Professor Geoff Layer - Vice Chancellor

Professor Geoff LayerGeoff Layer is the Vice Chancellor of the University of Wolverhampton and as such 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 taking up the post of 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.  He was involved in the background work of the ESRC Research initiative in widening participation.

Whilst in West Yorkshire he served in the region as a member of the West Yorkshire Learning and Skills Council, Careers Bradford Board member, and was a member of Bradford Employment and Skills Board.  He was a Director of Higher Education Research Opportunities Ltd and a Trustee of the National Open College Network.

Geoff is currently a member of the Higher Education Funding Council for England’s Teaching Funding Advisory Group, the Teaching, Quality and the Student Experience Group and the Higher Education Public Information Steering Group.  In addition he is a member of Universities UK’s Research Policy Network and the Student Participation and Quality Network.

Geoff is 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 and was awarded the OBE for services to Higher Education in 2003.

Recent conference keynote addresses include:

  • April 2012: The Role of Modern Higher Education in the 21st Century, ifs School of Finance HE Conference, London
  • October 2011: Plenary session on mature students at the NUS HE Zone Conference, Liverpool
  • September 2011: Students at the heart of the system: the challenge, Quality Strategy Network Conference, Birmingham
  • September 2011: From Sandown to Kew, Outduction Conference: Enhancing the final year experience
  • November 2010: Enterprise and Higher Education: A UK approach, British Council, Islamabad
  • December 2008: Managing the Culture Change to Make a Difference, SKILL National Conference, Nottingham
  • May 2008: Engaging Looked After Children in HE, Frank Buttle Trust Annual HE Conference, UUK, London
  • May 2008: The Key Challenges in Sustainable Development in HE, Opportunities for Leadership in Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship, Welsh Assembly and the Higher Education academy, Millennium Centre, Cardiff
  • March 2007: Challenges for Learners and Universities at the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales
  • January 2007: Multiculturalism on Campus CIHE Conference, London
  • January 2007: Challenges of the Final Year Experience, Annual Kingston University Learning and Teaching Conference, Sandown Park, London

Latest publications are: 

  • 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. 

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.