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Women in HE Conference 2021

Supporting Governor, Chair and Clerk Development in Higher Education

Effective governance can only happen when those involved in it – governors and staff – understand their roles and responsibilities and are supported to fulfil them.

Whether independent, staff or student governor, Chair/Chair of Committee, or a governance professional, help - whether to navigate the demands of governance, the higher education landscape, or the cultural dynamics at play -  is always at hand.

Victoria Holbrook
Our work across the sector shows that institutions undervalue regular induction and support, and governors often feel they have much more to give. The demands of modern governance also mean that staff need regular professional development. "

Victoria Holbrook

Assistant Director - Governance,

Advance HE

Want to know more about Supporting Governor, Chair and Clerk Development?

The information pack for Supporting Governor, Chair and Clerk Development contains links to all the resources and content available on this page plus more.

Request a pack

Victoria Holbrook, Assistant Director Governance, Advance HE talks to John Rushforth, Executive Secretary, CUC, as he shares top tips to help new chairs navigate their role on the board.

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Governor Competencies Map

To undertake their role effectively, governors need to understand:

  • The complexities of the external and internal environment including changing political, policy and regulatory landscape
  • The unique mission, values and character of the institution and its strategy, as well as its legal structure
  • The responsibilities of a governor in the context of the two points above, guided by whatever codes of practice and governance the institution subscribes to

The Advance HE Governor Competencies Map has been designed as a practical tool to support board members with mapping their own individual progression and development needs as well as that of the board as a whole.

Find out more and access the map
Governor Competencies Map screenshot
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Governing well, with and beyond COVID-19: Governance briefing 2020-21

As part of our Member theme for October 2020, ‘Diversity and inclusion – the critical governance role’ Victoria Holbrook, Assistant Director, Governance and a UK university board member, has written a briefing for all higher education governors and governance professionals. It covers six key areas of focus for governing bodies in 2020-21. 

This briefing is open to colleagues at Advance HE member organisations only. Find out if your organisation is a member.

Download the briefing

Governor Development Programme

The Governor Development Programme has been designed to address a broad range of needs across governance, supporting the development of governors, clerks and secretaries.

Find out more
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Reports, publications and resources supporting governor, chair and clerk development

The following resources have been designed to support governor, chair and clerk development in higher education. The resources cover topics such as governance effectiveness, new to HE governance, academic governance and more .

Governance in Higher Education: Understanding Governance Performance and Future Challenges

Our research indicated that providers would value comparative information, insights and intelligence, in order to learn from each other. Advance HE has used its governance effectiveness survey tool (designed as part of the Framework for HE Governance Effectiveness and used in institutional governance reviews) comprising 32 core questions organised around nine key Framework areas to collect anonymised data from 20 institutions. This report is based on that data.

Read the resource.

A Guide for New Clerks and Secretaries of Governing Bodies of Higher Education Institutions in the UK

This guide aims to to provide information on the role and responsibilities of the clerk; to identify a basic range of good practice in crucial areas; and to give guidance to clerks on the effectiveness of governance and how it can be enhanced.

Download the guide.

New to Higher Education Governance guidance and resources

Higher education governance is multi-faceted combining the oversight of strategy, finance, risk and opportunity as well as academic assurance and regulatory compliance matters from a range of sources, which can be daunting. The information and support for new governors and new governance professionals can support those new to higher education governance.

Read the resource.

Illustrative Practice Notes

In partnership with the Committee of University Chairs (CUC), we have developed Illustrative Practice Notes on a range of themes to support governors and share practice from governing bodies throughout the UK. 

View the notes.

Information to Support the Induction of New Governors

Advance HE has written this guide to support institutions in the induction of new governors or for anyone wanting to understand more about the key elements of being a governor and the governance landscape of higher education.

Download the guide.

More resources, reports and publications

You will find links to more resources, reports and publications in our information pack on supporting governor, chair and clerk development in higher education

Request a pack
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Governor Development Programme (GDP)

GDP is a long-running national portfolio designed to support Governors, board members and professionals from all HE providers across the UK. With over 800 participants each year, GDP provides an opportunity for Governors to hear from sector experts, to network with peers from other institutions and to explore in detail key issues impacting the sector and institutions.

The portfolio is designed to support all Governors, including Student and Staff Governors, board Chairs and those with oversight for governance of HE providers.

Events in the GDP programme are  tailored to the policy landscape and the distinct circumstances in each home nation and benefits institutions through better informed and equipped Governors and supports:

  • Individuals thinking about joining a governing body;
  • Induction and orientation;
  • Developing the effective skills for those on the board; and
  • More tailored support for more experienced Governors.
Find out more about the Governor Development Programme
Governance event
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