About us

star1 Leadership and Governance

Welcome to the web pages that explain the leadership and governance of the University of Portsmouth. You will find here details of our Vice Chancellor’s Executive, Board of Governors, Director of Corporate Governance and responsibilities of the Planning Team.

Vice-Chancellor's Office

The Vice-Chancellor's Office, our senior management team, comprises the Vice-Chancellor, Pro Vice-Chancellors, Chief Operating Officer, and Director of Finance.

The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Graham Galbraith, is the Chief Executive of the University, the Chief Academic Officer, and the Funding Council's nominated accounting officer. Under the Articles of Government, the Vice-Chancellor carries a wide range of responsibilities, including the determination of the University's activities and management of its budgets and staff.

In respect of academic activities, the Vice-Chancellor is required to consult the Academic Council. The Vice-Chancellor is responsible for making proposals to the Board of Governors on the educational character and mission of the University, for preparing and presenting financial estimates and for the maintenance of student discipline.

In addition, the Director of Corporate Governance has management responsibility for legal matters, including interaction with external legal advisers.

Chancellor - Karen Blackett OBE

The University is delighted to appoint Karen Blackett OBE as its fourth Chancellor.

Karen is a highly successful and respected alumna of the University of Portsmouth. Chairwoman of MediaCom, Karen is at the top of her game as a proven business leader in creating vibrant cultures, energising teams and consistently delivering business growth and success.

Fulfilling a personal lifelong passion to find, discover and mentor talent from all backgrounds and classes, one of Karen’s proudest achievements is creating and launching the first government-backed Media Apprenticeship Scheme for 18-24 year olds.

Karen is co-chair of a cross-industry Diversity Taskforce focused on increasing diversity in the advertising community and one of four external advisors to help diversify the civil service.

In 2014, Karen received an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday honours for her services to the media and communications industry.

More recently, Karen launched Inclusion@ MediaCom, an internal programme covering a range of subject matters including authenticity, the glass wall (focusing on women) and mental health and wellbeing. Karen championed a Women Returners to Work programme with the organisation Successful Mums.

Vice-Chancellor - Professor Graham Galbraith

Professor Galbraith joined the University of Portsmouth in September 2013. Previous to this he had held the sole Deputy Vice-Chancellor role at the University of Hertfordshire since 2008 and the role of Pro Vice-Chancellor (International) at Glasgow Caledonian University which he joined in 1993. He gained a BSc (1st class) in Environmental Engineering, an MSc, Mechanical Engineering and a PhD from the University of Strathclyde.

He has a wealth of management experience and a strong entrepreneurial outlook which, combined with a substantial record of academic achievement and a thorough understanding of the international and HE sectors, puts him in an ideal position to lead the University through its next stage of development.

Professor Galbraith has responsibility for the strategic direction of the University working with the Board of Governors and the senior management team which comprises the Pro Vice-Chancellors, Chief Operating Officer, Director of Finance, HR Director, Director of Corporate Governance and Deans of Faculty who all report directly to him.

He is passionate about HE and its power to transform the life choices of individuals from a wide variety of backgrounds. He is committed to leading the University to provide the very best student experience underpinned by internationally excellent research and world class business engagement.

His primary research interests are within the area of Building Physics and Material Science with emphasis on moisture within building components and the development of appropriate prediction models and measurement techniques.

Pro Vice-Chancellor (Education and Student Experience) – Professor Paul Hayes

Paul has been Dean of the University’s Faculty of Science since 2008, having previously held senior positions at the University of Bristol. He is a Marine Biologist by training and is recognised internationally for his research in the area of microbial ecology.

From September 2014 Paul will be responsible for providing strategic leadership in the development and implementation of an ambitious education strategy for the University, promoting excellence in education provision and in the quality of the student experience.

Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) - Professor Pal Ahluwalia

Pal joined the University in October 2014, from the University of South Australia, and is responsible for promoting a strong research and innovation culture. Pal is investigating effective ways by which we can increase our research income by harnessing research opportunities and increasing our research capacity.

