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About Dr Helen Galbraith

Role and Responsibilities

As Pro Vice-Chancellor (Student Experience), I am responsible to the Vice-Chancellor for the strategic leadership of an outstanding offer for all students of the University, across all of our sites and modes of delivery. My role encompasses all aspects of student support and wellbeing; responding to student and graduate needs; encouraging innovation in teaching and learning; improving student employability and enterprise; managing student behaviour; and bringing higher education opportunities to a diverse community of students. I oversee professional services including Student Services, the Chaplaincy, and the Directorate of Access, Skills and Apprenticeships (DASA). I work closely with both academic and professional colleagues to ensure that we deliver against our institutional Citizen Student strategy and focus on all aspects of the student journey, from pre-application through to graduation and beyond.

A key part of my role is to work closely with our Students’ Union (CSU) and with student representatives across the University, to ensure that student voices inform the future development of our student experience. This includes chairing the Student Voice and Experience Committee which reports into Senate.

Career Background

I joined the University in February 2021 after spending five years at Keele University as Academic Registrar and Secretary. My role at Keele encompassed oversight of student welfare and support services, planning and registry services, and corporate and academic governance.

Before arriving at Keele in 2016, I spent my career in a range of professional roles at the University of Bristol, latterly as Director of Strategic Planning and Projects. Other roles I held at Bristol encompassed research development, education and governance. While at Bristol I also pursued my own research, completing a PhD in Russian music and poetry through part-time study.

Areas of Professional Expertise

I have worked in higher education for my whole career and I have been able to build broad and rich sector experience through a diverse range of roles and institutions. My passion is working with and supporting students, with particular interests in health and wellbeing; student access, participation and inclusion; and partnership working with students and Students’ Unions. While at Keele I led a regional project with civic, education and NHS partners to develop a new, whole-community approach to supporting student mental health, through an OFS-funded ‘Start to Success’ Challenge Competition project.

At national level I am a member of the Executive Board of the Association of Heads of University Administration (AHUA) (for HE professional service leaders) and their blog editor-in-chief. I am a former Board member of the Higher Education Strategic Planners Association (HESPA) and am an active member of other networks, including Advance HE and AMOSSHE (Student Services leaders). I am also committed to supporting the next generation of leaders within higher education, including as a mentor and regular contributor to the Advance HE Aurora women’s leadership programme and the AHUA Secretaries programme.