Appointment of the Head of Assessment

Welcome

Dear Candidate

Thank you for expressing an interest in joining the University of Bristol as Head of Assessment.

The Head of Assessment is a new role, created to lead on all aspects of the delivery of assessment, with a particular focus on digital assessment, across the university. Reporting to the Director of Education Services and working closely with the Director of Education Innovation and Director of Education Quality and Policy, the postholder will be responsible for leading the translation of our assessment strategy into operational planning and delivery. This is an exciting time to join the University as we launch the University strategy under our new Vice Chancellor, Professor Evelyn Welch. The post holder will play a key role in developing and shaping our assessment strategy, and leading on all aspects of the systems, processes and data that underpin this.

Assessment at Bristol is delivered through a framework of complex and multiple central and devolved processes, so the Head of Assessment will need to work across a wide stakeholder network, both academic and professional services, to promote change and engage stakeholders in the development and delivery of new forms of assessment. The postholder will also monitor the external environment for issues that affect assessment and provide advice and guidance to senior leaders and committees.

We are seeking to appoint a candidate with expertise in assessment, especially digital, and a strong understanding of current issues across higher education and their implications for assessment.  They will have operational management experience and will be able to analyse and interpret complex information. They will be able to navigate complex processes and structures and provide expert advice on our assessment strategy and delivery models. Strong interpersonal, communication and relationship building skills will also be essential.

The Head of Assessment will be at the heart of our evolving approach to assessment and will have the opportunity to work across the entire university to lead and promote digital-led change

You can find out more about the University and the role on this website, and our advising consultants at Anderson Quigley would be pleased to discuss the role with you in confidence – their details are also on this site.

This is a challenging yet incredibly important role and a significant step forward in the delivery of our student experience strategy. If you feel that you can contribute to our University and are enthused by the opportunity to lead the evolution of our assessment strategy, then we would be pleased to hear from you.

Yours faithfully

Paula Coonerty 
Executive Director for Education and Student Experience and Academic Registrar

About us

The University of Bristol was one of the six civic universities created in Britain at the turn of the twentieth century. With a global reputation for academic and research excellence, we are a top 10 UK university and 61st in the world (QS Rankings 2023).

At Bristol, we have a strong tradition of pioneering innovation, and meeting external challenges with new ideas and adaptability. A university for Bristol and for the world, we value deeply our social mission and engagement with a diverse set of constituencies, from our students to business and industry, non-profits, media, culture and the arts, government, and our staff.

A member of the prestigious Russell Group, our university comprises 29 academic schools divided among six faculties. We are home to five world-leading University Research Institutes which draw together thematic, multidisciplinary research spanning the breadth of the University, and seven Specialist Research Institutes which reflect our strength and depth in key specialist areas.

We are proud to consistently rank in the world’s top 100 and UK’s top ten universities in global league tables, and of our performance in major national league tables. The Academic Ranking of World Universities 2022 places us eighth in the UK and 81st in the world; and in the QS World University Rankings 2023 Bristol was ranked 9th in the UK. The Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021 ranked Bristol among the UK’s top research universities.

Our mission is to make a positive impact locally and globally by addressing society’s greatest challenges through our distinctive education, innovative research, and the value we place on excellence, inclusivity, and partnership. This is underpinned by our vision which, by 2030, will see us firmly established among the world’s top 50 universities, providing an education and student experience that attracts the very best from across the globe and benefiting from a culture of innovation, inclusivity, community, and partnership.

Equality, diversity and inclusion

Our work in Equality, Diversity and Inclusion is ongoing, with a clear commitment to diversifying our workforce, being anti-racist and supporting a more inclusive staff and student base.   Our schools continue to win recognition for their commitment to good practice in gender equality, with nine Bronze and seven Silver Athena Swan Charter awards.

Our values

  • Curious & Creative: we ask questions, we innovate, and we embrace the new.
  • Listening & Learning: we continually add to and share our own knowledge, we are open to the ideas of others, and we value partnership working.
  • Caring & Inclusive: we are a diverse and welcoming community, respectful in our interactions with others and with our environment.
  • Bold & Bristolian: we are proud of our place in our vibrant city and the role we play to co-create innovative and ambitious solutions to local, national and global issues.

Our campuses

Located close to the heart of Bristol, our Clifton Campus features a mixture of iconic buildings and state of-the-art teaching, research, and student support facilities. 14 miles south of Bristol, our 255-hectare Langford Campus is home to state-of-the-art facilities that are ideal for staff conducting a large variety of research activity. Our clinical schools are co-located in hospitals across the city.

The Bristol & Bath Science Park is home to the National Composites Centre, which is part of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult. The Science Park, a collaboration between government and local universities, is a world-class environment that provides the space, flexibility and support for science and technology businesses and universities to accelerate their growth and success.

