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Director of Student and Academic Services University of Derby

University of Derby, Higher education recruitment by Peridot Partners

The University of Derby is seeking a leader with relevant experience to drive excellence across institutional and college registry and support teams as the Director of Academic and Student Services and ensure an outstanding student journey for all.

  • Location: Derbyshire
  • Salary: £79,982 - £99,978, with scope to go up to £114,975 for exceptional performers

About the role

The University of Derby is seeking to appoint a Director of Student and Academic Services, who will have leadership of the institutional and college Registry functions, as well as Student Services.

University of Derby Undergraduate Prospectus 19 First Key Visual Shoot / Campaign

As a senior leader and member of the Vice Chancellor’s Executive Team (VCE), the postholder will provide strategic and operational leadership across a range of functions that ensure the student journey is effectively managed across all levels and modes of provision. Reporting to the University Secretary and Registrar and occasionally deputising for them, the Director will provide inspirational and expert leadership to ensure a high-performance culture across Academic and Student Services that will ensure the highest standards are maintained across the student experience.

The Director will be responsible for overseeing the Registry functions across the following areas:

  • Registry Systems and Data, Operations and College Registry
  • Student Policy and Regulations
  • FE and Skills, and Partnerships
  • Programme and Curriculum Development
  • Student Services
University of Derby Awards Ceremony November 2016.

The Director will drive changes that will ensure a sector-best, integrated and modern approach towards service delivery, focused on compliance, assurance and good governance across all areas and aligned to the institution’s strategic framework and success measures. Optimising student performance through strategies that focus on student success will be essential to this role, with the use of data touch points through the student journey to support relevant teams to exercise interventions and support. The postholder will be accountable for ensuring the accuracy of student record data and timely access to this data to support regulatory returns and produce management information for the purposes of strategic planning.

Proactively developing processes and systems for long term sustainability and efficiency, whilst responding effectively to day-to-day enquiries, the Director will work closely with a range of senior leaders and colleagues across the institution. This includes Provosts, PVC Deans and Course Directors, to ensure high standards, compliance and safeguarding in all matters related to Registry, Academic and Student Services. Building on the successful establishment of College Registry Teams, you will support a fully coordinated response at College level aligned to Registry processes and systems. The Director will focus on the improvement of key registry systems that will allow easy access to essential student data to track attendance, progression and engagement, with the objective to improve retention and outcomes for students.

The Director will work closely with the Provost Teaching and Learning and team to ensure a collaborative approach towards curriculum planning and delivery, teaching and learning, student performance, which is underpinned by regulatory compliance and effective monitoring and review.

The postholder is expected to be engaged with relevant sector networks and organisations (ARC, AMOSSHE) to develop and share expertise and apply new knowledge across the teams. The postholder will also act as the key contact with regulators including the OIA, ESFA and UKVI.

Who we are seeking

University of Derby Undergraduate Prospectus 19 First Key Visual Shoot / Campaign

The University is seeking an experienced leader with a strong track record of managing teams in a higher education setting and developing high-performance cultures motivated by delivering outstanding services across the student journey. Candidates should be able to demonstrate a strong track record of delivering outstanding services to support student experience and overseeing highly regulated areas of registry, academic and student services that require strong governance, compliance and assurance processes.

Candidates should demonstrate their ability to lead teams who are overseeing a broad range of UK higher education registry functions, with experience of developing relevant expertise and skills within those teams, as well as developing direct managerial reports and motivating teams to achieve successes at an individual and group level, aligned to wider strategic goals and a strong vision for an outstanding student journey.

University of Derby Undergraduate Prospectus 19 First Key Visual Shoot / Campaign

Candidates should be familiar with leading on and contributing to collaborative data and student journey projects and the ability to take a strategic approach, provide clear vision linked to the student experience and journey, and use their expertise to influence and shape project delivery and outcomes. You should be able to work collaboratively, drive excellence through evidence-based approaches, understand the principles of transformational change management and enact this to ensure best practice.

You will have an excellent understanding of the UK higher education system, end-to-end academic administration, the Office for Students and relevant metrics, and all processes that underpin the student journey, including good ESFA and UKVI knowledge.