Pal is also responsible for the International Office, and leads our strategic direction in making the University a more global institution through valuable and strategic global partnerships, not only for research projects but also in the wider context of student and staff experience through collaborations, exchanges and shared learning.

Pro Vice-Chancellor (Global Engagement) - Chris Chang

Chris is responsible for providing strategic leadership in the development and implementation of an ambitious Global Engagement strategy for the University, for extending our global partnerships and reach to make our high-quality brand of education even more accessible worldwide.

Before joining the University in September 2016, Chris was Pro Vice-Chancellor Corporate Marketing, International and Development Services at Anglia Ruskin University. He has over 20 years’ experience in the higher education sector and a background as a lawyer. He qualified as a barrister in 1986 and began his career working as an advocate and solicitor at the High Court of Malaya, advising large corporate clients.

Chief Operating Officer - Bernie Topham

Bernie is the Chief Operating Officer at the University of Portsmouth. This role oversees a range of services, including Estates, Campus Services, Information Services, Marketing and Communications, Library, and Sports and Recreation, as well as a member of the University’s Executive Board. Bernie is also involved in developing the University’s relationships with key partners, particularly in relation to enterprise and city based partnerships.

Before joining the University in December 2013, Bernie was Chief Executive of Eastleigh Borough Council. She was also a member of Hampshire Health and Wellbeing Board, the lead Chief Executive for Economic Development for PUSH (the Partnership for Urban South Hampshire) and the Chair of the Hampshire Chief Executive’s Group. The majority of her career has been spent in local government, either in corporate management or economic development and regeneration, and she has held Director level roles in Portsmouth City Council and the Borough of Poole.

Bernie is a graduate in English from the University of Southampton and subsequently gained an MBA from the University of Plymouth.

Director of Finance – Emma Woollard

Emma is a CIMA qualified accountant and has worked at the University of Portsmouth since 1989. She joined as Management Accountant shortly after the then Polytechnic gained independence from Hampshire County Council, becoming Director of Finance in August 2004.

Emma has responsibility for the financial strategy and financial management of the University. This includes ensuring the long term sustainability of the University is secured, development and investment can be appropriately and adequately financed, strategic opportunities are evaluated and prioritised, and that financial risks are identified and mitigated against.

University Executive Board

The Vice-Chancellor heads up the University Executive Board (UEB) – our senior management team – which comprises the Vice-Chancellor, the Pro Vice-Chancellors, the Chief Operating Officer, the Director of Finance, the Director of Human Resources, the Director of Corporate Governance, and the five Deans of Faculty. UEB meets regularly (usually fortnightly) to discuss strategy, policy and resourcing and to ensure that the University is managed effectively.

Board of Governors

The Board of Governors is the governing body of the University and carries responsibility for ensuring the effective management of the institution and for planning its future development. It is the Board that has ultimate responsibility for all the affairs of the institution and holds management accountable.

Further information on the Board of Governors – what it is, what it does, and a range of related information can be found here.

If you need more detailed information, then please contact the Director of Corporate Governance on 02392 843195.


The Board of Governors conducts its work through a number of committees, which include:

  • Audit and Quality
  • Estates and IT
  • Finance
  • Human Resources

The Vice-Chancellor’s Executive conducts its work through Academic Council and the Academic Committees, which include:

  • University Education & Student Experience Committee
  • University Research & Innovation Committee
  • University Global Engagement Committee
  • Quality Assurance Committee
  • Marketing, Recruitment & Admissions Committee
  • Student Experience Committee
  • University Ethics Committee
  • REF Steering Committee
  • University Research Degrees Committee

Director of Corporate Governance

The Office of the Director of Corporate Governance has management responsibility for a wide range of duties, which include:


The Planning Team’s work focuses on supporting the Vice-Chancellor in leading effective University strategic planning. This includes setting KPIs and monitoring performance against strategic objectives.

Find out more information on the role and responsibilities of the Planning department.

