Home / Roles / Principal Adviser to the Vice-Chancellor | University of Derby

Principal Adviser to the Vice-Chancellor University of Derby

The University of Derby is looking for an outstanding candidate to join them as Principal Adviser to the Vice-Chancellor. If you have a track record of providing excellent advice and guidance to senior leaders combined with strong line management skills and a keen interest in higher education policy and strategy, we would love to hear from you.

  • Location: Kedleston Road, Derby
  • Salary: £57,427 - £71,784 (Up to £82,552 is available for exceptional candidates)
  • Closing date: CLOSED FOR APPLICATIONS

Who we are

The University of Derby is located in the heart of England and offers industry-relevant, expert teaching from foundation and undergraduate degrees to postgraduate study and research.

Our combined higher and further education offering is spread over campuses in Derby, Buxton, Leek and Chesterfield, and we have invested more than £200 million in some of the best university facilities in the UK over the last ten years.

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 academics and professional services staff.

The University boasts world-leading research that demonstrates real-world impact and has recently received the prestigious TEF Gold for learning and teaching and student experience, which places the University of Derby in the top 20% of universities in England.

About the role

The role of the Principal Adviser to the Vice-Chancellor is to build and maintain a high level of working knowledge and assessment of external policy, as well as a thorough understanding of the Vice-Chancellor’s full portfolio of responsibilities across the University. This knowledge and understanding will be essential in positioning you to ensure the Vice-Chancellor is informed and fully briefed in all relevant areas.

The University is committed to supporting both our civic and regional agenda but also to influencing at a national level on policy/decision-making as it affects the higher education sector, and it will be important for the person in this role to share our commitment across these areas.

Working closely with a wide variety of people both internally and externally, the Principal Adviser to the Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive will be responsible for gathering information and intelligence to help inform effective decision-making and will make a significant contribution towards the drafting and revision of strategic materials, such as committee papers and briefing documents. Having well-developed analysis and research skills will be vital.

Around Kedleston Road on a sunny day in September.

The Principal Adviser will ensure that the Vice-Chancellor is provided with appropriate briefings, presentations, and research to enable them to undertake their day-to-day activities effectively and will also facilitate efficient communication so that robust decisions can be taken as quickly as possible. It will be essential for the person in this role to have the ability to always communicate effectively and professionally.

The Principal Adviser will line manage the Vice-Chancellor’s Office team, who are responsible for the day-to-day management of the office. This will comprise 3 Executive Support Lead Coordinators who will report to the role holder plus a wider team of circa 8 people.

The workload will be hugely varied, so outstanding organisational skills are essential as is an understanding of the internal and external environments in which universities operate.

The role requires flexibility to meet the Vice-Chancellor’s commitments including supporting/representing them at external and internal events and presenting the University/Vice-Chancellor’s position at such events as appropriate.

Who we are looking for

[Pictures Copyrighted to Beth Walsh] University of Derby open day 2023

First and foremost, we are looking for someone keen to apply their advisory, communication, organisational, and project management skills to support the Vice-Chancellor and ultimately to benefit and further the aims of the wider University.

The successful candidate for this role will be someone with the skills and experience to provide high-quality strategic support, advice, and guidance to the Vice-Chancellor and other colleagues as appropriate. Given the nature of the Principal Adviser’s key areas of work, diplomacy, discretion, professionalism and the ability to prioritise effectively will be of the utmost importance.

In addition to developing a strong working relationship with the Vice-Chancellor, it will be important for this person to build, nurture, and maintain networks across the wider University as well as externally.

We are particularly interested in hearing from candidates with outstanding verbal and written communication skills, as you will need the ability to accurately prepare evidence-based papers, reports, and presentations.

Our new Principal Adviser will also need to be someone who can manage events and meetings with a wide variety of stakeholders, in addition to accompanying and/or representing the Vice-Chancellor as and when required. Further to these responsibilities, we are looking for someone who can lead a wide variety of strategically important projects on time and within budget.

As this role will be responsible for the wider team in the Vice-Chancellor’s Office, we are particularly interested in hearing from candidates with a strong track record of line management experience.

Interviews: Please note that shortlisted candidates will be invited to virtual calls with the Vice-Chancellor to take place on Monday 13th May 2024, followed by in-person panel interviews (to be held in Derby) on Friday 24th May 2024.  If you will not be available on these dates, please contact our advising consultant (contact details below) in advance of preparing and submitting an application.

Benefits

As well as competitive pay scales, we offer generous holiday entitlement. We also offer opportunities for further salary progression based on performance, and the opportunity to join a contributory pension scheme. For more information on the benefits of working at the University of Derby, please visit the Benefit pages of our website.

