Appointment of the Academic Registrar


Surrey is made up of many talented individuals who make us a great institution.  But working together, and connecting with external institutions, businesses and government make us even stronger.

Since the University’s founding in the 1960s, and before that at Battersea College, our community has thrived on strong connections with the world outside our campus. This spirit of collaboration is evident across the University today at every level. It informs our teaching, adds value to our research and increases our impact – connecting people with ideas, students with opportunities and businesses with technology.

Collaboration begins with the connections we make in our community, supporting projects that make a  difference locally, and extends to our global partnerships that are enabling transformative research in areas such as 5G, cancer treatment and sustainable tourism.

Around the globe and beyond, Surrey plays a  significant role. We were one of only a few UK  universities invited to take part in the GREAT Festival of Innovation in Hong Kong, a wonderful forum for collaboration and interdisciplinary discussion on technologies that will drive the UK’s future economic growth. We also saw the first successful deployment of the RemoveDEBRIS satellite, a  project we are leading with a consortium of space sector organisations.

There’s real energy, momentum and ambition to Surrey. It’s always been part of us, and I’m excited to be able to share with you how we’re taking that energy forwards into the future.

These collaborations, and many others, are bringing improvements across a diverse range of fields, and new connections are propelling us in surprising directions. At Surrey, we are continuously redefining and joining together the many spheres that surround us – from real worlds to virtual ones, and from the worlds inside ourselves to those at the farthest reaches of our imagination.

Professor G Q Max Lu AO DL FAA FTSE 
President and Vice-Chancellor, University of Surrey

About us

The University of Surrey is a global community of ideas and people, dedicated to life-changing education and research. With a beautiful and vibrant campus, we provide exceptional teaching and practical learning to inspire and empower our students for personal and professional success.

Through our world-class research and innovation, we deliver transformational impact on society and shape future digital economy through agile collaboration and partnership with businesses, governments and communities.

Key facts

  • 16,828 students, 6,230 non-UK students
  • £1.7 billion contribution to the national economy
  • 2,300+ placement partners
  • 110,000 alumni
  • 116 companies at Surrey Research Park

For further key facts and figures, please click here.

Rankings and league tables

In recent years, Surrey has established itself as a top university in major national university league table rankings.

Based on the evidence available, the TEF Panel judged that the University of Surrey delivers consistently outstanding teaching, learning and outcomes for its students. It is of the highest quality found in the UK.

UK rankings at a glance

To see how Surrey performed in other league tables, please click here.

Student numbers

The University of Surrey is home to thousands of students from all over the world.

Current student numbers

In the 2018-19 academic year, we have over 16,000 students at Surrey – as well as 615 studying for the first stage of courses at our campus in China.

  • Undergraduate students: 13,289
  • Postgraduate (taught) students: 2,526
  • Postgraduate (research) students: 1,085

An international student body

36 percent of students at Surrey are from outside the UK, helping to demonstrate both the diversity of our student body and the international reputation the University enjoys.

For further Key Student Facts, please click here.


At Surrey, our strategy underpins our commitment to be a leading global university. We aim to be renowned for the outstanding quality and impact of our graduates and research, together making great contributions to society.

To view the Corporate Strategy: 2017 – 22, please click here, and for the Education Strategy, click here.

World-class, Surrey Advantage

The Surrey Advantage is marked by exceptional graduates who can think critically and differently and make a real impact on society. This is underpinned by:

  • Excellence in academic programmes, teaching practice and facilities
  • Practice-centred Professional Training programmes with enhanced soft skills
  • Extra-curricular activities and campus life that lead to the confidence to adapt to change as well as an outstanding network of friends and alumni.

Our vision
The University of Surrey will be a leading global university. We will be renowned for the outstanding quality and impact of our graduates and research, as well as our collective contributions to society. We will build on our distinctive heritage of practice-based learning and excellent student experience, and embrace our future by focusing on digital transformation.

Our mission
The University of Surrey provides excellent education, and advances and disseminates knowledge.

The University transforms lives and shapes the world for a better future by partnering with students, governments, businesses, alumni and local communities.

The University makes social and economic impacts through research and innovation, and provides solutions to global challenges.

Our strategic goals
We will have achieved our ambitions when we have become:

  • A global leader in higher education and a destination of choice for higher learning in the UK and internationally
  • A leading research institution with talented staff and students committed to research excellence and to benefitting the economy, society and the environment
  • A preferred partner for government, business, industry and other universities in creating technological solutions, digital transformation and policy innovation
  • A financially astute and sustainable institution with diverse funding support, including philanthropy
  • An engaged and connected university which is the intellectual home for alumni, supporters and the local community.

