The University of Wolverhampton


Professor Geoff Layer

Geoff Layer is the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Wolverhampton and is the senior executive and academic officer of the University.  He joined the University on the 1 August 2011.

He graduated from Newcastle Polytechnic with a LLB (Hons) and entered a teaching and research career initially in Manchester and then in Luton.  He joined the Sheffield Business School in 1983 as a Lecturer in Law.  Whilst at Sheffield Hallam University he established a suite of access and student support initiatives leading to the establishment of a national reputation for inclusive learning.  He was an adviser to a range of national quality assurance and educational development initiatives and became Professor of Lifelong Learning in 1996.

In 1999 he joined the University of Bradford as Director of the Centre for Continuing Education.  He was the founding Dean of the School of Lifelong Education and Development in 2001, and became Pro Vice Chancellor (Learning and Teaching) in 2004 before becoming Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic).

As Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic) he was responsible for the academic development of the University across its Teaching, Research, Knowledge Transfer and High Level Skills activity.

Between 2000 and 2006 he was the Director of Action on Access, an agency established to advise HEFCE on its Widening Participation Strategy. He was also Director of the HEFCE Innovations Co-ordination Team from 2000-2002. 

At Wolverhampton, he is a member of the Black Country Local Economic Partnership, a board member of the Black Country Chamber of Commerce, a board member of the Equality Challenge Unit, a board member of the Higher Education Academy, a member of the Higher Education Public Information Steering Group, a member of the QAA Advisory Committee on Degree Awarding Powers, a trustee of the Open College Network West Midlands, a trustee of the Universities Association for Lifelong Learning, and a range of local and regional bodies.

Geoff was also the Chair of the Steering Group of the HEFCE funded Centre for Sustainable Procurement.  He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a Fellow of Leeds College of Music, Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and was awarded the OBE for services to Higher Education in 2003.

Selected publications are:

  • Student Attainment in Higher Education: Issues, controversies and debates, Steventon G., Cureton D., and Clouder L. (eds), Abingdon: Routledge (2016)
  • Embedding ESD in the curriculum- a whole institutional approach, with P.Hopkinson and P.Hughes, 2nd International Conference, Global Citizens and Education for Sustainable Development, Bournemouth, Sept 10-11 2007
  • Sustainable Graduates: linking formal, informal and campus curricula to embed education for sustainable development in the student learning experience, with P.Hopkinson and P.Hughes, Environmental Education Research, Volume 14 Number 4, August 2008, pp435-454, Routledge, London 
  • Education for sustainable development: Using the UNESCO framework to embed ESD in a student learning and living experience, with P.Hopkinson and P.Hughes, Policy and Practice A Development Education Review, Issue 6 Spring 2008, pp 17 – 30, Centre for Global Education, Belfast, ISSN 1748-135X 
  • Joint Editor with C Duke, Widening Participation: Which way forward for English Higher Education, NIACE (Leicester) 2005, ISBN: 1862012717
  • Closing the Equity Gap, The Impact of Widening Participation Strategies in the UK and the USA (editor), NIACE (Leicester) 2005, ISBN: 1862012369
  • Widening Participation - variations on a theme, Journal of Access Policy & Practice, Volume 3 No. 1 Autumn 2005, NIACE, Leicester, pp70-88. ISBN 17401348

Geoff has delivered keynote speeches at events including Inside Government - Raising Standards in UK Higher Education Through Effective Regulation, UUK's Equality & Diversity in HE Summit, the QSN Conference at Aston Business School, and for the School of Finance on 'The Role of Modern Higher Education in the 21st Century', amongst many others. 

He was educated in the North East of England and in Soham, Cambridgeshire. He is a Sunderland supporter and plays cricket for Sheffield Collegiate Cricket Club.