The contenders for the post of chairman of the Committee of Vice Chancellors and Principals threw their hats into the ring last week.
Peter Toyne, vice chancellor of Liverpool John Moores University, is the first of the new university heads to contend. He is up against Sir Frederick Crawford, vice chancellor of the University of Aston in Birmingham and Brian Fender of Keele University.
Sir Frederick is currently vice chairman of CVCP. He has stood for the position of chairman once before and was unsuccessful. Professor Fender is tipped as the most likely to succeed.
The Electoral Reform Society sent out ballot papers on Tuesday. Vice chancellors have to return them by December 13 and the result will be announced on December 16.
The new chairman will take over next summer from Kenneth Edwards, vice chancellor of Leicester University. He will also share his responsibilities with a new chief executive, whose job description is being drawn up, and will be presented to the CVCP council meeting in January.
In the same week as Professor Toyne put in his application, a press release was put out by his own university declaring that 60 per cent of staff were critical of the management of the university.
Almost one third of Liverpool John Moores University staff responded to a survey, which was designed to advise managers about the quality of systems and communications internally, and to provide important benchmarks for future management policies.
Professor Toyne said: "We have experienced an extraordinary degree of change in a short space of time and it is up to me and my senior colleagues to ensure that the university's staff, at all levels, are kept informed and involved. The lesson of this exercise is that we must try harder -- and we will."