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New appointments in the Directorate for the Student Experience

24 Feb 2022

From 7 March, a new, consistent Professional Services management structure will start to be implemented across several teams, including within the Directorate for the Student Experience (DSE).

The new management roles, which were announced in July 2021 and approved following a consultation with Campus Trade Unions, are the first step towards our new organisational model.  Supporting structures for grade 2-5 roles, and for grades 2-7 in the International Programmes Office, will follow by the end of the year. 

Key changes

The key structural change in the DSE is the creation of a new division for ‘Student and Academic Services’ (SAS) organised into teams which align with reconfigured Faculty and School Teams:

  • Access, Student Employability, Success and Development: bringing together student access, success, development and progression under a single point of strategic oversight, and embedding strategies supporting inclusiveness across all activities. Access and Success (formerly known as Widening Participation) moves from the Directorate of Communications and Marketing to this team;
  • Education Development: overseeing flexible teaching and learning initiatives and operations. Responsible for online blended teaching operations;
  • Teaching and Learning Delivery: responsible for quality assurance framework including student voice and surveys, policy and degree apprenticeships and appeals, complaints and academic malpractice timetabling and assessment schedules;
  • Business Improvement Support and Delivery: including student systems, data, analysis and records (out of scope of SEP)
  • Student Admissions and Administration: overseeing student admissions, immigration, student finance, central student administration including registration and ‘start of year’.

Student and Academic Services Leadership Team

I am pleased to welcome Craig Best to the University who will lead the new SAS Division as Head of Student and Academic Services, effective from 1 February 2022. Craig is an experienced strategic and operational leader with an impressive record of accomplishment in higher education. He has a wealth of experience gained working in student and academic services at Brunel University London, the University of Salford and most recently, at the University of Sheffield as Deputy Director of Student Support Services. He brings valuable insights from his roles as a Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) reviewer and Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) Assessor. In 2021, Craig was also elected as an Executive Director for Association of Managers of Student Services in Higher Education (AMOSSHE).

We are close to completing appointments to the new Division of Student and Academic Services, with those colleagues moving to their new roles and teams to support the transition to new management structures from 7 March. The SAS Divisional Leadership Team is currently shaping up as follows:

  • Head of Digital Learning: Ian Hutt
  • Head of Education Development: Colette Cooke
  • Head of Scheduling: Paul Brierley
      Timetabling has been brought into DSE from the Directorate of Estates and Facilities.
  • Head of Student Data, Analysis and Records: Ian Bradley
  • Head of Teaching and Learning Delivery: Janine Holdway
  • Head of Student Access and Success: Sheree Palmer
      Access and Success have re-joined DSE and will be led by Sheree Palmer, our new Head of Access and Success who also joined us at the start of February. Sheree joins us from Anglia Ruskin University, where she was responsible for designing, developing and implementing their strategic Access and Participation Plan. Sheree has significant leadership experience in secondary education and her other accomplishments include designing and leading the strategy that successfully closed the black and minority ethnic (BAME) awarding gap in Kent Law School in the academic year 2019/20.
  • Head of Student Admissions and Administration: Richard Quayle
      Richard will be joining us on 21 March from the University of Huddersfield (with previous experience in two student unions). Richard is also currently studying for an MBA at Alliance Manchester Business School, so will bring valuable first-hand insights and knowledge about his experiences as a Manchester student.
  • Head of Employability, Student Success and Development: TBC

More information

There will further updates added to StaffNet News about the changes to the DSE and to Schools and Faculties, before these begin to be implemented from 7 March. In the meantime, if you have any questions, you can contact

Simon Merrywest

Director for the Student Experience