Professor Helen James

Professor Helen James

Deputy Vice-Chancellor 

I have spent over 18 years in a variety of senior management roles in three universities, supported by other academic leadership roles in both higher and further education. Prior to this, I was in mechanical and manufacturing in the space and shipbuilding industries, the foundations of which was an apprenticeship in Vickers Shipbuilding Ltd.

A few notable accomplishments include being a member of the senior management team, which, over a sustained period, created a university in north east wales; I was the founding director of the charity, Techniquest Glwndwr, a science discovery centre, before becoming chair and securing its position as the north and mid Wales provider of the National Science Academy. I was awarded Woman of the Year for my contribution to Science, Engineering and Technology in Wales in 2005 and I maintain a deep commitment to economic growth, including through my role as a member of the Deeside Enterprise Zone Advisory Board to the Welsh Government.

I am passionate about holistic institutional strategies for widening participation and student retention and success. Fundamental to this is the role universities play in their regions. I continue to contribute to academic research, policy and professional practice in these areas. I have maintained a deep commitment to women in science, engineering and technology throughout my professional career, including establishing the WISE in Sussex network and supporting schools, boys and girls, teachers and careers professionals in people being able and confident to make their own informed decision. I am actively engaged in leadership mentoring and coaching and believe we all have the power to make a difference.  

As Pro Vice-Chancellor (Education and Student Experience),  I have responsibility for our  academic strategy including student experience, portfolio shape and performance, learning and teaching, quality and standards, employability, student progression and success, student support, health and wellbeing, and the academic governance delivered through Academic Board.

What are your current priorities?

I am currently leading the transformational changes to our academic architecture and infrastructure supporting student retention and success. This is known as the Academic Journey Project and is encompassing all aspects of the University. The work includes introducing semesters, repositioning our assessment regulations, changing the timing of summer reassessment so it is closer to student’s learning and improving the combined honours experience. My second key priority is the introduction of Engineering and Technology into the University and for which we have already secured £6m - we are making good progress. My third key priority is reshaping our academic portfolio into Higher/Degree Apprenticeships, two-year fast-track degrees and supporting Transnational Education while improving the quality and student outcomes across all our programmes.

What inspires you about Christ Church?

The strong people-centred approach and willingness to collaborate and make change to improve students and staff experiences. People are passionate about the institution.

Contact Details

E Professor Helen James |
T : 01227 782705


E: Maxine Owen

T : 01227 782477


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Last edited: 08/01/2020 09:50:00