In addition to excellent research and teaching facilities, our campuses are hubs of culture, boasting significant public art and calm, green surroundings.

We are investing in significant infrastructure development to meet the changing needs of 21st century students and staff and keep our work at the cutting edge, with more than £700m committed in capital developments.

A key focus of the University’s next era of strategic growth is the Temple Quarter Enterprise Campus. Located adjacent to the iconic Temple Meads train station, our £550m development will be at the heart of a new innovation district, delivering a large-scale multidisciplinary research and teaching campus focusing on areas that address the challenges of disruption at the intersection of technology and the human experience.

www.bristol.ac.uk/virtual-tour

www.bristol.ac.uk/study/clifton-campus

www.bristol.ac.uk/study/langford-campus

Further reading

For further information, please visit https://www.bristol.ac.uk/university/

The City of Bristol

An extraordinary global city with a powerful tradition of enterprise, exploration and non-conformism, Bristol is a Social Enterprise City and the UK’s first European Green Capital.

Situated in the South-West with a regional focus on inclusive growth and innovation in infrastructure, Bristol is consistently named as one of the best places to live and work in the UK. The city has undergone an extensive programme of regeneration and rejuvenation implemented over the last decade, restoring many of Bristol’s Grade I and Grade II listed buildings and transforming it into the modern, cosmopolitan, and forward-thinking location that is attracting professionals, students, and investors in their droves.

Recently voted one of the UK’s five Centres of Cultural Excellence, Bristol is home to the most educated workforce in the country and exceptional cultural institutions – including the Watershed, Spike Island, Bristol Old Vic and the Bristol Beacon – delivering a world-class programme in the arts.

With ‘bucketloads of history and heritage from Brunel to Banksy, along with a great choice of housing, fantastic transport links and a real sense of growing economic importance and creative energy’ (2017, Sunday Times ‘Best Places to Live’), it’s no surprise that many of our alumni remain in the city and local region, providing a skilled workforce and contributing professionally to the city, region and country.

Known for its multicultural community, Bristol has a proudly diverse and inclusive culture. Bristol’s residents celebrate more than 45 religions, more than 187 countries of birth – more than 91 main languages are spoken on the city’s streets.  This multiculturalism has shaped the cultural scene, leisure activities, shops, and cuisine and helps the University attract students from more than 145 countries around the world.

The city is home to world-class high- tech and creative companies such as Airbus, Rolls Royce, Toshiba, Aardman, BBC Natural History, Oracle, Cray, Amazon, IBM, and Sony, and to a rich proliferation of SMEs and early- stage enterprises. As a research-intensive university, we contribute to cross-sectoral innovation and productivity in the region alongside our industrial partners.

About the role

The Head of Assessment is a newly created role. The role holder will lead on all aspects of the delivery of assessment, with a particular focus on digital assessment, acting with delegated authority on behalf of the Director of Education Services and Deputy Director of Education and Student Experience, Director of Education Innovation and Director of Education Quality and Policy.

The role holder will be the institutional lead and business process owner of digital assessment which will include managing institution-wide assessment risks.  They will lead the translation of the strategy into operational planning and coordinate delivery across the institution.

They will work closely with the PVC Education, Director of Education Innovation, and the Digital Education Office in developing and delivering an assessment strategy, with a particular focus on the role of digital assessment within this, providing expert input on assessment processes, services and systems in shaping this and leading on its implementation.

Digital assessment needs to fit seamlessly with other forms of assessment and the role holder will be responsible for the smooth delivery across all assessment.  As assessment is delivered through a framework of complex and multiple central and devolved processes, this will include matrix management across a broad range of staff to manage the annual cycle of assessment and implement change.

About the Education and Student Experience Division

Education and Student Experience Division

Our purpose as a division is to support success for all students – creating the conditions for, and with, students to realise their academic potential, thrive during their university journey, and be ready for their careers and lives after Bristol.

Our division comprises of approximately 500 staff delivering a range of activity across the entire student journey. This includes:

  • Supporting the development of teaching, learning and assessment, and overseeing academic quality and enhancement.
  • Developing, managing and maintaining student record and education administration processes.
  • Managing timetabling, exams and graduation activity and processes.
  • Providing employability support, in partnership with employers and academic schools.
  • Supporting the development and governance of Education and Student Experience Strategy.
  • Providing information and advice on aspects of student life including visas, funding, accommodation and finding academic and other support.
  • Providing advice and guidance to enable students to manage their mental health and wellbeing.
  • Supporting students to build communities, including in our residences.

We work in partnership with academic and professional services colleagues in schools, faculties and central divisions to support the delivery of academic excellence and a first-class student experience.

Services and Teams

Our Division is made up of seven service areas, each led by a member of the Senior Team:

  • Academic Quality and Policy Office
  • Careers Service
  • Education Administration Office
  • Education Innovation
  • Student Health and Inclusion
  • Residential Life and Wellbeing
  • Student Operations

Other teams

In addition to our services and offices, we have two teams who work across the Division.

