Oxford students to be consulted in search for new Vice-Chancellor

Student input is to be sought in the selection of a new Vice-Chancellor after Professor Andrew Hamilton completes his term in the role in September 2016, according to a notice in the Oxford University Gazette, the University’s weekly publication for official announcements.

The notice states: “The Nominating Committee […] has now begun the process to identify [Hamilton’s] successor”, and “aims to propose a name to Council [the executive governing body of the University] early in Trinity term 2015”.

In an unprecedented effort to gain consensus, the committee “welcomes views from individual members of the collegiate University”, while also “seeking the views of, among others, departments and faculties, colleges and OUSU”.

An Oxford University spokesperson noted previous student input into university decision-making, commenting: “OUSU already represents students’ interests on major University committees, including Council, and regularly contributes to consultations undertaken by the University.

“OUSU officers have met once with the Nominating Committee for the Vice-Chancellorship and are now consulting with students across the University. The Committee has invited them to present their findings at a further meeting later this term.

“The Committee will consider carefully all submissions made to it, including those made by OUSU on behalf of the student body.”

OUSU President Louis Trup confirmed the meeting between OUSU officers and the Committee, reporting: “As well as presenting our views, we asked if we could return to present the results of a student consultation. An online submission has been the main method through which we have consulted, providing a range of views from a diverse group of students.

“We will be presenting the findings of this consultation to the nominating committee again in late November and have also secured a meeting with the recruitment consultant to present the student view to them.”

News of the student consultation into this appointment has been generally well-received. Bláthnaid McCullagh, Academic Affairs Officer for St John’s JCR, commented: “I think it’s very important that the views of students are considered in this decision”, and noted her belief that “we need to ensure that the world class teaching which is a hallmark of the University, is not jeopardised”.

However, one second-year PPEist took a less positive view: “I have serious doubts how much influence students can have, there is certainly an element of image [in student consultation].” He nonetheless agree that student contribution was a very positive step.

In contrast, Louis Trup, OUSU President, is hopeful, stating: “The nominating committee have said they have taken our views on board and I believe that this high level of student involvement represents a genuine interest from the University to hear the student view.”

To voice your opinion on the selection of the next Vice-Chancellor, you can send comments to [email protected] by 21st November 2014.