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Governor Development Programme (GDP)

We have a number of events available as part of our Governor Development Programme. These events have been designed to help you to develop and refine your skills in response to a rapidly changing environment.

New Governor Development Programme (GDP) events brochure for 2021-22

Complete the form below to receive your copy of our new Governor Development Programme (GDP) events brochure for 2021-22. Evolving higher education governance to support and develop governors and governance professionals.

Download GDP brochure
GDP brochure 2021-22

The Governor Development Programme (GDP) was created in 2005 and built on the earlier initiatives of the Committee of University Chairs (CUC). The programme is designed to support Governors and governance professionals in all HE institutions throughout the UK and various events are held throughout the year.

GDP has been designed to address a broad range of needs across governance, while many of our events may be specifically relevant to those involved in particular aspects or roles within governance, anyone in HE who is interested is welcome to attend any event. Additional topical events will be added throughout the year to help address the evolving HE Governance environment. In order to provide this selection of events and seminars, we work in partnership with a number of key organisations including CUC, AUA and Guild HE. Advance HE’s governance activity including GDP is supported and overseen by our Governor Development Advisory Forum (GDAF) made up of governors, chairs, governance professionals and sector partners and agencies including UUK, CUC and NUS.

Upcoming Events

Upcoming Governance Events Date More information
Student Governor 1 (Online) 8 September 2021 Find out more
Enabling governance effectiveness, diversity and sustainability workshop (Online) 21 September 2021 Find out more
Navigating boundaries, strategy, risk and stakeholders workshop (Online) 7 October 2021 Find out more
GDP: Induction to Higher Education Governance for new Governors (Online) 13 October 2021 Find out more
Audit and Risk Committees (Online) 20 October 2021 Find out more
New Governors of Scottish HEIs (Online) 21 October 2021 Find out more
Roles and Responsibilities of Staff Governors (Online) 11 November 2021 Find out more
Governance Conference 2021: Evolving Governance fit for our futures (Online) 18 November 2021 Find out more
Governance Professionals in HE (Online) Date TBC Find out more
Student Governor 2 (Online) 26 January 2022 Find out more
Leading the Board - for new or aspiring Chairs (Online) 6 April 2022 Find out more
GDP Wales (Online) 27 April 2022 Find out more
Clerks and Secretaries Network Event (Face to face) 11 May 2022 Find out more
GDP Scotland (Online) 19 May 2022 Find out more
Assuring Academic Outcomes and Student Experience (Online) 29 June 2022 Find out more
Chairs Development Programme Spring 2022 Find out more

Supporting Governor and governance professionals development in 2021-22

GDP provides an opportunity for Governors to hear from sector experts, to network with peers from other institutions and to explore in detail key issues impacting the sector and institutions.

The portfolio is designed to support all Governors, including Student and Staff Governors, board Chairs and those with oversight for governance of HE providers. Events are also tailored to the policy landscape and the distinct circumstances in each home nation.

To help you find the support best suited to your needs, for 2021-22 we have aligned our events to the Governor's Pathway:

New to HE


Thinking about becoming a Governor

We have resources and guidance to support those thinking about becoming a Governor including our board vacancies portal.

New Governor

Student Governor

Governance Conference

Developing Governor

Student Governor
Role and Responsibilities of Staff Governors

Governance Conference

Experienced Governor/ Chair

Governance Conference

Clerks, University Secretaries and Registrars

Governance Professionals in HE programme
Clerks and Secretaries Network event.

Governance event

Scotland and Wales

Events are also tailored to the policy landscape and the distinct circumstances in each home nation. These events offer an opportunity for governors from Scottish and Welsh institutions to examine some of the distinctive features of the higher education system within a national context.

Scotland New Governors

This event offers an opportunity for those new to the position to examine the particular facets of Scottish Governance, exchange good practice and network with peers from other institutions. Student Governors of Scottish institutions are also welcome.
Find out more and book

GDP Wales

Our GDP Wales event reflects the shared identity and diverse needs of the Welsh HE sector. The day will provide an opportunity to explore topical features of governance in the Welsh HE landscape, allowing attendees to explore issues and challenges and respond to the latest developments.
Find out more and book

GDP Scotland

Our GDP Scotland event provides a state-of-the-nation view on governance in HE, with a particular take on the emerging impact of the legislation on governance in Scottish HE institutions.
Find out more and book


Aaron Porter
Associate Director (Governance), Advance HE

Aaron Porter is the Associate Director (Governance) for Advance HE leading on engagement with governing bodies and governance across the UK, including leading reviews of board effectiveness. He has worked with over 75 universities both in the UK and overseas, as well as projects for national governments focused on higher education. His portfolio of roles includes Director of Insights for the Hotcourses Group and as an external adviser to Civitas Learning. He is a member of the governing council at Goldsmiths, University of London and is Chair of the Board of Governance at Nelson College, a specialist higher education college in East London. 

He has previously served on the council of the University of Leicester, and the boards of a number of higher education sector bodies including Higher Education Funding Council for England, Universities and Colleges Admissions Service, the Higher Education Academy and the Office of the Independent Adjudicator. 

He was previously President of the National Union of Students in 2010-11, during the high profile debate on tuition fees. He also co-chaired the Beer/Porter Student Charter group which reported to the Higher Education Minister, David Willets, in January 2011.

Aaron Porter
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