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Role Description – Pro Vice-Chancellor and Head of College

Salary: From £119,000 per annum 
Location: Regent Street, London 
Reporting Line: Vice Chancellor and President or delegate
Grade: Level 6

Role Purpose

To provide strategic leadership to the College and across the University, as members of the University’s Executive Board (UEB), to represent the University and to promote its values, distinctiveness and mission within London, nationally and internationally.

Pro Vice-Chancellors (PVCs) are accountable for providing academic leadership to deliver successful, high quality transformative learning and an exceptional experience for all students, ensuring that each College provides an infrastructure for high performing academic Schools, to contribute to a focussed, high-performing University.

To provide leadership and management of the College, to represent the College’s interests in the formulation of University policy; to be responsible for the implementation of University policy within the College; to manage colleagues and resources of the College in a manner consistent with University policy and nurture inter-disciplinary and cross-School working.

In discharging these responsibilities, PVCs are supported by Associate Heads of College and Heads of Schools and may draw on the support of the Vice Chancellor and other members of the Executive, Directors of the University’s Professional Services as well as local administrative teams.

The broad responsibilities of the PVC include:

  • Academic leadership
  • Strategic and operational planning
  • Finance and infrastructure management
  • Colleague development and management

Principal Accountabilities


To promote and foster excellence in teaching and learning, research, knowledge exchange, management and administration within and outside the College.

To establish an ethos of awareness and continuous enhancement of learning and teaching and the wider student experience and promote activity to support this within the College and beyond.

To build leadership capability, research profiles and academic reputation across the College, so colleagues are suitably prepared to take on more senior leadership roles in the future and ensure that succession planning is integral to leadership development and managing staffing changes within Schools. 

To promote and foster a supportive working and educational environment that delivers equality and inclusiveness in all aspects of the College’s operations.

To identify and promote opportunities that will enhance the College’s capacity to achieve its strategic aims, including developing business cases for innovative programmes and initiatives that will advance the College’s capacity to increase its revenue.

To work collaboratively with colleagues including Research Institute Directors on colleague work allocations and research hours allocation and take personal accountability for the financial and staff performance within the College.

To undertake specific delegated PVC responsibilities for the leadership of strategic priorities across the University as agreed with the VC or delegate.

Learning & Teaching

To promote and foster high-quality teaching and learning, alongside curriculum development, including inter-disciplinary advancements.

To ensure structures and operations exist to enable development, delivery and quality assurance of teaching and learning and cross-university contributions to build core transferable skills around creative and digital technologies, data analytics and languages within the College in accordance with University policy and Regulations.

To ensure structures and operations exist for coordination, collaboration and cross-institutional teaching practices within the Schools and across all Colleges.

To demonstrate personal commitment to high-quality teaching and learning within their own discipline.

Research & Knowledge Exchange

To provide leadership in promoting and fostering research excellence, including research training for colleagues and ensuring the maintenance of appropriate standards and processes for higher degree and postdoctoral supervision.

To provide leadership in the development, delivery and quality assurance of research and knowledge exchange activity in the College.

To maximise research effectiveness, including fostering links between individuals and appropriate research groupings within the University, to promote the growth of research grant success, and to exploit opportunities for knowledge exchange.

To monitor the research performance of colleagues and PhD students in the College as a whole and in the Schools/Centres within it.

To demonstrate personal commitment to research and/or knowledge exchange within their own discipline.

Strategic, Operational Planning and Governance

To lead the development and implementation of long-term and short-term plans including targets for student numbers, research performance and colleague resourcing complements for the University’s planning processes in compliance with the University’s strategic aims.

To share responsibility for the management of strategic risk.

To co-ordinate the work of Schools/Centres within the College, to lead in formulating a vision of the long-term collective interests of these Schools/Centres and to represent their collective interests in the formulation of College and University policy.

To establish within the College organisational, management and communication arrangements that ensure the effective conduct of business within University policy guidelines.

To be responsible for ensuring that the College acts in accordance with, and implements, University Regulations, policies, guidelines and procedures, taking professional advice where appropriate.

Finance and Infrastructure Management

To manage resources available to the College including:

Finance and Procurement:

  • To be responsible for the financial governance of the College in accordance with the Financial Regulations and Procedures of the University and ensure that:
    • Efficient and effective financial management procedures are in place.
    • The most effective use is made of resources, including people-resource.
    • Value for money is obtained from activities within the College.
    • Appropriate and relevant internal controls are maintained.
  • To take responsibility for the College’s budget and ensure that all resources, including colleagues, money and space are deployed to maximise efficiency and effectiveness, to achieve a sustainable financial position


  • To ensure appropriate usage of space within the space envelope made available to the College, working to ensure compliance with the prevailing space management policy.
  • To develop partnerships with national and international organisations, governments and commercial activities, whereby revenue from sources independent of HEFCE funding streams can be generated.
  • To develop and implement strategies that ensure that agreed University targets for students, people-resource, research income, commercialisation and other forms of fund-raising and income generation are achieved.

