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Governance Professionals in HE programme

For Clerks, Secretaries and those in governance support roles The Advance HE Governance Professionals in Higher Education programme is specifically designed for clerks, secretaries and staff in governance related roles in professional support teams who play a central role in the academic and corporate governance of HE institutions.


Forming part of the Governor Development Programme (GDP), Governance Professionals in HE is practical development programme for clerks, secretaries and staff in professional support teams who support academic and corporate governance of higher education institutions.

Clerks, secretaries and staff in the professional support teams which support institutional governance play a central role in the academic and corporate governance of institutions. The knowledge, expertise and capabilities of such teams, and their members, is a key factor enabling an institution’s system of governance to be both effective and efficient. A lack of capable and well-trained professional support staff can seriously undermine institutional governance.

Find out more 

If you would like to find out more about the programme, fill out the form below and we will contact you with more information. 

Register your interest

This year has seen an increase in competing pressures on time for governance professionals. In response to recent feedback, we are in the process of reworking the Governance Professionals in Higher Education programme to ensure that it continues to support you in the way that best suits your current needs, as well as ensuring that development, networking and sharing of experience continue to be a critical part of the programme. We are intending to run the new programme in the spring, if you would like to receive more information on the reformatted programme when it is available, please complete the form below. 

Programme content

The programme includes theories of leadership, an exploration of the underlying dynamics of how groups work and how to apply these to the role of a clerk or secretary, as well as practical and theoretical frameworks that help develop participants’ leadership capacity in the support of good governance.

With a safe space for governance professionals to discuss key issues specific to their roles, the programme provides a forum for participants to share their experiences of what works to help develop practical solutions which can be used within their institutions.

Offering a lens to help participants understand and analyse specific issues they may be facing, the programme will enable them to respond in a disciplined and well thought out way with practical tools to benefit not only themselves but also their institution. 

During the programme participants have the opportunity to develop their skills of observation, and from their own experience, identify some of the patterns and forms of behaviour that can affect group dynamics and which have both positive and negative impacts on effective governance. governance.

Governing in a virtual world

The programme will consider the impact of virtual meetings on higher education governance, share emerging practice for how online governance is operating in the sector, and consider how governance professionals can be supported to make this change work in their own institution and with their own governing body.

Offering a practical governance support network

The programme also provides a valuable support network for staff who are working remotely or those who are campus based, to connect with colleagues in similar roles who are also managing a new mode of working whether it is remote from colleagues or not.

Excellent programme, highly recommended for anyone seeking to develop their career or knowledge in Governance.”  Hannah Quinn, Head of Governance and  Executive Support, University of Bristol

Who is the programme for?

The role of a clerk or secretary is an important that can make a significant contribution to board performance. These roles are more than administrative and a good clerk or secretary can bring strategic leadership and help be a key communications bridge between the executive and the board.

With a holistic view they can provide value by observing group dynamics, facilitating dialogue between parties, gathering and sharing information and aiding the decision-making process.

The Governance Professionals in Higher Education programme helps participants develop practical skills to better navigate critical relationships with key stakeholders and become more effective in their role.

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Programme delivery and team

The programme is delivered digitally with three one-day modules and two action learning sets held over 5 months. The next cohort starts on 2 December 2020.

Module 1 - Alternative theories of leadership and their application to the system of governance found in HEIs

Module 2 - Group dynamics and their impact on boardroom culture and performance

Module 3 – Pulling it all together: A practical framework towards good governance

The Governance professionals in higher education programme is delivered by Aaron Porter, Associate Director Governance, Advance HE and Mary Joyce, Associate, Governance, Advance HE.

The programme also draws on contributions from other governance experts with many years of experience in HE and other sectors. Contributors include:

Professor Andrew Kakabadze, Professor of Governance and Leadership, Henley Business School, University of Reading

Sir David Melville, former vice-chancellor, Kent University; former governor, London South Bank University; former chief executive of the Funding Council for Further Education; former chair of LLUK and Health Education England; governor, Manchester Metropolitan University; and chair, Pearson Education Ltd

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.

Find out more about Aaron
Aaron Porter

Mary Joyce
Associate (Governance), Advance HE

Mary is a leadership and governance consultant, executive and team coach, and Director of Leading Minds Consulting.  She has over 15 years’ experience of leading strategic change at board level in the education and health sectors.

Find out more about Mary
Mary Joyce
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Governance Professionals in HE Programme enquiry

Please complete and submit the form below to receive your copy of the Governance Professionals in HE Programme Information Sheet by email or to ask us any questions and register your interest in the programme which starts on 2 December 2020.

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