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


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. 

Professor Donna Whitehead

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.

Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research): Professor Martin Steggall

Before being appointed Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research) at USW, Professor Martin Steggall 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 University Health Board, where he works in the Urology Department. He completed a Masters degree in Physiology in 2001 and a PhD in the clinical management of premature ejaculation 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 is the non-medical representative for Wales at the UK Health Education Advisory Committee (UKHEAC). 


Chief Financial Officer: Rachel Elias-Lee

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.