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Appointment of a new Vice-Chancellor

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Roles and responsibilities

Policy information

Approved by Council May 2007
Reviewed by VCMAG, ERMC, UHRC, Senate, IF, Council (view acronym list)
Updated ERMC, VCMAG August 2014
Policy owner Staff Recruitment Office
Enquiries Manager, Staff Recruitment Office (view contacts)

Policy summary

  1. The initial term of appointment of a Vice-Chancellor (VC) is for five years, unless there are special circumstances.
    • There is no limit to the number of contract renewals, subject to performance assessments and institutional need.
    • Any renewal will be for a period not exceeding five years, but could be longer if Council decides, particularly where this would take the incumbent to normal retirement age.
  2. Specific criteria are set by Council after consultation, for the selection of a Vice-Chancellor.
  3. In constituting the selection committee, the Chair of Council consults with key constituencies across the University.
  4. The Chair of Council consults the Institutional Forum (IF) and Council on the process followed in constituting the selection committee, and obtains Council's verification.
  5. Terms of reference of the selection committee include specific voting rules.
  6. The quorum for all meetings of the selection committee is half of its full composition.
  7. Recruitment and selection procedure:
    • A selection committee meets to decide on the search methods.
    • Applications are received and candidates shortlisted.
    • An open stakeholder process takes place where appropriate.
    • Shortlisted candidates undergo final interviews
    • The selection committee makes a final recommendation.
  8. Approval procedure:
    • Senate must support the recommendation by a given percentage.
    • The Institutional Forum verifies the selection process followed and reports to Council.
    • Council makes the appointment.

Purpose

  • This policy is intended to ensure that the University identifies and appoints the best available candidate, who will identify with the aims of the University as set out in the mission statement, and best meet the criteria set by Council for the position.
  • Please read together with the University's general Academic Recruitment Policy.

Applicable to

  • The recruitment and selection of a new Vice-Chancellor.

Not applicable to

Policy details

  1. Appointment conditions
    1. 1.1 The initial term of appointment of a Vice-Chancellor (VC) is for five years, unless there are special circumstances.

    2. 1.2 There is no limit to the number of contract renewals, which are subject to performance assessments, institutional need and the Policy on re-appointment of an incumbent Vice-Chancellor.

    3. 1.3 Any renewal will be for a period not exceeding five years, but could be longer if Council decides, particularly where this would take the incumbent to normal retirement age.

  2. Specific criteria are used in the selection of a Vice-Chancellor
    1. 2.1 A key criterion is that he or she enjoys the confidence of Senate, Council and other members of the University.

    2. 2.2 The Chair of Council will consult with key constituencies on the key criteria and challenges facing the University at that time.

    3. 2.3 After extensive consultation, the criteria for the position of VC will be set by Council on the advice of the Chair of Council, and after having taken and considered the advice of the Institutional Forum (IF).

    4. 2.4 The Chair of Council, with the assistance of the Human Resources department (HR) drafts the advertisement and position description taking into account the criteria above, and puts these to the selection committee for approval.

  3. In constituting the selection committee, the Chair of Council consults with key constituencies across the University
    1. 3.1 As the process of constituting the selection committee is lengthy, it should begin eighteen months before the post becomes vacant.

    2. 3.2 HR, together with other administrative departments, assists the Chair of Council in compiling the selection committee.

    3. 3.3 The selection committee must include:
      1. The Chair of Council (Chair);
      2. Four external Council members, elected by the Council;
      3. Two Deans, elected by Senate;
      4. Two Employment Equity Representatives, elected by the Chair and Co-Chairs of the Institutional Forum (IF);
      5. Three Professors (excluding Deans), chosen from a panel of five, elected by Senate;
      6. Two non-Professorial members of the academic staff, chosen from a panel of five, elected by the academic staff (who are not Professors);
      7. One PASS staff member in payclass 13, chosen from a panel of five, elected by that group of staff;
      8. One PASS staff member in payclasses 5 to 12, chosen from a panel of five, elected by that group of staff;
      9. One PASS staff member in payclasses 1 to 4, chosen from a panel of five, elected by that group of staff;
      10. Three students (at least one of whom will be a postgraduate student), elected by the SRC;
      11. Up to three co-opted members to ensure appropriate balance and diversity, elected by Council.
    4. 3.4 No member of the selection committee may apply for, or accept nominations for the position of VC.

