Reporter 429, 18 January 1999



The Chancellorship of the University

This paper reports on the steps being taken to appoint the next Chancellor of the University in succession to HRH the Duchess of Kent (whose decision to stand down was reported in Circ/Sec/98/4); invites the Court to comment on the guidance which the Council proposes to give to the Committee on the Chancellorship; and seeks Court’s approval for a proposed change to the section of the Charter which covers the role and period of office of the Chancellor.

Establishment of a Committee on the Chancellorship

1.Under the Charter, the Chancellor - a lay officer - is appointed by the Court on the nomination of the Council. In accordance with previous practice, the Council at its meeting on 5 November 1998 agreed to establish a committee to advise it on the nomination to be made to the Court. The constitution of the Committee is as follows.

Terms of reference

To advise the Council on the nomination to be made to the Court on the appointment of the Chancellor of the University in succession to HRH the Duchess of Kent.


The Pro-Chancellor (in the Chair)

The Vice-Chancellor

Five nominees of the Council (to include a nominee of Convocation)

Four nominees of the Senate (to include a pro-vice-chancellor, nominated by the Vice-Chancellor)

A nominee of the University Union

[The process of appointing members to serve on the Committee is currently under way.]

Guidance for the Committee

2.The Council has agreed to lay down some guidance for the Committee on the selection of the next Chancellor, as set out below. The Court is invited to comment thereon.

It is suggested that, in considering what nomination to make to the office of Chancellor, the Committee should seek to identify an individual who is able to satisfy at least most of the following qualities:

· associated in public perception with excellence and achievement in research, scholarship, education, the creative arts, public service, medicine and health, social progress, business and the economy, government, administration or any other area of human activity of lasting value and significance

· sympathetic to - perhaps personally symbolic of - the values of a University like Leeds

· available and accessible

· able to comment authoritatively on higher education issues whilst being above partisan controversy

· possessed of an appropriate public presence (leavened by humour), with public speaking skills


3.The decision of HRH the Duchess of Kent to stand down as Chancellor has prompted the Council’s Group on Governance to look at the role of the Chancellor.

4.The Chancellor’s role is described in the following terms in the Charter:

The Chancellor shall be the Head and chief officer of the University and president of its Court, Council and Convocation, and shall, except as otherwise provided in this Our Charter, confer degrees. He shall hold office during his life or until his resignation or until his removal for good cause by the Visitor at the instance of the Court. Our right trusty and entirely beloved Cousin and Councillor, George Frederick Samuel, Marquess of Ripon, Knight of Our Most Noble Order of the Garter, Doctor of Laws, shall be the first Chancellor of the University.

His successors from time to time shall be elected by the Court on the nomination of the Council of the University.

5.In practice, of course, the Chancellor’s role in the University is analogous to that of the Patron of a charity. The Chancellor does not play any part in institutional governance, but attends degree ceremonies and confers degrees, acting as a figurehead for the University.

6.On the advice of the Group, the Senate and the Council have agreed that it would be timely to amend the Charter (see above) to bring it into line with the Chancellor’s actual role, and at the same time to leave open the possibility of a Chancellor being appointed for a fixed-term of years. They have therefore proposed an amendment of the Charter, and the Court is invited to approve that amendment (attached).

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