With a flair for strong communication, a flexible and approachable style, and a solutions-focused and creative approach, you will be a forward-thinking strategist and strong leader of complex, broad teams.

For further information about the role, or to arrange a confidential discussion, please contact our advising consultant at Peridot Partners:

Dr Sophie Carney | sophie@peridotpartners.co.uk | 073995 28307


If you would like to know more about this role please contact Dr Sophie Carney

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I am delighted that you are interested in applying for the role of Director of Student and Academic Services at the University of Derby. This is an exciting opportunity and time to join the University as it continues its drive for success through the Strategic Framework through to 2030, which is underpinned with a culture change programme and talent development to embed high performance and success.

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The postholder will be responsible for a range of services embodied in the Registry, which makes a critical contribution to and impact on the achievement of key performance targets and results, particularly regarding student success.  The key drivers are student support, progression and achievement and enabling compliance and good governance. Leadership of key student facing services which directly impact on student satisfaction and achievement are central to the operation.

The Registry consists of 200 staff, based on all University sites and is constituted as follows:

  • College Registry Services
  • Student Services
  • Registry Services

The Registry was reorganised in 2019 with an aim of transformation through professionalisation of the services, involving resetting goals, aims and objectives, underpinned by development and support of staff to stretch their potential and contribute to overall University success. We are now in the next phase of enhancement around being future focussed, bold, valuing people, opening doors and enabling game changers. You will have a critical leadership role in steering this continual improvement to drive the Registry to “best in class” performance.   You will be a part of the Vice Chancellor’s Executive (VCE), the senior leadership body of the University, and the Academic Registrar’s Council externally. So the role brings with it influence and potential for strategic impact across the whole University.

Reporting to the University Secretary and Registrar, you will take day to day leadership of the Registry functions and operations. You will be a critical reference point for expert advice and guidance on matters relating to student support, regulations, compliance and operational effectiveness.

In order to deliver this, it will be necessary to create positive networks internally and externally. We are seeking to appoint someone with ambition for success for the Registry and the University, with an appetite for change balanced by a thoroughness of planning and the ability to role model high performance, commanding respect and credibility. A relentless pursuit of great support and service for our students, a strong governance approach and quality assurance of our Registry activities will all be required. Close collaboration with the Provost for Learning and Teaching, will also be a critical feature in aligning student and academic services to enable positive outcomes.

If this aligns to your professional experience and the opportunity to join the University of Derby interests you, we would love to hear from you.

June Hughes
Registrar and University Secretary

About the Organisation

The University of Derby is a modern, innovative education provider that achieved its University status in 1992. Teaching at the Derby site actually dates back to 1851, when it was a Diocesan Institution for training teachers, so we have over 160 years of expertise in education. We have since become a University of first choice for students who want a supportive, aspirational environment where they can equip themselves for the career they choose. Our significant investment in world-class facilities is building on our reputation for student-focused real-world learning in an increasingly competitive sector. Located in the heart of England, we build on our region’s heritage of innovation to provide industry-relevant, expert teaching at all levels.

Our combined higher and further education offering is spread over campuses in Derby, Buxton, Leek, and Chesterfield and we have some of the best university facilities in the UK.

The University of Derby is working towards its 2018-2030 Strategic Framework, focused on achieving its core objective of delivering an applied university of today and for tomorrow. We will aim to empower people across the globe to achieve their potential and make a positive contribution to society, by delivering excellence and opportunities for all. This is underpinned by our core principles:

  • Creating the right experience
  • Working effectively
  • Celebrating our impact

What we do and how we do it through to 2030 will be shaped by our principles, against which all strategic and tactical decisions will be made to ensure Derby is best placed to succeed for its students, staff and region. This success will be achieved by:

  • Moulding the next generation of game-changers
  • Being a force for positive impact
  • Opening doors for everyone

Demonstrating our growing impact and a reflection of our commitment to excellence across the student experience, the University of Derby is proud to be ranked a top 50 university in The Guardian University Guide 2023.

During the last ten years, we have invested over £200 million in facilities designed to give students the very best possible learning environment. We have more investment planned and continue to develop teaching to be innovative, stimulating, and engaging.