  • The Education and Student Experience Strategy Team support the Pro Vice-Chancellors (PVCs) Education and Student Experience to develop and deliver their education and student experience portfolios, coordinating the development and monitoring of the Education and Student Experience Strategy, and supporting institutional planning and governance for Education and Student Experience.
  • The Divisional Development and Operations Team supports the Executive Director with the development and management of the Division, including strategic planning, risk management, divisional operations and the provision of executive support.

The role

Head of Assessment

Job reference:
AQ1567

Job title: Head of Assessment
Line Manager: Director of Education Services and Deputy Director of Education and Student Experience
Faculty / School or Division: Education and Student Experience
Faculty/School or Division Address: 31 Great George Street
Job Family: Professional & Administrative Services
Grade: L
Hours of work: Full time
Contract type: Permanent

MAIN STATEMENT OF RESPONSIBILITIES

Analysis, Reporting and Documentation

  • Responsible for successful delivery of the end-to-end processes for assessment and associated documentation: e.g. critical path, delivery plan, incident management framework, risk and issues log and communications.
  • Assist the Directors  to write high-level analytical papers, able to inform and assist senior management decision-making, making expert use of a range of external  data from across the sector and internal sources.
  • Monitor the national environment for issues that affect digital assessment (including, for example OfS/ QAA guidance, best practice in the sector, governance, and data trends) to inform assessment planning and policy and use this intelligence to provide expert advice to the University Education Committee, ESE Senior Team, University Senior Management Team and relevant academic and professional stakeholders.
  • Support the Director of Education Innovation in leading the development of digital assessment across the institution, implementing specific development projects, and championing good practice across the academic and professional staff communities.
  • Produce and maintain policies and guidance that support the education cycle, student record management and key systems in relation to digital assessment.

Customer Services & Support

  • Ensure ESE senior team and other key academic and professional stakeholders are provided with high-quality decision-making support to help them make the best decisions in the interests of the University. This will, among other things, require the systematic collation and evaluation of user feedback to bring about service improvements (for example, improvements to annual processes and the provision/dissemination of key management information and sector best practice).
  • Lead working groups, review panels and project boards to support the Division as required.

Planning & Organising

  • Support the Director of Education Services and Deputy Director of Education and Student Experience and the wider ESE Senior Team in monitoring and delivery of the Education and Student Experience Strategy by leading across assessment: ensuring the approach aligns with the strategy, establishing and monitoring key metrics and supporting the development and implementation of policy on behalf of  University Education Committee and sub-committees, the ESE senior team and the University Executive Board.
  • Provide operational leadership of the University’s assessment processes for both academic faculties and professional services, ensuring all aspects (e.g. academic, administrative, infrastructure, space, timetabling, human resource, financial) of the University’s activities are planned in an integrated manner.
  • Develop and lead the operations across assessment, working closely with the Director of Education Services and Deputy Director of Education and Student Experience, Director of Education Innovation, and Director of Education Quality and Policy and a wide range of University stakeholders to agree short-term (typically 1 to 2 years ahead) and longer-term (3 to 5 years) objectives aligned to institutional needs.  This requires a great deal of collaborative and partnership working with appropriate colleagues in other professional services and academic faculties.
  • Manage and coordinate University-wide projects and activities relating to assessment  (e.g. manage changes to organisation structures and processes) and  to ensure quality  and regulatory compliance, developing methodologies for continuously enhancing the team’s services to internal stakeholders.

Liaison

  • Define and refine the assessment service and the types of assessments which are supported and the service offer in collaboration with digital education specialists, academic leadership roles and professional services staff in ESE, Faculties and Schools.
  • Form and develop strong links with senior academic and professional staff in faculties, schools and professional services, to obtain buy-in for University priorities relating to  assessment.
  • Work with the Bristol Institute of Learning and Teaching (BILT), Academic Quality and Policy Office (AQPO) and senior academic leads to define direction for assessment and advise them on how to implement assessment changes.
  • Develop effective networks through fora such as JISC, SUMS and ARC.

Decision Making

  • Act on behalf of the Directors in assessment-related areas, including managing delegated budgetary responsibilities and representing them at senior management meetings.
  • Influence strategic decision-making at University level through: the provision of high-quality analytical and policy papers to the ESE senior team, Education Committee and sub-committees and University Executive Board  and the Board of Trustees; contributing to the overall development and delivery of the University’s Vision and Strategy; the provision of accurate, relevant and well-informed management information and insight; and participating in, and where appropriate leading, working groups and projects.

Problem Solving

  • Work independently with minimal guidance from the Director of Education Services and Deputy Director of Education and Student Experience  or other members of the senior team in taking forward the development of detailed policy, management information, procedures and processes within the stated areas of responsibility.
  • Lead on system and process requirements (e.g. for any new assessment system), appropriately balancing risk and innovation.

