Appointment of the Head of Student Success

Solent University Southampton


I am delighted that you have expressed an interest in the role of Head of Student Success at Solent University at this exciting time in our development.

Tracing our roots back over 170 years, by 2025 Solent will have been a university for 20 years. Our historical foundations in art, technology and maritime have provided us with a strong legacy on which we continue to grow.

In the last two years we have made significant progress in the delivery of our key strategic priorities of student success, research and knowledge exchange, and community engagement. This progress has been underpinned by our transformational Solent Future Ready programme which has overseen: the reshaping of our academic portfolio for growth; the strengthening of our identity, brand, and ties within the City, region and beyond; and, the significant development of our working practices, and our digital and physical environment.

Our Strategy 2025: Future Ready, continues our work to build on Solent’s success, with a clear mission of ensuring all our learners are work ready, world ready and future ready.

By 2025 we will be providing a growing number of students from a wide range of backgrounds with a life affirming and life changing education, enriched by a vibrant university culture of research, free speech, equal opportunities, knowledge exchange and partnerships. And when our students leave us, they will be graduating with the knowledge and skills to achieve their ambitions, and the passion and confidence to shape the future.

Supporting our students beyond their academic endeavours is critical and our new Head of Student Success will provide leadership, organisation, and management of the Student Success service, and play a pivotal role in support of the University’s strategic priorities.

We have an ambitious strategic plan and a commitment to developing students who will graduate with the knowledge and skills to achieve their ambitions, and the passion and confidence to shape the future. This means Solent is an exciting place to be for those who truly want to make a difference and position us as a sector leader in student support.

We look forward to meeting you.

Best wishes,

Jim Irving
Chief Student Officer and University Secretary

About us

To deliver our strategy, achieve our vision and ensure our students and the University are ready for the future, we are shaping our work around three key priorities:

1. Student success

2. Research and knowledge exchange

3. Engaging with our communities

For us, student success means ensuring our students are ready for the future world of work, enterprise, and volunteering. We offer a portfolio of exciting, modern and academically rigorous degree courses with employment-focused, real-world learning that prepares students to succeed in their chosen profession, vocation or enterprise.

Through our research and knowledge exchange, we strive for real-world learning, real-world research and real-world impact. This means that the successes of our students and our engagements with our communities are shaped and inspired by our applied research and knowledge exchange.

We are committed to having a positive role in shaping the future of Southampton and beyond, and to delivering opportunities for our students, staff and alumni to be part of that regional success. Public engagement is in our DNA, and at the start of 2021 we signed the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement’s (NCCPE) Manifesto for Public Engagement and have committed to working with NCCPE to review our current public engagement strategies, activities and staff support.

As we build on our students’ and the University’s successes, we will seek further opportunities to grow and improve whilst remaining focused on creating a university that is sustainable and which fosters equal opportunities. To do this, we must maintain our financial resilience and ensure we are underpinned by a culture that will allow us to change, adapt and focus on the future.

We are dedicated to the pursuit of university education that enables learners from all backgrounds to become enterprising citizens and responsible leaders. We are committed to promoting economic and social prosperity for the communities we serve.

Put simply – we want Solent graduates to be the passionate, creative professionals of the future, bringing expertise and energy into their communities and workplaces.


Respect: Respecting each other, recognising others’ strengths and celebrating our diversity so that everyone can give their best.

Ownership: Owning and being accountable for delivering a welcoming and professional service and working with pace and commitment to deliver objectives and support strategic priorities.

Inclusivity: Ensuring through our teaching, support and work that we are inclusive, underpinning all the work we do at the University.

Engagement: Engage with focus, drive and enthusiasm to deliver excellent teaching, new initiatives and objectives, setting an example and motivating others to engage as appropriate.

Integrity: Act with professionalism and honesty in all our dealings with each other, our students, suppliers and partners of the University.

Teamwork: Working effectively and collaboratively and being united in delivering the priorities of the University in everything we do.

Click here for more information on the University.

The role

Head of Student Success (AQ1905)

Apply now

Job title: Head of Student Success
Reports to: Chief Student Officer and University Secretary
Grade: 10
Department/Service: Student Success
Responsible for: Deputy Heads *3
Working hours: 37


The Head of Student Success is responsible for the overall leadership, organisation, and management of the Student Success service, and plays a pivotal role in support of the University’s strategic priorities for Student Success. The Head of Student Success is responsible for facilitating a culture of very high-performance standards and continuous improvement across the composite teams. They are directly responsible for the development, effectiveness and quality of service for the following key areas: provision of confidential, high-quality counselling and student well-being services; student advice and guidance on matters concerning university life; student achievement activities which improve retention, engagement and satisfaction; careers advice and guidance; graduate outcomes; safeguarding and Prevent; support for students with disabilities and learning differences; reasonable adjustments; and welcome activities. The Head of Student Success works closely with the Vice Provost Education and other key role holders in support of the University’s inclusive curriculum, access and participation, and equality, diversity, and inclusion.

