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Chair of Council Bishop Grosseteste University

Bishop Grosseteste University – an ambitious, widening participation university with a rich educational history located in the heart of historic Lincoln – is seeking a strong strategic, commercially-focused leader with a passion for Higher Education as its next Chair of Council.

  • Location: Lincoln, Lincolnshire
  • Salary: Unremunerated, with reasonable expenses reimbursed

About the Role

Bishop Grosseteste University is a vibrant community of 2,700 Foundation Year, undergraduate, postgraduate, doctoral and apprenticeship students studying across a breadth of subjects in the Humanities, Education, Business, Sports and Social Sciences, located in the heart of historic Lincoln.

The University is led by the Vice-Chancellor, the Reverend Canon Professor Peter Neil, who is supported by an Executive Team. Together they manage the day-to-day operations of the institution and are responsible for managing the business of the University, including the experience, performance and outcomes of the student cohort, the research activities of the Faculty, and oversight of 360 academic and professional services staff across the University.

Overseeing the performance of the Executive Team and with responsibility for the strategic direction and financial sustainability of BGU is the University Council, the governing body of the University.

The Council is permitted up to 23 members, including independent members, members of the Executive Team, and those nominated by the Diocese of Lincoln, and is led by the Chair of Council. The business of the Council is supported through the work of sub-committees, and Council Members are expected to contribute to at least one of the following:

  • Audit
  • Finance, Employment and General Purposes
  • Governance and Nominations
  • Remuneration
  • Selection

The University Council

The University Council meets four times a year and sets ambitious and achievable performance targets for the Executive Team through an effective planning process and ensuring the performance of the University is assessed against Council-approved objectives.

The Council consists of members from a breadth of industries and sectors, bringing knowledge and insight of key areas of expertise and professional skillsets required to effectively oversee the business of the Council. Council Members are expected to contribute in a meaningful way to collective Council discussions and decision-making processes, establishing a constructive and supportive working relationship with the Executive Team and other University staff to provide a robust and suitable level of challenge in their role as ‘critical friend’ to the organisation.

With a strong personal commitment to the values and objectives of Higher Education and BGU, all Council Members are expected to uphold the principles of governance in a public role, acting fairly and impartially in the best interests of the University, and representing the University at all times.

Chair of the University Council

The Chair of Council is expected to provide effective leadership of the Council, establishing a good working relationship with key University staff and stakeholders, including the Vice-Chancellor and Executive Team, and ensuring the Council operates within the Articles of Association, with the support of the University’s Governance Team.

The Chair will ensure that the Council exercises collective responsibility, encouraging members to work together and contribute their expertise and skills to participate in Council and sub-committee discussions and decision-making processes. The Chair is involved in the appointment of new Council Members and carries out annual performance appraisals of the Vice-Chancellor and the Secretary to the Council. The Chair also carries out annual Council Member reviews. As the University is a registered charity, the Chair of Council is responsible for ensuring that the University Council exercises effective and efficient use of the University’s resources for the furtherance of its charitable objectives, is financially viable and safeguards its assets.

The Chair is a Member and Chair of the Governance and Nominations Committee and the Selection Committee, and an ex-officio member of Remuneration Committee.

The postholder will act as Pro-Chancellor in the absence of the Chancellor of the University and is a key external ambassador for the University, promoting the mission and values of BGU and utilising their networks in the interests of BGU where possible.

The Chair of Council should expect to commit to between 24-36 days a year, which includes chairing four Council meetings and chairing the Governance and Nominations Committee (two meetings per year) and the Selection Committee (when required).

You will be invited and encouraged to attend key events throughout the year to become fully involved in the community of the University, including Matriculation and Graduation Days, the Christmas Carol Service, and other events. You will receive a full induction and training opportunities throughout your term of office.

The term of office is three years, for a maximum of two consecutive terms of office.

The role of Chair of Council is not remunerated, but reasonable expenses will be reimbursed.

Who we are looking for

With the planned departure of its current Chair of Council, the University is looking to engage an experienced strategic leader with a strong commercial outlook to join the Council as its next Chair. Candidates must demonstrate not only a passion for the values and mission of BGU as a small, specialised higher education institution but also be in sympathy with its ethos, inspired by the University’s Church of England foundations.

