The Professional Services leadership team
Registrar and Secretary
Mike joined the University of Exeter in January 2016 as Registrar and Secretary with responsibility for the institution’s entire Professional Services team and for the effective and efficient operations and governance of the University. As a member of the University’s senior management team and Vice Chancellor’s Executive group he plays a major role in the development and implementation of the major strategies and plans that enable the University to fulfil its mission and vision.
As Secretary to the Chair of Council Mike works to ensure the University conforms to regulatory and legal requirements through the effective application of the dual assurance system in support of robust and effective University governance.
Mike has a particular responsibility for overseeing the development and implementation the Professional Services Strategy along with the University’s Capital Investment Strategies especially in relation to the Estate and IT infrastructure.
Head of the Vice-Chancellor's office
Dr Victoria Alcock is the Head of the Vice-Chancellor's Office and provides executive support to the Vice-Chancellor through speech-writing, drafting reports, policy research and management of correspondence and diary prioritisation. She also manages the PA support to the Vice-Chancellor and Deputy Vice-Chancellors.
Her duties also include:
- Secretary to the Vice-Chancellor’s Executive Group
- Secretary to the Senior Management Group
- Point of contact for information regarding Universities UK (UUK) and the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE)
Victoria joined the University in September 2006. Prior to this, she held various executive support roles in the public sector, and was Research Assistant to the Vice-Chancellor of the University of London, Sir Graeme Davies, from 2003-2006. She has a BA in History from the University of Sheffield and an MPhil and PhD from the University of Cambridge.
Director of College Operations, College of Social Science s and International Studies
As Director of College Operations (DCO) for the College of Social Sciences and International Studies, Tom Begbie holds leadership responsibility for professional services and operational delivery in the College. The DCO is a key role in the College Executive team, directly supporting the College and University strategic plans for the delivery of excellence in teaching and research.
Tom joined the College in 2018 from the University of Bristol, where he was the School Manager of Bristol’s School of Education between 2013 and 2018. Prior to this, Tom held a number of roles in a range of areas at the University of Exeter between 2005 and 2013, including: the Faculty of Taught Programmes; the School of Humanities and Social Sciences; the Law School; and finally as the Assistant College Manager (PGR).
Tom holds a degree and a PhD in music from Dartington College of Arts, which is now integrated with Falmouth University.
Director of Education and Student Support
Ian Blenkharn is Director of Education and Student Support at the University of Exeter. The Directorate has responsibility for all education-related functions of the University, including Student Services, Student Employability and Academic Success, Library and Student Welfare and Wellbeing.
Alongside the Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Education and the Dean for Students, Ian is responsible for helping to ensure the successful delivery of the University’s Education Strategy. Ian joined the University in July 2010, having previously worked for four years at the University of Bristol, predominantly in the Widening Participation and Student Recruitment Office.
Ian graduated from the University of Warwick with a degree in History and Politics in 2002. Having trained as a teacher, he worked in a Further Education College until 2006 when he made the transition to HE.
Director of College Operations, University of Medical School
As Director of College Operations for the College of Medicine and Health, Rachel Burn has overall leadership responsibility for operational and administrative support in the College. Her role is to ensure the College's professional services directly support the College and University's strategies in the delivery of outstanding and world leading education and research.
Rachel has over 17 years' experience in the education sector. She joined the College in August 2017 from Aston University in Birmingham where she was the Head of Administration for Aston Medical School and, before that, Aston Business School over a six year period. Prior to that Rachel worked for the Open University for many years on a variety of change and student support projects.
Rachel has a BA in East European History from the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, the University of London and a Masters in Education and an MBA with Merit from The Open University. Rachel is a Fellow of the Association of University Administrators and the Chartered Management Institute and is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
Rachel is proud to be one of the University’s Speak Out Guardians and a Stonewall Ally as she has a strong belief that everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect.
Director of Communication and Corporate Affairs
Jane has had a marketing and communications career that has taken her from mining, through chocolate to telecoms and higher education. Jane has held senior positions at both Sheffield and Plymouth before joining the Executive team at the University of Exeter as the Director of Communications and Corporate Affairs in February 2014. A Chartered Marketer and Fellow of the Charted Institute of Marketing Jane also holds the position of Chair for the Universities Marketing Forum.
The role at Exeter is interesting and diverse; having responsibility for the successful delivery of the institution’s communications, marketing, student recruitment and student admissions. Leading a team of over 200 colleagues, Jane has initiated a number of projects to put Exeter firmly on the map as a world class university.
