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Vice-Chancellor and the University Executive Team

The University Executive Team are individually responsible for developing different aspects of the University's work

  • About the Vice-Chancellor

Professor Nic Beech

Nic is Vice-Chancellor of Middlesex University. He has held a range of senior higher education leadership roles including Vice-Principal of the University of St Andrews and Provost of the University of Dundee. He is President of the British Academy of Management, a member of the Council of the Academy of Social Sciences and a board member of London Higher and the Chartered Management Institute Race Network. Nic is also an Executive Team member, and since 2022 the Treasurer, of University Alliance.

His academic background is in business and management and his research focused on identity, diversity, change leadership and learning. His work has been funded by AHRC, ESRC, EU, Nesta and industry partners and he was Lead Fellow of the ESRC Advanced Institute of Management.

Nic has worked extensively with industry and over the last decade has focused on change and innovation in creative industries and the health service. He also led the national academic input to the current Scottish cultural policy and is currently working on methods of impactful engagement between practice, policy and academia.

Read more about Nic and the role

  • About the Executive

Our Executive is made up of leading individuals who report to and support our Vice-Chancellor to carry out our mission to transform potential into success.

Professor Sean Wellington

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Provost

Sean is Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Provost having joined Middlesex University in April 2019 as Pro Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean of the Faculty of Science and Technology.

Prior to his appointment with us, Sean worked at Oxford Brookes University where he held senior leadership roles including Pro Vice-Chancellor and Dean of the Faculty of Technology, Design and Environment and Pro Vice-Chancellor (Student Experience). He has led on the development of innovative new partnership activity and worked closely with the further education sector. He currently serves as an External Governor of a general FE college and a Trustee of Colindale Communities Trust (CCT).

Since beginning his career in the engineering industry, initially as an Apprentice, Sean has held teaching, research and leadership positions in three universities and roles with sector bodies including QAA and OfS. Sean has taught a range of subjects in engineering and computing over more than thirty years. He is a thought leader on engineering education and recently led a review of the Engineering Council standard used for the accreditation of engineering degree programmes. The new standard, AHEP Edition 4, better reflects the crucial role that engineers play in tackling societal concerns such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals and there is a new expectation that graduates will adopt an inclusive approach to engineering practice and recognise the importance of supporting equality, diversity and inclusion.

In his role as Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Provost, Sean exercises leadership, and has responsibility, for the academic performance, staffing, budgeting, and planning of the Faculties. The Academic Deans for each Faculty and the Strategy Theme Directors (aligned to the University Strategy's Integrating Themes) report directly to Sean. Sean also has responsibility for Apprenticeships and Professional Development and will convene a newly formed Deans Group for the University.

Professor Carole-Anne Upton

Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research, Knowledge Exchange and Engagement

Carole-Anne is Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research, Exchange and Engagement, having previously held the role of Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Knowledge Exchange alongside her duties as Executive Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Creative Industries.

Joining Middlesex in 2012 as Dean of the School of Media and Performing Arts and Professor of Theatre, she led the formation of the Faculty of Arts and Creative Industries. Carole-Anne previously held the Chair in Drama at the University of Ulster and has more than 25 years’ experience as an academic, researching and teaching in aspects of modern and contemporary theatre, drama and performance practice and has a special interest in directing. With a background in languages, she moved from theatre practice to begin an academic career as a lecturer at the University of Hull, later becoming Deputy Dean of Arts and Social Sciences.Carole-Anne was the the founding editor of a journal of ethics in theatre and performance and has published  on translation for performance, contemporary Irish and Northern Irish theatre, francophone and anglophone African and Caribbean theatre.

