Director of Operations - College of Arts and Law

United Kingdom
Oct 11, 2019
Nov 09, 2019
Organization Type
University and College
Full Time
Position Details

Academic Services

Location: University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham UK

Salary: Competitive

Full time


Closing date: 1st November, 2019

Job Summary

The College of Arts and Law is a vibrant community of over 670 academic and professional services staff. The College has exciting plans over the next 10 years to increase research income and quality, to continue to deliver a first-class education, as well as to support all of our students on-campus, overseas and through our developing distance-learning offer. The College is strongly placed to be in the vanguard of the University's vision to be firmly established as a leading global University, through its commitment to internationalisation at all levels including emerging contributionsto our new Dubai campus.

The Director of College Operations, College of Arts and Law, is an exciting opportunity to join a global university at the heart of an ambitious city. Characterised by a tradition of innovation, research and education the University has broken new ground, pushed forward the boundaries of knowledge and makes an impact on people's lives.

Reporting to the Academic Registrar with a dotted report line to the PVC and Head of College, The Director of College Operations is responsible for leading, directing and developing the College Professional Services' operations and administration in order to support delivery of the College's and University's strategic objectives.

The post-holder will work very closely with the Head of College and the College Board, contributing to the development of College strategy and priorities, supporting our ambitious academic plans, and ensuring that professional services teams function efficiently and effectively. The role offers considerable scope for creativity and strategic leadership as the Director of College Operations heads up the management of professional services colleagues, resources and infrastructure, as well as the development of administrative and business functions within the College. This is a great opportunity for a talented and ambitious individual to build on their existing skills and experience; it will provide an exceptional candidate with a strong foundation for future professional senior leadership roles across higher education. The successful candidate can expect their days to be diverse, demanding, interesting and enriching.

The post requires a blend of intellectual confidence and capability, as well as a thorough understanding of the complex relationship between academic and professional services functions. The post-holder will play a key role in ensuring a successful working partnership between academic and professional services staff in the University and the College, in line with developing priorities. In addition, the post-holder will develop a strong collaborative working relationship with fellow Directors of Operations in the other four Colleges, and will benefit from being part of an engaging, supportive and stimulating peer group.

This is a challenging but rewarding role; it is at the nexus of research, education and administrative practice and policy across five Schools within the College, each with its own priorities and development plans and strong sense of academic identity. The post-holder needs to be able to demonstrate a careful balance of empathy, leadership and pragmatism in order to develop a coherent cross-College service that meets the needs of diverse stakeholders across the University.

The successful candidate will be committed to the development of strong, purposeful teams and to the enhancement of education and research in a leading university; will possess significant experience of management and diplomacy at a senior level in a University or similarly complex organisation; and will be able both to think boldly about strategic priorities and to find innovative solutions to their implementation.

Key elements of the role will include:
  1. Working closely with the Head of College and College Board to develop and realise College strategy across all aspects of the College's activities.
  2. Ongoing change management leadership across the College, including supporting a sizeable cross-University strategic change project to enhance student experience and increase service efficiency.
  3. Continuing work around embedding the College strategy within the University's Strategic Framework, and leading the College Professional Services strategy.
  4. Providing Professional Services (PS) leadership and direction to key College projects and partnerships, managing external relationships and contributing to successful delivery.
  5. Developing relevant business cases to support College activity e.g. developing the College education portfolio, supporting research aspirations, contributing to the College's Internationalisation agenda, and growing external partnerships.
  6. Demonstrating intellectual confidence and personal and professional resilience in support of the University of Birmingham.
  7. Informing and influencing policy formulation in response to both sector-wide and discipline-specific national initiatives.
  8. Offering constructive challenges for both the Academic Registrar and Head of College as a member of the Academic Registrar's Senior Team, the Registrar's Leadership Group (RLG) and College Board.
  9. Providing skilful and sensitive relationship management (College Board, University Executive Board (UEB), Senior Officers (SOs), Business Partners, external partners).
  10. Constructive contribution to Professional Services Transition Group activities.

The Director of College Operations is part of the University's wider leadership team and is expected to be an active and enthusiastic member of the University Leadership Forum.

Experience and qualifications
  • Educated to degree level
  • A strong empathy for and interest in HE policy, including proven experience of strategy development and successful implementation at an institutional or wider level.
  • Significant experience at a senior and strategic level within a University or similarly complex organisation.
  • Capability in leading and enthusing a large team in a complex, perhaps multi-site organisation.
  • Proven track record in leading complex, large-scale change and creating a culture of continuous improvement.

Skills and abilities
  • Intellectually confident, credible, and experienced in leading and managing significant resources.
  • An open manner with a clear and straightforward management style which will build trust and respect among colleagues at all levels throughout the University.
  • The appropriate style, stature and interpersonal and communication skills to work collegially and as a team player with the Academic Registrar, PVC and Head of College, senior academics, Directors of Professional Services, Registrar's Leadership Group and other staff.
  • The ability personally to write clear and persuasive Board papers and business plans and to use fact-based evidence as part of influencing skills.
  • An intelligent, flexible and proportionate approach to implementing regulation and a preparedness to take ownership in this area.

We value diversity at The University of Birmingham and welcome applications from all sections of the community

Valuing excellence; sustaining investment

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