Lancaster begins search for new Deputy Vice Chancellor


Lancaster University has begun its search for a new Deputy Vice Chancellor to succeed Professor Bob McKinlay, who is to leave the post at the end of the calender year.

In a statement to SCAN, the University Press Office confirmed that Professor McKinlay would stand down when his term of office comes to an end on December 31st. The statement added that McKinlay’s term had recently been extended by Senate and Council, the governing bodies of the University.

No explicit timescale has been announced for the appointment of a new Deputy Vice Chancellor, though the deadline for applications is June 22nd .

The position has been advertised on the University’s website, as well as through channels such as the Times Higher Education Supplement.

The post of Deputy Vice Chancellor, according to the job description, is “unambiguously seen as the deputy to the Vice Chancellor in all respects, such that, when the Vice Chancellor is absent, the Deputy Vice Chancellor acts on his behalf.”

The Deputy Vice Chancellor is responsible across all areas of the University’s management and development, overseeing academic and strategic activity.

The University states that “recruitment to academic roles of the highest possible calibre is crucial to meeting Lancaster’s aspirations so that a commitment to proactively engaging in searches and chairing senior appointment committees is important.”

Lancaster’s recently confirmed position as the UK’s seventh-best university according to the Guardian University League Table – and ninth in the Complete University Guide – makes it an attractive proposition to potential candidates.

The exact details of the recruitment process remain unclear, with the University stating that “the composition of the [recruitment] panel is still under discussion.”

In 2011, an outsourced global headhunting firm, Heidrick and Struggles, was part of the process which saw Professor Mark Smith appointed as Vice Chancellor.

Crucially, there was no direct input from students into that appointment, other than then-LUSU President Robbie Pickles’s meeting with the headhunters. Student ‘observers’ have previously been privy to the selection process for such appointments, notably when Professor Paul Wellings was appointed almost eleven years ago.

With the process still in discussion, the question of direct student representation in the recruitment of a new Deputy Vice Chancellor has not yet been answered. The Press Office statement reads: “The question of student representation is still under consideration and the search committee will discuss at its next meeting.

“After that it will be discussed with the president of the Students’ Union.”

When asked, the University declined to make a comment on the legacy which Professor McKinlay will leave, reserving comment for closer to the end of his tenure.

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1 Comment

  1. One less stooge, which is nice.

    It would be even nicer (if unlikely) if the student body *and* staff were directly involved in the appointment of his successor. Way back when, positions such as Pro VC (Colleges and Student Experience) were filled by existing Lancaster academics and elected by the staff. Fast forward a few years to the Wellings era, and the role is voted on by around 7 people, including the VC. And now, no such democratic appointments.

    It really is worth encouraging the university to re-establish a cross-departmental vote. That way we have management who are trusted by those they serve, not by a vice chancellor who wants someone who will tow the line.

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