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Vice-Chancellor Transition Programme

Supporting newly appointed Vice-Chancellors to effectively transition into their new roles.

The role of Vice-Chancellor is an increasingly complex and challenging one and has taken on even greater importance in the current rapidly changing environment in which the higher education sector operates.

Changing geo-political forces, adapting to the post-pandemic world; increasing competition, and the need to build new relationships - all call for a different kind of leadership that builds and sustains inclusion. Confident, capable leaders adapt, grow and diversify their talents, their teams and their institutions to respond to future challenges.

Aimed at complementing the UUK New Vice-Chancellors' programme, the new Vice-Chancellor Transition Programme supports newly appointed Vice-Chancellors in preparing for and transitioning to their new role, helping them become more effective, developing their skills and confidence, and enabling them to lead their institutions effectively right from the start of their tenure.

Duration: Minimum of 12 days over a duration to suit each delegate (average likely 
12 months)

Dates: To reflect coaching and mentoring, dates will be agreed with participants. Masterclasses and VLS dates: TBC

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When I became a VC there was no programme to help me prepare for the demands of the role. Whilst there are now programmes to help with the technical aspects of the role, a massive gap remains, and that is the focus of this programme: preparing incoming VCs for the change of role that becoming a VC represents. Just as in the film ‘Twenty Feet from Stardom’, the step up from DVC or Provost to VC is more than just an incremental step in a career – it is a move that requires different skills and dealing with a very different set of pressures.

The Advance HE Vice-Chancellor Transition Programme complements the UUK New VC Programme and focusses on these features of becoming a new VC. I only wish that there had been such a programme when I was appointed. ”

Professor Sir Steve Smith
UK Government International Education Champion,
Prime Minister’s Special Representative to Saudi Arabia for Education

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How is the programme delivered?

In response to the ever-changing global situation, we have adopted a hybrid model of delivery for the Vice-Chancellor Transition Programme, comprising both virtual and in-person activities dependent on personal choice and external factors at the time. The programme combines self-directed learning alongside expert facilitation, coaching and mentoring in addition to insights generated from a supportive peer group network formed with other newly appointed VCs. The core content of the Vice-Chancellor Transition Programme will include:

  • Personal Transition Coach Sessions (including Personal Development Plan Diagnostic)
  • VC Learning Sets (VLS)
  • Mentoring from an established Vice-Chancellor
  • Additional Transition Masterclasses
  • Ongoing coaching and mentoring
The programme looks great and I wish there had been something similar available when I was starting out as a VC.

Peter Mathieson
Principal and Vice-Chancellor,
The University of Edinburgh.

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Who is the Vice-Chancellor Transition Programme for?

The programme is specifically designed to support newly appointed UK and International VCs, who are within the first two years of their appointment, to transition effectively into their role from executive team member to institutional head.

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What are the programme outcomes?

The insights gained during the programme will help participants to develop strong internal and external stakeholder relationships to ensure that they lead with impact from early on in their tenure. The programme allows participants to:

  • Prepare for the effective transition from the role of an executive to that of a VC leading their institution.
  • Enjoy a safe and open but confidential space to share experiences, challenge and be challenged, and take part in collaborative problem-solving with a supportive network of peers from the HE sector.
  • Have the time and space to develop their personal leadership by exploring contemporary thinking and fresh perspectives, promoting new cross-sector ideas and approaches with support from subject experts.
  • Learn, develop, refresh, replenish and re-energise at a time of significant challenge as senior leaders.
  • Enhance their skills for self-directed learning with a unique and personalised learning plan shaped by the participants own and institutional priorities and supported by expert facilitation.
  • Develop a deeper understanding of the effective leadership requirements of the role towards successful executive team working.
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Who delivers the programme?

Vice-Chancellor Transition Programme is delivered by a group of experienced executive level core facilitators including Louisa Hardman, Advance HE Key Associate and Programme Director and Sir Peter Gregson, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of Cranfield University, accompanied by established VC mentors, diverse speakers and contributors from within and outside the HE Sector.

Newly appointed Vice-Chancellors will face unprecedented opportunities and challenges in the post-Covid19 world. This Transition Programme offers space, experiences and mentoring for personal leadership development as new VCs reflect and prepare for their new leadership role.

Sir Peter Gregson
Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive,
Cranfield University

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