Our Vice-Chancellor's Office
Professor Graham Upton
Born in Birmingham, Professor Upton was educated in Australia and went on to teach in secondary and special education schools before returning to the UK in 1972 where he has enjoyed a distinguished academic career.
After a brief spell at Chester College he worked in Leeds Polytechnic, the University of Wales and the University of Birmingham where he was Pro Vice-Chancellor and Professor of Educational Psychology and Special Educational Needs. In 1997 Professor Upton was appointed as Vice- Chancellor of Oxford Brookes University where he spent ten years at the helm. He has subsequently served as Interim Vice-Chancellor at the University of Cumbria and Glyndŵr University.
Outside of academic life Professor Upton has held appointments in both the private and not for profit sectors and is a Deputy Lieutenant of the County of Oxfordshire where he was High Sheriff in 2013-14.
During his academic career Professor Upton has carried out research and published extensively on a wide range of topics in the fields of Educational Psychology and Special Educational Needs. He also has extensive international experience and has held visiting appointments and undertaken consultancies and educational development work in a number of countries.
Professor Julian Beer
Julian leads on the University’s Research, Enterprise and Business Engagement strategy, forging links between business and higher education.
He was previously Pro-Vice-Chancellor at Plymouth University with responsibility for Regional Enterprise and Professor of Knowledge Transfer.
Julian has extensive experience of the private sector, as well as transferring higher education knowledge into commercial or public policy outcomes.
As leader of its strategy on business and employer engagement, Julian strengthens Birmingham City University’s connection with the City and region. He leads on research, innovation and knowledge exchange development, together with expanding commercial activities.
Julian has significant experience of both higher education and the private sector, as well as successfully transferring research and learning from one to the other.
Director of Human Resources
Sally graduated from Salford University with a degree in Organisational Analysis and Industrial Relations, and joined Staveley industries as a graduate trainee. After gaining experience in a number of environments (including a foundry and electrical and mechanical engineering companies), she joined Mercury Communications (part of Cable and Wireless) when it was a company of less than 400, leaving 10 years later when it employed more than 13,500 people.
From there Sally moved into the public sector working for the Environment Agency and then, after five years as a self employed consultant/interim, joined the Learning and Skills Council, an NDPB (later to become the Skills Funding Agency and a part of the Civil Service). Sally left the SFA in 2014 and moved into the Higher Education sector in August 2014 on joining Birmingham City University.
Mr David Wilkin BSc CPFA
Chief Finance Officer
David joined Birmingham City University in October 2016 and has strategic leadership responsibility for Finance, IT and Estates & Facilities.
He was previously Director of Resources at West Midlands Police with responsibility for leading the resource strategy through severe funding reductions and achieving an “Outstanding” assessment for Efficiency from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabularies. He was heavily involved with and led a range of transformational change programmes and was also the National Policing Lead for police vehicle procurement and standardisation. During his time with the Force he led a project on developing the national Police Objective Analysis costing model, which won technical recognition through CIPFA’s Sir Harry Page Merit Award.
Prior to that, David worked as Head of Education Finance for Leicester City Council. He had responsibility for all financial matters in the Education Department, including the local financial management arrangements for over 100 schools. Before this he worked as an accountant for Warwickshire Police and Coventry City Council, where he qualified as a Chartered Public Finance Accountant.
Miss Karen Stephenson LLB, Solicitor, MA
Karen Stephenson joined Birmingham City University in June 2016, as University Secretary.
As University Secretary Karen is responsible for all matters of governance, and legal and statutory compliance. She is also Clerk to the Board of Governors and Company Secretary to a number of subsidiary companies. The post has line management for the Academic Services, the Governance Team, the Legal Team, DPA/FoI, the UKVI Compliance Team and institutional compliance with the Prevent Duty.
Karen is a qualified solicitor with particular expertise in higher education corporate governance and all issues that arise out of the institutional relationship with students.
Immediately prior to joining the University, Karen spent seven years as an external legal adviser in private practice advising a number of HEIs on issues involving corporate governance, strategic management (including faculty, department and course restructuring) and Board matters. She also advised on all aspects of the student/university relationship and management of complex student litigation.
Prior to that she spent 15 years at London South Bank University; nine years as the University Secretary and Principal Solicitor and the previous six years as an Academic Lecturer in Law.
Karen is the sub-editor for the higher and further education section of the Education Law Journal writing regularly on strategic management issues.
Karen is a member of the Law Society and AHUA (the Association of Heads of University Administration).