In the market

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In the last blog I shared some of the themes emerging from all of the engagement work we did in June and July to help guide the specification for our next Vice-Chancellor. Well tempus has fujit’d and through the summer we have analysed those results, discussed these as a Committee and launched our recruitment campaign. So what did we learn in this process?

We learned that the most common first names for UK Vice-Chancellors are : David, Peter, Paul, John, Karen, James and Elizabeth. This didn’t make it into the spec! But more seriously, we found that:

  • our reputation as world-leading, valuing excellence, good rankings and having impact is really important to all stakeholders
  • wellbeing, inclusivity and support are high priorities for both students and staff at the University
  • there needs to be strong credibility and empathy with the core academic purpose of the University
  • proven leadership experience is vital to meet the challenges we (and the sector) will face
  • we are looking for a wide range of personal values in our leadership (see below)

These have all featured heavily in the specification alongside a wide range of other characteristics one might expect to find in the role of a Vice-Chancellor. Its rather easy to fall into the trap of a generic, bland description which looks like every other University. But we genuinely think that Bath has something which is different. Our candidate pack tries to highlight this, and we are keen to see if those interested in the role have really understood what makes Bath different.

The role of Vice-Chancellor is critical, they lead and are also part of the leadership team. We need them to be able to bring out the best in others, rather than being a full-time superhero 🦸‍♀️ so as we move forward into the selection process, we are thinking about how we test these properties. There is much research into selection techniques. Like those who think they are good car drivers (controversially, mainly men), many also believe that they are naturally good judges of people. But some of the more traditional methods such as qualifications and simple interviews have been shown to be poor indicators of future job performance. So we will look at the use of different scenarios, formal and informal interactions with candidates, values and competency-based interviews and possibly even psychometric tests. Some of these scenarios will involve staff and students, so we will probably be looking for some volunteers this Autumn.

Our recruitment agents, Perrett Laver have now advertised the role and started their active search for potential candidates. The closing date is 2 October, and we will be agreeing the long-list of candidates on 11 October. As before, if you know anyone who is interested, please do put them in touch with Perrett Laver through the details in the advert.


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