Appointment of the Director of Human Resources


Dear Candidate

Thank you for your interest in joining St Mary’s University at this exciting stage in our development.

St Mary’s has a long and distinguished history and a very modern outlook. Established in 1850 and with a deep heritage in education, the University has a strong reputation for teaching excellence and a student-centred approach. In January 2014, St Mary’s University College, Twickenham, was awarded full university title by the Privy Council and became St Mary’s University, Twickenham.

The University has continued to evolve and our current strategy, Vision 2025, is focused on people and place, with the aim of creating a positive learning environment centred on our campus community in Strawberry Hill in South West London.

We are a strong and welcoming community of students and staff and are committed to the highest standards in teaching across our wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses. In the 2018 National Student Survey, St Mary’s ranked first in London for Teaching Excellence and Student Experience, contributing to our jump of 56 places in the NSS league table.

We have also seen our second successive significant rise in the Sunday Times Good University Guide. Our rise of 39 places since 2017 positions us as 12th in London and 77th nationality. Other significant league table changes include a rise of 25 places in the 2019 Guardian University Guide league table, to 80th in the UK, and 17 places in the Complete University Guide.

In addition, we have a vibrant culture and environment.

Our core values; inclusiveness, generosity of spirit, respect and excellence underpin all we do as a University and we are actively working to embed these into our daily behaviours.  We want to create the best possible conditions for our students and staff to develop into independent problem solvers and ethical leaders, enthusiastic about knowledge and learning, and able to get things done.

The role of Director of Human Resources is a core leadership appointment for the University, which will have a central role in delivering our Vision 2025 strategy.

You will find further information on this microsite about our University and this role. If you are excited by the opportunity to join St Mary’s and help us to realise our ambitious plans, then I look forward to hearing from you.

Professor Francis Campbell


Mission and Purpose

We are a Catholic University seeking to develop the whole person and we empower our community to have a positive impact on the world.


With an original intake of just six students, the University was established in 1850 and is based in and around Twickenham in South West London. We now educate around 5,000 students through two faculties:

  • Faculty of Sport, Health and Applied Science
  • Faculty of Education, Humanities and Social Sciences

The University is well known for teacher training (rated Ofsted Outstanding across primary and secondary phases) and has a strong reputation for sports, being voted one of the top six universities. At the Rio Olympics Team St Mary’s delivered three Gold medals, two Silver medals and a bronze, ranking the University the 25th most successful ‘nation.’  Pushing our sporting success into the community every week St Mary’s students coach over 1,000 young people.

Awarded full University status in 2014 and following an improved REF 2014 performance – in addition to the creation of three new research centres – the University intends to obtain research degree awarding powers.

As a public University with a faith identity we work hard to strike the right balance between being faithful to our identity and ensuring openness to those who do not share it. We welcome students and staff of all faiths and none. The powerful sense of community that characterises St Mary’s is a product of our ethos and the core values that underpin it: inclusiveness, generosity of spirit, respect and excellence.

Vision 2025 

Vision 2025 sets out how we will develop and invest in St Mary’s over the next seven years. This is an exciting moment in our history as we embark on a new and ambitious phase in the University’s evolution. 

Our vision for the future is focused on people and place with the aim of creating a positive learning environment centred on our campus community in Strawberry Hill. We want to create the best possible conditions for our students and staff to develop into independent problem solvers and ethical leaders, enthusiastic about knowledge and learning, and able to get things done. Academic rigour is central to all our programmes. We intend to build on those strengths to provide wide-reaching opportunities for students to grow and make a positive impact on the world. 

To meet that ambition, Vision 2025 sets out how over the next seven years we will: 

  • Invest £100m in our students and staff, including through the development of improved facilities for learning and research as well as new accommodation and sports grounds, to support them in reaching their full potential. 
  • Raise our profile and increase our impact through a more active presence in the public square and the development of solutions to key public policy concerns.
  • Develop our research and enterprise capacity alongside a renewed emphasis on teaching excellence.
  • Enhance our students’ learning and personal development to help them achieve the best results.
  • Increase the diversity of our students and staff without undermining the powerful sense of community that characterises St Mary’s. 
  • Expand our national and international reach including through the development of new partnerships with overseas universities. 
  • Build on our high level of student satisfaction to be the most welcoming learning community in the UK as we climb the national university league tables. 

Achieving these goals will be a challenge. The intensely competitive environment for universities in the UK makes this a critical and exhilarating period in our drive to make St Mary’s a leading university.

However, we start from a position of strength. We have a distinct mission and purpose, and a clear vision of the future. By working together we can realise it.

To view the management structure diagram please click here.

Download the Vision 2025 document (

About our HR Team

The Human Resources team works in partnership with departments and individuals across the University. Drawing on our professionalism, expertise and knowledge, our responsibilities range from staff empowerment to change facilitation. In everything we do, we champion a culture of positivity and inclusivity.

The HR team consists of 18 members of staff  (16.66 FTE) and you can view the structure chart here. The University employs 770 staff (establishment) and a further 1,300 casual/hourly paid staff. The Director of HR has responsibility for a budget of around £550,000.

