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GDP: Leading the Board for new and aspiring chairs

Supporting those who are new to leading, or aspire to lead, governance in higher education.

Leading the board is designed to support those who are new to leading, or aspire to lead, a governing body (or committee) of a higher education institution. This event is delivered online with a focus on many of the current challenges of leading a board, including during a time of crisis such as the current COVID 19 situation.

Delivered with the support of the CUC – the membership body for Chairs of higher education institutions -  the event will provide an opportunity to discuss and examine the role of the Chair in leading the board and the importance of creating a boardroom culture which enables effective governance, enabling attendees to develop confidence, skills and knowledge.

Ready to book?

Our next Leading the Board event is taking place online: 
14 April 2021


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Who is the event for?

This online event is designed to support those who lead, or aspire to lead, a governing body. The Chair is responsible for the leadership of the governing body or sub-committee and ensuring it operates effectively and efficiently. Those who take on the responsibility play a central role in establishing the culture by which the governing body operates and the extent to which openness and debate at its meetings is encouraged.

Experienced governor/chair


Ahead of our Leading the Board event on 14 April 2021 Victoria Holbrook, Assistant Director Governance, Advance HE, talks to John Rushforth, Executive Secretary, CUC. In this video John discusses the common issues that new chairs face when they start in post and shares advice on how to create a healthy board culture.


The event will explore:

  • The role of the chair in leading the board.
  • The culture of the boardroom and how to encourage openness and debate.
  • How to encourage and manage the participation of all governors.
  • The importance of balancing the agenda and ensuring governors receive adequate and timely information to inform their decision-making.



  • Managing relationships with the head of institution, deputy/vice-chair, committee chairs, governors and clerk or secretary.
  • Recruiting a head of institution and new governors.
  • Appraising governors.
  • Dealing with difficult issues.
  • How you know if the governing body is effective.


09.15  Welcome and setting up the day – Aaron Porter, Associate Director Governance, Advance HE & Chair, BPP University & Governor, Goldsmiths University of London

09.30  The HE policy and finance landscape – a stock take with Q&A  –  Nick Hillman, Director, HEPI

10.10  Comfort break

10.30  Panel discussion: Governing well with and beyond Covid-19 – reflections on board leadership

Aaron Porter, Associate Director Governance, Advance HE

Anthony McClaran, Vice-Chancellor, St Mary’s University
Anulika Ajufo, Chair, University of East London  
Tony Strike, University Secretary, University of Sheffield

11.30  Board culture, leadership and accountability – what the theory tells us

Jan Juillerat, Associate Governance, Advance HE

12.00 Lunch Break

12:30  Understanding Governing Body Effectiveness in practice

Victoria Holbrook, Assistant Director Governance, Advance HE
Aaron Porter, Associate Director Governance, Advance HE

13.00  Breakout sessions  

13.45 Final reflections and closing remarks

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Watch the video, Governor Dialogues – Board Culture and Governance

This film explores a number of key elements that help make a board effective as well as exploring how boards create a culture that facilitates good governance, creates healthy debate and fosters diversity of thought.

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Register your interest in GDP: Leading the Board

If you would like to find out more information about Leading the Board or have a question for our team, please complete the enquiry form below. We will keep you updated with further information as it becomes available.

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