Appointment of Governors
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Appointment of Governors - York St John University

Appointment of Governors


Thank you for your interest in York St John University.

Founded in 1841, the institution has retained the core values

of its foundation and is progressive, transforming, relevant and


The role of Governor provides an important opportunity to

contribute to the shape and development of the University

at an exciting time for higher education, in particular with

significant changes in student funding.

The University’s vision is for exceptional learning and teaching,

an exceptional student experience and exceptional graduates.

To deliver this vision, the University has an ambitious strategic

plan to 2015. Our vision and key strategic aims can be found


The Governing Body currently comprises 18 members from

different walks of life


charitable-status.aspx) who together bring their skills and

knowledge to bear on the challenges and opportunities facing

the University. There will be a small number of vacancies

during 2012-13, as we refresh our membership and seek to

ensure that we have a diverse Governing Body with the skills to

meet the needs of the University in the future.

At this time, we are particularly

interested to hear from those who

have specific skills and experience

in finance, accounting and risk

management and/or estates

development and management.

Other areas of expertise that

would be of particular value

include sustainability, data

compliance and health and safety.

If you share our values and vision, and have time and

enthusiasm to contribute, we would like to hear from you.

To arrange an informal discussion with the Vice Chancellor or

the Chairman about the role, please contact Julie Cowans at

E: or T: 01904 876601.

Professor David Fleming, Vice Chancellor

Ann Green CBE, Chairman of the Governing Body



Governor Role description

1. Overview

a) Governors are expected to play an appropriate part in

ensuring that the necessary business of the Governing Body is

carried on efficiently, effectively, and in a manner appropriate

for the proper conduct of public business. They are expected

to make rational and constructive contributions to debate

and to make their knowledge and expertise available to the

Governing Body as opportunity arises.

b) Governors have a responsibility for ensuring that the

Governing Body acts in accordance with the instruments of

governance of the University and with the University’s internal

rules and regulations, and should seek advice from the

Secretary in any case of uncertainty.

c) Governors are required to accept collective responsibility

for the decisions reached by the Governing Body. Governors

elected, nominated or appointed by particular constituencies

may not act as if delegated by the group they represent, and

may not be bound in any way by mandates given to them by


d) The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE)

sets out the general responsibilities of members of governing

bodies of higher education institutions in annex I of its

financial memorandum with higher education institutions

Committed Governors are crucial to the University’s current

and ongoing success. Governors are drawn from a range of

backgrounds and include both staff and student members.

Further information is available on the University’s website

The University adopted a new constitution in July 2011 and is a

company limited by guarantee (Company Number: 4498683)

and an exempt charity (regulated by the Higher Education

Funding Council for England). Governors are consequently

Directors and also Charitable Trustees.

Governors are appointed for a three-year term of office. The

maximum period of office is three terms of three years each.

2. Standards

a) Governors have a responsibility for ensuring that the

Governing Body conducts itself in accordance with accepted

standards of behaviour in public life, embracing selflessness,

integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and

leadership. They must at all times regulate their personal

conduct as Governors in accordance with these standards.

b) Governors must make a full and timely disclosure of

personal interests to the Secretary in accordance with the

procedures approved by the Governing Body. They must as

soon as practicable disclose any interest which they have in

any matter under discussion and accept the ruling of the Chair

in relation to the management of that situation, in order that

the integrity of the business of the Governing Body and its

Committees may be and may be seen to be maintained.

c) Governors have particular legal responsibilities for the

University which is a company limited by guarantee and an

exempt charity. Governors’ responsibilities as Directors and

Charitable Trustees are reflected in the Governing Body’s

Statement of Primary Responsibilities available at:

3. The Business of the University

a) Governors have a responsibility for ensuring that the

Governing Body exercises control over the strategic direction

of the University, through an effective planning process,

and that the performance of the University is adequately

assessed against the objectives which the Governing Body has


b) Governors should endeavour to establish constructive and

supportive but challenging working relationships with the

University employees with whom they come into contact, but

must recognise the proper separation between governance

and executive management, and avoid involvement in the

day-to-day executive management of the University.

c) Governors will be appointed by the Governing Body to at

least one Committee of the Governing Body and are expected

to play a full part in the business of all Committees to which

they are appointed. The expected time commitments for

Governors are set out below.

d) Arrangements are in place for designated Governors to act

as formal signatories for certain (usually financial) transactions.

