UHI seeks island members for University Court

The University of the Highlands and Islands is seeking applications for a new chairperson and members of its governing body, the University Court.

The University Court is responsible for the strategic direction of the university and must ensure the good governance of the institution and its financial health, as well as managing risk.

The University Court is being reconstituted following a review of the governance and management of the university and in recognition of the changing nature of the institution. In line with the Scottish Government’s proposed legislation on post-16 education, the university will be ultimately responsible for further education as well as higher education provision in its operating area.

This additional responsibility for further education (skills and crafts training and non-advanced qualifications) aims to create an innovative, integrated approach to post-school education in the Highlands and Islands, Moray and Perthshire.

The University of the Highlands and Islands Chief Operating Officer and Secretary, Fiona Larg, said: “The university is about to embark on a new and exciting phase in its development. Integration of further and higher education in the region brings challenges but also many opportunities.

The new structure will assist in developing the provision of post-school learning in the region, for both full- and part-time learners. It will provide more and clearer progression opportunities through all qualification levels, with access through the further and higher education colleges and specialist institutions that comprise the university partnership.

“The University of the Highlands and Islands is leading the way in integrated post-school education,” added Ms Larg. “We are widely acknowledged for our innovation in how we deliver higher education within our region and beyond. That innovation is now being further extended to all post-school education – creating a model and an approach which will continue to draw interest and emulation from the international further and higher education sector.

“It is for this reason that we require members of the University Court of the highest calibre and with a commitment to and enthusiasm for the exciting journey on which we are embarked.”

The chairperson and members of the University Court are voluntary, unremunerated, roles however necessary expenses are reimbursed (for example, travel and accommodation costs).

Applications are sought from persons with a wide range of backgrounds and experience, including in further and/or higher education. Other skill and knowledge sets that would be of particular value are corporate governance, risk management, finance, estates management and law.

As well as lay members, the new University Court will comprise members drawn from the university’s staff and students as well as from regional stakeholders. Applicants for the role of chairperson, in particular, should have a good understanding of the principles of good governance in the public sector in Scotland.

Attendance at most meetings is possible by video conference; therefore geography should not be regarded as a barrier to applying.