Key Responsibilities

  • Ensure the strategic and operational development and delivery of excellent services within Student Success, contributing to an outstanding student experience.
  • Implement and continuously enhance the University’s Safeguarding strategy and ensure appropriate Prevent measures are in place and adhered to; Ensure that relevant legislation affecting student support is addressed in policy and practice and that the University is compliant.
  • Develop and implement a data-driven approach to student outcomes and regularly evaluate the effectiveness of Solent’s progression and student employment objectives in order to make recommendations and changes.
  • Apply advanced analysis/techniques to identify drivers and co-curricular activities within Solent which will improve retention and progression and employment outcomes for students.
  • Significantly contribute to and influence University-wide policy, practice and strategy relating to the student experience at all stages of the student life cycle including Graduate Outcomes.
  • Significantly contribute to the successful delivery of the University’s EDI action plan in relation to students.
  • Establish and maintain clear and measurable plans, budgets and operational procedures; Ensure budgets and other resources are managed prudently, focussing on value for money and forward planning.
  • Lead and motivate and develop a team of staff who can provide an outstanding level of service to students, curriculum teams and other key stakeholders within resource constraints.
  • Liaise with Students’ Union sabbatical officers and student academic representatives to ensure that the student voice is represented in the design and delivery of services, and in support of ongoing enhancement.
  • Participate/Chair proactively in relevant University committees, working groups and panels.
  • Play an active and productive role in the Students & Governance Senior Leadership Team.


  • Undertake other duties as may be reasonably required by the Chief Student Officer and University Secretary.
  • Demonstrate the University’s values of respect, ownership, integrity, engagement, inclusivity and teamwork.
  • Occasional evening and weekend working required.
  • Safeguard the integrity of data by ensuring the accurate input of data into university systems, including the appropriate handling of data in accordance with established University policies and procedures. In addition, implement adequate staff training and supervision to ensure the accuracy and integrity of data is maintained.



  • First degree. A Higher Degree or Professional qualification is desirable.
  • Evidence of continuous professional development.


  • Up to date knowledge and understanding of the student experience in Higher Education and of the challenges facing universities in a changing environment including graduate outcomes, equality, diversity & inclusion and widening participation.
  • Excellent understanding of the administrative and IT systems used to support the student experience.
  • Sound knowledge and understanding of both collaborative leadership and performance management.


  • A track record of achievements and activities which demonstrate a good standing in administration, management, and leadership within Higher Education.
  • Demonstrable experience of implementing strategy.
  • Proven experience of working effectively as part of a team within Higher Education.
  • Evidence of leading and managing significant programmes of change, innovation and development and the achievement of planned outcomes.
  • Experience of handling complex student cases.
  • Experience of managing budgets and appraising resources requests.


  • A proven ability to communicate complex information in an effective, concise, and tactful manner and in writing; and to make a persuasive case for change where necessary.
  • Ability to build and maintain effective relationships with a range of colleagues in different internally and externally; and an ability to influence and build consensus.
  • Ability to develop a network of peer contacts in other institutions as a basis for identifying points of comparison and best practice elsewhere.
  • Strong writing skills to effectively construct quantitative and qualitative reports for diverse senior managers and external sector and regulatory bodies.
  • High levels of competence in business planning, with the ability to drive, articulate and deliver a clear vision in all areas of responsibility.
  • Ability to inspire a reflective and creative approach to problem-solving amongst staff.
  • An appetite for a full and varied workload and ability to suggest and implement positive outcomes.

Terms of appointment

A competitive salary will be negotiated with the successful candidate.

We offer a range of workplace benefits, including:

  • competitive holiday entitlement, plus statutory bank holidays;
  • a contributory pension scheme;
  • annual performance and development reviews;
  • a relocation scheme for staff who live more than 50 miles away from the University (subject to eligibility);
  • interest-free travel loans;
  • on-site gym, sporting facilities and a range of wellbeing initiatives; and
  • discounts on a range of services including healthcare, insurance, mortgages and independent financial / legal advice.

Equality & Diversity

At Solent, we don’t just accept difference, we celebrate it and support it, for the benefit of our people, our students, staff and our community.

The University’s equality objectives are integral in promoting and achieving fair treatment and equality for all and as part of this, we aim to foster a community with a culture of transparency, mutual trust and respect devoid of hatred and intolerance.

University staff can join our LGBT+ staff network – a supportive social group for employees who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, non-binary, or are questioning their sexuality or gender identity. This group also supports many events both on-campus and in the local community, including the Human Library and Southampton Pride.

Solent also has a well-established Equality and Wellbeing committee, made up of students and staff, to proactively assist us in providing an excellent people experience underpinned by our values, and our genuine commitment to equality, diversity and inclusivity, irrespective of personal or protected characteristics.

This committee plays a key role in ensuring equality and diversity across the University, and leads on wellbeing initiatives, such as the introduction of our Mental Health and Wellbeing vision for both staff and students, launched earlier this year.

We believe that all our people should be treated fairly, regardless of their age, ethnicity, beliefs, sexual orientation, or gender. As part of this, Solent University is committed to continuing to work on closing the gender pay gap and is in the process of creating an updated action plan to determine the necessary steps to make this happen.

How to apply

Anderson Quigley is acting as an employment advisor to Solent University, Southampton. 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: Sam Bryan-Ross on +44(0) 7510 384 713, or Ed Pritchard on +44 (0)7980 817 927,

The closing date for applications is noon on Monday 5 June 2023.

Applications should consist of:

  • A full CV.
  • A covering letter (maximum of two pages) setting out your interest in the role and details of how you match the criteria outlined in the person specification.
  • Details of two referees, though please note that we will not approach your referees without your prior consent and only should you be shortlisted.


Closing date Monday 5th June
Longlist meeting Wednesday 14th June
Preliminary interviews with AQ w/c 19th June & 26th June
Shortlist meeting Thursday 6th July
Final Panel Wednesday 19th July