Professor Layer is currently deputy vice-chancellor (academic) at the University of Bradford and will join Wolverhampton in August 2011. He will replace Caroline Gipps, who retires at the end of the academic year.
Professor Layer is a former professor of lifelong learning and former director of Action on Access, an agency set up to advise the Higher Education Funding Council for England on widening participation. He graduated from Newcastle Polytechnic with an LLB (Hons).
Professor Layer said: “I am looking forward to working with staff, students, governors and the broader community in building on the excellent progress the university has made.
“The higher education sector faces many challenges in the next few years, but I am confident that by working together we will ensure that this is a university we’re all proud of.”
Michael Elliott, chair of the Wolverhampton board of governors, said Professor Layer’s “considerable achievements, experience and expertise equip him to provide the strong leadership that will be essential to the university’s success in navigating the considerable challenges facing higher education over the next 10 years”.
Professor Layer’s tasks will include building Wolverhampton’s international reputation, as well as ensuring the university meets local needs, Mr Elliott said.