Vice Principal

Durham, United Kingdom
£41,526 - £49,553
22 Mar 2021
End of advertisement period
19 Apr 2021
Contract Type
Full Time

St Aidan's College

Grade 8: - £41,526 - £49,553
Open-Ended/Permanent - Full Time
Contract Duration: Open-Ended
Contracted Hours per Week: 35
Closing Date: 19-Apr-2021, 6:59:00 AM 

Durham University Job Families

This position belongs to Durham university 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 VALUES: We 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.

The Vice-Principal will join the senior management team of a college and will have a strong strategic and developmental emphasis. They will play a key role in the smooth running of day-to-day operations, whilst ensuring activities and outcomes further our College ethos and the development of our key relationships. They will be the line manager for the Assistant Principal and will oversee the provision of student support within the College in partnership with the Student Support and Wellbeing Directorate.

The Vice-Principal will be involved in a wide range of activity under the direction of the Head of College.  In particular, the Vice-Principal will take a leading role in working with St Aidan's students to facilitate and co-create a programme of engaging student enrichment activities which promote and enable intellectual curiosity, personal effectiveness, wellbeing and resilience, and a sense of community and responsibility among students, in line with the University’s Wider Student Experience Strategy. This encompasses student involvement and leadership in community organising, music, theatre, volunteering, sport and extra-curricular intellectual activities, as well as the Durham Inspired Award. Our College programme will also draw on the strengths and expertise of other College Officers, College Fellows, College Mentors and other community members, as appropriate, working as a team to ensure the best possible wider student experience for all our students. In addition, under delegated authority from the Head of College, the Vice-Principal will conduct student disciplinary procedures and initiatives, within a framework of restorative justice.

The Vice-Principal will work collaboratively with other College Officers, supporting their areas of lead responsibility as necessary and contributing to broader College life through engaging with students, Senior Common Room members, alumni and other external stakeholders. 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. At the discretion of the Head of College, the role of the Vice-Principal may include some contribution to the broader Colleges and Student Experience Division or to an Academic Department. The balance and focus of responsibilities of the Vice-Principal will be agreed with the Head of College.

Balance and focus of responsibilities will be agreed with the College Principal.

Welcome to St Aidan’s, the ‘Rainbow College’. We encourage our students to join our  community to engage with the world and to change it. Through the creative arts, community engagement projects, mentoring both from peers and from our diverse group of College mentors, our students forge friendships across local and global networks. Our Pathways to Enterprise programme gives an insight into SME, social enterprise and cooperative models which are key to sustainable communities. We regularly host international fellows, including writers and artists in residence.

A modern College, we were founded in 1947 as part of the post war drive to bring more women into Higher Education. In 2021, as a larger and lively community of all genders, identities and classes, we aim to play an active role in diversifying Durham’s student, staff and partnerships for the future, with the support of our alumni. Our creative writing course is unique, our intercultural and interfaith activities are thriving, and our College spaces can host anything from meditation groups to ‘Live Lounge’, soundscapes or orchestral evenings. With the emphasis on participation, we have a happy tradition of promoting both informal and highly dedicated performance, from mixed frisbee to women’s football; yoga and meditation; to tango, salsa and classical Indian dance.

We are proud co-founders and hosts of Durham Pride and Durham City of Sanctuary, and of two interdisciplinary research centres with community impact and growing global relationships at their heart. Through celebrations like Lunar New Year and international film nights, our Banipal Middle Eastern Writer in Residence Fellowship and JSoc’s Shabbat celebrations, we work towards active citizenship to bring healing to a fractured world.

Situated at the top of Windmill Hill, if you take a moment of calm near our haunting sculpture by Fenwick Lawson, the view of Durham Cathedral and the dramatic landscape of the city will always inspire you. In the same way, our modernity embraces sensitivity and respect for the other living histories and struggles of this complex region, where natural beauty and industrial resilience coexist.


Core responsibilities:

  • Provide expertise aimed at furthering the College, Division and University Strategy, especially in relation to the personal development of students, and oversee the provision of student support in partnership with the Student Support and Wellbeing Directorate.
  • Manage and develop service, infrastructure and people performance across one or more teams.
  • Provide feedback on team and individual performance and identify development needs and opportunities, 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 the student experience and support team, referring more complex HR issues to appropriate support services/senior management.
  • Liaise and engage with key people and internal and external contractors to influence opinion, delivery and reputation of the college experience.
  • Contribute to the scoping and resource planning across a range of activities at operational and strategic level.
  • Promote and develop a deep understanding of organisational policy and external contexts.      
  • Devolve responsibilities to team members to ensure continuity of 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 staff provide an accessible, friendly and professional community 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.
  • Responsible for allocating and monitoring the non-staff college financial budget and resources relating to WSE, in partnership with the College Principal.
  • Analyse feedback, implementing and reviewing provision.

Role responsibilities:

  • Lead the development of appropriate structures, procedures and initiatives to create opportunities for students’ personal development and (in partnership with the Student Support and Wellbeing Directorate) optimise student support within the College.
  • 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 to contribute to the College via extra-curricular activities and increased levels of participation.
  • Build and sustain a network of contacts both internally and externally to influence and promote the reputation of the College and the University.
  • Manage specific quality and regulatory audit process over-arching systems and procedures.
  • Contribute to the definition, development and implementation of standards.
  • Deliver effective modes of communication, to engage and influence internal and external communities and contacts.
  • Provide professional guidance and advice to students and others for complaints and referrals.
  • Take responsibility for student disciplinary matters in consultation with the Head of College, liaising where required with relevant support departments.
  • Represent the College and University at promotional events for potential student applicants, parents, schools and sponsors; contribute to the delivery of presentations at conferences.
  • 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 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

Contact details 

For further information please contact; Susan Frenk, College Principal, s.f.frenk@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:

  1. Excellent oral and written communication skills and the ability to develop effective working relationships, both internally and externally.
  2. Proven IT skills, including use of Microsoft Office.
  3. Educated to degree level or equivalent experience and a track record of achievement in a recognised academic or comparable field.
  4. Knowledge and expertise in student development and support or equivalent in a comparable field.
  5. Experience of providing specialist advice and guidance to a range of people and colleagues, including students (or equivalent groups) and more senior colleagues.
  6. Ability to contribute to planning at operational and strategic levels.
  7. Willingness to undertake continuing professional development in the field of student development and support.
  8. Knowledge and experience of ensuring compliance with regulatory and organisational policy and guidelines.   
  9. Experience of being able to network effectively and develop strong and productive working relationships, to influence perceptions of workplace or institution.
  10. Experience of working in a multi-cultural environment and an understanding of needs of students (or equivalent) from minority groups.
  11. A commitment to issues of diversity, equality and internationalisation

Desirable Criteria:

  1. Track record of management and development experience.
  2. A good understanding of higher education in the UK and an appreciation of the role of Colleges in a collegiate University. 

Realising Your Potential Approach

Developing Myself and Others

  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

Providing excellent student services and professional support

  1. Establishing challenging standards to develop services and advance the reputation of the University
  2. Interpreting rules and regulations flexibly to balance the needs of all parties

Respecting Others

  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

Embracing Change

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

Finding Solutions

  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: Not Applicable.

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