Home / Roles / Vice Chair of the Governing Council | University of Derby

Vice Chair of the Governing Council | University of Derby

The University of Derby is seeking to appoint their next Vice Chair of the Governing Council, an exciting opportunity for an aspiring future Chair of the Council, to support the continued drive to deliver excellence and opportunities for students, staff and the region as a modern university with a modern outlook.

  • Location: Derby
  • Salary: Vice Chair of the Council is a remunerated role - £8,000 p/a.

About the role

The Governing Council

The governing body of the University of Derby is known as the Governing Council and is responsible for determining the University’s educational character and academic direction, approving the mission and strategic aims of the University, ensuring that the University fulfils its legal obligations and ensures the effective performance monitoring of the University.

The Governing Council is made up of Independent Governors representing expertise, skills and knowledge from across relevant sectors and industries, four staff representatives from across academic and central services, two student governors, and the Vice Chancellor.

The Governing Council undertakes its duties through the work of five sub-committees:

  • Audit and Risk
  • Strategy, Finance and Planning
  • Skills
  • Nominations
  • Remuneration

The Governing Council meets seven times a year. The term of office for full Governing Council Members is three years. The commitment is estimated at 12-20 days per year, depending on appointment to a sub-committee, and all newly appointed Members will receive a full induction, including mandatory governor training. Members of the Governing Council and sub-committees are strongly encouraged to become part of the wider community through invitations to networking events and graduation ceremonies.

In return for your contribution, Council Members will benefit from being part of a successful and ambitious University seeking to maximise opportunities for its graduates, with the opportunity to build professional networks, collaborate with other governors and build a non-executive profile.

Vice Chair of the Council

With the current Vice Chair due to complete their term of office in July 2021, this is a fantastic opportunity to join the Governing Council in a senior governance role and provide governance and leadership support to the Chair, Council and Executive Team, from the beginning of the next academic year 2021/22.

The current Chair of the Governing Council completes his term of office in July 2023 and the University is keen to promote this role as a pathway to the Chair role in two years’ time, with support and development to be offered to the selected candidate with this progression in mind.

The Vice Chair of Council is remunerated and will receive £8K p/a paid in quarterly arrears. In addition to participating as a full Governing Council Member, chairing the Remuneration Committee and participating as a member of the Nominations Committee, the Vice Chair of the Council is required to deputise in the absence of the Chair and will act as the senior independent governor.

Remuneration Committee

The Remuneration Committee is a sub-committee of the University’s Governing Council, with delegated responsibility for determining the salaries, benefits and other terms and conditions of service, including severance payments, of the members of the Vice-Chancellor’s Executive.

The sub-committee is made up of five independent members of Governing Council (including the Chair of Council, Chair of Strategy, Finance and Planning Committee, Chair of Audit and Risk Committee, and the Chair of the Skills Committee), one staff representative and one student representative, the President of the Union of Students. The Vice Chair of Council will also Chair this committee, which meets 2-4 times a year.

In summary, the Committee’s primary responsibilities are the following:

  • To set the remuneration policy and determine the individual remuneration package for all members of the Executive Team and other designated senior post holders, including annual salary increases, bonuses, incentives, and pension arrangements, taking into account all factors (e.g. CUC Code, OfS requirements, risk appetite, retention of quality leadership).
  • Monitor remuneration and conditions of senior staff and any responsibilities placed on them for oversight of pay gaps based on gender, ethnicity and other protected characteristics.
  • Oversight of senior post holder contracts to ensure they are fair, reasonable and justifiable.
  • Obtaining accurate salary benchmarking data across the sector.
  • Approve any University performance-related schemes and any major changes in employee benefits structure.
  • Agree policy for authorising Executive Team expense claims.

The Committee Chair is required to report the outcomes of its deliberations and make recommendations within its remit to the Governing Council. The Committee must produce and submit to Council an annual remuneration report.

