Recruitment and Appointment of the Head of School Procedure

Document Number000980
Date Approved25 June 2012

Provisions relating to the Head of School are now in this new document Recruitment and Appointment of the Head of School Procedure. The formal rescission of Clause 7 relating to the Appointment and Term of Office of Head of School in the Rules Governing Schools 000309 is expected to be approved by Council in the near future.



1.      Context

This procedure supports the University’s

  1. vision of aspiring to be a global leader in all of its spheres of achievement by facilitating the recruitment, selection and appointment of world class academic leaders to the Head of School position; and
  2. commitment to transparent merit-based appointments.

This Procedure should be read in conjunction with the Delegation of Authority Policy 000083, the Conflicts of Interest Policy 000934, the values of the University’s Code of Conduct 000059, and the Recruitment Policy 000924.

2.      Procedure

2.1.    Recruitment

2.1.1. The recruitment of a Head of School will be initiated by the Pro Vice-Chancellor in anticipation of, or due to the sudden creation of, a vacancy in a current Head of School position or the creation of a new position. 

2.1.2. The Vice-Chancellor may approve the creation [or disestablishment] of a Head of School position.

2.1.3. Any determination to recruit, select or appoint a Head of School will be informed by a strategic analysis of the School, its staff and performance against the current vision, strategic priorities and Key Performance Indicators.  This analysis will be undertaken by the Pro Vice-Chancellor and reported to the Vice-Chancellor.

2.1.4. The Pro Vice-Chancellor will be accountable to the Vice-Chancellor for oversight and the completion of the Head of School recruitment procedure which should include external advertising, interviewing and the formation of a selection committee as determined by the Vice-Chancellor.  The Vice-Chancellor has the capacity to vary this procedure and in doing so will specify any variation and the reason[s] for varying the procedure.

2.1.5. Recruitment for a Head of School position will be competitive through an open process, assisted by a professional search firm with a track record of achievement in the field.

2.2.    Position Description and Selection Criteria

2.2.1. The Position Description for the role, which includes information about the position, the selection criteria, qualifications and skills required of the role, will be created and approved by the Vice-Chancellor on advice from the Pro Vice-Chancellor prior to advertising.  The Selection Committee (refer s2.3.1) will be determined by the Vice-Chancellor on advice from the relevant Pro Vice-Chancellor.  A generic Head of School position description is used as a baseline; this should be reviewed and amended to reflect the strategic context and intent on each occasion.

2.2.2. Additionally an ‘Information Booklet’ which captures relevant and appropriate information about the position, the University, the Newcastle community and the environment should be developed by the Pro Vice-Chancellor in consultation with the Vice-Chancellor, Human Resource Services, Marketing and Public Relations and the search firm.

2.2.3. In forming the selection criteria, the Pro Vice-Chancellor will consider and advise the Vice-Chancellor on the qualifications, experience, knowledge and personal attributes relevant to the position. The selection criteria used must enable accurate assessment by the selection committee.

2.2.4. The Pro Vice-Chancellor, in consultation with Human Resource Services, will consider and recommend to the Vice-Chancellor the selection techniques and processes to be utilised, in addition to interview[s] - for example, use of background checks, focus groups, tasks, seminar presentations and timing of referee reports.   Background checks and referee reports are mandatory.

2.3.    Selection Committee

2.3.1. The Vice-Chancellor will convene a selection committee comprising:

  1. the Vice-Chancellor (Chair)
  2. Pro Vice-Chancellor (of relevant Faculty)
  3. a Deputy Vice-Chancellor
  4. President Academic Senate
  5. up to two (2) senior members of staff appointed by the Vice-Chancellor, including where appropriate a Director of a Priority Research Centre.
  6. up to two (2) external distinguished persons appointed by the Vice-Chancellor on advice of the Pro Vice-Chancellor
  7. Director, Human Resource Services.

2.3.2.  All members of the selection committee are required to meet in person wherever possible.  Where it is not possible to attend in person a committee member may join the proceedings via teleconference.

2.4.    Approval of Appointment

2.4.1  The selection committee is an advisory committee to the Vice-Chancellor who will make a final determination, approving the appointment of the Head of School.

2.4.2  The term of office is to be determined by the Vice-Chancellor up to a maximum of five (5) years subject to satisfactory performance.

2.4.3. The Pro Vice-Chancellor will recommend to the Vice-Chancellor the terms and conditions of the offer of employment to be made to the Head of School.

2.4.4. The Vice-Chancellor will make any determination in relation to the remuneration package and any other incentive or commitments to be entered into.

2.5.    Documentation

2.5.1. All documentation associated with the recruitment and appointment will be created and retained by Human Resource Services (Director or nominee).

2.6.    Remuneration

2.6.1.  A Head of School must perform at the level of Professor Level E.

2.6.2.  A Head of School allowance will be paid to the incumbent which reflects the size and complexity of the School as well as market positioning.

2.6.3 A Head of School will receive a car allowance as part of their remuneration package. 

2.7.    Re-appointment

2.7.1. The Vice-Chancellor will make a determination on the re-appointment of the Head of School upon recommendation from the Pro Vice-Chancellor.  The process for making this determination is at the discretion of the Pro Vice-Chancellor and will include consideration of the Head of School’s performance in the role, their contribution to the broader University objectives as evidenced through Performance Development Framework feedback, School achievement against Key Performance Indicator targets and strategic directions of the University.

3.      Essential Supporting Documents

Conflicts of Interest Policy 000934

Delegation of Authority Policy 000083

4.      Related Documents

University of Newcastle Act 1989

Code of Conduct Policy 000059



Approval AuthorityVice-Chancellor
Date Approved25 June 2012
Date for Review25 June 2015
Policy SponsorVice-Chancellor
Policy OwnerDirector, Human Resource Services
Policy ContactDirector, Human Resource Services
Amendment History

New procedure effective from 25 June 2012.