Governors will be briefed on any such role separately.


4. The External Role

a) Governors may be asked to represent the Governing Body

and the University externally, and will be fully briefed by the

University to enable them to carry out this role effectively.

• Knowledge of developments in the Higher Education sector

• Experience as a member of committees/boards

b) Governors may be asked to use personal influence and

networking skills on behalf of the University.

• Experience of operating at a strategic level in a

professional role

c) Governors may be asked to play a role in liaising between

key stakeholders and the University, or in fund-raising. They

will be fully briefed by the University to enable them to carry

out this role effectively. However, this role in particular must be

exercised in a carefully co-ordinated fashion with other senior

officers and staff of the University.

5. Personal

a) Governors must participate in procedures established by

the Governing Body for the regular appraisal/review of the

performance of individual Governors. Governors should attend

any induction activities arranged by the University and should

participate in appropriate training events.

b) The likely overall time commitment required of Governors is

12-20 days per year.

c) Governors are not remunerated, but are encouraged to

reclaim all travelling and similar expenses incurred in the

course of University business via the Secretary. Directors and

Officers Liability Insurance is in place.

d) Governors are appointed for a period of three years. The

maximum period of office is three terms of three years each.

Exceptionally, the Governing Body may remove a Governor

if s/he is not able to meet the expectations set out in this

role description and/or the legal requirements of the role of

Director or Trustee.

Person Specification

Governor appointments will take account of personal skills

and experience, in the context of the overall composition of

the Governing Body. At the present time we are particularly

interested to hear from those who have specific skills and

experience in finance, accounting and risk management

and/or estates development and management. Other

fields of expertise that would be of particular value include

sustainability, data compliance and health and safety.

Knowledge and Experience

• Strong, personal commitment to Higher Education, its

governance and the values, aims and objectives of

the University


• Demonstrable involvement in striving towards

continuous improvement

• Experience of professional networking on a national and/or

international basis

Skills and Abilities

• Ability to act fairly and impartially in the interests of the

University as a whole, using independent judgement and

maintaining confidentiality as appropriate

• Ability to evaluate and monitor the work of the University

in a constructively critical fashion without breaching

the boundaries between governance and operational


• Ability to be an ambassador and represent the University

to the wider community

• Ability to operate as a member of a team

• Excellent communicator with appropriate negotiation,

presentation and influencing skills

Personal Characteristics

• Supportive of the University’s ethos, mission, values

and foundation

• Enthusiasm for, and commitment to, the role

• Commitment to equality, diversity and inclusivity

in practice

Special Features

Governors are expected to attend all meetings of the

Governing Body and of committees of which they are a

member, or give timely apologies if absence is unavoidable.

The role often entails access to confidential or privileged

information which must be treated sensitively.

Time commitment

The commitments of Governors have been divided into two main categories – those that are required and those that are desired,

depending on the time available.

The total expected commitment is approximately 12 to 20 days per annum.

Required Commitments


Governing Body Meetings

Governing Body Away Days

Meetings with the Chairman/Deputy Chairman

Sub-committee meetings

There is background reading associated with the above meetings.


Three per year

Two per year – one involving an overnight stay

Once or Twice per year

Three or four per year

Desired Commitments


Social events

(regional events, celebrations, Foundation Day, public lectures)


(attendance at a ceremony and associated lunch)



Once per year (November)


How to Apply

Applications are invited in the form of:

• A current brief CV or description of work and other relevant


• A statement on no more than two sides of A4 summarising

your motivation for applying to be a Governor at York St

John University and addressing how you would contribute

to the work of the Governing Body in the light of the Role

Description, the range of skills, knowledge and experience

required and the other information provided.

