Vice Master

Durham, United Kingdom
Friday, 19 February 2021
End of advertisement period
Friday, 12 March 2021
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

Grey College

Grade 8: - 41526-49553
Fixed Term - Full Time
Contracted Hours per Week: 35
Closing Date: 12-Mar-2021, 7:59:00 AM 

Job Family: Community, Participation and Engagement Services

OUR CHARACTERISTICS: We are a globally outstanding centre of teaching and research excellence, a collegiate community of extraordinary people, in a unique and historic setting.    

OUR VALUESWe are inspiring, challenging, innovative, responsible and enabling.

Durham University

Durham University is one of the world's top universities with strengths across the Arts and Humanities, Business, Sciences and Social Sciences. We are home to some of the most talented scholars and researchers from around the world who are tackling global issues and making a difference to people's lives. 

The University sits in a beautiful historic city where it shares ownership of a UNESCO World Heritage Site with Durham Cathedral, the greatest Romanesque building in Western Europe. A collegiate University, Durham recruits outstanding students from across the world and offers an unmatched wider student experience.

Durham University seeks to promote and maintain an inclusive and supportive environment for work and study that assists all members of our University community to reach their full potential. Diversity brings strength and we welcome applications from across the international, national and regional communities that we work with and serve.

It is expected that all staff within the University:

  • Contribute to our learning culture by engaging in mentoring, training and coaching.
  • Positively contribute to fostering a collegial environment; as well as demonstrating commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion.
  • Have due regard to Health and Safety requirements appropriate to grade and role.

Family key attributes

Roles in this family provide an excellent stakeholder experience for our diverse and supportive community.  

Overall family purpose

  • Provide excellent student support services, development and extra-curricular activities.
  • Align and deliver programmes and activities to meet operational and strategic objectives to enhance the stakeholder experience.
  • Respond to stakeholders at the point of service delivery, either in situ or remotely.
  • Facilitate the development of excellent colleague and academic engagement.
  • Provide a stakeholder focussed service designed to increase widening participation and diversity.
  • Promote the Durham reputation by establishing and broadening national and international community links to enhance the cultural and economic viability of the City and region.
  • Enhance the Durham wider student experience by developing extra-curricular activities.
  • Contribute to and enhance active, inclusive and supportive communities of stakeholders.
  • Work collaboratively and network across the University with staff in other families to ensure a smooth, timely and high-quality delivery of service.
  • Engage with suppliers, consultants and specialist professionals to deliver programmes and activities to enhance the stakeholder experience.
  • Engage and encourage outreach and participation with external professionals, schools, alumni and donors.
  • Engage and network with both internal and external stakeholders to facilitate knowledge exchange and impact through local, national and international communities.  

Link to key strategic plan

  • An economically and environmentally sustainable approach to delivering stakeholder focussed services across the University;
  • A world-class student, alumni and donor experience;
  • Focussed on the needs of all users working together to deliver front-line services as part of the Wider Student Experience;
  • Learn from and match best practice in the Wider Student Experience around the world;
  • Opening up our world-class sporting facilities to local clubs and athletes;
  • Support and facilitate activities as part of the Widening Student Experience at Durham;
  • A stakeholder-focused orientation, offering satisfying careers to all staff;
  • Ensure that an increasingly diverse workforce is treated equally, fairly and with respect, and that all staff are demonstrably valued and actively engaged.

The Department and role purpose  

The Colleges and Student Experience Division includes the 15 Maintained Colleges, Experience Durham, the Student Support and Wellbeing Directorate, and the Wider Student Experience Operations Directorate.

Grey College has a mix of undergraduate and postgraduate students, from all subjects taught by the University. About 460 students are normally resident in college accommodation, and about another 650 live out of college in Durham and the local area. The students who live out of the college are still a key part of the college community, and the postholder would be expected to work with them on a regular basis. The College works closely with its student common rooms in delivering an enriching student experience that is meaningful for all of its students. It also has an active Senior Common Room and a strong alumni community, both of which contribute to the life of the College.

