The Vice Chancellor is the academic head and Chief Executive officer of the University, with overall responsibility for its strategic leadership and management.
This means I have responsibility for the University’s academic and financial performance and its internal structure and organisation. I lead the senior team who carry out the day-to-day running of the University and I chair our Academic Board, which determines all issues relating to the University’s courses, teaching, research and scholarship.
My job is to deliver the University’s strategic and operational plans, and I am accountable for these to our Board of Governors.
Much of my job also involves articulating the University’s interests and needs to the wider world – representing the University of Hertfordshire to national and local government, to businesses, funders, and to national and professional bodies.
Our focus is on being a modern, business-facing university, with our students at the heart of everything we do. But my role also recognises that the University of Hertfordshire has to operate as a business. With more than 2,400 staff and a turnover of £250million we are one of the region’s largest employers. There’s no doubt that running a university in today’s challenging political and financial climate requires business as well as academic credibility.
I became an academic because of my passion for sports. I was a very keen rower while doing my Veterinary Medicine degree, and to go into practice as a vet I would have had to be on call – which would have interfered with my training! I wanted to compete in the Commonwealth Games, which were happening as my PhD came to an end, so I took a job as a researcher in veterinary pharmacology. It wasn’t a traditional route into academia, but once there I discovered the joy of teaching and a love for research which had me hooked. I have since progressed through every layer of academia and management.
It also means I understand the importance of following your dreams. I am very aware that at Herts we’re in the business of transforming lives. I believe the real value you get from your time at Herts will become clearer as you go through life. The things you learn here, the skills, knowledge and confidence you acquire, the opportunities you take up, the friends you make and the careers you embark on, will raise and expand your horizons in every conceivable way – academically, culturally and socially.
Our students’ success is something worth celebrating. We do this through the Go Herts! initiative, which was introduced to encourage an esprit de corps across campus, so that everyone feels a part of that success. These of course include our Gold award for teaching excellence, our internationally recognised research strengths, and our record levels of graduate employment.
As Vice-Chancellor I take enormous pride in this University’s achievements, and I want to shout about them. It stems from my sporting background, but it’s also my job!