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building2 Corporate Information

Our mission and vision

Our mission:

We delight in creating, sharing and applying knowledge to make a difference to individuals and society.

Our vision:

The University of Portsmouth will deliver transformational education, research and innovation by:

  • recognising and sustaining our strengths in undergraduate education and growing our provision in the areas of postgraduate, part-time, CPD and flexible modes of study
  • ensuring every student takes part in career enhancing activities, such as placements, exchanges, enterprise, volunteering or work-based learning
  • building on our financial strength and increasing the contribution to income that comes from research and commercial activities
  • establishing nationally and internationally recognised cross-discipline thematic areas that address key issues facing society
  • creating a network of strategic global partnerships to support internationalisation
  • raising expectations and creating ladders of opportunity for people in our region to take part in higher education
  • supporting and developing our people to deliver excellence with commitment and passion
  • developing a flexible physical and digital environment that promotes enjoyment and engagement within a community of learning and discovery
  • being a proud part of Portsmouth and our region, working in partnership to support and influence the economic, educational, social and cultural life of the city
  • using our financial strength in support of our strategic ambitions for maximum impact and sustainability
  • maintaining and enhancing our quality reputation and visibility

Read our new University Strategy below, which was developed following consultation with students, staff and governors, through the Shaping our Future conversation. Find out more about realising our vision.

Corporate publications

University Strategy 2015 – 2020 (pdf 537KB)

Research and Innovation Strategy 2015 - 2020 (pdf 1.7MB)

Education Strategy 2016 - 2020 (pdf 4.7MB)

People Strategy 2016 - 2020 (pdf 1.3MB)

Financial Review 2015 – 2016 (pdf 1.7MB)


The University's corporate documents including: strategies, policies, procedures and codes can be found in the Our Document Warehouse.

Freedom of Information

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 gives a general right of access to all types of recorded information held by public authorities. Information about our publication schemes and requesting information from the University can be found here.

Quality and standards

QAA Quality Mark thumbnailLike all universities, we regard quality and standards as very important aspects of our work.

You can access the policies and processes we use to assure and improve the quality of the learning, teaching and student support in the University. You can also find details of the outcomes of internal and external reviews such as those conducted by Professional Bodies.

Our Quality Management team administers information relating to academic committees, assessment and regulations, collaborative programmes, and accreditation of our courses by Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Bodies. More information about quality management can be found here.

Environment and sustainable development

The University is committed to a low carbon future. We have a number of policies, plans and practices that support this commitment from the way we manage procurement, construction and travel to encouraging the adoption of recycling, waste reduction and ‘green’ meetings behaviours within our community of staff and students. Read more about Green Portsmouth.

In addition to the work of our Green Portsmouth team, the University has a wider role in creating positive environmental impacts that have regional, national and international benefits through our research, teaching and collaborations with business and industry. The University of Portsmouth Environment Network (UPEN) seeks to coordinate and promote our activities in this area.

Equality and diversity

The University is dedicated to ensuring equality of opportunity and the promotion of diversity and inclusion for the benefit of our staff and students. We welcome students to Portsmouth from over 120 countries each year, and we are committed to widening participation in higher education across an ever-increasing variety of students - and indeed staff. The Equality and Diversity Unit owns the policies, guidance and University Equality Objectives that outline the way in which we understand and accommodate the needs of students and staff.

We also produce annual comprehensive data reports detailing the University's performance on key areas and their impacts on the staff and student experience. Read more about our commitment to equality and diversity.

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magnifying1 University Structure

The University is made up of five faculties supported by a range of professional services departments.

Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries

Dean Professor Trevor Keeble

Containing four schools:

Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

Dean Professor Matthew Weait

Containing an institute and three schools:

Portsmouth Business School

Dean Professor Gioia Pescetto

There are six Subject Groups at Portsmouth Business School:

and the School of Law

Faculty of Science

Dean Professor Sherria Hoskins

Containing eight schools and departments:

Faculty of Technology

Dean Professor Djamel Ait-Boudaoud

Containing six schools/departments:

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