The Vice Master will have a strong strategic focus aimed at furthering the development of the College. They will be involved in a wide range of activities under the direction of the Head of College, which may include contributions to the broader Colleges and Student Experience Division. In particular, the Vice Master will take the lead on working with students in Grey College to facilitate and co-create student enrichment activities that promote and enable intellectual curiosity, personal effectiveness, wellbeing and resilience, and a sense of community and responsibility among students, gained through their wider student experience.

This includes student involvement and leadership in sport, music, theatre, volunteering and extra-curricular intellectual activities, as well as the Durham Inspired Award. The programme in the College will also draw on the strengths and expertise of other College Officers, as appropriate.

The Vice Master will join the senior management team of Grey College, and on occasion deputise for the Head of College. They will work collaboratively with other College Officers, supporting their areas of lead responsibility as necessary, engaging with students and other members of the College as well as external stakeholders, contributing to the broader College life. They will be an integral and visible member of the College community, working some evenings and weekends to support the delivery of College activities and initiatives, including participating in rota duties for the provision of out-of-hours Emergency Cover. Under delegated authority from the Head of College, the Vice Master will conduct student disciplinary procedures and initiatives.

The balance and focus of responsibilities of the Vice Master will be agreed with the Head of College.

Core responsibilities:

  • Provide expertise aimed at furthering the College, Division and University Strategy, especially in relation to the personal development of students and the provision and facilitation of student enrichment activities in College, including the Durham Inspired Award
  • Manage and develop service, infrastructure and people performance across one or more teams.
  • Provide feedback on team and individual performance and identify development needs, conducting regular staff ADR and performance reviews.
  • Recruit, induct, train and develop new team members.
  • Help to shape the skills and expertise of future team members and design work structures to meet operational and strategic goals.
  • Handle the vast majority of HR issues within a team, referring more complex HR issues to appropriate support services/senior management.
  • Liaise and engage with key stakeholders and internal and external contractors to influence opinion, delivery and reputation of services.
  • Contribute to the scoping and resource planning across a range of activities at operational and possibly strategic level.
  • Lead on the design, implementation and monitoring of policy and quality standards, procedures and systems to ensure effective working and continuous improvement.
  • Promote and develop a deep understanding of organisational policy and external developments.
  • Devolve responsibilities to team members to ensure continuity of service provision and encourage skills development.
  • Ensure all activities, processes and transactions are accounted for accurately and promptly to meet regulatory and professional service and policy standards.
  • Ensure all stakeholder-facing staff provide an accessible, friendly and professional service by shaping processes for inducting and developing staff.
  • Implement processes to manage the integrity and security of all commercially and professionally sensitive and personal data.
  • Lead internal business meetings, working groups and sub-committees at operational service level to influence governance, organisational policy and standards for the service.
  • Responsible to the Head of College for allocating and monitoring the non-staff college financial budget and resources relating to WSE.
  • Analyse stakeholder feedback, implementing and reviewing service provision. 

Role responsibilities:

  • Lead the development of appropriate structures, procedures and initiatives for maximising students’ personal development
  • Develop and maintain a vibrant and distinctive community in which students are able to grow and develop in confidence academically, socially and culturally.
  • Develop external relations, identifying and developing opportunities for communities of practice, employers, alumni and donors via extra-curricular activities and increased levels of participation.
  • Build and sustain an influential network of contacts both internally and externally to influence and promote the Durham reputation.
  • Manage specific quality and regulatory audit process stakeholder services over-arching systems and procedures.
  • Contribute to the definition, development and implementation of service standards and service level agreements.
  • Deliver a specialist service using creativity and innovation for communication and promotion purposes, to engage and influence internal and external stakeholders.
  • Provide professional guidance and advice to students and service users with complaints and referrals.
  • Represent the College and University at promotional events, marketing them effectively to potential student applicants, parents, schools and sponsors; and contribute to the delivery of presentations at conferences.
  • Take responsibility for student disciplinary matters in consultation with the Head of College, liaising where required with relevant support departments.
  • Deliver activities and participate with others to generate external income.
  • Hold responsibility for leading the College and representing it at meetings in the absence of the Head of College.
  • Any other reasonable duties.

