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Chancellor Selection Procedure

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Section 1 - Introduction

(1) This Chancellor Selection Procedure (Procedure) provides a framework for the appointment of the Chancellor.

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Section 2 - Audience

(2) University Council.

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Section 3 - Authority

(3) This Procedure is authorised by the University Council.

(4) In accordance with Section 10 of University of Newcastle Act 1989 (the Act), the Council is responsible for electing a person (whether or not a Council member) to be the Chancellor of the University whenever a vacancy in the role occurs.

(5) In accordance with Section 11 of the Act, the Deputy Chancellor may act as Chancellor until such time as the appointment of a Chancellor is made.

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Section 4 - Timing

(6) The Chancellor Selection Committee will conduct the search for a Chancellor:

  1. in the case where the incumbent's term is due to expire, approximately eight to twelve months prior to the date on which the present term will expire; or
  2. in the case where the incumbent has resigned, at the meeting at which the resignation is received; 
  3. in the case where the incumbent has notified their intention to resign/retire before the expiration of their term, at the meeting at which the notification is received (noting that an incumbent is expected to provide at least six months’ notice to the Council); or
  4. in the case where the office is otherwise vacated in accordance with section 11A or schedule 1 of the Act, at the first meeting after the office is vacated. 
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Section 5 - Candidate Search

(7) The Council, through its Chancellor Selection Committee, will conduct the search for a Chancellor.

(8) The Chancellor Selection Committee shall comprise:

  1. the Deputy Chancellor, as Chair. In the event that the Deputy Chancellor wishes to be considered for the position of Chancellor, then the Committee shall appoint an external member of Council as Chair, and the Deputy Chancellor shall not participate in the search process;
  2. the Vice-Chancellor;
  3. two external members of Council; and
  4. one elected member of Council.

(9) The Chancellor Selection Committee may co-opt additional members as required.

(10) The Chancellor Selection Committee will:

  1. after undertaking an assessment of the risks and benefits, and if determined appropriate, engage the services of an external search firm to assist with the selection process;
  2. prepare a workplan and timeline in respect of the appointment process;
  3. allocate tasks to be undertaken by the external search firm, should one be engaged; and
  4. undertake or supervise the completion of all tasks leading to the identification of the preferred candidate for appointment to the role of Chancellor;
  5. oversee the development and implementation of a communications strategy in respect of the announcement of the appointment of the new Chancellor.

(11) The Chair of the Chancellor Selection Committee will provide verbal updates at Council meetings throughout the selection process up until the time the recommendation is made in respect of the preferred candidate.

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Section 6 - Candidate Requirements

(12) Candidates for the position of Chancellor should embody the following essential qualities and qualifications:

  1. eminence in chosen vocation, profession or community endeavour;
  2. able to satisfy the requirements of the TEQSA fit and proper person obligations;
  3. able to represent the University with distinction in ceremony and ritual;
  4. a commitment to protect and promote the standing of the University in the community;
  5. a commitment to at least one four-year term;
  6. a strong commitment to the University's strategic direction and values as well as to higher education in general;
  7. experience as a Chair or leader of a large, complex organisation in the public or private sectors; and
  8. demonstrated ability to mentor the Vice-Chancellor and members of Council.

(13) The following qualities and qualifications are identified as desirable in candidates for the position of Chancellor:

  1. highly regarded by, and the ability to influence, the majority stakeholders in the University community including government, philanthropists, and industry;
  2. a commitment to two terms as Chancellor; and
  3. a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, or equivalent.
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Section 7 -  Internal Candidates

(14) Any internal candidates should contact the Chair of the Selection Committee directly to advise their intent to nominate for the role and any additional privacy expectations.

(15) Members of the Chancellor Selection Committee and the current Chancellor will be notified of the names of all internal candidates, irrespective of whether or not they are shortlisted for interview.

(16) If an internal candidate is not shortlisted for interview, the Chair of the Chancellor Selection Committee will meet with them to advise that their nomination will not be proceeding.

(17) Neither an employee nor a student of the University is eligible for appointment as Chancellor. 

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Section 8 - Candidate Selection

(18) Once the interview process is concluded, the Chancellor Selection Committee will detemine the preferred candidate for the role of Chancellor.

(19) The Chancellor Selection Committee will then organise a due diligence process to be undertaken in respect of the preferred candidate, including:

  1. conduct reference checks with persons nominated by the preferred candidate;
  2. conduct reference checks with other persons identified by the Selection Committee, with consent of the preferred candidate;
  3. conduct a Personal Name Search with the Australian Securities and Investment Commission to identify potential conflicts of interest arising from directorships and shareholdings;
  4. conduct a National Criminal Record Check;
  5. review the Australian Securities and Investment Commission register of prohibited and disqualified persons to ensure that the preferred candidate is not listed on the register;
  6. review the Insolvency and Trustee Service Australia National Personal Insolvency Index to ensure the preferred candidate is not listed on the Index;
  7. a review of mainstream and social media to identify any areas of concern which require investigation; and
  8. obtain any information deemed relevant to the appointment to the role of Chancellor.

(20) The Chancellor Selection Committee will prepare a recommendation report for distribution to Council members as per the template agreed by Council, once the due diligence process is complete and all identified concerns have been addressed. A Council meeting will be held to discuss the recommendation report and address any concerns identified by Council members.

(21) Once Council has discussed the recommendation report, the preferred candidate will be contacted to confirm their willingness to accept the position. Meet and greet sessions will then be organised between groups of Council members and the preferred candidate. No offer will have been made to the preferred candidate at that time. Each group shall comprise of one member of the Chancellor Selection Committee plus a mix of appointed and elected Council members. 

(22) It is preferable that agreement be reached by way of a consensus on the appointment of the Chancellor, however, this may not always be achievable. The election of a Chancellor will require a 2/3 majority vote by Council. If agreement cannot be reached then the Chancellor Selection Committee will reconvene to consider identifying another preferred candidate or recommencing the selection process.

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Section 9 - Reappointment of a Chancellor

(23) The Chancellor is eligible for re-election upon expiry of a term of office, in accordance with section 26 of the Act.

(24) Where it has been determined by the Council that the existing Chancellor is the most suitable person to assist the University achieve its vision, mission and strategic plan, the Deputy Chancellor will approach the Chancellor to determine his or her willingness to continue as Chancellor.

(25) If the Chancellor is willing to continue in the role, the Council will consider the proposal to re-elect the Chancellor for a further term.