Executive Management Team

Professor Michael Harkin, Vice-Chancellor and Principal

Michael became Vice-Chancellor and Principal on 1 August 2019, having previously served for eleven years at the University as Deputy Vice-Chancellor. Michael holds an ex-officio post on the Corporation and serves as the University’s Chief Executive Officer, with specific responsibilities for making proposals to the Corporation on the educational character and mission of the University and for the management of budget and resources. In his previous role, Michael was responsible for Corporate Services and the development of the University’s estate. This followed an earlier career in both the further and higher education sectors and a commercial stint in the aviation industry.

The Vice-Chancellor and Principal is supported by The Executive Management Team.

The Executive Management Team (EMT) is the executive decision-making body for University College Birmingham. It supports the Vice-Chancellor and Principal in ensuring that:

  • The University’s strategies, structures, systems and procedures provide academic programmes, support mechanisms and facilities that underpin a high quality, cost effective learning experience for students.
  • Resources are properly managed to meet current requirements and to generate sufficient reserves to meet future needs.

Joseph Young, University Secretary and Registrar

Joseph joined the University in 2008. As University Secretary and Registrar, Joseph reports directly to the Corporation and provides professional advice on the role, function and constitution of the Corporation and its sub-committees in line with the:

  • Instrument and Articles of Government
  • Conditions of Funding
  • Audit Code of Practice
  • Standing Orders of the Corporation
  • Terms of Reference

Joseph line manages the Academic Registry function, encompassing Examinations, Timetabling and Attendance. He also has institutional responsibility for licensing and insurance arrangements, and acts as an Executive link between the independent Guild of Students and the University.

Alice Wilby, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Access, Participation and Student Experience)

Alice joined the University in February 2020 having previously worked at the University of Oxford, Oxford Brookes University and the University of Wolverhampton. Her past roles covered access and participation, student recruitment and institutional partnerships.

Motivated by an interest in social mobility and her own past experiences to help encourage less traditional students to apply for higher education, Alice's role as Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Access, Participation and Student Experience) focuses on ensuring the University attracts students from a wide range of backgrounds and supports them during their studies, reporting on progress to external bodies and regulators. She also has executive-level responsibility for a number of teams including Marketing, Admissions and International, Student Services, Wellbeing, Learning Services (library and disability support) and Campus Services.


Dr Anne Coufopoulos, Executive Dean (School of Health, Sport and Food)

Anne is currently Executive Dean at University College Birmingham, leading the School of Health, Sport and Food. She has held a number of academic roles over the past 23 years within higher education, with the past seven years being in senior leadership roles, and is also a Registered Dietitian.

Previously Anne was Associate Dean (Enterprise and Innovation) in the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences at Coventry University. Externally Anne is a Trustee of the charity HENRY, which supports the whole family to make positive lifestyle changes to ensure babies and young children get the best start in life. She is also a trustee of the Institute of Health Promotion and Education.

Much of Anne's academic and research work over the years has focused extensively on vulnerable and hard-to-reach groups of society, reflected in her publications, consultancy and advisory work in these areas. She continues to engage in research through the supervision of a number of PhD students working within food, nutrition and poverty/homelessness.

Anne is also very much engaged in the health and wellbeing of the workplace and led the health and wellbeing theme of the Coventry and Warwickshire Business Festival between 2017-19. She also has a keen interest in coaching and mentoring and holds a Level 7 CMI Coaching and Mentoring qualification.

Rosa Wells, Executive Dean School of Engineering, Digital and Sustainable Construction

Rosa Wells is the Executive Dean of the School of Engineering, Digital and Sustainable Construction. Rosa is a highly experienced engineer who has dedicated her career to education and training. She is passionate about providing students with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in STEM sectors. 

In her previous role, Rosa was leading the Greater Birmingham & Solihull Institute of Technology, working closely with engineering employers and education partners to establish a state-of-the-art learning factory in the city centre accessible to all engineering learners across the region.

Rosa is deeply committed to making a positive impact on the lives of her students and is constantly seeking new and innovative ways to improve their learning experience. Her impact and expertise have been recognised in the award of a Technical Teaching Fellowship in 2021. 

Rosa works closely with leading sector bodies such as Women into Science and Engineering, STEM Learning and the Royal Academy of Engineering to ensure best practice is embedded within our work with learners, schools and employers.

Professor Jane Perry, Deputy Vice Chancellor and Chief Academic Officer

Jane became the Deputy Vice Chancellor and Chief Academic Officer in November 2023, with specific responsibilities for the transformation of the Universities strategic academic portfolio.

