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Role Description - council independent member

The Nominations Committee of the Council of the University of Warwick is seeking to appoint independent (external) members of the University Council, to serve for a three year period from 1 August 2019 to 31 July 2021.

Remit and Membership of the University Council

The University of Warwick is an exempt charity, established by Royal Charter. The Council is the University’s executive governing body, responsible for the financial, property, investments and general business of the University, and for setting the general strategic direction of the institution. The Council has a majority of members from outside the University, as well as representatives of the staff of the University and the student body.

More information about the responsibilities of the University Council can be found on the University’s website at, as well as in the University’s financial statements, available at

Selection Criteria

The overriding principle for appointment to membership of the University Council is selection based upon merit; by the well informed choice of individuals who through their abilities, experience and qualities match the needs of the work of the University Council and its committees. These individuals can demonstrate enthusiasm and commitment to supporting Higher Education and taking forward the work of the University.

Alongside this principle, we are committed to promoting and increasing the diversity of membership of the Council. We seek to appoint independent members from a wide-range of backgrounds with appropriate experience who broadly represent the composition of the population as a whole.

In particular, we welcome nominations for the appointment to independent membership of the Council of individuals with experience in their field at a national or international level, as well as those with a local or regional profile.

Prospective appointees must understand the statutory responsibilities of members of the University Council and be willing and able to dedicate sufficient time to the work of the University Council and its committees.

Whilst prospective appointees must be able to demonstrate their interest in and willingness to commit to Warwick’s mission and strategy, previous experience of governance in the Higher Education sector is not a pre-requisite.

When considering nominations, we take into account the current diversity of independent membership as well as the range of experience and expertise required of the Council as a whole. The precise balance of experience and expertise will be dependent on the specific needs and priorities of the University at the time of appointment.

We have specifically prioritised the need to ensure that the membership of the University Council reflects the diversity of the University community.

Time Commitment

Independent members of the University Council are appointed for a three year term in the first instance. In addition to attending an average of five meetings of the Council each year, we expect independent members to contribute by serving as a member of at least one standing committee of the Council. Independent members are also strongly encouraged to participate in significant institutional events, such as graduation ceremonies, and to become involved in the wider life of the University.

On average, independent members should have the capacity to set aside approximately another five days throughout the course of the year to attend informal Council and other University events, most of which are based at our Warwick campus. On occasion meetigns are held at our offices in The Shard, London.

We are keen to benefit from a diversity of membership, and we appreciate that the extent and nature of the contribution that each independent member is able to make may vary. The Council is reliant on the individual commitment of all members to sustain its effectiveness, and therefore we have set an expected average attendance rate of 75% for formal meetings of the Council and its sub-committees. The Chair of Council meets with each independent member annually to review their effectiveness and this provides an opportunity to discuss any difficulties that may arise in meeting the expected target attendance level.

Selection Process

The Council has final responsibility for approving the appointment of independent members of the Council, on the recommendation of the Nominations Committee.

The Nominations Committee of the Council considers potential independent members on the recommendation of the Vice-Chancellor and President, and the Chair of Council.

The decision to appoint an independent member is based on the need to ensure an independent Council membership with a diversity of backgrounds and experience which is broadly representative of the University community, and whose range of experience collectively match the needs of the University’s strategic development.

The proceedings for the appointment of independent members of the Council are strictly confidential. Any nominations remain strictly confidential to the members and secretariat of the Nominations Committee.

Suggestions for appointment should be forwarded in writing to the Secretary to the Council, Sharon Tuersley, and should be accompanied by a detailed statement setting out how the nominee meets the criteria for appointment. Please send any nominations by email to