The University’s management framework includes the Executive Team, who are responsible for managing the University, and developing strategic and operational plans; the Board of Governors, who are responsible for oversight of its educational activities and commitment to conducting its affairs in a responsible and transparent way; and our Chancellor, an honorary role as ceremonial head of the University.

Executive Team

Vice-Chancellor: Dr Ben Calvert

Ben Calvert

Dr Ben Calvert joined USW in 2015 as Pro Vice-Chancellor for Student Experience, before becoming Deputy Vice-Chancellor in 2019. He took up the role of Vice-Chancellor in September 2021.

Prior to joining USW, he worked at the University of Gloucestershire, progressing from being a Course Leader, to Head of Department, to Dean of Faculty; a post that he held for six years. 

As a Dean, Ben managed across a broad discipline base including Schools of Media, Humanities, Art and Design and Computing and Technology. Ben established several new degree courses including Popular Music, Television Production and Radio Production, and was part of a team that secured Skillset Academy accreditation for the School of Media. 

Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Professor Donna Whitehead

Professor Donna Whitehead joined USW as the University’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor in November 2021. Prior to taking up the role, Donna was the Deputy Vice-Chancellor of London Metropolitan University. Within this role Donna was responsible for all academic and student support teams including the academic schools, student services, research and KE, registry, learning services, learning and teaching, and student and academic administration. A core focus of her role was to create an inclusive university that created equitable outcomes for staff and students. During her time at London Met, Donna led the teams to deliver improvements in all student outcomes and a range of other institutional outcomes. 

Prior to joining London Met, Donna was the Pro Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean for the Faculty of Business and Law at the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol). Whilst at UWE, Donna led on enterprise and entrepreneurship across the university, embedding enterprise skills into the curriculum for all students, and helping to lead partnerships with businesses, the third sector as well as international education providers. Donna joined UWE from USW, where she had initially worked as the Head of School of Law, Accounting and Finance and later became the Deputy Dean for the former Faculty of Business and Society. Donna started her academic career at the University of Sunderland, where she had also completed her undergraduate studies; she worked there as a lecturer, senior lecturer and then as team leader for law. She taught a variety of areas of law but with a particular passion for Family Law. 


Chief Operating Officer: Mark Milton


Mark Milton took up the position of Chief Operating Officer of the University in January 2020. He brings with him a wealth of experience as the former Director of People and Organisational Development for Avon and Somerset Police. Spending the early part of his career in the pensions sector, Mark built his expertise in HR, accounting, audit and marketing, while studying at the University of the West of England for professional qualifications in people management and development. 

He worked for Prudential and Clerical Medical for 25 years in a number of roles, before taking up the position of a Chief Officer at Wiltshire Police in 2005. This role also included a new collaborative element, with the opportunity to offer strategic advice to a neighbouring force, Gwent Police. Mark joined Avon and Somerset Police in 2017, before taking up his role at USW. He is former Vice-Chair of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development Police Forum, and recently became a Fellow of the CIPD.

Chief Financial Officer: Rachel Elias-Lee

Rachel Elias-Lee re-joined the USW Family in 2018 as the Faculty Chief Operating Officer for the former Faculty of Business and Society, before being appointed as the Director of Transformation, where she initiated, developed and drove USW’s approach to strategic change management and operationally led the University’s initial Gold/Command response to the Covid pandemic. Rachel took up the role of Chief Financial Officer for USW in February 2022, and provides financial oversight across the USW Group.

Before re-joining USW, Rachel was the Director of Finance at WJEC CBAC Ltd (from 2014), where she led the business of the group through the 2015 Wales/England subject reform, to retain awarding organisation status and implemented significant system, planning and audit improvements along the way. Prior to this, Rachel was Deputy Principal of Resources (and Director of Merthyr Learning Quarter (MLQ) Project) at The College Merthyr Tydfil (2009 - 2013), a USW group company, where she oversaw the sector leading and award winning £33M change programme (including new build) to transform post-16 education in Merthyr Tydfil/Heads of Valley region.

Rachel is a professionally qualified fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants and advises on several external Boards and Panels on Financial Strategy and Business Transformation.

Rachel Elias-Lee

Chief People and Inclusion Officer: Zoe Durrant

Zoe Durrant joined USW in January 2023 as Chief People and Inclusion Officer. Prior to taking up her appointment Zoe worked for Gloucestershire Police as a Chief Officer responsible for Corporate Services including Human Resources, ICT, Transformation, and Performance & Planning.

Prior to her role at Gloucestershire Constabulary, Zoe worked in a variety of senior leadership roles for Wiltshire Police. She was selected for, and successfully attended, the senior policing command course in 2014 going on to become a Chief Officer within Wiltshire Police with responsibility for Human Resources, Professional Standards, and a number of corporate functions.

Zoe spent the early part of her career in the private sector in IT and Management Consultancy with a focus on mergers and acquisition work, which included international HR leadership roles and a secondment to the US.

Throughout her career Zoe has had a particular interest in equality, diversity and inclusion and creating inclusive working culture and practices.

Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation): Professor Martin Steggall

Before being appointed Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) at USW, Professor Martin Steggall has been PVC Research and Student Experience (2019 to 2021), and was Dean of the Faculty of Life Sciences and Education at USW between December 2014 and May 2019. Prior to that, he was Associate Dean, Director of Undergraduate Studies at City University London (2011-2014). He was appointed to the academic staff at City University in 2002 and has held various positions (Head of Applied Biological Sciences; Associate Dean, Nursing and Midwifery), during that time.

Martin trained as an Adult Nurse at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, London between 1993 and 1996, and combined academic work and clinical practice at what is now Barts Health NHS Trust, as a specialist in Men’s Health (Erectile Dysfunction and Premature Ejaculation). On moving to Wales, he transferred his clinical work to Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board, where he continues to work in the Urology Department. He completed a Master’s degree in Physiology in 2001 and a PhD in Health in 2009. He has published widely in academic journals on the subject of Urology and Men’s Health, and edited four textbooks in anatomy, physiology and pathophysiology. He was the grant administrator for the Research Capacity Building Collaborative (RCBC) for Wales (2015 – 2021) and was the non-medical representative for Wales at the UK Health Education Advisory Committee (UKHEAC) (2018 to 2021).

Martin Stegall

Pro Vice-Chancellor (Enterprise, Engagement and Partnerships)

Louise Bright

Dr Louise Bright is Pro Vice-Chancellor for Enterprise, Engagement and Partnerships at the University of South Wales. Louise first joined the University of Glamorgan as Research Manager and has held various roles including Head of Research Office and Director of Research and Business Engagement.

While previously seconded to the Welsh Government, Louise undertook a study on how the Government might work with Welsh universities to increase the levels of Research Council income. The outcomes of the study formed the basis for a Ministerial approved report with policy implications. During her secondment she was also responsible for drafting a proposal to establish a National Science Academy for Wales. This was approved and Louise went on to work with Welsh Government on a consultancy basis including projects on the delivery of the National Science Academy and Welsh Government’s Innovation Policy.

Louise was also previously the Associate Director of the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education with responsibility for Wales. This role built on her experience of developing research students and academics to become effective researchers. Louise is a member of the UK HR Excellence in Research Panel, Welsh Government’s Equity in STEM Board and was a member of the Chief Science Advisor for Wales Task and Finish Group which informed a report on women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Medicine in Wales. Louise also leads the Wales Women in STEM Network.

Before moving into management, her research focused on freezing oocytes from patients whose fertility is threatened by chemotherapy or radiotherapy. Following her PhD, she successfully established a new, externally funded group that explored the pathogenesis of endometriosis.