Welcome to Cardiff University. I hope this information pack provides the answers that will inform your potential candidacy.
I joined Cardiff University as Chair of Council in 2022, and so I can share a little of my motivations for applying for that role, and what I have discovered about the University so far.
As an alumnus, I already had a connection to the University having graduated in 1987. My university experience transformed my life, and it was a desire to continue Cardiff’s history of enabling access to transformative higher educational experiences that motivated me to apply to become the Chair of Council. Cardiff University was created through a public appeal for funding and private donations, from those who recognised that students in Wales could not afford to travel to England and Scotland. Founded in 1883, it established a single-sex hall in 1885, enabling access for women to higher education. In 1910 it made Millicent MacKenzie the first female full professor at a fully chartered university.
That early commitment to social progress continues today. Cardiff feels a deep commitment to the communities that surround it, with long-established outreach programmes for the South Wales Valleys and our Community Gateway projects in Cardiff’s Butetown and Grangetown districts. It also extends its civic mission activity internationally, most notably in its relationship with the University of Namibia and most recently with National University “Zaphorizhzhia Polytechnic” (Ukraine).
Cardiff is a small, smart, capital city, and it’s developing at pace. It is distinctive from the rest of the UK through its embrace of Welsh language and culture, and its relaxed approach to its bilingualism is akin to that found in many European countries. It also has one of the UK’s oldest multi-racial communities and is an inherently friendly city – guests at our Open Days frequently comment on the warmth with which they are greeted by those within and outside the University.
The University is located in close proximity to Welsh Government, which holds devolved responsibility for higher education. Cardiff University has excellent working relationships with senior politicians and their advisors, reflecting the university’s centrality to the nation’s pursuit of its goals in terms of research and innovation, and social, economic and cultural development. Wales is the only country in the world to have a Wellbeing of Future Generations Act, enshrining in law the requirement on public bodies to consider the long-term impact of any policy decisions. Recently we agreed to be custodians of the Welsh Government’s £65 million international learning exchange programme, creating life-changing opportunities for students to travel, volunteer, learn and experience other cultures.
2023-24 is a hugely exciting time for Cardiff, as we have welcomed Professor Wendy Larner (previously Provost of Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand) as our new Vice-Chancellor and President from 1 September 2023. Professor Larner is the first female Vice-Chancellor in Cardiff University’s 140-year history. The Council will be working closely with Professor Larner and UEB to develop our new University Strategy over the coming year.
I hope that the information in this pack motivates you to apply to be a Lay Member of Cardiff University Council or an External Member of the Audit and Risk Committee. These stimulating and rewarding roles will provide the successful candidates with new challenges, including the opportunity for continued professional and personal development. It’s also a great way to make a difference directly in one of the UK’s leading educational institutions, helping to tackle the challenges of today and educating the leaders of tomorrow.
Chair of Council