Our strategic priorities

  1. Consolidate our excellent teaching and continue to improve the student experience to respond to students’ growing expectations of enhanced academic quality, support services, facilities, accommodation and pathways to employment.
  2. Enhance our excellent research and increase its impact to respond to an ever more competitive environment by improving the quality of research and by retaining and attracting top talent.
  3. Build a global reputation and diverse resource base through engagement and partnerships to allow us to reach our education and research goals.
  4. Be financially sustainable, attract and retain talented staff, enhance our digital and physical infrastructure, and increase operational efficiency and effectiveness in response to rising expectations and competition.

Our values
Our organisation is built on a core set of values. These define us as ambitious, but not at any cost. They tell us to be focused on our mission while encouraging creativity, respecting our people, and enabling them to realise their full potential. Our values underpin a strong culture of excellence, diversity, resilience and collaboration, which require us to be agile to change, and ready to adapt where and when we should.

The University of Surrey conducts its business by the following values:

  • Respect
  • Ambition
  • Collaboration
  • Integrity
  • Excellence

The role

Academic Registrar

Faculty/Administrative/Service Department: Chief Student Officer Directorate
Job Family: Professional Services
Job Level: 7
Responsible to: Chief Student Officer
Responsible for (Staff): c.120 administrative staff, with the following direct reports; Heads of: Access and Participation, Exams and Assessments, Faculty Student Services, Fees and Funding, OSCAR, Quality Enhancement and Standards, Student Scheduling, Student Records and Data.

Job purpose statement
The Academic Registrar will provide leadership and direction, taking accountability for the development and delivery of high-performing services in Academic Registry, to support the delivery of the aims of the University’s Education and Student Experience strategies, within a Directorate covering the entirety of the student journey.

The role holder will hold responsibility for programme administration, timetabling, examinations, assessment and awards, graduation, student records, data, quality assurance and standards and the Office for Student Complaints, Appeals and Regulation (OSCAR).

The Academic Registrar is responsible for ensuring that processes are effective and efficient and contribute to an excellent student experience, as measured by students’ success at the University and by the student surveys. A significant part of this for the Academic Registry area is supporting academic staff to most effectively manage the teaching of their programmes in ways that are straightforward, connected and support an ethos of continuous improvement and agility.

The post-holder will contribute to the strategic development of the Chief Student Officer Directorate.  They will be a member of the CSO’s Management Team. They will work closely with other members of the Team and fully engage with representatives from the Faculties and Students’ Union to ensure the development and improvement of the student experience and development of learning and teaching.

Key responsibilities
This document is not designed to be a list of all tasks undertaken but an outline record of the main responsibilities.

  1. Ensure strategic service development, innovation and planning: ensuring the vision of the CSO Directorate and relevant University strategies are implemented through process and teams: placing the student and academic at the heart of the delivery; driving organisational and cultural change focused on an excellent student experience and efficiencies. Measuring outcomes and continuously improving services.
  2. As part of the CSO leadership team, foster an integrated, agile and team work approach; driving forward the University strategy and operations as part of a continued drive for a joined-up student journey.
  3. Establish, lead and manage the teams across the Academic Registry portfolio, including direct staff management, team building, and developing a culture and infrastructure that facilitates an exceptional student experience combined with high service delivery.
  4. Ensure that Academic Registry services are comprehensive and inclusive, as well as assuring quality and regulation, supporting the diversity of the student and staff body and contributing towards improved student retention, progression, continuation and success.
  5. Work closely with the Faculties (Associate Deans of Learning and Teaching and Directors of Faculty Operations) to ensure that the delivery of academic registry meets the needs of the faculties. To be accountable for the quality assurance, enhancement and delivery of programme administration and student processes within the Schools/Departments, ensuring effective prioritisation and efficiencies in coordination with other areas of professional services and in support of the student experience.
  6. Lead on the ongoing improvements and business change through the identification of opportunities and new requirements, including IT-enabled process improvements.
  7. Contribute to the development of digital assets, particularly ensuring student and curriculum data is understood and maintained appropriately to support both internal use and external reporting. Ensure compliance with relevant legal requirements, including GDPR, UKVI and CMA, and fulfill statutory reporting requirements.
  8. Ensure that the impact of Academic Registry is understood and the services are evaluated and reviewed regularly. Ensure that services adhere to appropriate quality standards and are underpinned by excellent customer services, including through provision of training, support and communications to staff on matters of curriculum development, process, policy and student data.
  9. Be a member of senior University committees and boards; these are to include the Faculty Learning and Teaching Committee, and sub-committees of the University Learning and Teaching Committee, as appropriate.
  10. Lead on University-wide projects as directed by the Chief Student Officer.
  11. Embody the University’s values internally and externally to the organisation, encouraging diversity and inclusion and developing an open and supportive culture across the services.

