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Professor Geoff Layer

Geoff Layer recently retired as Vice Chancellor of the University of Wolverhampton, having worked for over 40 years in post compulsory education. He is now working on strategic development for Coventry University.

He graduated in Law at Newcastle Polytechnic in 1977, taught at Sheffield Hallam University from 1983 to 1999 and took on institutional wide roles in developing widening participation strategies, modular degree programmes and established a disabled student support service.

He moved to the University of Bradford and later became its Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic). Whilst at Bradford he was seconded to HEFCE to develop their approach to widening participation and developed its Aim Higher Programme.

He became Vice-Chancellor of the University of Wolverhampton in 2011 becoming its longest serving Vice Chancellor when he retired in 2021. He has led their approach to being more inclusive, flexible in learning approaches, committed to its region and utilising the role of a university as an anchor for economic, social and community enhancement.

He has researched and developed access and inclusion issues throughout his academic career and has been a Professor of Lifelong Learning since 1995 with numerous research projects and publications and sector leading developments.

He was a board member of Advance HE, Chair of the HE sector’s EDI Committee and Chair of the SLC Stakeholder Forum until. He led the Disabled Student Sector Leadership Group from 2015 until 2018. In 2019 the Universities Minister appointed him as Chair of the newly formed Disabled Student Commission to promote the interests of disabled students. In 2021 the Minister for Disabilities appointed him as the Disability Ambassador for Universities. He has recently become Chair of the Board at Fircroft Residential Adult Education College and is a trustee of the Workers Education Association.

He is a passionate Sunderland fan and plays cricket for Sheffield Collegiate Cricket Club.

Geoff is an Emeritus Professor of Lifelong Learning at the University of Wolverhampton.