In most situations, the chancellor serves as a ceremonial head, while the vice-chancellor serves as both the top academic officer and the chief executive. However, in some universities the roles are combined into one office.
The chancellor is usually elected by the board of trustees or alumni association and works with the president to set policy for the university. The vice-chancellor is usually appointed by the president with approval from the board of trustees or alumni association and reports directly to the president. They are typically full-time employees of the university and receive a salary commensurate with other senior administrators.
Both officers play an important role in hiring decisions for upper level positions within the university administration. They will also have input into other major management decisions, such as those relating to faculty promotion and tenure. However, only the vice-chancellor can make hiring decisions for lower level administrative positions. Both the chancellor and the vice-chancellor can terminate their employment contracts at-will.
Universities across the United States have seen an increase in diversity among their student bodies, which has led many institutions to adopt more inclusive selection processes for campus leaders. Today, many universities select their chancellors through national searches conducted by consulting firms that specialize in higher education. These committees review candidates' resumes and interview them for possible nomination.
This is a list of university chancellors, vice-chancellors, and visitors in the United Kingdom. In most situations, the chancellor serves just as a ceremonial head, while the vice chancellor serves as both chief academic officer and chief executive. There are some positions that are specifically titled "chancellor" or "vice chancellor", such as the Chancellor and Vice-Chancellor of the University of London and the Chancellor and Vice-Principal for Research at the University of Cambridge. Other positions may have the title "Chancellor/Vice Chancellor" included in their job description.
The office of chancellor was created in the 12th century to replace the older office of master. The new position was intended to provide an individual who could be responsible for teaching as well as other aspects of university life. Although there had been attempts in the 11th century to find someone who was not a member of the university council to hold this office, it was not until 1230 that it was actually filled. From this time onwards, the office was always held by someone who was either a bishop or a nobleman.
In British universities, the chancellor is usually the main speaker at the graduation ceremony and often has a major role in other ceremonies as well. They are also generally involved in promoting awareness of the university among potential students and supporting staff members.
Essentially, the chancellor is the leader of any college or university, while the vice chancellor serves as the chancellor's deputy. However, they are not equal positions and may have different responsibilities at their respective institutions. At Harvard University, for example, the title of chancellor is held by a president who also has direct control over each of the school's colleges. The vice chancellor is in charge of administrative matters that do not require the president's attention.
At UC Berkeley, the chancellor is called the "executive head" of the campus, and the vice chancellor is its "administrative head." The two are appointed by the president of the university with the consent of the board of trustees.
At Yale University, the title of chancellor is reserved for members of the clergy while the vice chancellor is an elected position. The officeholder is referred to as the "president of Yale College."
In general, chancellors are responsible for managing the daily operations of their universities, including policy development and faculty hiring. Vice chancellors typically handle administrative duties that require supervision by a senior manager but not immediate contact with students and faculty. They may have some role in policy development, but usually have another staff member take on this function.
The chancellor is generally a ceremonial, non-resident leader of the university in most Commonwealth and former Commonwealth states. The vice-chancellor is the chief executive of a university at such institutions, and he or she may also hold other titles such as president (e.g., "president & vice-chancellor").
In Canada, the chancellor is an honorary position that can be held by someone who has made significant contributions to Canadian society. While there is no formal role for a person to become chancellor, they can be appointed by a governor general. The office does not have any special duties or powers, but it does include an annual salary of $255,000.
In Australia, the chancellor is the title given to the university's principal. The chancellor leads meetings of the university council, which sets policy for the institution. They are usually required to be graduates of Australian universities, although some current or former government ministers have been chosen as chancersers.
In New Zealand, the chancellor is the title given to the university's principal. The chancellor leads meetings of the board of management, which sets policy for the institution. They are usually required to be graduates of New Zealand universities, although some current or former government ministers have been chosen as chancers.
In England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, the chancellor is the title given to the university's principal. The chancellor leads meetings of the court of governors, which sets policy for the institution.
The Vice-Chancellor, on the other hand, is the university's senior academic. Their role is to give leadership and foster positive relationships among the university's numerous faculties. They administer the academic part of university administration together, with the assistance of pro-Vice Chancellors.
Universities began as schools where scholars could learn their disciplines from experts in those fields. As they grew in importance, they required administrative staff to manage financial matters, organize seminars and conferences, and provide guidance to students and faculty members. Thus, the need for a Vice-Chancellor was evident. Although many universities still have this position, others use other administrators to perform similar duties. For example, some universities with large graduate programs may have a Director of Graduate Studies or another title given to an administrator who performs similar functions.
A Vice-Chancellor is usually appointed upon approval by the board of directors of their institution. They are often selected because of their expertise in one or more areas related to education (such as law, business, or science), experience in management, commitment to higher learning, and desire to help advance the university. The Vice-Chancellor is usually not paid a salary but may be provided with an office and a staff to assist them in their work.
In larger universities, there may be more than one Vice-Chancellor, usually distinguished by length of service.