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Professional Services Structure

Our new professional services structure.

Find out further details in relation to the new divisions. 

Our new structure

PS structure

What our new professional services structure looks like

Professional services support is highly valued by academic colleagues and students and its structure is evolving to ensure that academic and professional services colleagues work 'hand-in-hand' to support the delivery of Strategy 2030.

The new professional services structure was approved following the University-wide consultation, which was undertaken earlier this year.

The structure responded to the future priorities of the new faculties and Faculty Pro-Vice-Chancellors and Executive Deans, as detailed below:

  • Flexibility and resilience - a resilient and responsive professional service working in partnership with faculties, schools and departments.
  • Team-based approach - flatter structures, reduced hierarchy and empowered staff.
  • Local and accessible - closely aligned professional service resources to: support academic endeavour; develop and agree joint priorities and create a strong sense of belonging, allocating resource transparently and equitably with named contacts; reduced transactional costs and prioritise effective delivery.
  • Reflecting scale and complexity - embed professional services leadership within faculties/schools, taking account of scale and complexity - continually asking how professional services can support academic teaching, assist research activity and improve student experience.

The new structure is designed to:

  • Streamline and simplify – offer each service greater flexibility in their use of resources and increase cross-team working and break down silos.
  • Align more closely with academic units – increase professional services alignment with the academic mission through embedded Professional Services Partners from each of the divisions, with all elements of professional services represented within Faculty Executive teams and dedicated Professional Services Department/School Managers (depending on the size and complexity of departments) with teams aligned to departmental needs.
  • Enhance resilience – retain the focus on a single professional service, delivering the benefits of combined working, flexible resourcing and resilience to provide the best enabling support for our academic objectives. This will also enable organisational best practice and consistency across faculties and academic departments, as well as significantly supporting our professional services colleagues in the development of their career journey at Exeter.

Our professional services team’s ways of working have been designed to support each of our new faculties - helping to shape each faculty’s strategic ambitions and providing robust support to each academic department.

To do this, we've organised our professional services teams so that each faculty can draw on the expertise of colleagues from across our professional services. A number of our professional services colleagues are embedded within each faculty and/or department with dual reporting lines to each faculty and professional services team. Others are aligned to faculties, or particular departments, as named contacts, but they may also have other responsibilities. The key outcome is for a larger group of professional services colleagues to be aligned to each faculty so they are able to support the delivery of the ambitions set out in Strategy 2030.

Details about how this will be achieved via new and amended roles can be found in the accordions below.


The Directors of Faculty Operations provide strategic leadership for all professional services within the faculty to ensure it meets its strategic objectives and that the embedded and aligned professional services support helps to deliver academic and student success.

Line management of the Directors of Faculty Operations is shared between the Faculty Pro-Vice Chancellor and Executive Dean and the Deputy Registrar.

Directors of Faculty Operations jointly line manage Professional Services Partners with their divisional professional service.

Meet our Directors of Faculty Operations

Rachel Burn Director of Faculty Operations, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences (HLS)
Clare Wydell Director of Faculty Operations, Faculty of Environment, Science and Economy (ESE)
Tom Begbie Director of Faculty Operations, Faculty of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (HASS)
Amie Fulton

Director of Cornwall Operations

Director of Faculty Operations job description

More information about our Directors of Faculty Operations can be found on faculty webpages.

Deputy Directors of Faculty Operations

The Deputy Directors of Faculty Operations provide clear strategic and operational leadership across the faculties and schools and support the wider teams in these areas.

Deputy Director of Faculty Operations job description

Professional Services Partners are embedded within faculties and take part in Faculty Executive Boards. They help shape and co-create the faculty’s strategic direction and represent the very best in academic and professional services partnership working, forming multi-disciplinary teams to innovate, resolve issues and deliver together. They have joint reporting lines to the faculty via the Director of Faculty Operations and to their respective professional service to ensure shared identity with the faculty, whilst retaining all the benefits of being part of a single professional service.

The allocation of professional services partners and their teams has been flexed to suit the size and complexity of each faculty, working closely with the Pro-Vice Chancellors and Deans, Associate Pro-Vice-Chancellors and Heads of Departments and their teams.

Professional services partners coordinate annual faculty and department professional services support plans, and enable their resource and support needs to be regularly reviewed and more effectively fed into University planning processes, to reduce over-committing teams and to ensure resilient delivery.

As a result of the feedback from the earlier consultation, as well as the Big Conversation, the ‘Registrar for a Day’ and the Bonfire of Bureaucracy, we have invested in professional services managers for each school/academic department. As a result, the professional services alignment project has reprioritised c£1M resource to fund Department/School Managers across the institution. This fundamental change in the professional services operating model will ensure that departmental academic leadership teams have direct support from embedded professional services colleagues who are able to support the delivery of their departmental strategy.

Department/School Managers are key to connecting with and coordinating all the available professional services support on behalf of the Head of Department, in support of the department strategy. Department/School Managers will have a detailed contextual understanding of, and insight into, the academic units in which they work. These crucial front-line operational roles will be tied into the academic leadership and faculty professional services partners to provide close support to those who need it. They will for example support operational delivery, department budgets, help with building communities, connecting with students and enhancing the department/discipline identity.

The Department/School Manager, and academic department leadership team, will call upon named professional services colleagues from all relevant divisions to enable them to deliver on their department’s strategic plans. 

Department/School Managers report directly to the Head of Department and the Director of Faculty Operations, or their Deputy, as appropriate.

All Department/School Managers are undertaking an Induction and Training Programme specifically for Department/School Managers during their first six months in the role. This programme covers all aspects of the University’s operations and enables them to deliver across their wide remit. This will ensure the development of best practice and offer peer-to-peer support, as well as working collectively to support the transition to new structures and ways of working.

Arrangements for the recruitment, induction, training, performance development reviews (PDRs) and other line-management responsibilities for these colleagues, as well as other colleagues who are embedded or aligned, will remain within the relevant professional services division because there is capacity for professional line management with appropriate accountability to ensure a resilient and consistent service. The divisions will also support employees’ wellbeing and career development, where support and coaching can be more effectively provided.

Professional services managers will ensure that there are full discussions and updates with faculties relating to any moves or changes to staff embedded or aligned in faculties or departments.

view Department Manager job descriptions

Administrative support has been realigned to support the new departmental structure.

The overall professional services alignment diagram shows the overall model for how we will support departments, ensuring strategic support and operational delivery is as close as possible to academic endeavour, embedding professional services colleagues and empowering them to work across areas of responsibility to create and deliver departmental strategies.