Benefits include:

  • Generous annual leave entitlement of 30 days + bank holidays + 4 days concessionary leave
  • Hybrid working
  • Coaching and development in role
  • Local Government Pension Scheme
  • Access to employer-funded Private Health Insurance with BUPA
  • Suite of holistic wellbeing benefits and support including family-friendly policies, generous sick pay provision, and comprehensive Employee Assistance Programme
  • Access to variety of staff discounts at high street retailers
  • Discounted onsite gym
  • Discounted access to Devonshire Spa.

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

Dr Jenn Allen | jenn@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07739 364034

Dr Jenn Allen, Business Manager, Not for Profit, Peridot Partners

If you would like to know more about this role please contact Dr Jenn Allen

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Welcome from the Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive

I am delighted that you are considering applying for this role at the University of Derby. At Derby, we have worked to build a powerful regional University that addresses the needs of our students, the region, and beyond, embarking on an ambitious period of growth to take the University forward to its future.

Our 2018-2030 Strategic Framework signalled a new chapter for our University, providing staff and stakeholders with clarity over our direction of travel and raising the bar in terms of our institutional ambitions.

Embedding high performance into everything we do has seen a step change in the way we operate, one that is generating strong results and outcomes despite the challenges we faced during the pandemic. 2025 is a key milestone in the lifecycle of the Strategic Framework, so to ensure delivery of our strategic plans and ambitions, we made some changes to the University’s Senior Leadership Groups.

These now comprise a University Executive Board (UEB), Vice-Chancellor’s Executive (VCE), and Delivery and Operations Leadership Group (DOL). These changes were designed in response to the external environment, the need to continuously reflect and improve on performance, and our commitment to ensuring high standards of integrity, transparency, and governance.

In this role, you will be my Principal Adviser and will be relied upon to provide insight and briefing to support me in my role and as such will be informing policy decisions for the institution as a whole and beyond.

Sector knowledge and insight will be essential to ensure I am fully informed in all relevant areas, as will the ability to lead the team in my office and work collegiately with my external contacts as appropriate.

I am looking for someone who is insightful and future-focussed in their approach, but with the ability to react at pace where circumstances require this. Your credibility and expert knowledge will be essential in allowing you to influence and steer high-level strategic decision-making.

The University is committed to supporting both our civic and regional agenda but also in influencing at a national level on policy/decision-making as it affects the higher education sector — and it will be important for the person in this role to share our commitment across these areas and support me in achieving them.

We have an impressive story to tell, based on local and regional impact. If you believe you have the enthusiasm we seek, underpinned by the relevant experience to drive forward this role and operate as a key strategic advisor to senior colleagues, then I would be delighted to receive your application.

Thank you for your interest and time,

Professor Kathryn Mitchell CBE DL
Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive

About us

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 their chosen career.

[Pictures Copyrighted to Beth Walsh] University of Derby open day 2023

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.

During the last ten years, we have invested over £200 million in facilities designed to give students the 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
The patient lies on CT or MRI, the bed is moved inside the machine, scanning her body and brain under the supervision of a doctor and a radiologist. In a medical laboratory with high-tech equipment.

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

Accessibility information

Every aspect of the University of Derby 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 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.

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.
  • Interviews can be held in meeting rooms that support hearing loops.
  • A sign language interpreter can be accessed for interview.

Further information

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

In November, the University made its first submission to Advance HE’s Race Equality Charter for its bronze award, which was successful. The Race Equality Charter helps institutions to identify and address the barriers facing Black, Asian and minority ethnic staff and students, while also providing a framework for action and improvement.

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

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.


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

Dr Jenn Allen | jenn@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07739 364034

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    Thank you for your interest in this role. Please download the Job Description and Person Specification.

    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 – Principal Adviser to the Vice-Chancellor” into the subject field. You will receive an acknowledgement on receipt of your application within 2-3 days. If you do not receive an acknowledgement, please make contact with our admin team.

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

    Dr Jenn Allen | jenn@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07739 364034

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    If you have a disability that meets the definition set out in the Equality Act 2010, and you can show that you meet the ‘essential’ criteria described in the person specification, please let us know.

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    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.

    Timetable

    Closing date: 9 a.m. Monday 29th April 2024
    Vice-Chancellor to have virtual calls with shortlisted candidates: Monday 13th May 2024
    Interviews: Friday 24th May 2024 (in person, to take place in Derby)


    Equal Opportunities Monitoring

    Peridot and University of Derby are committed to promoting equality and diversity. To help us raise awareness and support a culture that is diverse and recognises and develops the potential of all, we need to appreciate the profile of candidates who apply for positions. We will send you an equality monitoring survey at the point of receiving your application, in the interview phase and at the time of placement. This ensures that our processes remain inclusive and equitable throughout, and provides us with important data to help us showcase our impact. The information will be treated confidentially and anonymously and will help us to support our commitment to fair recruitment practices. All information provided will be held in the strictest confidence and will not be shared with anyone, in line with the Data Protection Act 2018. The information provided does not form part of the decision-making process and will not affect your application.


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