Specific role requirements

  • Being an integral and visible member of the College Community and working some evenings and weekends to support the delivery of College activities and initiatives as appropriate.
  • Participating in rota duties for the provision of Emergency Cover at the discretion of the Head of College.

Recruiting to this post 

In order to be considered for interview, candidates must evidence each of the essential criteria required for the role in the person specification (including those listed in the section ‘Realising Your Potential Approach’).  

How to apply 

We prefer to receive applications online.

Please note that in submitting your application Durham University will be processing your data. We would ask you to consider the relevant University Privacy Statement https://www.dur.ac.uk/ig/dp/privacy/pnjobapplicants/ which provides information on the collation, storing and use of data.

What you are required to submit

  1. A CV
  2. A covering letter which details your experience, strengths and potential in the requirements set out above
  3. A document providing examples of how you satisfy both the person specification and the Realising Your Potential Approach criteria.

Please ensure that you submit all documentation listed above or your application cannot proceed to the next stage.

Contact details 

For further information please contact Professor Tom Allen, Master of Grey College (email: thomas.allen@durham.ac.uk) or Dr Peter Swift, Vice Master of Grey College (email: g.p.swift@durham.ac.uk). 

At Durham University, our aim is to create an open and inclusive environment where everyone can reach their full potential and believe our staff should reflect the diversity of the global community in which we work. We welcome and encourage applications from members of groups who are under-represented in our work force including people with disabilities, women and black, Asian and minority ethnic communities.

We will notify you on the status of your application at various points throughout the selection process, via automated emails from our e-recruitment system.  Please check your spam/junk folder periodically to ensure you receive all emails

Person specification - skills, knowledge, qualifications and experience required

Essential Criteria:

  • Excellent oral and written communication skills and the ability to develop effective working relationships, both internally and externally.
  • Proven IT skills, including use of Microsoft Office.
  • Educated to degree level or equivalent experience and a track record of achievement in a recognised academic or comparable field.
  • Knowledge and expertise in student development and support.
  • Professional practitioner with specialist knowledge and expertise used to influence events and activities within the organisation.
  • Experience of providing specialist advice and guidance to a range of customers and colleagues, including students and more senior colleagues.
  • Ability to contribute to planning at operational and strategic levels.
  • Willingness to undertake continuing professional development in the field of student development and support.
  • Knowledge and experience of ensuring compliance with regulatory and organisational policy and guidelines.   
  • Experience of being able to network effectively and develop strong and productive working relationships, to influence perceptions of the University.
  • A good understanding of higher education in the UK and an appreciation of the role of colleges in a collegiate University.
  • Experience of working in a multi-cultural environment and an understanding of needs of students from minority groups.
  • A commitment to issues of diversity, equality and internationalisation.

Desirable Criteria:

Track record of management and development experience.

Realising Your Potential Approach

Essential behavioural attribute

Realising Your Potential Approach text


  1. Coaching and mentoring others to enhance own skills and those of others
  2. Providing creative work opportunities to stretch and develop colleagues
  3. Encouraging others to contribute to institutional level activity


  1. Establishing challenging standards to develop services and advance the reputation of the University
  2. Interpreting rules and regulations flexibly to balance customer and University needs
  3. Consistently giving positive messages about the University


  1. Acting as a role model to others by setting high personal standards in both verbal and non-verbal communication
  2. Respecting confidentiality and demonstrating sensitivity if a team member wishes to discuss an equality and diversity issue with you and then taking appropriate action
  3. Ensuring communication with the team is regular, clear and consistent to create an open, transparent working environment


  1. Creating a climate that encourages innovation and receptivity to change
  2. Communicating upwards to influence policy formulation
  3. Proactively scanning the wider external environment to seek opportunities to develop the University


  1. Exercising judgement in line with University strategy and priorities
  2. Actively seeking new ideas and approaches from outside the University
  3. Identifying and pursuing opportunities to work in partnership with external organisations to generate and develop ideas

DBS Requirement: Please note that the successful applicant will require DBS disclosure.

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