Deputy Head of Student Support and Wellbeing

Updated: about 1 month ago
Location: Durham, ENGLAND

Deputy Head of Student Support and Wellbeing (
Job Number:
Student Support & Wellbeing Directorate
Grade 8: - £45,585 - £54,395 per annum
Open-Ended/Permanent - Full Time
Contracted Hours per Week: 35
Closing Date
: 16-Jun-2024, 6:59:00 PM
Disclosure and Barring Service Requirement: Not Applicable. 

The University 
At Durham University we are proud of our people.  A globally outstanding centre of educational excellence, a collegiate community of extraordinary people, a unique and historic setting – Durham is a university like no other. We believe that inspiring our people to do outstanding things at Durham enables Durham people to do outstanding things professionally and personally.   

Across the University we have a huge variety of roles and career opportunities, which together make us a large and successful community, which is a key hub of activity within our region and nationally.  We would be thrilled if you would consider joining our thriving University. Further information about the University can be found here
The Role and Department 

The Student Support and Wellbeing (SSW) Office is located in the SSW Directorate within the Colleges and Student Experience Division. The office has three key functions:

  • To provide leadership for the pan-University SSW services that are delivered by Colleges and Faculties/Academic Departments, ensuring these work effectively with the Student Support services within the SSW Directorate. This includes development and support of the University's Student Support Information Management (SSIMS) IT system;
  • To provide leadership and oversight of the University’s work in relation to student health and proactive wellbeing including the delivery of faith support;
  • To provide fixed-term resource for core student support teams in Colleges and Faculties/Academic Departments.
  • The work of the Office draws together well-established student health initiatives (for example, strategy and policy work on drugs and alcohol, infectious diseases and student safety) and faith support along with a new strategic priority relating to the delivery of an enhanced student support model. Liaison, coordination and networking with student representatives and other internal and external stakeholders are fundamental for the work of the Office.

    The Deputy Head of SSW provides support to the Head of SSW to lead the oversight, coordination and delivery of SSW operations and the student support model across the institution. Providing leadership for the University’s continual improvement approach is key to this role, ensuring the Student Support services remain fit for purpose as demand and complexity of support cases are both increasing.

    The postholder is responsible for oversight of the University’s work in relation to proactive student wellbeing, providing leadership for all student support communications and campaigns for students. The post holder will have line management responsibility for some staff within the Office, support the development of policy and strategy in the area of student wellbeing and contribute to wider strategies and initiatives that enhance the support for students across the University. 

    Further information about the role and the responsibilities is at the bottom of this job description. 
    Working at Durham  
    A competitive salary is only one part of the many fantastic benefits you will receive if you join the University: you will also receive access to the following fantastic benefits:  

    •    30 Days annual leave per year in addition to 8 public holidays and 4 customary days per year – a total of 42 days per year.   
    •    The University closes between Christmas and New Year.
    •    We offer a generous pension scheme, As a new member of staff you will be automatically enrolled into this University Superannuation Scheme (USS).
    •    No matter how you travel to work, we have you covered.  We have ample parking across campus, a cycle to work scheme which helps you to buy a bike and discount with local bus and train companies. 
    •    There is a genuine commitment to developing our colleagues professionally and personally.  There is a comprehensive range of development courses, apprenticeships and access to qualifications and routes to develop your career in the University.  All staff have dedicated annual time to concentrate on their personal development opportunities.  
    •    Lots of support for health and wellbeing including discounted membership for our state of the art sport and gym facilities and access to a 24-7 Employee Assistance Programme. 
    •    On site nursery is available and access to holiday camps for children aged 5-16 throughout the year. 
    •    Family friendly policies, including maternity and adoption leave, which are among the most generous in the higher education sector (and likely above and beyond many employers). 
    •    The opportunity to take part in staff volunteering activities to make a difference in the local community 
    •    Discounts are available via our benefits portal including; money off at supermarkets, high street retailers, IT products such as Apple, the cinema and days out at various attractions.  
    •    A salary sacrifice scheme is also available to help you take advantage of tax savings on benefits.  
    •    If you are moving to Durham, you may be eligible for help with removal costs and we have a dedicated team who can help you with the practicalities such as house hunting and schools.  If you need a visa, we cover most visa costs and offer an interest free loan scheme to pay for dependant visas. 

    Durham University is committed to equality,  diversity and inclusion 

    Our collective aim is to create an open and inclusive environment where everyone can reach their full potential and we believe our staff should reflect the diversity of the global community in which we work.   As a University equality, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) are a key part of the University’s Strategy and a central part of everything we do.  We also live by our values and our Staff Code of Conduct.  At Durham we actively work towards providing an environment where our staff and students can study, work and live in a community which is supportive and inclusive. It’s important to us that all of our colleagues are aligned to both our values and commitment to EDI. 
    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.  If you have taken time out of your career, and you feel it relevant, let us know about it in your application.  If you are a candidate with a disability, we are committed to ensuring fair treatment throughout the recruitment process. We will make adjustments to support the interview process wherever it is reasonable to do so and, where successful, reasonable adjustments will be made to support people within their role.

