Governors (Trustees) Job Description


St Chad’s is a distinctive, independent college within Durham University. A separate registered charity with its own governors, its origins date back to 1904 when it was created as a Church of England foundation to enable the ordination of clergy, who might not otherwise at the time gain access to higher education. St Chad’s today is a vibrant academic community of over 600 students, including 150 postgraduates, belonging to all disciplines, yet still animated by the same aspirations for service and inclusion, welcoming students of all faiths, cultures, nationalities, and backgrounds. Rooted in its strong Anglican Christian tradition, its culture is friendly, inclusive, intellectually curious and forward thinking.

St Chad’s historic buildings are situated on a World Heritage Site, adjacent to Durham Cathedral. Students and staff live and work side by side, sharing the life of a multigenerational and interdisciplinary scholarly community. The College has a strong tutorial system and is one of very few Durham colleges to have academic research staff based within it.

St Chad’s students are motivated to be high achievers, and regularly secure the highest academic results among the Durham colleges. Around their studies, they are encouraged to take part in programmes to promote volunteering and service in the wider community and region, especially where there is under-representation, and to support the College in its outreach with schools to raise educational aspiration in children and young people, so that as in the past they consider coming to Durham and St Chad’s.

Outside undergraduate term‐time, St Chad’s runs a full programme of commercial events, hospitality, and conferences. St Chad’s is committed to delivering the highest possible standards of service to all its stakeholders.

Our Objects

The objects of the College, according to our Articles of Association, are:

(i)         to advance education, learning, religion and research in accordance with the principles of the Church of England; and

(ii)        to provide a College for scholars and students of the University of Durham in which they may work for degrees and other qualifications of the University with particular regard to advancing their education, and their spiritual and personal wellbeing.

Our Vision

To be a hospitable, supportive, challenging community of learning which inspires and educates our members to contribute with imagination towards a sustainable and just present and future for our world.

Our Mission

Working together as a warm, reflective community which sustains an outstanding collegiate experience, we promote academic excellence and whole person development. In a context of unprecedented global challenges, we aim to encourage intellectual curiosity and thoughtful hope as we explore how to live more sustainably and equip our members to make a positive social impact.

Our Values

As an independent college within Durham University, we are defined by our founding commitment to justice, inclusion and service, shaped and inspired by our Anglican roots and our home in the North East region. We seek to live with integrity as a community which includes people of all faiths, beliefs, and backgrounds.

Our Governors

The Governors constitute the Legal Members of the College. They are the Members of the Association and Company that is St Chad’s College. They are thus Trustees of the registered charity, and directors of the limited company.

The Governors are appointed or elected in view of a regular skills audit, and to ensure a balance of people from the wider world, the university setting, women and men, and diversity, equity and inclusion:

  • The Chair, who is elected from among the other Governors or from among the alumni or from outside
  • The Principal ex officio
  • Those nominated by the Archbishop of York, the Bishop of Durham, the Bishop of Carlisle and the Bishop of Newcastle
  • Two members of the academic staff of the University approved by the University Council
  • The President of the Senior Common Room, ex officio a Fellow of the College
  • The President of the Middle Common Room (the postgraduate students) ex officio
  • The President of the Junior Common Room (the undergraduate students) ex officio
  • One other student Governor elected by the JCR or MCR, whichever is the larger
  • One of the Tutors
  • Others drawn from the alumni and from the north-east region, up to a maximum of 20 Governors in all

While there is no requirement for Governors to be Anglican (or even Christian), they are expected to be sympathetic to and supportive of the St Chad’s continuing Anglican heritage, values and ethos.

Responsibilities of our Governors

The responsibilities of the Governors are:

  • to govern the College, and advance the care, wellbeing and education of the students
  • to appoint the Visitor and the Rector, and to elect Governors and Fellows in accordance with the Statutes
  • to establish the College’s major policy and strategic decisions
  • To ensure the financial health, viability and development of the College [indicate level of turnover and value of assets]
  • To care for and develop the College’s estate and historic buildings
  • To foster the relationship between the College and the University
  • To be the employer of the College staff, and oversee their appointment, employment and dismissal
  • To support and advise the work of the Principal and College Officers
  • To have oversight of the College’s processes, policies and administration, including its register of risks, Safeguarding duties, and disciplinary, grievance and appeals procedures
  • To oversee the fulfilment of the College’s duties in respect of the Anglican parishes of which it is patron.

Expectations of our Governors

General Meetings of the College and Ordinary Meetings of the Governors are arranged well in advance, and all Governors are expected to make attendance a priority in view of the responsibilities involved. Governors usually meet 4 times a year in College in person. There may be extraordinary meetings to deal with special business, and these are normally held online. Every few years they would also be an Away Day for a deeper examination of strategy or a particular area of College Governors’ responsibilities.

There are also several Committees for the Governors to focus on particular areas of College governance, such as Finance, Audit, Estates, Development, Remuneration. In line with their skill set and expertise, Governors are encouraged to take part in one of these. There are some ad hoc bodies, such as panels for appeals or grievances, recruitment, and short-term project groups. Governors are also encouraged to stand ready to serve on them as needed.

Governors must be prepared to undertake training for their role. Some of this training, such as Safeguarding, is a statutory requirement. For more details and access to training modules and resources, a Governors’ Portal is available HERE on the St Chad’s College website.

Governors are required to act at all times in the best interests of the College (even if nominated by groups within College, or by the University, or a sponsoring Diocese), and regardless of any other interest. Duties and responsibilities are set out in the Charity Commission’s guidance, available on the Governors’ Portal.

Governors are also expected to support the College Strategy, and to uphold the College’s Memorandum and Articles of Association and the College Statutes, in keeping with the accountability due to the Charity Commission, the National Audit Office and the Office for Students. For further details and documentation, see the Governors’ Portal.

Governors are entitled to the reimbursement of reasonable expenses incurred on College business by prior agreement with the Chair of Governors or the Treasurer on production of the relevant receipts and vouchers, and always providing that these expenses may not be claimed from any other source.

Fr Mark Woodruff

Chair of Governors

St Chad’s College, University of Durham

1 February 2023