Recent investments include:

  • £12 million STEM Centre including facilities for mechanical testing, robotics and an anechoic chamber
  • State-of-the-art £10.8 million Sports Centre
  • Immersive Interactive Simulation Suite, the only one of its kind in a University outside London
  • Forensic Training Facility with a dedicated crime scene house
  • Fashion industry facility at Chandos Pole Street
  • Industry-standard Bloomberg Financial Markets Lab

We achieve outstanding results for our teaching and research and with more than 34,000 people choosing to study with us every year, we depend on the dedication of a team of 2,200 academic and professional services staff.

We want everyone to receive the high-quality education they deserve, regardless of age, background or location. We were named University of the Year at the UK Social Mobility Awards 2020 and Higher Education Institution of the Year at the 2020 NEON (National Education Opportunities Network) Awards. And we have won the Guardian University Award 2020 for Social and Community Impact.

Challenging, interesting and constantly changing, the University of Derby is an exceptional place to learn and an incredibly rewarding place to work.


Exterior of Kedleston Road campus

Every aspect of our University is committed to promoting equality and diversity through inclusion. We understand that in order to thrive at work, inclusion engenders a sense of belonging and we recognise that wholeness at work is key to engagement and high performance. We encourage and enable our staff to celebrate the richness of their diversity, participating in staff networks, contributing to awareness raising and role modelling practices and behaviours consistent with our values. Throughout the year, we hold multiple events that champion equality, diversity, and inclusion; such as International Women’s Day, Women’s History Month, Black History Month, Disability History Month and LGBT History Month. We provide staff with a blended approach to staff development, offering a wealth of online and face-to-face resources, which are thought provoking and challenging in order to ensure that staff understand their responsibilities towards equality, diversity and inclusion.

Working at the University is exciting and together, we will continually strive to make the University the most inclusive place it can be.

Some examples of our accessibility provisions include:

  • Step free access to the building, all key meeting rooms and bathrooms, and an accessible workstation
  • Accessibility dogs are welcome
  • Papers and materials can be presented in different formats
  • Working patterns and locations can be adjusted

The University of Derby is a Disability Confident Employer, a member of the Accessible Scheme, holds a bronze Athena SWAN Charter award, is a Stonewall Diversity Champion, and won University of the Year at the UK Social Mobility Awards 2020.

See the following links for further information about the University of Derby’s commitment to encouraging diversity and championing inclusion:

If you have any further needs around accessibility, please get in touch with the advising consultant for a confidential chat on how we can best fulfil your needs.

Dr Sophie Carney | sophie@peridotpartners.co.uk | 073995 28307

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    Please download the Role Description and Person Specification and complete this Equality Monitoring Survey.

    To formally apply, please submit a CV and supporting statement (ideally maximum 2 sides of A4 each) that clearly outlines your suitability for the role against the criteria provided in the person specification, including your interest and motivation in applying for this position.

    Please ensure that your application is emailed to response@peridotpartners.co.uk inserting “University of Derby – Director of Student and Academic Services” into the subject field.

    For further information about the role, or to arrange a confidential discussion, please contact our advising consultant at Peridot Partners

    Dr Sophie Carney | sophie@peridotpartners.co.uk | 073995 28307

    We wish to encourage applications regardless of race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origins, sex, disability, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, marital or civil partner status, pregnancy or maternity, age or religion or belief.

    All applications will be considered solely on merit.

    Applicants with a disability are invited to contact us in confidence at any point during the recruitment process to discuss steps that could be taken to overcome operational difficulties presented by the role, or if any adjustments or support are required regarding the recruitment process.

    At interview stage, candidates will be asked to provide the University with proof of their right to work in the UK and certificates for all essential qualifications. The appointed candidate will also be required to complete the University of Derby’s standard application form, which is part of their safer and fairer HR recruitment process.


    Closing date: 9 a.m. Monday 31st October 2022
    Candidates informed of outcome: By 5 p.m. Wednesday 2nd November 2022
    First Stage Interviews: Thursday 10th November 2022
    Second Stage Interviews: Monday 28th November 2022

    Equal Opportunities Monitoring

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