A Day in the Life.....

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...of a Vice-Chancellor. This is how one of our plucky candidates described their day with us on the 26th July. I'm not sure that stressing our candidates by running this on the hottest day of the year is in the HR 'good practice handbook' but they all seemed to enjoy the range of activities we created for them. Sincere thanks from the Committee on the Office of Vice-Chancellor to all who took part; for the intelligent questions, for enduring the conditions and genuine interest in helping the candidates understand what we have at our unique University. For my own part, Marcelle McMcManus and I took each candidate on a tour of the campus which gave us an opportunity to talk to them a bit more informally. And, according to Marcelle's phone, walk 17km in the day!

On Friday, the Committee and members of the final interview panel spent 3 hours going through the feedback all the participants provided. Because we saw the candidates in a range of different scenarios we saw different aspects of their characters and variation across the events, much more than we would have seen through a simple interview. We have been through a lot of really rich data and now identified areas for the interview panel to probe on the 31st July.

So now our candidates go forward to the final interview panel. Each interview is planned to last over an hour, and the panel consists of:

  • The Chancellor
  • Thomas Sheppard, the Chair of Council
  • Professor Julia Buckingham, VC of Brunel University as external adviser
  • Professor Veronica Hope-Hailey, Vice President (Corporate Engagement) and Dean of the School of Management
  • Eve Alcock , President of the Students' Union
  • Stephanie Lear, Head of Individual Philanthropy from the Department of Alumni Relations
  • Susanne Gebhard, Senior Lecturer from the Department of Biology & Biochemistry

The panel has been put together to ensure that again we are looking at the candidates from different perspectives. By the end of the 31 July we hope to have identified our preferred candidate for the role. It won't be until September that we can complete the approval processes, but hopefully we will then be able to announce our next Vice-Chancellor.

I've just read though the lyrics of the Beatles' track "A Day in the Life" from the Sgt Peppers' album. I was hoping to find a line which was appropriate for this blog, but nothing sprang out. Maybe I'll write a new verse.


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  • Also congratulations to Richard AND his team, who manoeuvred five candidates round a series of events on campus, in complete mutual confidentiality.