A chancellor is a leader of a college or university, usually either
the executive or ceremonial head of the university or of a university
In most Commonwealth and former Commonwealth nations, the chancellor
is usually a ceremonial non-resident head of the university. In such
institutions, the chief executive of a university is the
vice-chancellor, who may carry an additional title, such as "president
& vice-chancellor". The chancellor may serve as chairman of the
governing body; if not, this duty is often held by a chairman who may
be known as a pro-chancellor.
In many countries, the administrative and educational head of the
university is known as the president, principal or rector. In the
United States, the head of a university is most commonly a university
president. In U.S. university systems that have more than one
affiliated university or campus, the executive head of a specific
campus may have the title of chancellor and report to the overall
system's president, or vice versa.
1.1 Australia and New Zealand
1.2 Canada, United Kingdom, and Sri Lanka
1.5 Germany and Poland
1.6 Hong Kong
1.7 Turkey, Russia, and Ukraine
1.15 United States
2 University president
2.2 United Kingdom
2.3 United States
3.1 Australia and New Zealand
3.2 Canada and the United Kingdom
3.5 Sri Lanka
3.12 United States
4.1 United Kingdom
4.3 South Africa
5 See also
Australia and New Zealand
In both Australia and New Zealand, a chancellor is the chairman of a
university's governing body; thus, as well as having ceremonial
duties, the chancellor participates in the governance of the
university (but not its active management). The chancellor is assisted
by a deputy chancellor (known as the pro-chancellor in some
universities). The chancellor and deputy chancellor are frequently
drawn from the senior ranks of business or the judiciary (it is one of
the few jobs considered compatible with judicial service). Some
universities have a visitor who is senior to the chancellor.[citation
needed] University disputes can be appealed from the governing board
to the visitor (as is still the case in the UK), but nowadays, such
appeals are generally prohibited by legislation, and the position has
only ceremonial functions (unlike the chancellor and deputy
chancellor, who frequently preside at functions such as graduations,
the visitor rarely attends university functions). The vice-chancellor
usually serves as the chief executive of the university.
Macquarie University in Sydney is a noteworthy anomaly as it once had
the unique position of Emeritus Deputy Chancellor, a post created for
John Lincoln upon his retirement from his long-held post of deputy
chancellor in 2000. The position was not merely an honorary title, as
it also retained for Lincoln a place in the University Council until
his death in 2011.
Canada, United Kingdom, and Sri Lanka
See also: Ancient university governance in Scotland, Category:Canadian
university and college chancellors, and Chancellor of the University
of St Andrews
Lord Grenville as Chancellor of the University of Oxford; painting by
The Chancellor of the University of Oxford, Lord Patten, in procession
at Encaenia, 2009
Canadian universities and British universities in Scotland have a
titular chancellor similar to those in England and Wales, with
day-to-day operations typically handled by a principal. In Scotland,
for example, the chancellor of the
University of Edinburgh
University of Edinburgh is Anne,
Princess Royal, whilst the current chancellor of the University of
Aberdeen is Camilla, Duchess of Rothesay.
In Canada, the vice-chancellor usually carries the joint title of
"president and vice-chancellor" or "rector and vice-chancellor."
Scottish principals generally carry the title of "principal and
In Scotland, the title and post of rector is reserved to the third
ranked official of university governance. The position exists in
common throughout the five ancient universities of Scotland with
rectorships in existence at the universities of St Andrews, Glasgow,
Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Dundee, which is also considered to have
ancient status as a result of its early connections to the University
of St Andrews. The position of Lord Rector was given legal standing by
virtue of the Universities (Scotland) Act 1889.
Rectors appoint a rector's assessor, effectively a deputy or stand-in,
who may carry out their functions when they are absent from the
university. The Rector chairs meetings of the university court, the
governing body of the university, and is elected by the matriculated
student body at regular intervals (usually every three years to enable
every undergraduate who obtains a degree to vote at least once). An
exception exists at Edinburgh, where the (Lord) Rector is elected by
both students and staff.
In Finland, if the university has a chancellor (Finnish: Kansleri,
Swedish: Kansler), he is the leading official in the university. The
duties of the chancellor are mainly to promote sciences and to look
after the best interests of the university. As the rector of the
university (Finnish: rehtori, Swedish: rektor) remains the de facto
administrative leader and chief executive official, the role of the
chancellor is more of a social, political and even historical nature.