Ideally bringing knowledge or understanding of the Higher Education sector, our preferred candidate will be able to demonstrate a strong track record as a high-level senior or executive leader, with experience of successfully managing a large and/or complex organisation. You must demonstrate financial literacy, commercial acumen, strong performance and risk management skills, and a strong grasp of non-executive governance.

As Chair, you will be required to establish strong professional relationships with executive staff, build and develop a strong and effective Council membership, and provide confident, effective and collaborative leadership to ensure the business and performance of the University is managed, monitored and evaluated to the highest standards of governance and in line with the Articles of Association.

With ambitions to increase student numbers and plans for a successful research-degree awarding powers bid by 2023, the new Chair will need to feel a strong affinity to the mission of BGU as an independent institution. The Chair will need to demonstrate their commitment and ability to steer BGU on a strategic journey that may impact on the current curriculum pathways and require some difficult decisions to be taken by the Council to ensure BGU’s sustainability into the future as a provider of high-quality Higher Education for the communities it serves. The new Chair will therefore need to demonstrate a business-like and purposeful approach towards change and transformation in a complex organisation, demonstrating strong diplomacy and negotiating skills to manage relationships with key internal and external stakeholders, including the Office for Students and the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA).

Financial sustainability planning in line with an ambitious strategic plan will be a key priority for the new Chair. With expert support from Council Members, the Chair must take into consideration changes to HE policy on tuition fees and admission entry grades, which could impact on plans for growth and expansion.

The Chair should be able to demonstrate, through professional experience of sitting on and/or reporting into a board at a senior or executive level, the key differences between the strategic governance role and the operational management role. The Chair must embrace and uphold the principles of diversity and inclusivity, recognising the value of diverse perspectives in governance and leadership, and facilitate a welcoming culture that respects and listens to all Council Members’ views. This approach must be underpinned by the Nolan Principles of Standards in Public Life, and the Chair should facilitate a culture of accountability and professionalism, in line with an organisation that is values-driven and people-focused.

BGU is committed to diversity and supports diverse appointments across University staff teams, management and at governing body level through fair and transparent recruitment processes. We strongly encourage and welcome applications from candidates who identify with one or more of the following protected characteristics that are underrepresented currently on the University Council – women, LGBTQ, disabilities, black and ethnic minorities.

For further information about the role, or to arrange a confidential discussion, please contact our advising consultants at Peridot Partners

Dr. Sophie Carney | sophie@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07399 528307

Drew Richardson-Walsh | drew@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07739 364033


If you would like to know more about this role please contact Dr Sophie Carney

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Bob Walder, Chair of University Council

Dear Candidate,

Welcome to Bishop Grosseteste University and thank you for taking the time to review this information pack.

We are delighted that you are interested in considering the role of Chair of the University Council, the University’s governing body, here at BGU. We feel strongly that this is an exciting opportunity to add a significant contribution to our community through effective and inspirational governance leadership.

This is an exciting time for the institution as we build on our historic foundations and more recent successes. In 2019 we set the direction of travel for the University with a five-year strategy, with ambitious targets to become a mature, confident, sustainable and accessible university by 2025. The response to the pandemic by the University community has epitomised the values of the institution. As we continue to secure exceptional outcomes for all our students, expand our research profile, and increase our social contribution, the Council is committed to improving student experience, enhancing the University’s reputation for exceptional teaching and learning, and providing pathways into employment for our graduates.

We have provided you with key documents about BGU – including the 2019-2025 Strategy and Annual Report for 2019-20 – which should provide helpful insight into the life of the University, and the role of the University Council and its subcommittees to ensure effective governance of the institution and oversight of its strategic objectives.

As the current Chair of the Council, I have had the privilege to lead the University Council through a challenging, yet exciting time in the institution’s development. If you feel passionately about the mission of BGU, please take a moment to review the information about the role. You can also arrange to speak to Peridot Partners to find out more about the opportunity and understand how you could contribute your skills, expertise and time to making a significant contribution to the University as its Chair of Council.

We very much welcome your interest and look forward to hearing from you.

