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.

Elaine Penn - Pro-Vice-Chancellor at University College Birmingham

Elaine Penn, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (HE Curriculum and FE Principal)

Elaine's career began in the world of banking, finance and marketing for Barclays Bank PLC, where she was responsible for leading and managing teams of staff at various locations in the West Midlands. After a career break to raise a family, Elaine retrained in areas of interest which included fitness training, beauty therapy, sports massage and sports therapy. Additional qualifications enabled Elaine to progress her career further and in 1995 she entered the world of teaching and education.

In 2000, Elaine joined University College Birmingham as a lecturer and was promoted to Assistant Dean in 2005 for the former School of Sport and Creative Services, before being appointed as Dean of the same school in 2009. Since 2020, she has held the position of Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Curriculum, Teaching and Learning), leading a team of approximately 270 staff who deliver high quality programmes to approximately 7,000 students (further and higher education). Elaine also leads the University’s Academic Management Team.

José Lopes, Executive Director of External Engagements

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.

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

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