For full Terms of Reference for the Remuneration Committee:


Who we are looking for

First and foremost, the University of Derby is seeking candidates with a passion for contributing to the development of educational opportunities and the senior leadership experience, appropriate insight to steer the University through to its future goals, and the commitment to contribute to the success and future potential of its students.

Candidates will need to bring significant experience of operating successfully at executive and board level, credibility in their field and an interest to support the University’s direction of travel and to help it realise its institutional ambitions.

As part of the University’s commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion, the panel is eager to welcome candidate interest from groups underrepresented at a senior governance level, including but not limited to those who meet the experience and skills requirements and who identify as one or more the following: women, LGBTQ, ethnically diverse, and disabled.

Vice Chair of the Council

Our current Chair of the Council, Stephen Smith, will complete his term of office in July 2023. In preparation for his departure, the University is keen to appoint a new Vice Chair of the Council who would like to be considered for this role in the future.

With this exciting opportunity to progress into the Chair role, the University is seeking an experienced executive and board leader as our next Vice Chair and Chair of Remuneration Committee. The ideal candidate will be a proven dynamic leader with vision, strategic and tactical strengths, and the ability to steer, enable and challenge at Board level in a large and complex Higher Education Institution.

Good insight of the business of a University and its Council, a sound understanding of governance, compliance and assurance, and an ability to develop strong working relationships, particularly with the Chair and Vice Chancellor, are all essential to the role of Vice Chair of the Council.

The University welcomes interest from those with significant executive leadership experience from across a range of sectors and industries, including but not limited to those that relate to any one the University’s key academic themes:

  1. Excellence in Public Sector
  2. Business, Economic and Social Policy
  3. Data Science
  4. Biomedical Sciences
  5. Creative Industries
  6. Zero carbon pathways

Although candidates are not required to live or work in Derby or Derbyshire, a connection to or interest in the region, and the mission or academic areas of focus for the University, as well as an ability to commit to in person attendance at the required meetings is essential.

This is an opportunity to join the University at an exciting period of its development, with the prospect of taking up the role of Chair of the Council in the near future.

Contact Peridot's executive search team:

For further information about the role, or to arrange a confidential discussion, please contact our executive search team at Peridot Partners:

Sophie Carney | sophie@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07399 528 307

Drew Richardson-Walshdrew@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07739 364 033

Closing date: 12 noon, Monday 12th July 2021

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

View profile

Welcome from Stephen Smith - Chair of Governing Council

The University of Derby is a successful and highly regarded institution.

We employ around 3,000 people across a number of sites in both the city and the county, where quality teaching facilities enhance the learning experience for students. The University achieved the highest possible Gold rating in the independently assessed Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), putting in the top 20% of all UK institutions for teaching quality. Our recent top 30 position in the Guardian League Table, appearance in the top 1,000 universities in the World and globally in the top 250 of young universities places us in a very strong position from which to achieve our future ambitions.

The University of Derby is a multi-faceted organisation which fulfils many important roles with a wide number of stakeholders. First and foremost, we deliver a great learning experience for our students, equipping them with the key skills and knowledge to help them achieve their life ambitions.

We work extremely closely with industry across a range of initiatives and partnerships and play an important role locally as a core part of the Derby and Derbyshire main ‘infrastructure’. Our activities stretch beyond just the local however, with many exciting developments regionally, nationally and globally promoting high value learning.

The University is also involved in helping influence government policy for the Higher Education (HE) sector to ensure that all universities deliver great outcomes for students, partners and stakeholders with the best possible return on investment, the first of which is formally monitored through the regulatory framework of the Office for Students’ (OfS) established in 2018.

The Governing Council plays a key role in supporting and challenging in equal measure a highly capable senior team to deliver the University’s strategic plan – a comprehensive current and future framework covering academic quality, research output, financial sustainability, estates, planning, risk management, student recruitment, business development and international partnerships.

Governors have a varied range of skills and experience and we are looking to complement the current membership with a small number of additional members to the main board and co-optees to its Skills Committee. Prospective governors should be able to add to the University’s perspective and future direction with specific expertise in one or a number of the above areas.