Promoting a culture of excellence and innovation, she oversees the development and implementation of new curricular, teaching, learning and assessment strategies, student experience and outcomes and strategic reviews, and projects.

Working in collaboration with the Pro-Vice Chancellors and Executive Deans across the University she supports strengthening and diversifying the Universities portfolio to be highly inclusive and align with new generation skills and industry focused approaches. The aim is to support an excellent student experience, sustainable futures and high-quality graduates who are career ready and highly employable.

She also deputises for the Vice Chancellor and Principal across a range of delegated internal and external matters, including supporting the unique partnership we have with the University of Warwick.

Jane has been nurse for over 40 years and has undertaken many Senior Leadership roles in academia across a broad portfolio, including more recently Dean of Health, Sport and Bioscience at the University of East London. She has also led on several external projects with Health Education England and is currently the England Convenor for the Council of Deans for Health.

José Lopes, Pro Vice-Chancellor (External Affairs)

José joined University College Birmingham in August 2021, with responsibility for building relationships in both the public and commercial sectors, promoting the full breadth of the University’s work and activities to external stakeholders, businesses and employers.

Employers’ skills priorities and performance expectations heavily inform our current and future curriculum development. This equips our students with the best quality and range of skills and talents, to benefit them and wider society. Employers also inform the quality and range of our employment support and apprenticeship services, delivered by José’s team of dedicated specialists to students and alumni.

In his previous role with the West Midlands Combined Authority, José was responsible for strengthening collaboration with the regional business community. He aligned and drove enthusiasm and effort around meeting regional skills priorities to enable participants to achieve more collectively. An engineer by background and education, José spent 30 years in the automotive sector, ultimately taking the lead on programmes to develop the technical skills and competencies of new and existing staff, including new graduates, and also on the creation of degree apprenticeship routes.

José is a Chartered Manager and Companion of the Chartered Management Institute, as well as a Chartered Engineer, with fellowships of both the Institution of Engineering and Technology, and the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

Emma Smith, Executive Director - Further Education Quality Enhancement and Sixth Form Lead

Emma joined the University in November 2022, having already spent more than 20 years working in further education colleges and sixth form education across the region. As Executive Director – FE Quality Enhancement and Sixth Form Lead, Emma’s role at the University is to ensure that the quality of education for all students within the FE provision is outstanding. This includes our vocational programmes of study, apprenticeship programmes, access courses and T Level Qualifications.  

Her career started in 1998 at North Warwickshire & South Leicestershire College where she spent a decade working with disadvantaged and disengaged young people who she supported into positive and worthwhile careers. In 2012 Emma moved to Birmingham and joined Birmingham Metropolitan College as Assistant Director, where she was responsible for improving the Maths and English skills of young people and adults across the college. She later joined Cadbury Sixth Form College as Quality Director and Head of Curriculum in 2016.  

In her strategic role within the University, Emma will also be leading the sixth form provision project as it moves towards a September 2024 launch, supporting students along a pathway of learning into the most up to date and interesting areas of study.

Elaine Limond, Interim Executive Dean School of Business, Tourism and Creative Industries

Elaine joined University College Birmingham as a Lecturer on the BTEC Sports programme. Since then, she has helped to develop the Sport and Fitness Studies undergraduate programmes in addition to the Further Education sport provision.

Elaine has taught in FE and HE, was Assistant Dean (Sport), Acting Dean (Sport) and is now in the role of Interim Executive Dean School of Business, Tourism and Creative Industries.

Mark Payne, Executive Director of Finance and Corporate Services

Mark was appointed in February 2021 and is the Executive Director of Finance and Corporate Services. He leads the support services of Finance, MIS, Estates & Facilities, DICE and IT, and the development and implementation of the University's accommodation strategy on behalf of the Vice Chancellor. As well as advising the EMT and Governors on strategic finance and resources matters, Mark also has oversight of the University's strategic risk register.

Mark started out in local authority finance in 1983, obtaining the ONC and HNC (in Business and Finance) and AAT in 1988, before qualifying as a chartered accountant in 1992. He spent a number of years in the private sector with KPMG before becoming a regional director at the Learning and Skills Council. He held senior leadership roles in two FE Colleges in Nottingham and Coventry for over 20 years before joining the University. As well as being a Chartered Accountant, he has obtained a MA and a MPhil from University of Warwick.

Back to top