• Completed Personal Details Form and Equal Opportunities

Monitoring Form (available from the University website

By post to: Alison Kennell, Registrar and Secretary to the

Governing Body, York St John University, Lord Mayor’s Walk,

York, YO31 7EX

By e-mail to:


At any stage, please feel free to contact Alison Kennell,

Registrar and Secretary to the Governing Body for further

governance information. To arrange an informal discussion

about the role, please contact Julie Cowans at

E: or T: 01904 876601.

We are currently seeking applications for Governor vacancies

in 2013.


Mission Key Strategic Aims 2012-15

York St John is committed to the provision of excellent, open

and progressive higher education that embraces difference,

challenges prejudice and promotes justice, and is shaped by

York St John’s Church foundation.

Building on this foundation, it aims to:

• provide widely-accessible opportunities for lifelong

learning, underpinned by scholarship and research

• extend and deepen the University’s external

contribution regionally, nationally and globally

• foster a supportive, creative, critical and reflective

community which promotes personal and

professional development for both students and


Brand values

York St John has at its core a set of brand values which inform

the work that it undertakes, the image it wishes to project and

the way in which it would like others to view the institution.

These values are:

• Progressive – in the way in which the University

has evolved, the investment in its campus and how

it engages with others through teaching,

scholarship and partnerships

• Transforming – not only of individuals but also of

their chances in life, so that they feel empowered,

enabled and transformed by their experience at

York St John

• Relevant – in its educational provision, research

activities, and within its region

• Approachable – expressed through its personality,

staff, students and also the University’s location;

• Inclusive – the way in which the institution works

with others collaboratively

The following key strategic aims have been developed in

support of the University’s Mission:

1. Develop innovative, inclusive and high quality teaching,

learning and assessment practices that actively engage

students and lead to an exceptional learning experience for

students and staff.

2. Develop a strong, vibrant and sustainable research culture

that informs our teaching, inspires our students and staff,

enables research excellence, and enhances our academic


3. Build our reputation in the international community so that

we are recognised as a quality University that develops staff

and produces graduates with skills for life and work in the

global community.

4. Provide opportunities for all students to develop the

employability and enterprise skills they need to achieve their

career potential.

5. Achieve University recruitment and widening participation


6. Provide high quality, integrated and evidence-based student

support services.

7. Enhance the communication of the brand and profile of

the University, increasing our reputation for exceptionality in

learning and teaching, the student experience and for quality


8. Provide an inclusive environment that promotes equality

and embraces diversity.

9. Provide inspiring and sustainable environments and facilities

that enhance the student and staff experience.

10. Become an exemplar of best practice within the sector

and City by reducing our environmental impact.

11. Ensure that our financial strategy underpins our corporate

aspirations, aligns resources to our strategic plan and

enhances financial sustainability.

12. Be a good employer that values, develops and motivates

its employees.

13. Provide accessible and resilient ICT and Library services that

enhance communication, business systems and information

discovery of students and staff.


University activities

Teaching and learning and the student


York St John has a growing reputation for its partnership work,

regional engagement and provision, commitment to widening

participation and delivery of a positive transforming student


Across its faculties and business school the quality of the

University’s academic staff delivery has been recognised with a

number of awards of National Teaching Fellowships.

Applications for undergraduate programmes are up by 11% for

2012 entry; an excellent figure when set against the national

picture which shows applications have dropped by an average

of 7.4%. International applications are also up by over 25% this


The overall National Student Survey score has improved from

74% in 2006 to 81% in 2010. The quality and relevance of

York St John’s delivery is also demonstrated in its destination

figures. A very high proportion, at 91% of our full-time first

degree graduates, are in work or continuing to study within

the first six months of graduation.


In recent years York St John has developed its research

capacity in Allied Health Professions & Studies; Psychology;

Education; Sports-related studies; English Language &

Literature; Theology, Divinity & Religious Studies; and Drama,

Dance & Performing Arts. In the last Research Assessment

Exercise in 2008 the growing research excellence was

rewarded with a 518% increase in funding (against an 8%

sector average).

courses. There is a strategic university drive to build upon our

international recruitment over the next three years.

