Appointment of two Independent Governors


Thank you very much for expressing an interest in governorship of Solent University, Southampton.

With a strong track record of innovation and creativity, Solent has grown to become one of the leading new universities, with strong local roots as well as a renowned international reputation. We have embedded ties in the city, local region and beyond, and strive to make a significant contribution to the communities we serve, while putting our students at the heart of everything we do.

Our Strategy 2025: Future Ready, continues our work to build on Solent’s success, with a clear mission of ensuring all our learners are work ready, world ready and future ready.

By 2025 we will be providing a growing number of students from a wide range of backgrounds with a life affirming and life changing education, enriched by a vibrant university culture of research, free speech, equal opportunities, knowledge exchange and partnerships. And when our students leave us, they will be graduating with the knowledge and skills to achieve their ambitions, and the passion and confidence to shape the future.

With relevant experience in either property or marketing and PR, we are looking for two individuals with a commitment to higher education, who are willing to contribute their experience and expertise to the Board and to act as an ambassador for the University.

If you would like to join our Board of Governors at Solent, I look forward to hearing from you.

Phil Cotton
Pro-Chancellor and Chair of the Board of Governors

About us

We are dedicated to the pursuit of university education that enables learners from all backgrounds to become enterprising citizens and responsible leaders. We are committed to promoting economic and social prosperity for the communities we serve.

Put simply – we want Solent graduates to be the passionate, creative professionals of the future, bringing expertise and energy into their communities and workplaces.


Respect: Respecting each other, recognising others’ strengths and celebrating our diversity so that everyone can give their best.

Ownership: Owning and being accountable for delivering a welcoming and professional service and working with pace and commitment to deliver objectives and support strategic priorities.

Inclusivity: Ensuring through our teaching, support and work that we are inclusive, underpinning all the work we do at the University.

Engagement: Engage with focus, drive and enthusiasm to deliver excellent teaching, new initiatives and objectives, setting an example and motivating others to engage as appropriate.

Integrity: Act with professionalism and honesty in all our dealings with each other, our students, suppliers and partners of the University.

Teamwork: Working effectively and collaboratively and being united in delivering the priorities of the University in everything we do.

Click here for more information on the University.

The Board of Governors

Solent University is overseen by a Board of Governors which determines the strategic direction of the University.

Under the Education Reform Act of 1988, which created higher education corporations, the Board of Governors is generally responsible for looking after the public investment and the public interest at the University.

The Governors are charged with determining the educational character and mission of the University; overseeing its activities; monitoring effective and efficient use of resources; safeguarding the solvency and assets of the University; and approving annual estimates of income and expenditure. The Board is also responsible for appointing the head of the institution. These responsibilities are detailed in the Board of Governors Terms of Reference.

Makeup of the Board
There are normally eighteen Governors, most of whom are voluntary independent members drawn from business and education – these bring a blend of commercial, professional, and life experience. The others are internal members, including the Vice-Chancellor, staff and the President of the Students’ Union.

Meet the Board of Governors

Functioning of the Board
The governing body has regard to the Committee of University Chairs (CUC) Higher Education Code of Governance 2020 in its governance arrangements, and has adopted the Statement of Primary Responsibilities contained within the Code (Appendix 1).

Section 5.13 of the Code states ‘HEIs must conduct a regular, full and robust review of governance effectiveness with some degree of independent input.  This will provide assurance to internal and external stakeholders and allow a mechanism to focus on improvement and chart progress towards achieving any outstanding actions arising from the last effectiveness review. It is recommended this review takes place every three years.

The latest review was undertaken in 2019; a summary of the outcomes can be viewed here.  The next review will take place from June 2022 and its outcomes will be reported in November 2022.

Minutes of Board meetings
The Board meets four times a year, and the minutes of these meetings (from 2021 and 2020) are publicly available below:

The role

Independent Governor

The Board of Governors
The Board of Governors of the University is responsible for determining the educational character and future direction of the University, overseeing its activities and securing its solvency.

At its full complement, Solent University’s Board of Governors has 18 members including:

  • 12 independent governors;
  • 2 externally co-opted governors (local authority and further education);
  • 2 staff governors;
  • 1 student governor; and
  • the Vice-Chancellor (ex officio).

Collectively, the Board must

  • At all times act in accordance with the Instrument and Articles of Government and the University’s internal rules and regulations, and the conditions of University registration with the Office for Students (OfS);
  • Work collaboratively and take responsibility for all decisions reached as a Board;
  • Set the strategic direction of the University, review it and monitor its delivery;
  • Approve and monitor high-level University KPIs against the agreed objectives;
  • Secure the effective and efficient use of resources and safeguard the University’s assets;
  • Ensure that the standards of the awards given in its name are appropriate to those of a UK university;
  • Carry out its business efficiently, effectively and in the manner appropriate to the proper conduct of public business;
  • Recognise and respect the proper separation between governance and executive management.

