Sep 14 2020

With the departure of Professor Katie Normington to take up the role of Vice-Chancellor at DeMontfort University in January 2021, I will be making the following changes to the senior leadership team.  Katie currently holds the research portfolio role, as well as Deputy Principal (Academic) and her duties include oversight of staffing and the student experience.

Changes to Senior Vice-Principal roles

The role currently held by Professor Ken Badcock will be changed to include the research and knowledge exchange portfolio held by Katie, with a new title of Senior Vice-Principal (Academic Strategy and Research).  As an institution, research is a core part of our mission along with teaching that is informed by research.  It is important that our new academic strategy reaffirms our commitment to research and its use in cutting-edge programmes of study.  The role will include acting as Dean of the Doctoral School. Ken will continue to oversee academic planning, the setting of academic targets, including student numbers and the distribution of resource across our academic schools. Ken will continue to have line management responsibility of the Heads of the School of Engineering, Physical and Mathematical Sciences and the School of Life Sciences and the Environment.

Professor James Knowles will continue to hold the Education portfolio, with the existing title of Senior Vice-Principal (Education).  Responsibility for oversight of the College’s Access and Participation Plan will be made explicit in the role, as well as oversight of new academic initiatives that have moved beyond the development stage. James will continue to have line management responsibility of the Heads of the School of Humanities and the School of Performing and Digital Arts.

A new role of Senior Vice-Principal (Student and Staff Experience) will be created, covering many aspects of Katie Normington’s current role, including student experience, staffing and equality, diversity and inclusivity. The role will place an emphasis on the impact of students and staff by including a remit for local community engagement and a more strategic approach to gaining national awards and recognition of staff and student achievements. In addition, the role will take on explicit responsibility for Postgraduate Taught programmes, portfolio development and postgraduate taught student experience within the broader academic strategy.  This is being made explicit in this role because of its priority in future student number growth and the significant difference to the undergraduate experience.  The new role will have line management responsibility of the Heads of the School of Business and Management and the School of Law and Social Sciences.

The new role of Senior Vice-Principal (Student and Staff Experience) will be filled through a competitive appointment process, open to internal and external candidates. Executive Search agents, Minerva, have been appointed to assist.


No changes are being made to the two current Vice-Principal roles for Quality and Standards and Research Impact and Interdisciplinarity.

Other responsibilities held by Katie Normington

Arrangements are in place for the appointment of a new Director of Techne (the AHRC-funded doctoral training partnership), once approved by AHRC, and a Chair for the Hilda Martindale Trust (a trust administered by Royal Holloway that makes awards to British women who are training or studying for a career in a profession where women are under-represented.)

Deputy Principal (Academic)

There are currently two Deputy Principal roles, one Operations and one Academic.  Dr David Ashton will remain as Deputy Principal (Operations).  In common with some other universities, the Academic deputy role will be held in rotation by the Senior Vice-Principals, normally for two years.  The role allows for deputisation of the Principal and, from time to time, taking on special projects (such as school restructuring).  In the event that the Principal is unable to fulfil his role on an extended basis, it is the responsibility of Council to appoint an Acting Principal who may be from within the existing senior team or a temporary external appointment.

Interim arrangements

As there is a possibility that the new Senior Vice-Principal will not be able to assume office until Easter or Summer 2021, the following interim arrangements will be put in place from January 2021.

  • The transfer of the relevant responsibilities to existing Senior Vice-Principals
  • Student Experience will continue to be overseen by professional service officers, led by Jon Howden-Evans and Mark Hyndman
  • Helen Ellis-Jones will be assisted on a range of HR issues by two heads of school: Gloria Agyemang and Matthew Humphreys.

Financial implications

The proposed changes are designed to be slightly less than the current cost of the senior team.  There have been significant savings in the cost of the senior team from the School restructuring and termination of two previous Vice-Principal roles.

Professor Paul Layzell