Colleague Management & Development

To be the line manager for Associate Heads of College and Heads of Schools within the College, ensuring their effective development and operation as academic leaders within the College and beyond.

To keep colleagues up-to-date with policy aims, new developments and current policy debates within the College.

To develop a colleague resourcing plan that anticipates the academic, administrative and technical people resource needs of the College and present and promote requirements to the Executive Board and Professional Services Directors who have responsibility for College support and services, as appropriate.

To promote and maintain professional standards.

To monitor and ensure that appropriate induction, appraisal, training and development takes place for all colleagues in the College.

Corporate Responsibility

To translate and communicate University and College strategies and policies.

To serve on the Academic Council and University Executive, and to contribute, advise and assist in the formulation of University policy and strategy.

To optimise strengths by working in partnership with others locally, nationally and internationally, including governments, the educational sector, professional bodies, research organisations, and relevant public sector, industrial and cultural institutions.

To offer leadership on University committees and participate in corporate activities, appointments panels and decision-making processes.

To represent the College and University both internally and externally.

Health & Safety

To be responsible for ensuring the activities of the College, whether these are undertaken on University premises or elsewhere, comply with Health and Safety legislation and University policies.

Professorial Duties

PVCs should engage with their discipline through research and scholarly activities and continue building up a successful reputation of international excellence in their area. Activities within the College may include:

(a) Learning and Teaching

  • To contribute to the delivery and assessment of undergraduate and graduate student courses relevant to the appointee’s expertise.
  • To supervise and train research students.
  • To act as a personal tutor to assigned tutees.

(b) Research and Knowledge Exchange

  • To provide leadership within the field of the appointee by undertaking research and knowledge transfer, seeking funding to support these activities and furthering the advancement of the discipline / profession via peer reviewed publications.
  • To develop and strengthen links with others in the appointee’s area of expertise and with external bodies to promote research and knowledge transfer.

Other Duties

To carry out such other duties as may reasonably be required by the Vice Chancellor and President or delegate.

To co-operate, in a collegial spirit, with other members of the University’s senior leadership and management teams


The University operates a devolved management structure and each College is responsible for the development and implementation of business and strategic plans to ensure that its income exceeds its expenditure by an appropriate margin. The Head of College has responsibility to work with the College Executive Group and other key role-holders, such as the Professional Services Directors, to review, develop and monitor operational activities against School and College business plans.

The Heads of College roles are fixed-term and rotating. Appointments will be made for an initial period of five years and may be renewed for a further period, subject to review on both sides.

Heads of College are supported by Associate Heads of College and Heads of Schools which are academic leadership roles requiring a commitment to and thorough understanding of the main academic disciplines within the College. Associate Heads of College are key to the achievement of inter-disciplinary developments, cross-School and College working and for providing a robust infrastructure for education and student focussed activities. Associate Heads of College are also responsible for the management of colleagues and other resources to ensure the quality, effectiveness and performance of the College to achieve its strategic goals, including relationships with external examiners and other client groups external to the University. A core part of the Associate Head’s role is the delivery of the College Plan. Heads of School are also responsible for the management of colleagues and other resources to ensure the quality and effectiveness of the School and its strategic development to achieve the University’s and College’s strategic goals, including effective collaborative working with Research and Knowledge Exchange Directors (especially on work allocation and research hours allocation).

Both Associate Heads of College and Heads of School roles are appointed to as a ‘term of office’ for a period of five years, and following a review by the Head of College, the position will be reviewed with the possibility of extension for a further two-year fixed period. Following completion of the term of office, postholders will revert to their substantive post and salary. The Head of College is accountable for successful succession planning and management to ensure optimal performance of the leadership team of the College.

Schools within Colleges are constellations of programmes and have a common mission and external stakeholders. Schools are variable in size and the make up of Schools may shift across time as provision ceases in some academic areas and new provision is developed. The location of discipline areas is linked also to the developing Estates Strategy for the University.

Heads of College are accountable for ensuring that suitable and sufficient risk assessments are undertaken for the activities for which they are responsible within the College and that measures to control risk are identified and implemented and communicated to all affected.  Heads must ensure and support the provision of adequate supervision and training, to include: the responsibility to work with due regard for the health and safety of themselves and others; familiarity with actions to be taken in the event of emergency; and the duty to report accidents and hazards appropriately.