However some administrative duties still belong to the chancellor's
jurisdiction despite their often arguably ceremonial nature. Examples
of these include the appointment of new professors and docents.
The chancellor of
University of Helsinki
University of Helsinki (the oldest, largest and most
prestigious in Finland) has also the notable right to be present and
to speak in the plenary meetings of the Council of State when matters
regarding the university are discussed. Despite his role as the
chancellor of only one university, he is often regarded as the
political representative of Finland's entire university institution
when he exercises his rights in the Council of State.
In the history of Finland the office of the chancellor dates all the
way back to the Swedish Empire, and later the Russian Empire.
Historically the chancellor's duty was to function as the official
representative of the monarch in the autonomous university.
The number of chancellors in Finnish universities has declined over
the years, and in vast majority of Finnish universities the highest
official is the rector. The remaining universities with chancellors
are University of Helsinki, University of Turku, University of Tampere
and Åbo Akademi University.
In France, chancellor (chancelier) is one of the titles of the rector
(recteur), a senior civil servant of the Ministry of Education serving
as manager of a regional educational district (académie). In his
capacity as chancellor, the rector awards academic degrees to the
university's graduates, oversees the legality of the universities
executive acts and channels funding from the ministry. The rector has
no executive function in any university, but remains a member ex
officio of the board of every public university in his district.
Germany and Poland
In Germany (der Kanzler) and Poland (kanclerz), the chancellor is the
head of many universities' administration and the leader of the
non-academic staff while the rector is the academic head. In Poland,
the main academic bodies of the university consists of: rektor (the
head of the university), prorektor (deputy rektor), dziekan (the head
of the faculty), prodziekan (deputy dziekan), senat (the main council
of the university). In universities with presidential constitution,
the university's president holds both the functions of chancellor and
In Hong Kong, the
Chief Executive of Hong Kong
Chief Executive of Hong Kong (and before 1997,
Governor of Hong Kong) acts as the chancellor of all chartered
universities, which includes all eight public universities and Open
University of Hong Kong. Day-to-day operation is in the hands of
either a vice-chancellor (older and established institutions) or a
president (in newer institutions), depending on the institution.
Turkey, Russia, and Ukraine
In Turkey, Russia, and Ukraine, the chancellor is the head of the
university and is called "rector." Some universities in Russia and
Ukraine have figurehead "presidents."
In India, almost all universities have a chancellor as their titular
head whose function is largely ceremonial. The governor of the state,
appointed as the union's representative of state by the president,
acts as the chancellor of the university. The de facto head of the
university is the vice-chancellor. In private non-profit universities,
normally the head of the foundation who has established the university
is the chancellor of the university and is the head of the university.
His equivalent for engineering institutes is the director, even for
those engineering institutes that are university equivalents like the
Indian Institutes of Technology.
For private university unlike the chancellor who heads the
conventional Indian 'state university', the private university is
headed by a president or chairman of private organization and have
other posts like vice-chancellors, deans of faculties, registrar and
controller of examinations.
In Ireland, the four universities all have a chancellor as their
figurehead leader. However, day-to-day operations of the universities
are under the directorship of a president (a provost in the case of
Trinity College, Dublin). The National University of Ireland's
constituent universities do not have a chancellor each; rather, the
president of each constituent university has the title of
Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the NUI. In
Dublin City University
Dublin City University and the
University of Limerick, the chancellor is also the chairman of the
university's governing authority.
In Malaysia, the chancellor position is given to dignitaries such as
royalty or prominent politicians by universities to represent the
universities in the political arena. For example, the chancellor of
University of Malaya, the oldest university in Malaysia is Sultan
Nazrin Shah, the Sultan of Perak. His father, Sultan Azlan Shah also
served as chancellor at the same university until his death in 2014.
The chancellor of
Universiti Putra Malaysia
Universiti Putra Malaysia is the current Sultan of
Selangor, Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah, while the current Yang
di-Pertuan Besar of Negeri Sembilan,
Tunku Muhriz is the chancellor of
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia.
The chancellor of Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia, a university
situated in the state of Johor, is the current Sultan of Johor, Sultan
Datin Seri Jeanne Abdullah, the wife of the former Prime Minister of
Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi
Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was appointed as the new
Open University Malaysia
Open University Malaysia to take over the role from the
first chancellor, the late YBhg Datin Paduka Seri Endon Mahmood
(Abdullah Badawi's first wife).
Kuala Lumpur has given recognition to Tan Sri Datuk
Seri Panglima Dr. Abdul Rahman Arshad as its first chancellor.
