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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.

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

This year’s governor development programme and linked activities, has as its theme Governance to 2020 and beyond: Improving Effectiveness for a New Age. It allows participants the opportunity to anticipate and evaluate the impact of change, while offering practice support and advice about how to successful navigate the changes. In addition to focusing on a changing policy environment, the topics GDP covers have been updated based on your feedback.

In response to these changes the 2018-19 GDP has been substantially refreshed and additional resources made available, with support for Governors, Senior Managers and professional staff supporting governing bodies and senior teams in each of the devolved nations. 

GPD 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 events will often be added throughout the year to help address the evolving situation. In order to provide this selection of events and seminars, we work in partnership with a number of key organisations.

Governance events

We have a range of programmes and events designed for everyone, from those wanting an introduction to Governance in HE to those looking to expand their networks or update their knowledge of the sector.

View the Calendar
GDP Brochure 18-19
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Download the GDP Brochure 18-19



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

Upcoming Events

Boardroom papers
London, 15 May 2019

GDP: Leading and chairing the governing body

Focusing on the leadership of the Board as a key determinate of governing body effectiveness
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Boardroom discussion
London, 23 May 2019

GDP: Governance for small, specialist or independent providers

Exploring some of the issues and challenges facing small, specialist and independent providers, including the strategic positioning of institutions and achieving good governance.
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London, 4 June 2019

GDP: University Governors and Cyber Security

Considering governors’ role in seeking the assurance they need to be confident about their institution’s cyber resilience and/or to drive improvements.
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London, 28 November 2019

Governance Conference 2019

This year, our national conference will focus on 'Professionalising Governance in Higher Education'.
Find out more