    What you need to demonstrate when you apply/Person Specification  
    When you apply it is important that you let us know what skills/experience you have from a similar role and/or what skills/experience you have which would make you right for this role.  Further information about the role and responsibilities is at the end of this job description.  Where a criteria has an asterisk* next to it, it may be given additional weighting when your application is considered.    
    Your application should cover the following criteria:  

    Essential Criteria

    1.    Educated to degree level (or equivalent experience).
    2.    Professional practitioner with specialist knowledge and expertise to influence Student Support and Wellbeing events and activities within the organisation.
    3.    Experience of providing specialist advice and guidance to a range of customers and colleagues, including more senior colleagues.
    4.    Experience of participating in internal or external networks to share and discuss good practice, develop strong and productive working relationships and positively influence the University’s reputation.
    5.    Experience of implementing policies and procedures and supporting service improvements.
    6.    Track record of management and development experience and/or an enhanced management qualification applied across a large service team or teams.

    7.    Excellent spoken and written communication skills including the ability to develop effective working relationships, both internally and externally.
    8.    Strong digital competence across a range of digital devices and apps including Microsoft 365 applications.
    9.    Committed to continuing professional development to maintain professional recognition.
    10.    Knowledge and experience of ensuring compliance with regulatory and organisational policy and guidelines.
    11.    Ability to contribute to planning at operational and strategic levels.
    12.    Ability to solve problems and decide on and plan appropriate solutions.

    13.  Excellent interpersonal skills and a high level of emotional intelligence with the ability to relate to the entire cross-section of the University population including Senior Officers and students; including the ability to manage difficult and sensitive issues in an appropriate manner.

    14. The emotional resilience required to deal with difficult and challenging student and staff issues and managing the impact of such cases; including the ability to stay calm, focussed and professional at all times when responding to such matters.

    How to apply 
    To progress to the assessment stage, candidates must evidence each of the essential criteria required for the role in the person specification above. It will be at the discretion of the recruiting panel as to whether they will also consider any desirable criteria, but we would urge candidates to provide evidence for all criteria.  Please don’t forget to check if there is any weighted criteria (see above). 
    While some criteria will be considered at the shortlisting stage, other criteria may be considered later in the assessment process, such as questions at interview.    
    Submitting your application  
    We prefer to receive applications online.   We will update you about 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 make sure you have not missed any of our updates. 
    What you need to submit    
    1. A CV: 

    2. A covering letter which details your experience, strengths and potential in the requirements set out in the essential criteria;

    3. A word document with detailed examples of how you satisfy each of the essential criteria within the person specification. Please bullet point your answers in the same order as in the essential criteria.

    Contact details    
    For a chat about the role or any further information please contact Dr Rachel Dickins ([email protected])

    Typical Role Requirements  

    Service Delivery/Development
    •    Show a commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion and the University’s values.
    •    Develop and apply an in-depth understanding of university policy and external developments in relation to Student Support and Wellbeing when carrying out your role.
    •    Ensure that policy and regulatory standards are met by activities and processes that are carried out in services you are responsible for.
    •    Use your professional knowledge and experience  to resolve problems, shape processes and activities, develop systems and provide subject matter expertise and advice in relation to Student Support and Wellbeing.
    •    Use your managerial and leadership expertise to identify priorities and shape our Student Support and Wellbeing services to achieve the required outcomes.
    •    Look for ways to continually improve our Student Support and Wellbeing services and take a lead role in the development and implementation of assigned policies, processes and standards. For example, developing policy in the area of student wellbeing including: alcohol; drugs; infectious diseases; safety and faith support.
    •    Help develop standards for your service defined in service level agreements.
    •    Initiate and manage business process reviews to improve Student Support and Wellbeing services
    •    Ensure data (commercially sensitive and/or personal) is appropriately stored and managed.
    •    Implement changes to processes, techniques and service delivery across all areas of your work.

    •    Use creative and innovative ways to of promote our Student Support and Wellbeing services.

    Planning and Organisation
    •    Contribute to the development of operational plans relevant to Student Support and Wellbeing
    •    Oversee the analysis of feedback on the level of service provided by your area and recommend areas for future improvement.
    •    Lead on the delivery of professional development and Student Support initiatives across the University.
    •    Allocate and monitor designated budgets, expenditure and resources.

    Team Development
    •    Manage and develop the people, performance and resources of your team to ensure that a customer focussed service is provided.
    •    Help shape the skills and expertise needed to deliver a professional service by recruiting, inducting and training team members and structuring the team in way that will best meet operational and strategic priorities.
    •    Ensure that your team can deliver the required services by devolving and delegating responsibilities to appropriate team members.
    •    Carry out regular performance reviews to provide feedback on objectives and expectations and identify any development needs.
    •    Handle most HR issues and support the welfare and wellbeing of your team referring more complex issues to specialist services or more senior managers.

    •    Influence University policy, standards and governance in relation to Student Support and Wellbeing by leading operational business meetings, working groups and sub-committees.
    •    Provide professional guidance and advice when managing Student Support and Wellbeing services.
    •    Build and sustain an influential network of contacts, both internally and externally, using these to increase your knowledge and skills, swap information with peers and positively influence the University’s reputation,  including amongst others, relationship building and liaison with: the Students’ Union; Common Rooms; Colleges; Departments, Specialist Services; Local Authority specialists and groups; Public Health England; NHS providers; the NE Universities Health and Wellbeing Network.
    •    Represent Student Support and Wellbeing and University at promotional events and contribute to the delivery of presentations.
    •    Identify opportunities to develop and increase participation in special interest groups.

    •    Any other reasonable duties.

    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 Privacy Notices - Durham University which provides information on the collation, storing and use of data.   

    When appointing to this role the University must ensure that it meets any applicable immigration requirements, including salary thresholds which are applicable to some visas.

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