Skip to main content

Reporting from the Advance HE Governance Conference 2019

29 Nov 2019 | Advance HE Professionalising Governance in Higher Education – ideas and practice from within and beyond the sector.

More than 150 delegates attended Advance HE’s Governance Conference 2019, Professionalising Governance in Higher Education on 28 November.

They heard keynote speaker, David Isaac CBE, Chair of the Court of Governors, University of the Arts London, on Taking diversity beyond the classroom: diversity and inclusion in education governance in which he highlighted the need to “move governance beyond narrow compliance and regulation to allow universities to become more open and competitive and to respond to the demands of students”. He also discussed the need for a shift in culture – particularly values-led and transparency – and greater diversity on boards to meet that challenge.  

In her keynote The changing tone from the top, Charlotte Valeur, Chair of the Institute of Directors, urged boards to be more visible – “words are not enough; people are tired of words, they want action!” On board diversity, she added, “get someone who doesn’t fit in – embrace being challenged.” She also encouraged boards to think more progressively, moving to value-ism, beyond financial and great focus on environmental and societal issues.

You can see more about the conference here:

With a number of workshops throughout the day, ranging from Boardroom behaviour: the challenge of establishing and sustaining a productive and constructive boardroom culture, delivered by Chris Sayers, Chair, Committee of University Chairs, to ‘Is the student interest in all our interest? led by Jim Dickinson of Wonkhe, the conference concluded with a panel session about the experience of other sectors, and HE from outside the UK.

The panel was led by Paul Cleal, board member of the National Citizen Service Trust, advisor to the Premier League on inclusion, advisory board member for the Centre of Social Investigation and vice-chair of the board at Kingston University; Irene Birrell, previously College Secretary at three Canadian universities and now at King’s College London, and Alec Cameron, Vice-Chancellor, Aston University and previously Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education) at the University of Western Australia and Dean of the Australian School of Business.

Conference presentations and workshop content will be made available shortly.

Find out more about Advance HE’s work to support effective governance in higher education.

Advance HE also have a number of events available as part of our Governor Development Programme, including Mainstreaming EDI and the Clerks and Secretaries Network event

Keep up to date - Sign up to Advance HE communications

Our monthly newsletter contains the latest news from Advance HE, updates from around the sector, links to articles sharing knowledge and best practice and information on our services and upcoming events. Don't miss out, sign up to our newsletter now.

Sign up to our enewsletter