The Internationalisation agenda is also focused on a range

of other developments to benefit student and academic

engagement at an international level. This work is articulated

in York St John’s Internationalisation Strategy. The University

is actively forging a range of academic partnerships,

joint projects, international conferences and exchange

opportunities. There are long existing links with Japan, China

and USA and strengthening relationships in a number of

countries, including Pakistan, Bahrain, Kenya, and South Korea.

This agenda also incorporates the way in which the University

integrates the international dimension into curricula and

opportunities for students to engage in overseas visits,

projects and exchanges.

Nearly 40% of research submitted for assessment by the

University was rated as of international importance, with some

classified as internationally excellent and world leading. A

further 40% of research outputs were found to be of national


York St John has ambitions for the achievement of research

degree awarding powers and is positioning itself to be ready

for an application by 2012.


York St John University has a tradition of welcoming

international students. Around 1,000 international students

come to the University each year on full-time and short


Community, partnership and professional engagement

York St John University is strongly rooted within its region,

with a large proportion of students drawn from the Yorkshire

and Humber area. It also works actively with local and regional

businesses to add to the wealth, skills and welfare of its

community. Listed below are some of York St John’s areas of

community, partnership and professional activity.

York St John University is part of the Higher York Lifelong

Learning Network along with York College, Askham

Bryan College and the University of York. The network was

awarded Economic Challenge Investment Funding by Hefce

of £300,000, to establish and deliver a range of business

development and individual support initiatives to enhance

business resilience in the region.

Knowledge Transfer Officers based in the University’s faculties

and supported centrally by the Pro Vice Chancellor’s external

community engagement work.

The University works with more than 550 schools each year.

More than 500 heads of schools and teachers in Yorkshire and

Humber were professionally trained at York St John University.

The Phoenix Centre, successfully launched at York St John in

2009, is a pioneering initiative led by Science City York which

provides a city centre business incubator. It provides very low

cost accommodation, mentoring and skills development for

graduate start-up creative and digital businesses in York and

attracts talented entrepreneurs into the city.

The University is actively involved with different areas of the

public sector, including the NHS Institute for Improvement

and Innovation, a number of other health professional bodies

and schools and colleges. Much of this work is supported by

York St John works with over 200 businesses and professional

service providers each year delivering a range of training and

development programmes.


The Faculties, School and other services

Faculty of Arts

The Faculty of Arts has over 50 staff generating £8m of

income per annum. It offers taught and research based

programmes of study in subjects including history; film

and media studies; literature; American studies; dance and

choreography; music and music technology; theatre; theatre

directing and visual performance; fine arts; design; film and

TV production, documentary film-making and short film

production. The Faculty has recently launched a range of

new courses to add to its portfolio, including creative writing,

product design and cultural history.

The Faculty has formal partnership arrangements with the

York Theatre Royal and with the Yorkshire Sculpture Park

and an expanding range of international partnerships in Italy

and America. In addition to this activity the University and

Faculty has extensive professional links and has engaged in

partnership project delivery with a number of organisations

including York Museums and Galleries Trust and the Arts

and Culture Directorate at City of York Council.

The faculty is home to Creative Business which supports

business start-ups and fledgling businesses.

Faculty of Education & Theology

The Faculty of Education & Theology delivers undergraduate

and postgraduate programmes in teacher education,

education studies, theology & religious studies, theology &

ministry and evangelism studies.

The faculty has a strong range of school, council, youth and

learning partnerships to enable it to deliver both initial teacher

training and ongoing professional development for the sector.

A number of emerging teacher development programmes

overseas have been established in recent years, including in

Bahrain, Kenya and Rwanda.

Theology & Religious Studies provision and research is thriving

There are excellent links with a range of dioceses and other

partners, including international partnerships in South Korea.

The faculty is home to the David Hope RE Centre, and the

Centre for Church School Education.

The faculty recently launched a new school Governors training


collaboration between York St John University, York Minster

and York Institute for Community Theology, The Order

of Carmelites and the Churches Regional Commission for

Yorkshire and the Humber. It attracts a range of eminent

speakers each year. Previous speakers have included the

Archbishop of Canterbury; Robert Peston, leading business

journalist for the BBC and Tony Benn.

