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About Prof Eunice Simmons

Role and Responsibilities

As Vice Chancellor and Principal at the University of Chester I am the University’s Chief Executive with responsibility for the leadership of the institution. As a member of University Council, the Governing Body which oversees the University, I lead the development of the University Strategy.  Through my role as Chair of the Strategic Executive (SET) and Strategic Leadership Teams (SLT) I ensure the implementation of our current Citizen Student strategy. 

The core academic activities of the University are teaching, learning, research and knowledge exchange and my responsibility as Chair of Senate is to ensure that these are of the highest quality with excellent outcomes for students and project partners.

A key part of my role is to liaise with external stakeholders to ensure that the University delivers for its different communities. This involves membership of regional committees and boards for economic development, business, innovation and skills.

I have a national role as Chair of the Transforming Access and Student Outcomes centre (TASO). This is a ‘What Works’ centre ( based in Westminster which undertakes and commissions research on equality in higher education.  I am also a Board member of EAUC (; the sustainability champion for universities and colleges in the UK.

Career Background

I joined the University in January 2020 as Vice-Chancellor after heading up Nottingham Trent University (NTU’s) Academic and Student Affairs directorate for five years, latterly as Deputy Vice Chancellor. I held the role of Dean at NTU for four years prior to this and had previously worked in diverse institutions including University of London’s Wye and Imperial Colleges, UCLAN and the University of Cumbria.

I am an environmentalist by academic background with a BSc in Biology (University of Manchester), an MSc in Conservation of Soil Fertility (University of Kent) and a PhD in Forest Ecology (University of London).  I have always been interested in teaching and gained a PGCE from Roehampton Institute and a Principal Fellowship of Advance HE, the sector body for teaching and learning. My educational management roles have included Course Leader, MSc Director, Head of School, Dean and Pro Vice-Chancellor. 

One of my current priorities is to lead a wide-ranging review of how the University uses its built estate with the aim of achieving improvements to our workplace, learning facilities and environmental performance.

Areas of Professional Expertise

Throughout my career I have been fortunate in being able to pursue my twin interests in education and the environment.  My teaching often centred on ‘real-life’ student projects with external clients and I always maintained a strong external network through voluntary Board roles on regional conservation projects.  These ranged from the Kentish Stour Countryside Project in the South East to the North West’s multi-stakeholder regional forestry framework and I am now proud to be leading the Mersey Forest Partnership Steering Group from summer 2021.

Further afield I have worked on landscape projects in continental Europe and have lectured in Japan, the USA and Central America. In Sabah, East Malaysia I supported the development of a large-scale reforestation project in logged tropical forest through co-supervision of Bachelors and Doctoral students.