In her spare time Jane enjoys skiing and sailing and following Plymouth Argyle Football Club where she sits on the board as a Non-Executive Director.
Chief Financial Officer
Andrew Connolly joined the University in 2012 and has over 22 years experience gained in three universities. As Chief Financial Officer Andrew leads on the University’s financial strategy and finance function and is a member of the Vice Chancellors Executive Group, reporting to the Registrar and Secretary.
Andrew led the sector through the implementation of financial reporting based on international financial reporting standards (FRS102 and the HE SORP), led a major transformational project called Future Finance focussed on people, processes and systems and was instrumental in raising over £200m from capital markets to fund the University’s investment programme. He is also leading on the development and implementation of a responsible investment policy covering the University’s £40m endowment funds.
Chief Executive Student's Guild
Joff joined the Students’ Guild in August 2019. As Chief Executive, Joff has responsibility for the overall management and direction of the Guild on behalf of the Guild’s Board of Trustees. Ensuring a positive working relationship with the University is a key part of the role, as well as ensuring the Guild stays focussed on delivering services relevant to Exeter students and helping them have an exceptional experience whilst here.
Dr Shaun Curtis
Director, Global Advancement
Shaun leads the University’s supporter engagement and fundraising activities in the UK and overseas, and is responsible for the delivery of the University’s largest ever fundraising Campaign ‘Making the Exceptional Happen’, which has raised over £60m to date. Over 85,000 volunteering hours have also been secured.
Shaun joined the University as Director of International Exeter in August 2009, where he established and delivered successfully the University’s first, fully-integrated ‘Internationalisation Strategy 2010-2015’. Throughout this period Exeter’s international student population grew by 70% to over 4,000 students from 130 countries.
Previously, Shaun was the inaugural Head of the UK Higher Education International Unit (now Universities UK International) influencing, informing and advising universities, agencies, devolved authorities and governments on the opportunities of internationalisation, and delivering a range of bilateral education agreements between the UK and overseas governments.
Over three decades Shaun has worked in the public and private sectors in several countries, including as Research Manager at the Economic Development Office of the City of London Corporation. He has conducted freelance work for the Central Intelligence Agency, Jane’s Defence and others. Shaun holds a BA in Politics and an MA in Middle East Politics from the University of Exeter, and a PhD in Political Science from the University of Toronto.
Director of College Operations
As Director of Operations for the Business School, I work with the Colleges Executive team; PVC and Executive Dean, Deputy Dean, Associate Deans, Head of Department and Head of Professional Services to strategically lead and manage the College.
My role and remit is very broad and no one day is the same, so if you like variety this is the role for you. Essentially, I am involved in all of the School’s strategic and operational activities.
My role involves working with a large network of professional staff across the University to ensure professional services teams directly support the College and University mission, vision and goals – to make the exceptional happen!
I also work with and support a number of external networks, groups and partners, which involves a fair bit of travelling – mostly London, but I have also had the pleasure of visiting China, USA, Colombia, Spain, Belgium, Italy and Germany in the last few years.
When I am on campus and not in meetings, my home is on the third floor of Building:one, Streatham campus.
Prior to my Director role, I joined the University in 2009 as Business Manager for Academic Services (now Education and Student Experience and IT). I then joined the Business School in 2011 as Head of Finance and Research, latterly taking on the additional responsibility for Strategic Planning and Admissions activity.
Prior to joining the University, I spent 8 years in the retail sector, firstly with Gap Inc and then with Marks and Spencer, working across the fields of visual merchandising, merchandising, store management and project management.
Outside work I also hold Non-Executive Director roles with Hospiscare and support the Ted Wragg Trust (a University initiative) as a Governor of West Exe School in Exeter.
Director of College Operations, College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences
Cathy has worked throughout her career in science based organisations both in the public and private sector.
She joined the University of Exeter in February 2016 as the College Registrar (now called the Director of College Operations) for the College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences. This role involves working with the College’s PVC to develop the strategy and plan for the College as well as all aspects of their implementation. This covers both education and research and also involves philanthropic and industry support. An ongoing focus of the strategy is to build strong links internationally to enhance the education and research activities of the College.
