Convener of Court Election

The Court is the University’s governing body and is the legal persona of the University. Collectively, it is responsible for the proper conduct of the University’s public business, for strategic vision, monitoring effectiveness and performance of the University, approving Finance, Estate, People & OD strategies including diversity and inclusion and ensuring the good name and values of the University. The Court has 25 members with each playing an integral role.

The Convener is responsible for the leadership and effectiveness of Court and for ensuring that the University is well connected with its stakeholders.   The Convener ensures that Court members work together effectively and efficiently, and that they observe the Code of Conduct for members of Court and as such endorse the Nine Principles of Public Life inScotland, as set out in the Ethical Standards in Public Life etc. (Scotland) Act 2000.

Following a recruitment process three candidates have been put forward for election. You can watch the hustings event which tool place on 9 June 2023.

Nicola Dandridge

If elected as Convenor, I would be committed to working with the Principal, the Court, the Rector, and the University’s community of staff, students and stakeholders, to realise its ambitions to transform lives through teaching, research, and civic engagement.

I am proud to have studied law at the University of Glasgow, before qualifying as a solicitor in Scotland and working as a trade union lawyer in Glasgow, specialising in employment and equality law. I then became chief executive of the Equality Challenge Unit, established to promote equality and diversity for staff and students in higher education, before leading Universities UK, the membership organisation for universities, whose role is to champion and promote the interests of universities nationally and internationally. In 2016, I was appointed the first chief executive of the Office for Students (OfS), the English regulator for higher education, where my extensive responsibilities included regulating in the interests of students, as well as the distribution of an annual budget of £1.4bn. I left the OfS last year to take up the role of professor of practice in higher education policy at the University of Bristol.

Throughout my career I have consistently championed the importance of equality and diversity, not only as a lawyer but also at the Equality Challenge Unit and subsequently: at Universities UK, I chaired national taskforces on harassment on campus and social mobility, and at the OfS I embedded social mobility and equality at the heart of its strategy.

I have extensive experience of governance, having served on the boards of several charities in Scotland and England (for example I am currently a trustee of the Council for At Risk Academics). I had in-depth exposure to university governance challenges when at the OfS. I am a member of the University’s Court, its Student Experience Committee and its Nominations Committee.

I believe profoundly in the transformative impact of higher education. The work of the University of Glasgow - its teaching, research or innovation - matters in so many different ways, economically, socially and culturally, for individuals, for Glasgow, for Scotland, and globally.

I believe that my experience of governance, combined with having been chief executive of three complex national organisations within the higher education sector, would enable me to undertake the role of Convenor effectively.

If appointed, I would continue the good work of our current Convenor to provide support to the Principal and senior team, and ensure that the Court and individual Court members were able to add demonstrable value to the University’s activities. I would ensure that principles of good governance were embedded in all the Court’s activities and I would actively promote the University’s values including our commitment to sustainable development.

I am particularly interested in prioritising the experience of students within the Court’s agendas, as well the University’s work on innovation and enterprise, research excellence, and the wellbeing of staff, both professional and academic.

Overall, I would act as a consistent and relentless champion for the work of this wonderful University.


Stuart Hoggan

For me, like so many others, Glasgow University opened up possibilities that were otherwise unavailable.  As an organisation and as a community, the University was very influential, not just in my professional life, but in forming my views and values and in shaping the person I became.  I was the first in my family to attend higher education - at my local university - and I am passionate about giving those with talent the same opportunities.  After a successful career working mainly as a Senior Civil Servant with Cabinet Ministers in successive administrations in Whitehall, now is the time to give something back.

As Convenor and chair of the Court, I would aim to harness the talents of all its members to help form the University’s strategy and ensure effective scrutiny and challenge of senior management in its delivery.

I will bring experience, commitment, insight and enthusiasm to the role, drawing on my career to date working in central and in local government, which included:

formulating and delivering major strategies and managing policy objectives in tension, while  helping safeguard the reputation of organisations

direct experience of the challenges of running large organisations - government departments, public bodies, a local authority - including strategy formulation, business and financial planning, and performance management

chairing boards and committees with a wide variety of senior stakeholders across the public sector, industry and voluntary and community sector, dealing with high profile, challenging and controversial subjects

leading negotiations across government departments, and with external stakeholders both at home and at multi-national level in Brussels

holding responsibility for multi-billion pound budgets

leading and developing large teams, with all the challenges and rewards that brings.

Above all, I prize the skills of consensus building and collaboration, across organisational boundaries and within teams, in support of shared objectives.  I firmly believe that the quality of the student experience and staff welfare are central to the success of our organisation.  I will ensure all voices are heard: students, staff - both academic and non-academic - and wider stakeholders.

As a member of Court for almost a year and a member of the Audit and Risk and Estates Committees, I have found there has been significant scope to transfer skills and experience from my earlier career.

Glasgow is a city with a proud heritage but with a recent history which is more chequered.  It is crucial for the reputation and future success of the city to host a world-leading institution like the University of Glasgow.  I admire the ambition of the University - but also respect that it is determined to succeed not simply for its own benefit, but on its own terms.  It is a values-driven organisation, focussed on global outcomes and local benefits for the city and its communities - values which I share.

Recently, the University has made huge strides forward, but challenging and risky times lie ahead.  Honour me with your support in this election, and I will give you my best to help maintain that upward trajectory.

Gavin Stewart

I have been a member of the University Court since 2017 and currently chair the Finance Committee.  During this time, I have gained a high degree of understanding of the HE landscape and the challenges facing the University, both strategic and operational.   It is clear that the next few years will continue to be challenging and that some major decisions will be faced.  I have experience of similar situations in other organisations and of involving a range of stakeholders to consider options and to make the necessary choices.

I have wide experience of the role of a non-executive and chair in other fields – both commercial and in the third sector, including as vice chair of Oxfam GB where I served on the board for 7 years.  I would bring to the role direct experience from my own NED and chair positions and also learning obtained by observing others operating in a governance role. 

For many years I worked as an executive at the highest levels within commercial organisations.   I have managed teams across a diverse range of disciplines including finance, IT and marketing.  I believe that breadth of experience helps me appreciate different perspectives and how to bring together the inputs of people from a range of backgrounds -  a key role for the convener is getting the best from all the members of court together with supporting the management, staff and students to be as successful as possible. 

Although the Principal has not determined a date, he has indicated he will retire during the term of office of the new Convenor of Court.  The prospective appointment of  a new principal is one of the most significant events a university faces.   It is possibly the single most important decision the University Court makes – I have experience from Oxfam of both the appointment of a chair (where I led the process) and a CEO (where I was vice chair for the process).  In both cases I was also heavily involved in supporting the new individual in the role once they joined.  Both appointments were in different ways challenging but resulted in successful outcomes with very talented individuals joining us.

When interviewed to join the Court, I was asked why I wanted to do it – I replied that I was in the first generation of my family to attend university and I wanted to help others get the benefits I did, by helping the organisation be successful.  Two of my children are also Glasgow graduates.  I live in the greater Glasgow area and spent around half my career working in Glasgow including five years running a successful business based in the city. 

I am passionate about the City of Glasgow and believe that a successful University is a critical part of the city’s future success.  I would regard it as a privilege to have the chance to contribute to that as Convener of Court.

Open meeting and Voting

An open meeting took place on Friday 9 June 2023 and the video to the recording is above. Each candidate was given the opportunity to give a short statement on why you should vote for them and we held a Q&A.

Voting has now closed and the new Convener of Court will be announced shortly.