Executive Director

Association of Heads of University Administration

Closing date 26 February 2024
Location Hybrid - two days a week in Manchester
Position type Permanent
Role Leadership / Strategy
Education Bachelor's
Experience >3 years
Salary GBP 45,000–56,000
Benefits See below

Job description

The Association of Heads of University Administration (AHUA) is the representative body for senior University managers (Chief Operating Officers, Heads of Administration, University Secretaries) in the UK and Ireland, with Associate Members in other countries.

The Association of Heads of University Administration (AHUA) is seeking to recruit an ambitious, self-motivated person as Executive Director. The person appointed will have a thorough knowledge of Higher Education (HE) policy and practice, excellent organisational and communication skills and a high level of interest in all aspects of a wide-ranging job, including some travel, networking, attending national events and meeting senior officers of national organisations.

The Association of Heads of University Administration (AHUA) is a major organisation bringing together in a national grouping the individual in each UK university immediately below the level of Vice-Chancellor/Principal/President who has managerial and legal responsibility across a wide span of the affairs of the institution. He or she may also be the Secretary to the governing body of the institution or has responsibility for that function. There are currently some 140 institutional members.

The mission of the Association is to be a leading organisation working in the areas of leadership, management, governance and better regulation to enable its members and stakeholders both within and outside the HE sector to maintain and share good practice.

The main purposes of AHUA are:

  • To promote good management and leadership within HE, and to provide a forum for the development of the effective leadership and management of universities;
  • To be at the leading edge of governance, identifying and encouraging good practice while having regard for the diversity of the sector and with reference to external practices;
  • To promote better regulation consistent with perceived risk;
  • To promote and defend institutional autonomy;
  • To share experience and encourage good practice throughout the HE sector;
  • To consider and seek to influence matters of national policy in respect of HE insofar as they affect the management and governance of universities;
  • To support stakeholders in the development of policy on and the implementation of issues relating to university leadership, management and governance;
  • To support and encourage appropriate training for managerial and administrative staff;
  • To enhance the profile of the profession nationally and internationally;
  • To provide examples of leadership for professional staff throughout HE

The Association achieves its purposes through annual conferences, specific training events, development programmes and publications, thereby providing a national forum for discussion of issues in HE.

  • A residential, annual conference is held in April, and a one-day conference in September;
  •  It is supported by meetings of five regional groups;
  • It promotes the formation of ad hoc or semi-permanent groups to study individual issues and to advise the membership and other national bodies;
  • Nominations are provided on request for members to serve on national policymaking bodies organised by other organisations;
  • Regular meetings are held with national HE related organisations such as the Office for Students, Universities UK and Department for Education.
  • It organises training events and development programmes in collaboration with other organisations, open to AHUA members and colleagues throughout the sector who may have an interest

AHUA’s activities are organised by its members through an Executive Committee which acts as the overall strategy, policy, finance and management committee of the association. Meetings of the AHUA Executive Committee and of Regional Groups occur throughout the year. The five regional groups provide an opportunity for members within a region to discuss ideas, new initiatives and issues of concern. The regional groups are London, South, Midlands, North, Scotland. The regional group for Scotland is constituted as the Scottish Secretaries Group and forms part of Universities Scotland

The AHUA officers are the Chair, two Deputy Chairs, Honorary Secretary, Honorary Treasurer and the Executive Director. Strong links exist, particularly at officer level, with a range of other national bodies concerned with HE, for example, the Department for Education (DfE), the Office for Students (OfS), Universities UK (UUK), the Committee of University Chairs (CUC) and the various other professional HE associations.

The Association has a permanent office based in the University of Manchester and is seeking to fill the position of Executive Director. The role of the Executive Director is to be responsible to the Executive Committee for assisting the conduct of the business of the Association. The current post holder is supported by a part-time Administrative Assistant and full time Media and Communications Officer.

Principal duties of the Executive Director are:

  • To support the Executive Committee and in particular its Chair, Deputy Chairs, Honorary Secretary and Honorary Treasurer, through attendance at all meetings;
  • To manage the AHUA office including the two members of staff, and to ensure the efficient management of membership services and the Association’s finances;
  • To contribute to policy issues by undertaking research, preparing draft policy papers and responding to national consultation exercises;
  • To maintain and seek to improve services to, and communication with, the members;
  • To attend meetings of AHUA’s Regional Groups and its Working Groups in order to ensure effective continuity and two-way communication with the officers and Executive Committee;
  • To support the AHUA’s Development team including the Development Consultant, Programme Facilitators and coaches to deliver a range of personal and professional development programmes;
  • To work with event teams to support universities that are hosting the AHUA’s conferences and to work with a Conference Reference Group on conference programmes;
  • To develop and maintain links with other national bodies and professional associations involved in HE.

Person specification

AHUA is seeking an ambitious, self-motivated person. The post holder will be expected to manage the AHUA office and create good working relationships with both members and associates. They will also support in a pro-active way AHUA’s contributions to national policy matters and to develop effective working relationships with a range of national organisations. Specifically the individual should possess or be able to demonstrate:

Essential attributes
  • experience of managing a small team;
  • experience and broadly-based knowledge of the HE sector;
  • evidence of a pro-active approach and an ability to work without supervision;
  • excellent organisational skills;
  • strong presentational (both oral and written) and inter-personal skills;
  • ability to communicate effectively with people at all levels both within AHUA and nationally;
  • strong IT skills.
Desirable attributes and qualifications
  • an appropriate professional qualification and/or degree
  • experience of involvement in HE policy development and implementation

Terms of appointment

The detailed terms and conditions of the appointment will be subject to negotiation with the person appointed but will be within the following general context:

  • Full-time appointment contract (subject to performance evaluation and one year’s probation);
  • Salary in the range of £45,858 - £56,021 (full-time appointment), depending on experience, plus usual pension benefits and reimbursement of reasonable expenses;
  • The University of Manchester will act as the employer;
  • Responsible to the Executive Committee though the Chair;
  • The post holder will be expected to work at least two days a week in Manchester; the remaining time can be worked from home.


How to apply

Please apply via the University's online job vacancy page here