Before joining the University Cathy was a senior manager at the Met Office. Here she was the Executive Head in the Business Development Directorate, responsible for the Met Office’s activities in the commercial sector. At the Met Office her role included setting strategy, identifying and growing new revenue streams, as well as ensuring day to day operational delivery
Cathy has a Chemistry degree from Southampton University. After graduation she worked for 17 years in the energy and environmental field based at a UK Government’s research institution on the Harwell Campus. This research institute was privatised and, post-privatisation, Cathy became the Director of the Environmental Consultancy division.
Outside of work Cathy is a Trustee of Hospiscare a local charity that provides palliative care both in a Hospice and at home.
Director of Innovation, Impact and Business
I am responsible for the IIB team who connect organisations to the University of Exeter, create new business opportunities for them and generate new innovation.
Each year we work on about 2000 projects which generate around £50m of contracts. We help partners undertake R&D projects, access skilled people and generate innovation through IP licensing, spin-outs and start-ups. We manage strategic alliances, education programmes with business, spin-outs, licensing and regional economic development initiatives. We are also responsible for major innovation projects such as the University’s Innovation Centre and the Exeter Science Park of which I am a Board member. I was chair of the SETsquared Management Board (recognised as the World's number one University Business Incubator) which has generated over £2bn of investment into new ventures.
I am the incoming President of PraxisAuril, the UK's national association for knowledge exchange professionals and a board member of the global Alliance of Technology Transfer Professionals (ATTP) which promotes the RTTP World-wide professional standard. I have been Vice-President of the Association of European Science and Technology Transfer Professionals, ASTP, and a member of the Board of the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership.
I have had several Director-level roles at Exeter. I previously worked for national University bodies where I set up and led joint-ventures for commercialising and marketing national and international HE services. I have been Managing Director and Director of several companies.
I am a Registered Technology Transfer Professional (RTTP).
I studied languages at University College London.
Chief Information and Digital Officer
Digital services that create exceptional educational experiences, enable and support research and directly improve business activities are the future. They are at the heart of everything we do at the University of Exeter. To make this digital transformation happen, the IT platforms have to be fit for purpose and secure, with a team organised and upskilled to deal with the modern technology that is required to create and run digital services. This has been the work of Alan and his team since 2016 and they are now poised to push ahead with new digital services whilst maintaining the basic IT functions that keep the University connected and functioning.
Alan is an experienced leader with over 30 years background in the delivery of highly complex IT agendas in challenging environments. Before joining the University, Alan was in the British Army. More recent roles included: running the MoD’s global national security network and defending it from cyber risks; driving digital innovation and business process management in the Army; Brigade commander for 3000 troops preparing to operate under very stressful combat and technical situations; and planning the digital and IT support for UK global operations.
In leading the Partnership work stream, Alan will bring his experience in working in multinational and multi-cultural environments, with staff from all backgrounds, where creating alliances and collaborations supported by technology will enable real progress to be made across the University.
Director of Strategic Delivery Unit
As Director of Strategic Delivery Unit (SDU) James oversees the University’s major initiatives, bringing together governance and oversight with the capability to deliver change.
Between 2014 and 2017 James oversaw the largest change programme the University has undertaken in its recent history. The Transformation Programme initiated a new operating model for the University focussed on supporting the University’s ambition to enhance its global position and presence.
Prior to joining the Transformation team James was College Registrar for the University of Exeter Business School with overall leadership responsibility for the School’s Professional Services and £50m operating budget.
From 2008-2013 James was Chief Executive to the University of Exeter Students’ Guild. During this period James also served as non-Executive Director to NUS Services Ltd, a national purchasing consortium purchasing c. £100m of products and services for students’ unions throughout the UK.
Outside of work James serves as a trustee and non-Executive Director to EDP Drug and Alcohol Services; a charity based in the South West committed to reducing the harm caused by substance misuse and social exclusion through work with individuals, families and communities. James is also Chair of governor for the Duchy Primary School.
Director of Compliance, Governance and Risk
Director of People Services
Imelda is the University's Director of People Services. As Director of People Services, Imelda is responsible for delivering all Human Resources, Organisational Development, and Health, Safety and Wellbeing Services for the University.
Imelda joined the University as Head of Business Partners and Operations in May 2015 and was appointed as Deputy Director in January 2016. Previously, Imelda was Head of HR in the Met Office, and prior to that spent 20 years working in Financial Services. Within her Financial Services career, she held a range of both HR and business appointments including 5 years as Head of HR for the international division and Deputy HR Director during a period of merger and acquisition.
Imelda is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, and is trained mentor and business coach through EMCC (European Mentoring and Coaching Council).