    5. 3.5 The Registrar should remain independent of this appointment process and would therefore not serve on the selection committee.

  4. The Chair of Council consults the Institutional Forum and Council on the process followed in constituting the selection committee, and obtains Council's verification
    1. 4.1 After the Chair of Council has constituted the selection committee, he/she must:
      1. Report on the process followed to the Institutional Forum (IF) and invite the IF to advise Council as to whether the selection committee was constituted in terms of these rules and as to whether diversity, experience and expertise is provided for in the composition; and
      2. Put the composition and the IF's advice to Council for verification.
  5. Terms of reference of the selection committee
    1. 5.1 The selection committee must attempt to reach consensus on a shortlist and a final candidate, voting only when this is not possible.

    2. 5.2 Where it votes, a two-thirds majority of those present will be required for a candidate to be recommended.

    3. 5.3 No member of the selection committee may vote on the final candidate if he or she was not present at an interview of all of the candidates who are considered in that vote.

  6. Quorum
    1. 6.1 The quorum for all meetings of the selection committee is half of its full composition, which must include an employment equity representative.

  7. Recruitment and selection procedure

    Search meeting

    1. 7.1 The selection committee meets first as a search committee, to ensure that it has a common understanding of the criteria for appointment and to determine the search methods and the timeframe for the recruitment and selection process, and to finalise the advertisement and position description.

    2. 7.2 The University's Employment Equity Policy applies at all levels within the university and recruitment decisions at the senior level must show commitment to the policy. Every effort must be made to draw on the widest pool of talent available in filling the post of VC.

    3. 7.3 The search methods may include advertising publicly, a direct search for an internal or external candidate, or any other appropriate course of action.

    Shortlist

    1. 7.4 The selection committee receives applications and creates a shortlist of candidates for further assessment and selection.

    2. 7.5 The selection must be based on the normal requirements of a letter of motivation, a curriculum vitae, referees' reports and any other information which the selection committee determines, but must maintain the privacy of individuals and the confidentiality of its proceedings until a decision has been made on the final shortlist for interviews.

    Open process prior to interviews

    1. 7.6 The selection committee will normally require short-listed candidates to meet and engage with members, or groups or members of the university in an open process.

    2. 7.7 The form of the process will be determined by the selection committee and could entail a public presentation to staff or groups of staff (which will be advertised internally in the University), whereafter these groups may submit comments to the selection committee.

    3. 7.8 At this point the names of the shortlisted candidates will become public and each candidate on the shortlist must confirm his/her candidacy and agree to participate in the open process.

    4. 7.9 A candidate who wishes to maintain confidentiality of his/her application will understandably not wish to participate in an open process. The selection committee may then decide to forgo this step in the process for all candidates, or to proceed with the open process, in which case the candidate concerned is free to withdraw his/her application before the shortlist is made public.

    Final interview and recommendation

    1. 7.10 The selection committee must interview each candidate on the final shortlist. The structure of the interview is determined by the selection committee and HR may advise the selection committee on appropriate selection methodologies to use.

    2. 7.11 The selection committee then makes a recommendation. It must make every effort to reach its decision by consensus. Failing this, a recommendation requires at least two-thirds of the members present to be in favour of the decision.

  8. The approval process

    Senate

    1. 8.1 The selection committee submits the name and full curriculum vitae of the recommended candidate/s to a meeting of the Senate, and presents its reasons for the recommendation.

    2. 8.2 If in a secret ballot at least two-thirds of the members of Senate present and voting express confidence in the candidate/s, and provided that the members present at the meeting constitute a quorum, the selection committee forwards its recommendation to Council.

    3. 8.3 If the candidate/s fails to gain this level of confidence in the Senate, the selection committee must meet a committee elected by the Senate to discuss Senate's response.

    4. 8.4 After considering Senate's view, and after giving due weight to the importance of ensuring that the new Vice-Chancellor has the support of Senate, the selection committee will decide whether to submit its recommendation to Council, or to continue the selection process, or to submit a report to Council and request Council to make a decision as to the way forward.