Continuous Improvement

  • Work continually to improve the way in which ESE co-ordinates and facilitates the education cycle and education in the context of assessment ensuring these are optimised and integrated.
  • Systematically gather feedback on assessment to support policy development and decision-making.
  • Develop and maintain documents, SharePoint sites and websites which provide clear information and act as resource hubs for assessment.
  • Develop and implement processes to monitor and assure the quality across assessment in line with regulatory requirements and best practice.
  • Support the Director of Education Innovation in leading, designing and implementing digital assessment for the University.
  • Provide  leadership and matrix management  in the onward development of a cross disciplinary operational assessment group, identifying opportunities for efficiency and synergy to support the division and academic faculties and schools.

People Management

  • Matrix management of a cross-disciplinary operational group for assessment, taking decisions about the resourcing and attribution of responsibilities within this.

PERSON SPECIFICATION

Relevant Experience, Skills and Knowledge

Essential

  • Experience of analysing and interpreting complex information and providing sound recommendations to influence strategic planning and policy development.
  • Proven experience in conducting and coordinating strategic, business or operational planning.
  • Experience of operational management, for example management of a project team, or experience of coordinating organisation-wide processes or initiatives.
  • Strong understanding of current Higher Education issues and their implications for digital education and assessment.
  • Experience in engaging effectively with senior stakeholders and gathering and prioritising business requirements.
  • Excellent analytical and report writing skills.
  • Knowledge of the use of systems and data to support assessment.
  • Demonstrable commitment to continuous service improvement, including commitment to assuring and improving assessment processes.
  • Demonstrable experience of initiating and managing projects through to successful completion.

Desirable

  • Substantial experience of leading on assessment in an HE environment.
  • Substantial knowledge of assessment practice and/or experience of developing a vision for digital assessment.
  • Technical knowledge of VLEs and digital infrastructure to deliver assessments.

RELEVANT QUALIFICATIONS

Essential

  • A good honours degree or equivalent qualification(s) or equivalent experience.

Desirable

  • A relevant postgraduate/professional qualification.

COMMUNICATION AND INTERPERSONAL SKILLS

Essential

  • Excellent communication and people skills in order to develop effective relationships with senior stakeholders.
  • Ability to negotiate and influence with tact and diplomacy.
  • Ability to work independently and devise and develop solutions to significant problems.
  • The ability to form effective relationships across organisational and institutional boundaries.
  • High standard of written and spoken English.
  • High levels of energy, enthusiasm and flexibility.
  • The ability to plan and prioritise own workload and the workload of more junior team members.
  • The ability to work in a busy, pressurised environment, often working to fixed deadlines.
  • Attention to detail.
  • Highly self-motivated, and the ability to motivate and inspire others towards a common goal.
  • Good organisational skills.
  • Customer-focused attitude.
  • Friendly and diplomatic, with the ability to listen, reassure, negotiate and enthuse.

Terms of appointment

  • The anticipated salary range is £53,348 to £60,022.
  • Annual leave entitlement is 25 days plus 7 university closure days (including closure over Christmas) plus public holidays.
  • We offer a generous pension scheme with an employee contribution 9.80% and employer contribution of 21.40%.
  • We offer a blended and flexible working environment, typically two days in the office and three days home working.
  • We also offer a range of family friendly policies – more information can be found at Work-life balance | Working at Bristol | University of Bristol.

How to apply

Anderson Quigley is acting as an advisor to the University of Bristol. An executive search process is being carried out by Anderson Quigley in addition to the public advertisement.

Should you wish to discuss the role in strict confidence, please contact our advising consultants at Anderson Quigley: Elliott Rae on +44(0)7584 078 534 or elliott@andersonquigley.com or Carolyn Coates on +44(0)7825 871 944 or carolyn@andersonquigley.com.

The University of Bristol is committed to diversity and inclusion and welcomes applications from all sections of the community, particularly from those who are not traditionally represented in leadership roles.

The closing date for applications is noon on Monday 10 October 2022.

Applications should consist of:

  • A concise CV covering your full career history and relevant experience.
  • A covering letter (maximum of two pages) setting out your interest in the role and details of how you match the role and person specifications for the post.
  • Please include current salary details and the names and addresses of two referees. Referees will not be approached until the final stages and not without prior permission from candidates.
  • We would be grateful if you would follow this link to complete an Equal Opportunity Monitoring Form.

Completed applications should be uploaded at https://andersonquigley.com/candidates/ using the reference AQ1567.

Timetable

Closing date: noon on Monday 10 October 2022.
Longlisting: TBC
Preliminary Interviews with AQ: TBC
Shortlisting: TBC
Informal conversation with the University of Bristol: TBC
Final Panel Interviews: TBC