor (Sheffield, Aberdeen, Dundee) have now announced their results (though one has pinched someone else's VC so that will start a whole new competition).On the 11 July we are shortlisting so I hope to be able to say a little more about the candidates next week. I've also got Croatia in our office World Cup draw, so Wednesday should be interesting for two reasons!


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