Director of Estate Services
Hugh joined the University in 2000 and is responsible for the management of the University’s estate including strategic planning and capital project delivery. Hugh heads up a team of 140 specialists in construction project management, building surveying, mechanical and electrical engineering, strategic planning, arboriculture and horticulture as well as specialist trade staff.
In recent years Hugh has led the University’s £450 million investment in campus facilities including the development of the £48 million Forum.
Hugh was formerly Director of the Estate Development Service, is a qualified chartered building surveyor, and has been in the buildings industry for 35 years working for architects, contractors, private practice and for defence estates, with a spell in various architectural practices in Australia.
Director of Campus Infrastructure and Operational Support Services
As Director of Campus Infrastructure and Operational Support Services Craig is focused on building stakeholder trust and has a successful track record in leading organisational change. As a member of VCEG, he has overall leadership accountability for Campus Services, Estate Services and Exeter IT, including development and implementation of the University’s Estate, IT and Digital Capital Infrastructure Plan to enable the Corporate Strategy.
Craig is a Chartered Mechanical Engineer with 20+ years consultancy and industry experience of delivering facilities, services and infrastructure development within a variety of highly regulated sectors.
After graduating from the University of Reading, Craig began his career in British Steel in 1995 as a Project Engineer, before moving to British Nuclear Fuels Limited in 1999 as a Project Manager. Between 2002 and 2006 he worked for WS Atkins Nuclear as a Senior Project Manager on major classified defence and nuclear projects. Craig moved into higher education in 2006 as Head of Project Management, Feasibility and Design at the University of Reading with leadership accountability for the delivery of the £250m Estate Development Programme.
Craig joined Swansea University in 2008 as Director of Estates and Facilities Management where he was responsible for a wide and dynamic portfolio, most notably for establishing and successfully leading the Corporate Responsibility Directorate and delivery of the new £450m, 65 acre, Science and Innovation Campus and an organisational transformation programme of functional alignment between Professional Services and academic Colleges.
Craig was appointed in April 2018 as Chair Elect of the Association of University Directors (AUDE) of Estates and will succeed as Chair in April 2019.
Chief College Operations Officer
Linda is Chief College Operations Officer and in her role is responsible for the overall leadership of college operations and ensuring that the University's Professional Services resources are fully aligned to colleges strategies and operational priorities. Linda is also responsible for delivering professional services support to the university's research institutes and providing leadership for technical services.
Linda joined the University of Exeter in 2005, returning to her home county of Devon. An accountant with nearly 30 years’ experience of working in the health, housing and education sectors, she joined Exeter from King's College London where most recently she held the position of Deputy Head of Internal Audit with a focus on leading continuous improvement across the institution. Linda is experienced in management, leadership, finance, audit and governance and since joining the university has supported the continuous development and growth of science at Exeter and led the transformation of technical services.
Linda is a governor and trustee of Exeter mathematics Schools, a specialist 6th form college jointly sponsored by the University of Exeter and Exeter college. she is also a lay member of the Royal academy of Music's Audit committee.
Linda is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accounting and a member of the Leadership Foundation.
Director of College Operations, College of Humanities
Clare Wydell was appointed as Director of College Operations for Humanities in January 2020 and is responsible for delivery of the College’s strategic plan working closely with the College Pro-Vice-Chancellor.
She holds overall responsibility for operational delivery in the College of Humanities and is responsible for ensuring the delivery of effective support for the College’s activities, working with professional services colleagues. The Director of College Operations plays a pivotal role in supporting the College Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Associate Deans and Heads of Department to ensure that the key University strategies and priorities for Education, Research, Innovation and External Engagement & Global 100 operate effectively through the Humanities College strategies, structures and planning.
Specifically, working closely with the College Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Clare oversees College governance and risk management; budgets, financial planning and operations; HR operations and strategy; capital and IT infrastructure management; student experience and services; curriculum and programmes support (including QA); Admissions, external relations, development and research support.
Business Manager to Registrar and Secretary
Sophie Hawkes is the Business Manager to the Registrar and Secretary, Mike Shore-Nye. She provides executive and business management support across the entire range of issues within the Registrar’s portfolio. This involves undertaking specific projects; drafting of speeches, presentations and briefing papers; assisting him in undertaking his duties as the senior Professional Services leader for the University and working closely with the Professional Services Leadership Team on a daily basis.
