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New Portal to Support Diversity in Higher Education Boards

08 Aug 2018 | Advance HE Advance HE and the CUC (Committee of University Chairs), in collaboration with AHUA (Association of Heads of University Administration) and the 30% Club, have launched a new ‘board vacancies’ portal.

The portal aims to make board appointments in higher education more visible and accessible, encouraging a greater diversity of applicants. 

Tracy Bell-Reeves, Advance HE’s Director of Programmes and Events, said,

This is a really important step in supporting efforts towards more diverse representation on university boards. Our internal scoping report found that only 50% of board roles were advertised online, restricting the talent pool for institutions and frustrating those looking for board appointments. 

Governance is a key strand of the Advance HE’s support to institutions, and I’m confident that the new portal will play an important and very practical part in that work.”

Jenny Tester, Project Associate at Advance HE, said,“ We are delighted to launch the portal which forms part of the Board Diversification Project at Advance HE which is designed to support greater diversity within higher education boards and those applying for board roles, whether in higher education or outside of the sector. The project brings together a series of related, practical initiatives to support the sector to increase diversity within higher education boards. 

As part of this project, Advance HE has partnered with nine executive search firms to develop a ‘diversity principles framework’. This partnership promotes the use of the portal alongside best practice for search firms and hiring institutions when making board appointments. The project also includes a guide for those recruiting in universities/colleges around best practice in producing board vacancy job descriptions, person specifications and adverts to ensure diversity. We’ll be sharing these initiatives on the portal and Advance HE’s web pages shortly. We have also worked closely with colleagues in Scotland to develop these to ensure alignment in the Scottish context.”

Elizabeth Passey, co-chair of the 30% Club Higher Education Initiative and also Convener of Court at the University of Glasgow said, “I warmly welcome this project. The higher education sector is making good strides towards more diverse boards, and initiatives such as this which encourages an even more diverse talent pool to step forward for board positions is very positive news. In my experience, greater diversity avoids ‘group think’ by bringing angles and perspectives from people with different backgrounds and experiences.”

Initially, the portal has ‘gone live’ on a trial basis and it is expected that it will be formally launched to the sector in the autumn.

To find out more about the portal, contact Jenny Tester, on or visit the portal Board Vacancies in Universities and Colleges of Higher Education.


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