N.B. The above list is not exhaustive.

All staff are expected to:

  • Positively support equality of opportunity and equity of treatment to colleagues and students in accordance with the University of Surrey Equal Opportunities Policy.
  • Work to achieve the aims of our Environmental Policy and promote awareness to colleagues and students.
  • Follow University/departmental policies and working practices in ensuring that no breaches of information security result from their actions.
  • Ensure they are aware of and abide by all relevant University Regulations and Policies relevant to the role.
  • Undertake such other duties within the scope of the post as may be requested by your Manager.
  • Work supportively with colleagues, operating in a collegiate manner at all times.

Help maintain a safe working environment by:

  • Attending training in Health and Safety requirements as necessary, both on appointment and as changes in duties and techniques demand.
  • Following local codes of safe working practices and the University of Surrey Health and Safety Policy.

Elements of the role
This section outlines some of the key elements of the role, which allow this role to be evaluated within the University’s structure. It provides an overview of what is expected from the post holder in the day-to-day operation of the role.

Planning and Organising
The strategic direction of Academic Registry is aligned to the University strategy and developed in conjunction with the Chief Student Officer.

The effective management of academic registry services constitute a specific and significant dimension of the student experience evaluated in student surveys, notably as an explicit satisfaction indicator (Organisation and Management) within the National Student Survey and Postgraduate Taught and Research Experience Surveys and assessed in TEF and by the Office for Students.

The role holder is directly responsible for the planning and organisation of a wide range of services and activities that primarily serve to develop, assure, manage and assess all programmes across the University and support the staff to enable effective learning and teaching, with quality standards, often with accrediting bodies, but minimal bureaucracy. The services are equally impactful on the direct experience for students, e.g. timetabling and indirectly in progression and attainment e.g. assessment and awards, etc.

The role holder must be able to establish robust, effective and efficient policies and processes that meet the needs of the University.  They will need to work with staff in Faculties, notably Associate Deans (Learning & Teaching) to ensure that activities undertaken within the teams meet the needs of all academic programmes, are within the University’s regulations, and in-line with national or professional statutory and regulatory bodies’ requirements e.g. the Office for Students (Ofs), CMA, Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA), UKVI, etc.

All areas directly contribute to the University’s corporate strategy and carry significant reputational risk, internally and externally.

Problem Solving and Decision Making
The postholder has considerable scope for problem solving in individual and multi-faceted cases especially those processes within OSCAR for which they will be responsible. They act as an escalation point for their teams and are expected to refer to their own experience and expertise to provide guidance or a resolution, or to escalate these issues to the Chief Student Officer. Errors in judgment may result in damage to the reputation to the University.

The postholder will apply analytical thinking as well as a high degree of personal initiative, to make appropriate, timely and prioritised decisions, and will be expected to refer to their own experience and expertise to guide staff in the identification of suitable resolutions.

The postholder is expected to apply an in-depth comprehensive knowledge to assess complex or novel issues and to develop appropriate solutions based on a sound understanding of changes and developments across the student administration life cycle.

Continuous Improvement
The post holder must be able to establish robust and effective procedures that meet the needs of the University, establishing a culture of customer-service delivery; measuring outcomes and continuously improving services.  They will need to work with staff in Faculties, with Heads across the Directorate and other professional areas to ensure that activities undertaken within the academic registry teams meet the needs of all academic programmes, are within the University’s regulations, in-line with national or professional statutory and regulatory bodies’ requirements.

The postholder is responsible for leading on ongoing improvements and business change through the identification of opportunities and new requirements, including IT-enabled process improvements.

The Academic Registrar will have leadership and management oversight for significant areas of the student journey; all areas impact on academic staff development and delivery of their learning and teaching and of student advancement and success.

The postholder has the discretion to determine priorities and influence and shape the expenditure of staffing and non-staffing budgets in order to meet current and future needs of the academic registry services and to ensure a cost-effective but high-quality operation which is both proportionate and appropriate.

Dimensions of the role
The post holder will lead a team of c. 120 staff: setting objectives, overseeing work and monitoring progress, in order to ensure the delivery of activities to deadlines and high standards expected by students and staff. They must drive results through effective team and individual performance, taking responsibility for establishing clear priorities, service standards and new ways of working, engaging and empowering staff, and ensuring suitable development options are in place to increase capability.

The postholder oversees a staffing budget of c. £4.5m

Supplementary Information
To perform effectively, the post holder must be conversant with new and forthcoming developments within Higher Education through developing external professional networks and have the ability to apply this understanding to their dealings with senior colleagues across the University.  The postholder will be expected to apply this external knowledge to process improvements, policy implementation and innovation within the Chief Student Officer Directorate.