Warmest regards

Bob Walder

Chair of University Council

Bishop Grosseteste University is a vibrant community of more than 2,700 students and over 360 staff, with alumni across the globe. The University is at the historic heart of Lincoln, located on a beautifully green campus just a few minutes’ walk from Lincoln Cathedral, the Castle and old Roman city. With a strong legacy of providing high-quality education for 150 years, we are an important asset to the communities and economy of Greater Lincolnshire. With a commitment to first-class education at the heart of BGU, we have successfully increased access to Higher Education and continue to produce graduates who go on to highly skilled employment in the local area and beyond. BGU is incredibly proud that our commitment to widening participation has been recognised in The Times Good University Guide 2022, where we are the 2nd highest ranked university for social inclusion.

BGU was founded in 1862 as a Church of England teacher training college for women and our values of respect, integrity, courage, excellence, resilience and inclusion continue to be inspired by our Anglican foundation. We took the name of Bishop Grosseteste College in 1962 to mark our centenary, a name chosen in honour of Robert Grosseteste, the thirteenth century scientist, philosopher, educator, and former Bishop of Lincoln. In the summer of 2006, we became Bishop Grosseteste University College Lincoln after a successful application for taught degree awarding powers and gained full university title in 2012.

Since 2012, BGU has undergone a period of significant development and growth — expanding and developing our academic portfolio, progressing towards research degree awarding powers, renovating and modernising our campus and developing partnerships locally, nationally and internationally. With education and teacher training a key focus and area of expertise, we have diversified our curriculum to offer undergraduate and postgraduate courses across the Humanities, Social Sciences, and Sports, achieving Gold in the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF). Through the work of our Research and Knowledge Exchange Centre, we are continuing to grow our postgraduate research community and are confident that a successful Research Excellence Framework submission will support our plans to achieve research degree awarding powers in the near future.

Ambition: Shaped by our heritage and led dynamically into our future, by 2025 BGU will be a mature, confident, sustainable and accessible university.

Purpose: By valuing all our people and through ethical and enduring partnerships, we deliver individualised and creative support and transformation to learning and business communities.

Values: Inspired by our Anglican foundation, BGU will continue to live by our values of respect, integrity, courage, excellence, resilience and inclusion.

Click here to view our 2021 – 2022 meeting dates

Click here to view our 2019 – 2025 strategy

Click here to read our 2020 Annual Report

BGU values people and promotes equal opportunities.

Bishop Grosseteste University is committed to developing an environment that is inclusive, fair, open and welcoming of individuals from diverse groups. Diversity and equality are recognised, encouraged, promoted and valued at all levels of the University and in all its functions.

The full BGU Accessibility Statement can be provided on request.

Bishop Grosseteste University provides:

  • Step-free access
  • Hearing loops for meeting rooms
  • Different formats of materials
  • Sign language interpreters
  • Flexible working patterns

Accessibility dogs are welcomed in all workspaces.

Bishop Grosseteste University is a Disability Confident and a Mindful Employer

    To access a full job description and application details,
    please fill out the form below.


    Thank you for your interest in this role.

    Please download the Job Description and Person Specification and complete this Equality Monitoring Survey.

    To formally apply, please submit a CV and supporting statement (maximum 2 sides of A4) that clearly outlines your suitability for the role against the criteria provided in the person specification, including your interest and motivation in applying for this position.

    Please ensure that your application is emailed to response@peridotpartners.co.uk inserting “Chair of Council – BGU” into the subject field.

    We wish to encourage applications regardless of race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origins, sex, disability, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, marital or civil partner status, pregnancy or maternity, age or religion or belief.

    All applications will be considered solely on merit.

    Disabled applicants are invited to contact us in confidence at any point during the recruitment process to discuss steps that could be taken to overcome operational difficulties presented by the job, or if any adjustments or support are required regarding the recruitment process.


    Closing date: 12pm, Monday 17th January 2022

    Candidates informed of outcome: By 5pm, Friday 21st January 2022

    Interviews: Wednesday 26th January 2022

    Equal Opportunities Monitoring

    Peridot and Bishop Grosseteste University (BGU) are committed to promoting equality and diversity. To help us raise awareness and support a culture that is diverse and recognises and develops the potential of all, we need to appreciate the profile of candidates who apply for positions. We would therefore be most grateful if you would complete this equality monitoring survey.

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