In the Philippines, the
De La Salle University
De La Salle University designates the head of
its university as the chancellor. For the University of the
Philippines, the entire system is headed by a president, while the
eight constituent universities under the system is each headed by a
chancellor. The chancellor designates the different vice-chancellors
for different areas of concern of the university: academic affairs,
finance, and community affairs, among others. Some more universities
University of Santo Tomas
University of Santo Tomas and other colleges, institutions have
chancellors. Its Chancellor is the incumbent Master of the Order of
Preachers (Dominicans) meanwhile, the Vice Chancellor is the Prior
Provincial of the Dominican Province of the Philippines. Their roles
are largely ceremonial. The
University of Santo Tomas
University of Santo Tomas is governed
mainly by its Rector Magnificus in overseeing its academic, financial
and other affairs. On the other hand, the San Beda System, has the
Prior or the Abbot of
Our Lady of Montserrat Abbey (Manila)
Our Lady of Montserrat Abbey (Manila) as its
Chancellor for its Constituent Units while a Rector-President heads
each Constituent Unit.
Other universities in the Philippines (such as state universities like
Mindanao State University where each constituent campus is headed by
chancellor) are mostly headed by their respective university
presidents. Meanwhile, private (esp. Catholic) institutions are headed
by a Rector.
In Pakistan, chancellor is normally the figurehead of the university,
who is normally the provincial governor where that university exists.
Day-to-day business of the university is run by the vice chancellor.
Chancellor is a titular position in Bangladesh always held by the
President of Bangladesh
President of Bangladesh under the Private Universities Act
1992. The position in public universities is not fixed for the
president under any acts or laws (since the erection of a state
university in Bangladesh requires an act to be passed in itself),
but it has been the custom so far to name the incumbent president of
the country as chancellor of all state universities thus established.
The day-to-day business of the university is run by the vice
chancellor. He has a deputy called the pro-vice-chancellor.
In Nepal, universities have a chancellor as ceremonial head. The de
facto head of the university is the vice-chancellor. The chancellor is
primarily responsible for attending the convocation programmes and
accepting the resignation and appointment letter of a new
vice-chancellor. Generally, the prime minister is considered the
chancellor, and in his absence, the minister of education acts as the
See also: List of longest serving higher education presidents
In the United States, heads of colleges and universities are typically
called "president." A multi-campus university system may be headed by
a chancellor who serves as system-wide chief, with presidents
governing individual institutions: for example, the City University of
New York. There are also some university systems, such as the North
Carolina, Illinois, Missouri, Massachusetts, Wisconsin and California
university systems, in which those two titles are reversed. At
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, which is a single unified
university with three campuses, the chief officers of the two smaller
campuses at Camden and Newark are called chancellors, a renaming from
Rutgers University itself has a president as the chief
Presidents are the functional chief executive officers of most
standalone U.S. universities; however, a few universities, such as
Syracuse University and the University of Pittsburgh, have a
chancellor as the chief executive officer. There are occasional other
uses of the title chancellor. The College of William & Mary uses
chancellor in the British sense, as a figurehead leader, but the
actual executive of the school is the "president," not a
"vice-chancellor." Some schools, such as Lubbock Christian University,
give the ceremonial title of "chancellor" to a retiring university
The Catholic University of America
The Catholic University of America is headed by a president
(formerly "rector"), with the Archbishop of Washington serving as
chancellor, a ceremonial position but one which does require the
archbishop to represent the university before the Holy See. This
scenario, while not always exactly duplicated, is typical in other
Catholic universities due to the Catholic hierarchy. In some schools
run by Catholic religious orders, the rector of the community
supersedes the president when the individual is a member of that
The title "chancellor" is sometimes used in K-12 education in a sense
similar to superintendent of schools, particularly in urban school
New York City Schools Chancellor
New York City Schools Chancellor is the chief executive
officer of the New York City Department of Education, which manages
the city's public school system (the largest in the United States).
The leader of the
District of Columbia Public Schools
District of Columbia Public Schools system is also
referred to as the chancellor.
University president is the title of the highest-ranking officer
within the academic administration of a university, within university
systems that prefer that appellation over other variations such as
chancellor or rector. The relative seniority varies between
In France, the president is the elected chair of the board and chief
executive officer in universities. The president is always elected by
the board among the professors of the university. He serves a
four-year term which is renewable once. The chancellor is a servant
of the Ministry of Education who supervises regional educational
districts. There is no hierarchical relation between the president and
In Northern Ireland, the president is the chief academic and
administrative officer of the university and is usually also the
vice-chancellor of the university. The private London based
liberal-arts university Richmond, The American International
University in London utilises the same system as in the United States
but also with a ceremonial Chancellor as figurehead.