This section describes the sum total of knowledge, experience and competence required by the post holder that is necessary for standard acceptable performance in carrying out this role.

Qualifications and professional memberships 

  • Professionally qualified with a relevant degree/postgraduate qualification, plus a significant number of years’ relevant leadership experience, or substantial experience and proven success in a strategically important broad function/specialist area.
  • Substantial and extensive vocational experience demonstrating professional development and achievement in a series of progressively more demanding, influential and broad work roles, backed by evidence of deep and broad knowledge of the whole functional work area.

Technical competencies (experience and knowledge)
This section contains the level of competency required to carry out the role

  • Extensive experience of working in a senior role in a large complex organisation.
  • Well-developed understanding of  Student Administration including Student regulations and procedures relating to students and the implications of non-compliance.
  • Demonstrable aptitude in forming effective professional relationships and networks and of influencing Senior Management.
  • Extensive experience of leading and managing a service provision including effective leadership of high impact change projects.
  • Significant experience of designing and implementing flexible and innovative user-focused solutions that deliver organisational strategy.
  • Experience and understanding of the Higher Education sector particularly relating to student administration.
  • Experience of leading and managing areas of compliance and complexity, which require excellent standards of customer care.
  • Experience of quality assurance and enhancement in higher education both at institutional and national level, including a good understanding of current developments.

Special requirements

  • Flexibility to work outside core office hours.

Core Competencies
This section contains the level of competency required to carry out this role.

  • Communication
  • Adaptability / flexibility
  • Customer/client service and support
  • Planning and organising
  • Continuous improvement
  • Problem-solving and decision making skills
  • Managing and developing performance
  • Creative and analytical thinking
  • Influencing, persuasion and negotiation skills
  • Strategic thinking and leadership

This Job Purpose reflects the core activities of the post. As the Department/Faculty and the post holder develop, there will inevitably be some changes to the duties for which the post is responsible, and possibly to the emphasis of the post itself. The University expects that the post holder will recognise this and will adopt a flexible approach to work.  This could include undertaking relevant training where necessary.

Should significant changes to the Job Purpose become necessary, the post holder will be consulted and the changes reflected in a revised Job Purpose.

Organisational/departmental information & key relationships

Background information

The post holder will be part of the Chief Student Officer Directorate which is located within the Chief Operating Officer remit. The Directorate serves to provide a joined-up and effective service to students at every stage of their journey at the University: from application to graduation, with an excellent student experience as its primary focus.

The post holder will work closely with many of the staff across the Directorate to ensure this joined-up approach, as well as other internal stakeholders, most notably Faculties and Schools/Departments.

The creation of a new Directorate affords the opportunity to bring student-facing services across the University. The vision for the new CSO remit is: “To deliver a Surrey community of student-led services and support as part of a holistic student journey”.Relationships


The post holder will liaise with a broad range of stakeholders, including the Chief Student Officer, Chief Operating Officer, Provost, Faculty Executive Deans, Vice-Provost (Education), Directors of Faculty Operations, Faculty Associate Deans, Directors within the CSO Directorate and COO area more broadly.  The post holder will be able to communicate effectively with a range of other internal staff at all levels.

Student relationships are critical and the post holder will work closely with the University’s Students’ Union and other student representatives.

They will have a key role in liaising and working with Associate Deans for Learning and Teaching in each Faculty to develop and deliver appropriate strategies to improve the student experience.


The post holder is required to develop a strong network of contacts from other institutions and organisations as a source of learning, development and best practice.  They will represent the University on the relevant ARC practitioners group, the Tribal Special Interest Groups and any other external bodies as appropriate.

Terms of appointment

The salary will be agreed with the successful candidate depending on experience

Please click here to read about working at the University of Surrey and for information regarding staff benefits.

How to apply

Anderson Quigley is acting as an advisor to the 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 Elliott Rae on +44(0)203 457 0948.

The closing date for applications is noon on Monday 21st October.

Applications should consist of:

  • A full CV.
  • A covering letter setting out your interest in the role and details of how you match the criteria in the person specification.
  • Please include current salary details and the names and addresses of two referees in either your CV or covering letter. Referees will not be approached until the final stages and not without prior permission from candidates.
  • Please complete an Equal Opportunity Monitoring Form.

Completed applications should be uploaded at using the reference AQ865.

Search timetable 

Closing date: Noon on Monday 21st October
Longlisting: Wednesday 23rd October
Preliminary Interviews: Wednesday 6th November
Final Panel Interviews: End November/ beginning Dec