University of Wolverhampton Vice Chancellor

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University of Wolverhampton Vice Chancellor

University of Wolverhampton Vice Chancellor



Professor Geoff Layer

Geoff Layer has been the Vice Chancellor of the University of Wolverhampton since August 2011.  Previously, he was Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic) at the University of Bradford.

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.

Between 2000 and 2006 he was the Director of Action on Access, an agency established to advise HEFCE on its Widening Participation Strategy.  He has been a consultant to Universities UK, Higher Education Quality Council and many universities in Widening Participation and Learning and Teaching Strategies.  He was also Director of the HEFCE Innovations Co-ordination Team from 2000-2002.

He is a member/trustee of the following local, regional and national boards and committees:

  • Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership (member)
  • Black Country Chamber of Commerce (member)
  • Equality Challenge Unit (member)
  • Higher Education Public Information Steering Group (member)
  • QAA Advisory Committee on Degree Awarding Powers (member)
  • Higher Education Academy (member)
  • Open College Network West Midlands (trustee)
  • Universities Association for Lifelong Learning (trustee)

He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, a Fellow of Leeds College of Music and was awarded the OBE for services to Higher Education in 2003.

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.


Selected conference keynote addresses include:

  • September 2016: Disabled Students’ Allowances: Responding to Reform, Westminster Briefing, London
  • February 2016: Raising Standards in UK Higher Education Through Effective Regulation, Inside Government, London
  • December 2015:Trying to Change the Mould – Embedding Inclusive Leadership as a Means of Securing Institutional Diversity, UUK Equality and Diversity in HE Summit, London
  • 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


Selected 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