    5. 8.5 If the selection committee decides to submit its recommendation to Council, Senate will be entitled to submit a report on its views direct to Council.

    Institutional Forum

    1. 8.6 The selection committee reports on the process followed to the Institutional Forum (IF) including steps taken to meet equity targets, but not the names of any candidates or the recommended candidate/s. The IF then submits its report to Council verifying the process that has been followed, with any further recommendations.

    2. 8.7 If the IF is not satisfied that the correct process has been followed, it must state its reasons and make suggestions as to how any actual or perceived deficiencies should be resolved as part of a dialogue with the selection committee. These matters, including outcomes, must be reported to Council, which makes the final decision on how to proceed.

    Council

    1. 8.8 The selection committee submits a full report on the recruitment and selection process, together with the reports of Senate and the IF, to Council. This report includes an abbreviated curriculum vitae of the recommended candidate/s, the selection committee's reasons for recommending the candidate/s and the names of the other short-listed candidates.

    2. 8.9 Every Council member has the right to inspect the full selection committee record (including all applications and referees' reports). This is made available to Council members by the HR department.

    3. 8.10 Council may choose to meet the candidate, on a formal or informal basis, prior to making its decision.

    4. 8.11 In making its decision, Council attempts to reach consensus and will have regard to the importance of ensuring that any Vice-Chancellor enjoys the support of both Senate and Council.

    5. 8.12 Council is entitled to take a decision in this matter by simple majority, but it may determine that a greater majority is required with respect to this particular matter. Should Council not approve the recommendation, it refers the matter back to the selection committee for further consideration.

    6. 8.13 Ordinarily, Council will decide the matter by ballot.

Related links

Process flow

Policy on re-appointment of an incumbent Vice-Chancellor

Academic recruitment policy

Employment equity policy

Roles and responsibilities

This is a guideline to the internal UCT roles and responsibilities involved in the appointment process for a new Vice-Chancellor.

Read in conjunction with HR Delegated Authorities.

Role Responsibilities
Human Resources (HR) HR Practitioner
  • Informs Chair of Council of vacancy eighteen months prior.
Staff Recruitment Advisor
  • Assists Chair of Council with constituting selection committee, which involves an online voting process.
  • Assists Chair of Council with completing selection committee form HR166 and obtains Chair of Council's signature.
  • Assists Chair of Council in consultation processes with key constituencies on position criteria.
  • Assists Chair of Council with drafting of advert and position description.
  • Provides support for full recruitment, selection and approval procedures.
  • Writes up all reports and recommendations.
  • Forwards relevant appointment documentation, including appointment form HR100c, to Appointments Office for preparation of letter of offer.
Appointments Office
  • Prepares offer to successful candidate and obtains Chair of Council's signature.
  • Liaises with Remuneration Committee on Cost Of Employment.
  • Liaises with candidate, Chair of Council and other key stakeholders on issues pertaining to offer.
  • Completes any other relevant HR forms pertaining to offer, e.g. additional allowances.
  • Copies offer letter to relevant HR Practitioner.
  • Sends relevant HR forms to HR Administrator once candidate has accepted.
HR Administrator
  • Captures appointment on SAP.
Chair of Council
  • Chairs selection committee.
  • Consults with key constituencies on composition of selection committee and position criteria.
  • Submits reports to IF and Council on processes followed in compiling selection committee and position criteria.
  • Submits selection committee's reports and recommendations to Senate, IF and Council.
Selection committee
  • Conducts full recruitment and selection process in accordance with policy and procedures.
Senate
  • Considers selection committee's report, conducts a secret ballot vote and makes recommendation to Council.
Institutional Forum (IF)
  • Chair and Co-Chairs elect two Employment Equity Representatives, which may involve consultation with members of the IF or UTAC.
  • Receives report from Chair of Council on the process followed in constituting the selection committee and advises Council as to whether the selection committee was constituted in terms of the rules.
  • Verifies recruitment process report from selection committee and recommends to Council.
Council
  • Nominates members for the selection committee.
  • Considers reports and recommendations from the selection committee, Senate and IF.
  • Makes the appointment.

Page last updated: 13 October 2014