I am privileged and proud to have been on the Governing Council since 2014 and took the position of Chair in 2018. I have found it an immensely rewarding experience which I would highly recommend. I am constantly impressed by the drive, determination and passion of the team and have learnt a lot myself in that time as well as making my own contribution to the success of the University.

Please take time to read through the information about the University, the roles of Governor and co-opted Committee Member and if you feel this could be for you we would be delighted to receive your application.

Stephen Smith
Chair of Governing Council

Welcome from Professor Kath Mitchell DL - Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive

I am delighted that you are considering applying for a position as a governor at the University of Derby.

I have been at Derby for almost six years and during this time we have embarked on an ambitious programme to take the University forward to its future.

Our 2018-2030 Strategic Framework, launched in June 2018, signalled a new chapter for our University, providing staff and stakeholders with clarity over our direction of travel and raising the bar in terms of our institutional ambitions, and those of our staff and students.

The civic role we play, and the importance of the University as an anchor institution within our city and county, has been highlighted throughout the pandemic. Our commitment to working in partnership to improve the health, education and wellbeing of our community is stronger than ever and has been reaffirmed through our pledge to develop a Civic University Agreement.

At Derby, our researchers are generating distinctive, world-leading and impactful research, and as we prepare for the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021, I am confident that this renewed focus and drive will receive the recognition it deserves. This impact and influence are further enhanced through our work with businesses and organisations on knowledge exchange, innovation and skills activity.

We continue to build our reputation as an institution that puts students at the heart of everything we do and are fully committed to further enhancing our student experience. At the same time, we are keen to continue to grow and develop our research profile and the way we interact with businesses both locally and nationally.

We will deliver excellence and maximise what Derby has to offer through our people, and I remain impressed by the dedication and enthusiasm of our team. Every day within the University I interact with people who have great ideas and who are striving to deliver the best they can, be that in teaching, research or supporting services.

Our sector is fast-moving, and our world is changing – to thrive, any university needs to be at the top of its game. Derby has the potential to achieve more, and it is well positioned to do so; we have secure finances, a wonderful estate, talented staff and students, major employers including Bombardier and Rolls Royce on our doorstep and, with the advantage of a Further Education College within our portfolio, the opportunity to grow and make a difference is well within our reach.

I hope you find our vision and ambition exciting, refreshing and meaningful, and that you feel inspired to join the University’s Governing Council and contribute to Derby’s strategic leadership.

Thank you for your interest and time.

Professor Kathryn Mitchell DL
Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive
University of Derby

Foreword from Professor Kamil Omoteso

Our journey toward an Inclusive Institution

The University of Derby is an ambitious and forward-thinking institution, committed to providing the best learning experience for our students and invested in maximising the potential of our staff. Entwined within this ambition is the University’s journey to eradicate inequality from within our institution.

25% of the population of Derby City and 21% of our student body identify with a BAME background. However, this demographic is not currently reflected in our staff across all areas of the University, including within leadership where only 7% of the group identify as BAME. We believe representation matters and we are keen to tackle this disparity. Consequently, the University has embarked on the journey toward attaining Advance HE’s Race Equality Charter (REC).

The Charter aims to provide a framework to trigger a cultural shift by eradicating inequality, implicit or structural, which contributes to unequal treatments and outcomes between different groups of students and staff. The result will be improved representation, progression and success of our minority ethnic staff and students. It will also enhance the EDI efforts of the University, as an inclusive institution benefits not just its individual staff and students but also its external stakeholders. We are, therefore, committed to rethinking our strategies, processes and systems, reflecting on our practices, and challenging any form of inequality that may exist within our institution.

I am excited to be the Executive Lead for this important project. It has been an absolute pleasure to work with colleagues across the institution and to see the real impact our efforts are already making on our staff, students, and the University environments in general. I hope that you are similarly inspired and will consider joining the University on its journey to equality by applying to be a member of the University’s Governing Council.