Individually, Governors are the members of the Solent University Higher Education Corporation and the trustees of the University as a charity. As such, they are expected to carry out their duties in accordance with the accepted standards of public life as set out in the Nolan Principles, and to ensure that the University’s strategy, performance and use of resources are appropriately directed towards furthering its charitable purposes.

Individually, Governors must:

  • Act fairly and impartially in the interests of the University as a whole, without reference to any particular constituency or interest group;
  • Respect the confidentiality of the Board at all times;
  • Play a full, regular and constructive part in the work of the Board, participating in induction and development events and any performance review as established by the Board;
  • Disclose any personal interests in a full and timely manner, to maintain the integrity of the business of the Board;
  • Provide an annual ‘fit and proper’ person declaration as well as an annual declaration of interests;
  • Represent the Board and the University externally when required and always act as powerful advocates and ambassadors for the University in the wider world;
  • Take time to engage with and understand the work of the University and support its activities through attendance at major functions and events.

The Practicalities of Board Membership
Typically, four ordinary meetings of the Board (normally from 5pm in November, February, late April/early May and July), together with a Strategy Away-day, are held in each academic year.

Dates of meetings are set usually 18 months in advance (the academic year runs from September to August) to give Governors as much notice as possible.

The Board meeting dates for the remainder of 2022 are:

  • 20 July (from 5pm)
  • 23 November (from 5pm)

There will also be a Board of Governors awayday on 21 September 2022 during the daytime.


Knowledge, experience, and qualities expected of Governors
Candidates for appointment to the Board will be expected to have a range of the following kinds of skills, experience, and personal qualities:

  • previous experience of non-executive board membership or trusteeship of a charity;
  • a strong personal commitment to higher education;
  • an understanding and sympathy with the concept of public service;
  • a high level of personal integrity;
  • a specific commitment to the values, aims and objectives of Solent University;
  • the energy and interest to engage fully with the work of the University;
  • a national or significant regional profile in their own field;
  • experience of leadership and management in a large, diverse and complex environment;
  • an understanding of one or more of equality and diversity, engagement with local and regional communities, and health and safety issues.

By way of specific skills set, we wish to find senior individuals with experience in one or more of the following areas from either business, industry, professional or public sectors:

  • Experience of property; either from managing / rationalising a significant estate or whether you have expertise in property law (AQ1418)
  • Experience in marketing, advertising or PR (AQ1419)

As a Board member, Governors act as ambassadors for the University, engaging with students, staff, and other stakeholders, promoting the University’s activities in the wider community. This will include the opportunity to attend events, dinners, and graduation ceremonies.

Applicants must be willing to contribute their experience and expertise and be able to devote time in Southampton to the Board of Governors and its Committees.

The University recognises the benefits of having Board members from a range of diverse backgrounds. We wish to further broaden the diversity of the membership of the Board particularly in terms of age and ethnicity.

Terms of appointment

Governors will be appointed for an initial term of three years, which may be renewed for a further two terms of three years on recommendation of the Governance Committee.

Governors may step down at any time, should personal or other circumstances make this necessary.

The role of governor is voluntary and unpaid, although the University will pay reasonable travel and other expenses.

Directors’ and Officers’ Liability Insurance is in place.

The Board and each of its Committees typically meet four times per year.  The annual time commitment is estimated to average 10-12 days per year including involvement on Board and Committees, preparation time, and one annual Board Awayday.  Board and Committee meetings mainly take place from 5pm with a small number during occurring business hours.

On appointment, all Governors will have a full induction process, including an initial discussion with the Chair and the Vice-Chancellor.

Board members are encouraged to take part in other University activities and will receive invitations to events such as graduation ceremonies, exhibitions and public lectures.

The University will ensure that members of the Board are regularly updated with relevant developments within the sector nationally and internationally.

How to apply

Anderson Quigley is acting as an employment advisor to Solent University, Southampton. An executive search process is being carried out by Anderson Quigley in addition to the public advertisement.

Should you wish to discuss the role in strict confidence, please contact our advising consultant at Anderson Quigley: Helene Usherwood on +44(0)7719 322 669.

The closing date for applications is noon on Monday 23 May 2022.

Applications should consist of:

  • A full CV including your educational and professional qualifications, full employment history, details of relevant achievements and contact details.
  • A covering letter stating how you meet the criteria in the Person Specification and outlining your motivation for applying for this role. Your covering letter should be a maximum of two sides of A4.
  • Details of two referees, though please note that we will not approach your referees without your prior consent and only should you be shortlisted.
  • Please follow the corresponding link below to complete an online Equal Opportunity Monitoring Form.

Completed applications should be uploaded at using the corresponding reference number from above.


Closing date: noon on Monday 23 May
Longlisting: Monday 6 June
Preliminary interviews with AQ 8, 9 and 10 June
Shortlisting Wednesday 29 June
Final interviews Wednesday 6 and Thursday 7 July 2022

On 6 July, Solent are proposing to set up a series of information gathering meetings with several groups including academics, executives, etc as well as a site tour.

The final interviews will then take place on 7 July on campus.

Solent will provide hotel accommodation for anyone who needs it for the night