Updated: about 1 month ago
Location: Durham, ENGLAND

Vice-Principal (
Job Number:
St Aidan's College
Grade 8: - £45,585 - £54,395 per annum (Pro Rata)
Open-Ended/Permanent - Full Time
Contracted Hours per Week: 35
Working Arrangements: one day working from home each week
Closing Date
: 12-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 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 be a member of the College senior management team and will have a strong strategic and developmental emphasis. The post holder will be involved in a wide range of activities aimed at furthering the College and University strategy, especially in relation to the personal development of students, embedding the wider student experience, and the future development of the College. Working as a part of a close-knit team, they will support the provision of student support within the College in partnership with the Student Support and Wellbeing Directorate.


The Vice-Principal will act as deputy to the College Principal (a) in ensuring the College offers a supportive and stimulating environment for academic study, cultural and developmental activities, and social interaction which engages students, staff, SCR members, visitors, and alumni. The role holder leads on student enrichment - promoting and enabling intellectual curiosity, personal effectiveness, wellbeing and resilience, and a sense of community, responsibility, and inclusion among all our students, staff and partners.

The 16 maintained colleges sit under the executive leadership of the PVC for Colleges and Student Experience, and the role also involves contributing to the divisional policy and strategy and to the University’s wide student experience strategy.

The role is embedded in the life of the College, providing a degree of flexible working combined with occasional evening and weekend responsibilities. There is an out of hours on call rota in which the VP participates, for several weeks each year. Balance and focus of responsibilities will be agreed with the College Principal.

St Aidan’s College is an established college of the University of Durham, providing catered termtime accommodation to undergraduates (predominantly first years) and postgraduates. We are situated on Windmill Hill, in beautiful surroundings with inspiring views. We are known for our welcoming environment, regional and international partnerships, diverse community, broad student experience and enquiring spirit. We seek to appoint a full time, permanent Vice Principal.

Further information about the role and the responsibilities is at the foot of this job description.

Interviews are expected to take place in June 2024.


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 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


  • Educated to degree level or equivalent experience and a track record of achievement in a recognised academic or comparable field.
  • Knowledge and professional expertise in student development and support 
  • Excellent organisational skills and experience of managing a full and complex portfolio
  • Experience of providing specialist advice and guidance to a range of customers and colleagues, including external stakeholders and more senior colleagues.
  • Experience of working across and liaising with functional teams, such as Operations, within the college and the wider organisation in order to deliver service excellence
  • 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.
  • Experience of implementing policies and procedures and supporting service improvements.
  • Experience of working in a diverse and multi-cultural environment and contributing to an inclusive culture.

  • Skills/Abilities/Knowledge

  • Excellent spoken and written communication skills including the ability to develop effective working relationships, both internally and externally
  • Strong digital competence across a range of digital devices and apps including Microsoft 365 applications, database applications, business systems and social media communications.
  • Committed to continuing professional development to maintain professional recognition.
  • Extensive knowledge and experience of ensuring compliance with regulatory and organisational policy and guidelines.
  • Ability to contribute to planning at operational and strategic levels.
  • Ability to solve problems, in collaboration with others (including students) and decide on and plan appropriate solutions.
  • Financial literacy and ability to liaise with finance colleagues over budget matters and financial transactions
  • Ability to handle sensitive and confidential issues
  • Desirable criteria 

  •  A good understanding of higher education in the UK and an appreciation of the role of colleges in a collegiate University
  • Experience of alumni/ stakeholder engagement and of using an alumni database or Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system 
  • 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      

    • A CV: and       
    • A supporting statement which outlines how you meet all of the criteria within the Person Specification.         

    Contact details             

    For a chat about the role or any further information please contact Dr. Susan Frenk, Principal. [email protected]     

    Typical Role Requirements  

    College Delivery/Development

    • Working with staff and students, develop and maintain a vibrant and distinctive community, which engenders a sense of belonging, and where students can grow and develop in confidence academically, socially and culturally
    • Use your expertise to further the College, Division and University Strategy, especially in relation to the personal development of students
    • Working in partnership with the Assistant Principal and the Student Support and Wellbeing Directorate, assist in the provision of student support. 
    • Lead the development of appropriate structures, activities and initiatives for maximising students’ personal development 
    • Use your professional experience and knowledge to provide subject matter advice and to support the Principal to resolve problems, shape processes and activities, and develop systems.
    • Use your managerial and leadership expertise to identify priorities and shape the College environment and ways of working to achieve the required outcomes
    • Seek ways to continually improve services and take a lead role in the development and implementation of assigned policies, processes and standards, in particular those relating to student enrichment.
    • Ensure all activities, processes and transactions are accounted for accurately and promptly to meet regulatory, professional service and policy standards.
    • Lead and participate in internal business meetings, working groups and sub-committees at operational service level to influence governance, organisational policy and service standards for the College and Division.
    • Implement processes to manage the integrity and security of all commercially and professionally sensitive and personal data.
    • Deliver activities and participate with others to generate external income.
    • Provide professional guidance and advice to students and service users with complaints and referrals.

    Planning and Organisation

    • Contribute to the development of operational plans relevant to your area.
    • Working with the College Principal, lead on the College planning process, annual reporting, and periodic review.
    • Contribute to the formulation, review and implementation of Divisional and University policy as required.
    • Oversee the analysis of data about the service levels provided by your area, make recommendations for improvement in reports to senior managers and committees.
    • Allocate and monitor designated budgets, expenditure and resources.

    Team Development

    • At the discretion of the principal, line manage other members of college staff, including identifying development needs, conducting regular staff annual and performance reviews and advising.
    • Recruit, induct, train, and develop new team members, ensure continuity of service provision and encourage skills development.
    • Work in partnership with the JCR and joint SCR-MCR to support the ethos of student leadership and co-creation with College and, as appropriate, to advise on, influence and facilitate student-led college activity. 
    • As required, handle and support HR issues and support the welfare and wellbeing of your team 
    • Ensure you can deliver the required services by devolving and delegating responsibilities to other colleagues.

    Stakeholder Engagement and Communications

    • Help build and sustain an influential network of alumni and contacts both internally and externally to influence and promote the reputation of the College and the University.
    • Use creativity and innovation for communication and promotion purposes, to engage and influence internal and external stakeholders.
    • Develop external relations, identifying and developing opportunities for employers, alumni and donors to contribute to the College via extra-curricular activities and increased levels of participation.
    • Liaise and engage with key stakeholders and internal and external contractors to ensure excellent service delivery.
    • Support the Principal in ensuring the College provides an accessible, friendly and professional service which is responsive to stakeholder feedback.
    • Any other reasonable duties as determined by the College Principal or their nominee.


    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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