Professor Kamil Omoteso
PVC/Dean of the College of Business, Law and Social Sciences;
Executive Lead for the Race Equality Charter (REC) and Access and Participation Plan.

About Us

Located in the heart of England, the University of Derby builds on the region’s heritage of innovation to provide industry-relevant, expert teaching, from foundation and undergraduate degrees through to postgraduate study and research.

Rated Gold in the Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework (TEF), the University aims to ensure everyone receives the high-quality education they deserve, regardless of age, background or location. Derby was named University of the Year at the UK Social Mobility Awards 2020, Higher Education Institution of the Year at the 2020 NEON (National Education Opportunities Network) Awards, and won the Guardian University Award 2020 for Social and Community Impact.

The University nurtures and encourages research excellence across all its disciplines and all career stages, and as a result its researchers are generating distinctive, world-leading and impactful research that is receiving national and international recognition.

It is a relatively large higher education provider comprising of a total of c.29,000 students:

  • At undergraduate level: c.15,500 full-time, 2,000 part-time and 2,400 online students
  • For postgraduate taught provision: 2,000 full-time, 2,000 part-time and 2,000 online students
  • For postgraduate research provision: 170 full-time and 240 part-time students

In addition, the University has a total of 800 full-time and 1,900 part-time students studying further education at its Buxton & Leek College.

The University of Derby is an innovative education provider that achieved its University status in 1992. With roots tracing back to 1851 and the Diocesan Training Institution for School Mistresses, it has a long history of expertise in education.

As an anchor institution within Derby and Derbyshire, it takes the civic role it has to play seriously and is committed to working in partnership to support the area’s long-term economic prosperity, and to improve the health, education and wellbeing of the local communities it serves.

During the last five years the University has invested over £150 million in world-class facilities, designed to give students the very best real-world learning environment. Further investment is planned, as it continues to develop teaching and learning environments that are innovative, stimulating and engaging.

Recent investments in the facilities include:

  • A £12 million STEM Centre, including facilities for mechanical testing, robotics and an anechoic chamber
  • A state of the art £10.8 million sports centre
  • An immersive interactive simulations suite, the only one of its kind in a university outside London
  • A forensic training facility, with a dedicated crime scene house
  • A dedicated fashion and textiles facility
  • An industry standard Bloomberg Financial Markets Lab

Derby is an ambitious university with a focus on development and growth. It is committed to investing in resources, people, estate and, most importantly, to securing its students’ success for the future.

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    Thank you for your interest in these roles.

    Please download the About the Vice Chair of Governing Council Role and fill out this Equality Monitoring Form

    If you would like to have an informal conversation about the role you can contact our advising consultants at Peridot Partners:

    Sophie Carney | sophie@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07399 528 307

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

    To apply: Please submit a CV and supporting statement (maximum two sides of A4) that clearly outlines your suitability for the role against the criteria provided in the person specification. Please include your interest and motivation in applying for this position.

    The University of Derby requires all applicants to complete and submit a ‘Fit and Proper Person Form’ as part of this application. Please find information about the ‘Fit and Proper Person Assessment’ here. We kindly request that you download and complete this form and return along with your CV and covering statement as a requirement of Conditions E1 and E2 of the Office for Students’ Regulatory Framework. Applications will not be progressed without submission of this form.

    Please ensure that your application, Equality Monitoring Form and Fit and Proper Person Form are emailed to response@peridotpartners.co.uk inserting: “Vice Chair of the Governing Council – University of Derby”.

    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.

    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.

    We will send an acknowledgement email within three working days from receipt. If you have not received a response, please check your application has been received by contacting:

    Recruitment Timetable

    Closing date: 12 noon, Monday 12th July 2021
    Interviews: TBC

    Equal Opportunities Monitoring

    Peridot and University of Derby are committed to promoting equality, diversity and inclusion. To help us raise awareness and support a culture that is diverse, inclusive, 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 equality monitoring form.

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