The role

Director of Human Resources

Department: Human Resources 
Reports to: Senior Director of People
Hours: Full time – At this level the post holder will be expected to work flexibly, including evening and weekends as necessary
Term: Permanent

Since 1850, St Mary’s mission has been to provide a high quality professional environment, inspired by its distinctive ethos and values. The University is an inclusive academic community, where everybody is welcomed.

As the University builds on its proud heritage, it will be looking for exceptional people to help shape its progressive future.

Job Purpose

  • To provide strategic leadership, motivation and effective management of the HR & OD Service.
  • To support the achievement of the University’s institutional strategy through the provision of efficient, high-quality, proactive services which meet the needs of the University and its staff.
  • To provide strategic leadership and expertise with the aim of developing employee engagement and creating a positive leadership culture.

Main Duties and Responsibilities

Leadership & Strategic responsibilities

  • Ensure the University’s strategic aims are supported and enabled across the University through the provision and application of HR interventions and solutions.
  • Develop and implement a 3 year HR/People Strategy which underpins the Vision 2025 strategic plan.
  • To act as a strategic HR Partner to the Senior Leadership Team.
  • To lead the University’s strategy in relation to the promotion of equality, diversity and inclusion of staff and the promotion of a diverse and inclusive culture.
  • To further develop a culture of positive leadership behaviours, ownership and engagement where staff at all levels feel empowered and supported to be their best.
  • To cultivate an environment of continuous improvement within the Human Resources service.
  • Lead by example in respect of University values, anticipate and act as the facilitator to uncover root causes and drive both short term benefits and long term change.

Operational responsibilities

  • Lead, manage, motivate and develop the HR service in line with the values of the University.
  • Ensure delivery of a seamless, customer-focused, valuable, efficient and professional service to the University at all times.
  • To keep abreast of HR developments within higher education and employment law, assess their implications, and propose changes and disseminate information and ideas within the University, as appropriate.
  • To support and encourage an environment of positive leadership with underpinning OD interventions.
  • To be accountable for meeting all statutory obligations arising from the management of Human Resources on behalf of the University, including gender pay gap reporting and HESA staff return.
  • Plan, coordinate and lead on the people aspect of projects within the service and wider University to ensure optimal success.
  • Work with senior leaders to proactively plan, advise and support change, ensuring that people issues are fully considered and communicated at both planning and implementation stages.
  • Develop effective working relationships with a wide variety of stakeholders both internal and external, including further developing relationships with the recognised Unions.
  • Ensure that all external services used by the department are managed appropriately and provide suitable value for money for the University.
  • To plan and manage the HR service resources and budget in accordance with the University financial regulations, and ensure that procurement procedures are followed at all times.
  • Attend and Chair working groups or Committee’s as required by the Senior Director of People.
  • Represent the Senior Director of People at internal and external meetings as requested.
  • Undertake any other activities, as reasonably requested, by the Senior Director of People.


Knowledge and Qualifications

  • CIPD qualified with up to date knowledge of human resource management.
  • Experience of leading a successful HR department.
  • Experience of developing and implementing a successful HR/People strategy that delivered a measureable improvement in engagement and organisational performance.
  • Experience in leading, developing and delivering significant HR projects successfully, delivering benefits to the organisation.
  • A track record of advising on contentious ER issues up to and including Board level.
  • Evidence of successful managing complex change programmes.
  • Extensive employment law knowledge and best practice.
  • A track record of bringing improvements to systems and practices within a HR department with the result of a better customer experience.
  • Experience of working within a Unionised environment.
  • Experience of working within Higher Education sector (desirable).

Skills and Competencies

  • The ability to create a positive team environment where staff at all levels are encouraged to develop and excel.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication with the ability to tailor communication to different audiences.
  • Highly developed stakeholder management skills with the ability to facility change and resolve conflict.
  • Outstanding organisational skills and flexibility with an ability to work to deadlines.
  • Personal resilience and emotional intelligence.
  • Ability to work under pressure and manage a large, complex workload.

University Policies and Procedures
All staff are expected to undertake their work in an inclusive, fair, safe and respectful manner, particular consideration should be given to the University values.

St Mary’s University reserves the right to change and amend this job description/person specification in accordance with the changing requirements of the organisation.

Terms of appointment

The salary is dependent on experience and will be negotiated with the preferred candidate.

Annual leave – 30 days per annum, plus discretionary ‘University’ days and statutory holidays. 

More information on employee benefits can be found at

How to apply

Anderson Quigley is acting as an advisor to St Mary’s University. 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 Ed Pritchard on +44 (0)7980 817 927

The closing date for applications is noon on Friday 22nd February 2019.

Applications should consist of:

  • A full CV.
  • A covering letter (maximum of 3 pages) setting out your interest in the role and details of how you match the experience criteria of the person specification.
  • 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 complete an Equal Opportunity Monitoring Form.

Completed applications should be uploaded at using the reference AQ441.

Closing date: Friday 22nd February 2019
Preliminary Interviews with AQ: w/c 4th March
Final Interviews: 26th March