In most stand-alone universities and colleges in the United States,
the chief executive officer is called the president, while the second
in command is called the provost. In some multi-campus state
university systems, the chancellor has authority over all universities
in the system, and therefore ranks higher than the presidents of
individual universities within the system. In other state university
systems, the president has authority over multiple campuses, each of
which is headed by a chancellor who is under the authority of the
The average salary for a college presidents in private, non-profit
institutions in 2015 was $569,932, 9 percent higher than in 2014.
A "vice-chancellor" (commonly called a "VC") of a university in
England, Wales, Northern Ireland, New Zealand, Australia, India,
Bangladesh, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, South Africa,
other Commonwealth countries, and some universities in Hong Kong is
the chief executive of the university. In Scotland, Canada, and
Ireland, the chief executive of a university is usually called
principal or president with vice-chancellor being an honorific
associated with this title, allowing the individual to bestow degrees
in absence of the chancellor.
Strictly speaking, the VC is only a deputy to the chancellor of the
university, but the chancellor is usually a prominent public figure
who acts as a ceremonial figurehead only (e.g., the chancellor of the
University of Cambridge
University of Cambridge for 36 years was Prince Philip), while the
vice-chancellor acts as the day-to-day chief executive. An assistant
to a vice-chancellor is called a pro-vice-chancellor or deputy
vice-chancellor; these were traditionally academics who were elected
to take on additional responsibilities in addition to their regular
teaching and research for a limited time, but are now increasingly
commonly permanent appointments. In some universities (e.g. in
Australian universities: Deakin University, Macquarie University),
there are several deputy vice-chancellors subordinate to the
vice-chancellor, with pro-vice-chancellor being a position at
executive level ranking below deputy vice-chancellor.
There are a few exceptions within England. For example, the charter of
University of Manchester
University of Manchester provides for the vice-chancellor to also
use the title president, and the first vice-chancellor, Alan Gilbert
(2004–10), used president as his main title. The University of
Warwick now officially uses "vice-chancellor and president" (VCP),
although the holder is usually still known as the vice-chancellor in
all but official documents. The chief executives of the constituent
colleges of the University of London, many of which are now
functionally independent universities, generally use the title
"Principal", although the chief executive of
Imperial College has the
Australia and New Zealand
The executive head of an Australian university is the vice-chancellor,
who serves as the university equivalent of a chief executive
officer. The vice-chancellor is responsible for the day-to-day
operations of the university and reports directly to the University
Council, which the chancellor heads. Assisting the vice-chancellor,
the roles of deputy vice-chancellors and pro vice-chancellors have
emerged to better manage the administrative overhead of the
Canada and the United Kingdom
Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford; painting
by Gilbert Jackson
Canadian university vice-chancellors almost always carry the title of
"president (or equivalent) and vice-chancellor"; likewise, in
Scotland, they hold the position of "principal and vice-chancellor,"
as do a few Canadian universities such as Queen's and McGill. In the
Scottish practice, the one individual may have two sets of official
robes, reflecting a continuing division of responsibilities between
the two posts. The vice-chancellor's robes, therefore, should not be
worn in the presence of the chancellor but should only be worn when
deputizing for the chancellor.
In India, most central and state level universities have a titular
head called chancellor who is either an eminent person appointed by
the Government of India (in central universities) or provincial
governor (in state universities). The de facto head of a university is
the vice-chancellor, the highest paid official of the university. Next
in command are more than one pro-vice-chancellor in charge of academic
as well as administrative and financial affairs. In deemed
universities and institutes of national importance, the head of the
institution is either called director general or director, the latter
designation being more commonly used in academic terms in the
President of Bangladesh
President of Bangladesh is the titular chancellor of all
universities in Bangladesh, public or private. The vice chancellor is
the executive head, and his deputy, the pro-vice chancellor holds a
full-time administrative office.
In Sri Lanka, all the government universities are administered by the
In Sudan, universities are administered by the vice-chancellor .
In Kenya, Chancellors are titular heads of public universities, either
appointed by the head of state (president) directly, or, in newly
introduced legislation, at the recommendation of senate and alumni of
the university. The day-to-day running of universities is the
responsibility of the vice-chancellors. "Rector" and "president" are
not commonly used terms in university administration.