Faculty of Health & Life Sciences

The Faculty of Health and Life Sciences has a long standing

reputation for providing student-centred, innovative

programmes of education in sports, health related areas,

psychology and counselling.

Almost all of the degree programmes are accredited by the

relevant professional bodies with excellent links with employers

to support placements and other work-based learning

opportunities. In addition, all programmes are underpinned by

significant practical study either in laboratories or in the field

or both.

The faculty actively contributes to a wide variety of

multidisciplinary research groups and projects across Sport,

Health, Counselling and Psychology. Innovation is reflected

in the award of Centre of Excellence Status for the Faculty’s

Professional Placement Learning in Health and Social Care.

Practical elements of the health courses are based in the new

clinical skills facilities within De Grey Court. These resources

complement the excellent sport science laboratories and

sports hall located in Foss building.

The Faculty of Health & Life Sciences works closely with health

care professionals, NHS trusts and their representative bodies

through a number of initiatives. These include the Centre for

Enabling Environments and Assistive Technology (CEEAT)

and the Research Centre for Occupational & Mental

Health (RCOMH).

York St John Business School

York St John Business School works closely with partners

to deliver high quality business development training and

consultancy in areas including leadership, management,

mentoring and coaching. Recent initiatives include the

European Social Fund supported Top Teams Workshops and

Learning Through Business Leaders programme.

The faculty organises the Ebor Lecture series which is in

its fifth season and represents an enormously successful


The school offers staff expertise in business management and

leadership, with specialisms at undergraduate level in human

resources, finance, information technology, marketing and

tourism. At postgraduate level the school has specialisms in

leadership, management, innovation and change and recently

launched a suite of internationally focused postgraduate

provision including an MBA. It is also home to a languages and

linguistics centre, which runs a range of programmes ranging

from short language courses to postgraduate provision and

research activity.

We have recently acquired 57 acres of sports fields and

recreational facilities and the 350 seat Joseph Rowntree

Theatre from Nestle. These new facilities will bring significant

benefits to the whole student community. We will also be

able to further enhance our strong record for involvement in

volunteering, partnership, club and society activity

Work has started on a £12 million development which will

provide state-of-the-art accommodation for students starting

in September 2013.

The school is home to the Acorn Programme, an established

scheme for new businesses, providing practical support to

new entrepreneurs in the first year or so of their venture. The

programme has seen the launch of a number of successful

business initiatives.

Other departments and functions

The work of the University is facilitated through a number of

other departments and directorates including:

• Admissions & Marketing

• Facilities

• Finance

• Human Resources

• Information Learning Services

• Registry

• Sustainable Partnerships & Community Engagement

• York St John International

The Estate

The campus is centrally located by the historic medieval walls

of the city and has an impressive mix of historic Victorian

and modern buildings, set in award winning gardens. The

University has benefited from over £80 million of strategic

investment in new facilities over the past ten years to develop

a well resourced city centre campus. This development has

enabled us to provide an up to date teaching and learning

environment and to host partners such as the Yorkshire Film

Archive, Science City Phoenix Centre and the York Hospitals

Trust library.


Facts & Figures

Turnover in 2010-11 £44 million

Top 20 university for teaching quality

(National Student Survey 2011)

Highest % increase in undergraduate applications for 2012

entry in the north of England


Student profile (at 1 May 2012)

Full-time undergraduate 4058

Part-time undergraduate 832

Full-time postgraduate 315

Part-time postgraduate 625

Total 5,890

We also have around 700 students each year from the UK

and overseas who study on a range of short courses and

continuing professional development programmes

The student body

Male:Female split = 34%:66%

Mature students = 40%

Students from the Yorkshire and Humber region = 57%

Students of minority ethnicity = 11%

International students = 11%

Numbers of students by Faculty

Arts 1265

Business School 941

Education & Theology 1622

Health & Life Sciences 1251

Joint Honours 493


York St John is a significant employer in the City and the North

Yorkshire region with 650 staff covering a broad range of

professions. Our biennial staff survey demonstrates very high

levels of overall satisfaction at 94%.

York St John University, Lord Mayor’s Walk, York YO31 7EX

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