The conversation is against the backdrop of the impending retirement of a long-standing vice-chancellor and the commencement of external review of the governing body’s effectiveness. The dialogue discusses current practice, but also how aspects of the Council’s structure and work may evolve. The Council currently has 32 members. This number in future may be reduced. The Council meets six time a year, with time also spent at away days. Meetings of the Council include time set aside for normally two strategic presentations and discussions. Committees carry out much of the detailed work of the governing body.
However, the Chair takes care to ensure key strategic decisions are made at Council, and not at committee. Looking ahead governors are seeking to become more closely involved in strategy, and in particular the different longer-term strategic options for securing the University’s future. Discussion of the process of choosing the next vice chancellor notes the establishment of small and representative panel to oversee stakeholder consultations and the use of three questions to explore the views of each group. Not only were the responses judged to be helpful, but also as important was the process.The dialogue concludes by briefly considering possible differences in governance with newer universities. A suggestion is the University of Bristol may have been better at blending collegiality and business professionalism.