Purpose – This paper seeks to investigate the role of the university chancellor in the appointment of Australian vice‐chancellors. Design/methodology/approach – Prior to this research it was evident that little research had been undertaken on the role of the chancellor. While the chancellor chairs Council, the incumbent also presides over quite a complex selection process, including chairing the selection Panel, when the need to appoint a new VC arises. Research into the recruitment and selection practices used to appoint vice‐chancellors in Australia, undertaken as part of a PhD, yielded a wide range of useful material. The research also exposed some unexpected surprises, one of which was the role of the chancellor in the appointment process. Findings – The chancellor not only appeared to lead these processes, as would be expected, but was viewed as the key, if not sole, person who determined the successful candidate. It was found that the relationship between the chancellor and vice‐chancellor was crucial and this was evident both in determining successful candidates and the decision for incumbents to seek a role elsewhere. However, in almost all cases the chancellor made the final decision when appointing a new VC. In some cases it appeared that selection panels considered their role as being simply to assist the chancellor to make a decision. This contrasted with the expectation that the panel as a whole would make a decision and recommend it to Council. Originality/value – Thus understanding the role of the chancellor is important when considering university governance and VC succession. This paper provides the findings of the research highlighting the significance of the chancellor's role in the context of appointing a new VC.
International Journal of Educational Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Apr 3, 2007
Keywords: Universities; Australia
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