In Nigeria, chancellors are ceremonial heads of public universities
(mostly traditional monarchs), appointed by the head of state
(president), governor of a state (in the case of state-owned
universities) or assumed by the owner of a private university. The
day-to-day running of universities is the responsibility of the
vice-chancellors. "Rector" and "president" are not commonly used terms
in university administration.
In Ireland, day-to-day operations of the universities are under the
directorship of a president (a provost in the case of Trinity College
Dublin). However, the president of each constituent university of the
National University of Ireland
National University of Ireland also has the title of
pro-vice-chancellor of the NUI.
In the Philippines,
University of Santo Tomas
University of Santo Tomas the day-to-day head of
the university, as mandated by his duty as the
Prior Provincial of the
Philippine Dominican Province, the Dominican province that has
majority control over the university.
As said earlier, the vice-chancellor or the "grand vice-chancellor of
the University of Santo Tomas" is only the deputy to the chancellor of
the university, but the chancellor is usually a prominent public
figure who is not always in the country (e.g., the chancellor of
University of Santo Tomas
University of Santo Tomas is the current Master of the Order of
Preachers, the current being Very Rev. Fr. Bruno Cadoré, OP, while
the rector acts as the day-to-day chief executive). The current vice
chancellor of UST is the
Prior Provincial of the Philippine Dominican
Province, Very Rev. Fr. Napoleon Sipalay, OP. The current rector of
the university is Rev. Fr. Herminio V. Dagohoy, OP.
In the University of the Philippines, the chancellor assigns different
vice-chancellors to handle different aspects of running the
university. There is one for instruction, administration, and
community affairs, among others.
In Sweden, the rektor (rector) is the head of a Swedish university,
but the word vice-chancellor (vicekansler) is often used as the
English translation of rektor. The vice-chancellor (vicekansler) is
also an honorary title given to the rectores magnifici at the
universities of Lund and Uppsala.
In the United States, a vice-chancellor is an assistant to a
chancellor, who is generally the (actual, not merely ceremonial) head
of one campus of a large university which has several campuses. The
head of the entire university is the president (the equivalent of a
Commonwealth vice-chancellor), the chancellor is in charge of one
campus, and a vice-chancellor is one of the chief assistants. Some
systems, such as the California State University, Pennsylvania State
System of Higher Education, and
University of Mississippi
University of Mississippi invert this
ranking so that the chancellor is the head of the entire university.
At the University of the South, the vice-chancellor is the
administrative head of the university (as well as mayor of the town of
Sewanee). The chancellor is a bishop of one of the 28 southeastern
Episcopal dioceses that own the university and is elected by the
members of the Board of Trustees. The chancellor neither resides at
the university nor holds administrative power; the office of
chancellor is a ceremonial one.
The principal is the chief executive and the chief academic officer of
a university or college in certain parts of the Commonwealth.
A "director" is the chief executive officer of a university or other
educational institution. Equivalent names in different countries are
vice-chancellor (many Commonwealth countries), chancellor (United
States), principal (Scotland and Canada), and university president.
See also: Ancient university governance in Scotland
In Scotland, the principal is appointed by the university court or
governing body of the university and will be chairman or president of
the body of academics. In the case of the ancient universities of
Scotland, the principal is president of the academic senate. The
principal also holds the title of vice-chancellor, but their powers
with regard to this position extend only to the awarding of degrees,
as both the vice-chancellor and chancellor are titular posts.
Queen's University and
McGill University in Canada have principals
instead of presidents as a result of their Scottish origins. In
Royal Military College of Canada
Royal Military College of Canada also has a principal.
Further information: List of South African university chancellors and
vice-chancellors, List of Vice-Chancellors and Chancellors of the
University of Pretoria, Chancellor of the University of Cape Town, and
Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cape Town
In South Africa, the Higher Education Act 101 of 1997 defines the
principal as "the chief executive and accounting officer of a public
higher education institution." The definition allows for the
alternative nomenclatures of vice-chancellor and a rector, and these
terms are in widespread use (the term vice-chancellor is more common
in English-medium universities, whilst the term rector tends to be
used in Afrikaans-medium universities). The exact name in a particular
university will be defined by the Institutional Statute. The same act
defines the chancellor as the titular head of an institution.
Lists of university leaders
Administrators: trustee, president, vice president, university
principal, dean, provost, rector
Other: college, faculty, professor
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