Job vacancy: Head of School

At the University of Plymouth, it is in our nature to innovate – be that in our teaching or in our research. We strive for the highest quality in all that we do – pushing boundaries isn’t just encouraged, it is expected.

The University’s mission - advancing knowledge, transforming lives - is manifested in the compelling combination of first-class, innovative teaching, clusters of world-class research, and a commitment to widening participation and social inclusion, so that our students are supported and encouraged to unlock their true potential.

The Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Business comprises four schools, with substantial research excellence and an international reputation across the disciplines of English, creative writing, history, education, performing arts and music, digital arts, photography, curatorial practice, architecture, environmental building, supply chain management, accounting and Law.

The School of Art Design and Architecture has a growing international profile, with collaborations across the Far East, South America and Europe. In all areas there is a fundamental commitment to practice-based working and supporting students to develop as independent critical thinkers and practitioners. Studio work – and studio culture - permeate most of the School’s pedagogy, and are the central pivot underpinning all other modules and activities.

The University is now seeking to appoint a Head for the School of Art, Design and Architecture to provide bold and strategic leadership to the School, reporting to the Executive Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Business. The Head of School role is primarily responsible for formulating and operationalising academic strategy, ensuring appropriate plans and resources are in place for their delivery. This is a truly exciting time to lead the School, building on its existing strengths and developing new and innovative ways of taking the School forward.

Approachable and visible, you will bring a proven track record of confident senior leadership and management in an equivalent context and amidst a context of rapid change within the University and HE sector as a whole. You will need to be adept at direction setting, delegation and engaging staff in their part in delivering results for the sustainable success of the School, Faculty and University.

You will already be a consummate professor in your field with considerable academic and personal credibility in a relevant discipline and be seeking an opportunity to build on the School’s success to date and lead it forward during a time of change and opportunity.

Professor Chris Bennewith, Interim Executive Dean, Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Business gives an overview of the role.


Professor Judith Petts CBE, Vice-Chancellor, welcomes applicants to the University of Plymouth.

How to apply

Key dates

The closing date for applications is 12 noon GMT on Monday 31 January 2022.

The final selection process with the University is scheduled to be held on Tuesday 29 March 2022.

We have instructed our executive search partners, GatenbySanderson, to advise and assist us with this selection and appointment. Your applications should consist of a short CV of no more than four pages accompanied by a supporting statement that explicity addresses the criteria in the person specification. These can be uploaded on the GatenbySanderson website.

Please include current salary details and the names and addresses of three referees. Referees will not be approached until the final stages and not without prior permission from candidates.

All applications will receive an automated response on submission.

All candidates are also requested to complete an online Equal Opportunities Monitoring Form which will be found at the end of the application process. This will assist the University in monitoring selection decisions to assess whether equality of opportunity is being achieved. Any information collated from these forms will not be used as part of the selection process and will be treated as strictly confidential.

Personal data

In line with GDPR, we ask that you do NOT send us any information that can identify children or any of your Sensitive Personal Data (racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs, trade union membership, data concerning health or sex life and sexual orientation, genetic and/or biometric data) in your CV and application documentation. Following this notice, any inclusion of your Sensitive Personal Data in your CV/application documentation will be understood by us as your express consent to process this information going forward. Please also remember to not mention anyone’s information or details (e.g. referees) who have not previously agreed to their inclusion.

Contact details

For further information and details on how to apply, please visit the GatenbySanderson website.

About the School of Art, Design and Architecture

Based within the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Business, the School of Art, Design and Architecture (ADA) offers high quality, student-centred degrees, postgraduate programmes and research opportunities relevant to today’s cultural, creative, architectural and design related industries.

Our research

The School offers a breadth of postgraduate research programmes that are distinct in their focus on digital art and technology practice, transdisciplinary epistemologies, artistic ecologies, photographic and media art, urban and smart cities as well as building performance research. Our research staff are active practitioners and longstanding academics within their fields and between them have a wealth of successful AHRC, EPSRC, and British Academy research grants as well as Horizon2020 and other EU funded projects. ADA has a strong connection to the city through its major galleries, and independent and national organisations such as Plymouth Culture, and the South West Film and TV Archive Centre, among others. Through its international staff, ADA looks outwards with research projects based in India, China, Brazil, USA, the rest of Europe and the Middle East. The School is a hub of advanced studies into a wealth of creative practice linked to art, design and architecture.

Studying with us

Learning from industry-leading experts, our students get hands-on and practical experience from the leading minds of the business, allowing them to immerse themselves in a vibrant creative community. Our degrees will improve hands-on skills and develop industry expertise, preparing our students for life after graduation. We inspire a collaborative spirit through close-knit studios  and invaluable opportunities to work on real-world live briefs. Students and staff use their creative talents to engage with the outside world and community through interdisciplinary collaborations and projects.

State-of-the-art facilities

The School has a range of specialist facilities and resources to provide a unique learning environment for our students. This includes access to a designated design studio space, specialist laboratories (materials, digital fabrication, immersive visualisation), workshops (woodwork, metalwork and plaster-casting) and a 360 degree Immersive Vision Theatre.

Specialist built equipment to develop practical skills is also available, including for example thermographic cameras, thermal comfort units, sound meters, light meters, spectrometers, conductance and capacitance damp meters, salts detectors and air quality sensors.