Director of College Operations, College of Life and Environmental Sciences
As Director of College Operations for the College of Life and Environmental Sciences (CLES), Neal Whitfield has overall leadership responsibility for operational and administrative support in the College. His role is to ensure the College's professional services directly support the College and University's strategies in the delivery of outstanding and world leading education and research.
Neal joined the University in July 2000 as part of the research accounting team within Finance Services before moving in to a management accountant role a couple of years later. In 2004 Neal joined the Northcott Theatre, as their Finance Manager, supporting the organisation through major organisational and capital developments. Neal left the Theatre, as their Finance and Administration Director, in 2009 and came back to work at the University as Company Accountant and Research and Knowledge Transfer (RKT) Finance Manager. This role took responsibility for the financial management of the University subsidiary companies, spin-out developments and shareholdings alongside being the Finance Manager for RKT. As part of this role, Neal worked closely with Devon County Council in putting together the 30 year financial plan for the development of the Science Park. In 2014 Neal joined CLES as their Head of Finance and worked closely with senior colleagues in the college to develop strategic plans for the next five years. Finally, in 2017 Neal took on the role of Director of College Operations.
Neal is a qualified accountant and a member of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants.
Director of Research Services
Research Services provides support to all academics in the university in bidding and delivering research projects. Astrid’s responsibilities include the delivery of the Research and Impact Strategy 2015-2020, including new university Institutes; the next REF; and research environment and infrastructure. Astrid also oversees the Doctoral College, supporting our post graduate research community and early career researchers.
Astrid’s career has been focussed on making knowledge and research accessible and usable, as widely as possible. She is a trustee of the Careers Research and Advisory Centre (CRAC), the UK's leading expert in the field of academic career development and is a past trustee of MentorUK. She was, until 2016, a member of the UUK Open Access Group.
Astrid's previous post was as Director Research, Scholarship and Quality at the Open University responsible for the strategic development of research, enterprise and scholarship; and quality assurance and enhancement of taught programmes. Prior to this she was Deputy Chief Executive at the ESRC. responsible for ESRC’s knowledge exchange, evaluation and impact initiatives; relationships with non-academic partners; and external communications. Astrid also led for RCUK on its economic and societal impact strategy, and on open access policies.
Her early career included appointments at King's College London, Glasgow University and Leiden University.
Astrid holds Dutch postgraduate degrees in contemporary international history and in IT, and a Master of Public Administration from Warwick Business School. She is currently undertaking a MSc in systems theory at the Open University.
Director of Policy, Planning and Business Intelligence
Michael Wykes was appointed as Director of Policy, Planning and Business Intelligence (PPBI) in July 2015. He leads a team of highly-skilled policy, BI and planning officers who provide evidence and strategic insights to support the decisions taken by the University's senior management.
The PPBI team support the University’s strategy, Making the Exceptional Happen, and ensure that the national and international performance of the University and its individual subjects are closely monitored, with increasing foresight and strategic direction. Michael’s team are responsible for institutional BI, the coordination of the annual Planning (PRG) process, statutory submissions, policy consultations with HEFCE and HESA, and are deeply involved in the UK Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) metrics and institutional performance. Together with the Registrar and Secretary Michael is also the joint executive sponsor for the Uniforum project, and his team manage the programme on behalf of the institution.
Dr Wykes joined the University of Exeter in 2004 following a DPhil at the University of Oxford on the subject of access to essential medicines. This followed previous employment in the pharmaceutical industry and public-sector headhunting. At Exeter he has worked in a variety of roles across Research Services and as the College Registrar for Exeter’s College of Social Sciences and International Studies. He led a Jisc-funded project on Impact in 2013 and managed the University’s submission to the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF). He was seconded to the UK Government’s funding council to serve as a panel adviser for the assessment phase of REF 2014 and in 2017 was invited by the Australian Research Council to serve on the review panel for the Engagement and Impact Assessment Pilot. Michael has an MA, MSt and DPhil from the University of Oxford.
Director of Cornwall Operations
Director of Sport
As Director of Sport, Alison leads the University of Exeter Sport team, overseeing each department and working closely with the directors and assistant directors of each area.
Prior to becoming Director of Sport in 2014, Alison had worked for a number of organisations within the leisure sector, extensively with the ASA (Amateur Swimming Association) since 2002, becoming Regional Director in 2004 and then Divisional Business Manager of the South and West Region in April 2013. Alison has been involved in managing national programmes of the NGB and overseeing strategic delivery across the south of the Country.