She has served on various panels with the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA), Higher Education Academy (HEA) and JISC, and has been invited to review for research councils internationally in Portugal, Ireland, Finland, Norway and Austria. She was proud to be elected as an Honorary Life Member of the UK subject association for theatre and drama (SCUDD) which she led for a number of years. In recent years, she has been a role model for the Aurora Programme, supporting women's career development in HE, and is a mentor as part of the REACH programme, supporting high performing civil servants with disabilities. Carole-Anne has previously held board positions at Hull Truck Theatre and with a small health charity. She is currently an academic trustee of the London Academy of Music & Dramatic Art (LAMDA). She is a Fellow of the RSA.

In her position as Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research, Knowledge Exchange and Engagement, Carole-Anne exercises leadership, and has responsibility for the University’s key areas of Research, Knowledge Exchange and En­gagement in the UK and internationally. Each Faculty has a Deputy Dean in Research, Knowledge Exchange and En­gagement and they have a ‘dotted line’ reporting relationship to Carole-Anne. Carole-Anne also line manages the Research and Knowledge Transfer Office.

James Kennedy

Deputy Chief Executive Officer

James Kennedy is Deputy Chief Executive Officer, having joined Middlesex University in 2016 as Chief Financial Officer with responsibility for strategic financial planning, capital investment and driving strategies to optimise the effective and efficient utilisation of resources and processes.

James has worked in a variety of different sectors, most recently as Chief Operating Officer with an NHS Foundation Trust. Prior to this, James worked for 10 years at Thermo Fisher Scientific, a US quoted company, where he held a number of UK and European director level positions.
James is also a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland and holds a master’s degree from the University of Oxford in Engineering Science.

As Deputy Chief Executive Officer, James focuses on the development of a sustainable institution and associated digital and estates infrastructure.
James ex­ercises leadership, and has responsibility, for finance, data and information management, planning, commercial strategy and market research, estates, procurement, facilities and sustainability and leads a team of Directors of these services.

John McGuinness

Chief Officer for People and Culture

John McGuinness is our Chief Officer for People and Culture, having joined Middlesex University as Deputy HR Director in March 2007. John was promoted to Director of HR in 2010.

Previously, John worked as Head of Employment Strategy at Camden Council where he held a range of operational and strategic HR roles. Key achievements during his time at Camden were leadership of the single status pay and grading review and the modernisation of the Council’s senior pay and reward structures.

Prior to this John worked in senior HR posts at Islington Council and the Department of Transport where he commenced his career in HR in the 1992. During this time he held responsibility for areas as diverse as staff communications, equality and diversity, staff development, employee relations and best value reviews.

John has an MA in Human Resource Management, a Post-Graduate Diploma in Personnel Management and a BSc in Psychology.

As Chief Officer for People and Culture, John is responsible for leading the organisational and workforce development needed to achieve our Strategy 2031. Working with University Executive Team colleagues and our senior managers, he will lead this work with the objective of also enhancing staff wellbeing and engagement across the University.

John provides strategic leadership for our people management and development through the implementation of our People and Culture strategy. The Human Resource Service covers HR management, HR partnering, staff development, equality, diversity and inclusion, and wellbeing.

Summary of University Executive Team responsibilities

The Vice-Chancellor

  • Leads the organisation
  • Answers to the Chair and the Governors
  • Acts under explicit delegations
  • With the Executive Team, develops the strategic approach.

The University Executive Team

  • Ensures delivery of the University's mission
  • With the Vice-Chancellor, develops the strategic approach
  • Individually carries out specific responsibilities determined by the Vice-Chancellor.
  • Academic board

The Academic Board, which is chaired by our Vice-Chancellor, is made up of 30 individuals that advise on the recruitment and retention of our students, the content of our curriculum, and the assessment and examination process.

The Academic Board provides advice on:

  • General issues relating to the research, scholarship, teaching and courses at the University
  • Criteria for the admission of students
  • The appointment and removal of internal and external examiners
  • Assessment and examination of the academic performance of students
  • Content of the curriculum
  • Academic standards, and the validation and review of courses
  • Award of qualifications and honorary academic titles
  • Expulsion of students for academic reasons
  • Development of academic activities and relevant resources

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