Ross Renton


Pro Vice Chancellor Students

University Executive

Contact Details

tel: 01905 542769

Ross Renton is the Pro Vice Chancellor at the University of Worcester. He has a wide range of responsibilities, including leading the University’s strategy for delivering an outstanding student experience, widening participation and student success, partnerships (international, community and business), international, resources (estate and facilities) and employability.

Ross regularly represents the University at a national level and has been an advisor to several public and private organisations. He is passionate about cross-sector working and is the current Vice Chair and a Trustee of the Forum for Access and Continuing Education (FACE), as well as being Chair of Widening Participation for the GuildHE group of universities and a main panel member of the Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework (TEF) Subject Pilot and designated Widening Participation Expert for the Office for Students.

Ross is the lead for the University of Worcester’s sustainability work and has been a driver in the University’s commitment to working towards the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.

His passion for helping students to achieve their full potential sees him meet regularly with the Students’ Union Sabbatical Officers and Student Representatives to ensure they are active partners at all levels across the University.

Ross also Chairs the University’s Community Forum, consisting of local residents, businesses, police, local politicians and other interested organisations to positively enhance community relations and cohesion.

You can follow regular updates from Ross on Twitter: @ross_renton


Teaching and Learning Interests

Main panel member of the Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework (TEF) Subject Pilot and is the designated Widening Participation Expert.

External appointee of the Open University Learning and Teaching Board.

Vice Chair of the UW Learning, Teaching and Student Experience Committee

Ross has previously contributed to a Continuing Professional Academic Development programme (educations policy, social mobility, access and classroom management) as part of the post-graduate programme and regularly delivers CPD for other universities and sector organisations. 

Ross has acted as an external reviewer for other institutions, including the access course provision within the Open University.

Research Interests

Ross’s research interests include education policy and comparative education and he has delivered papers on this work nationally and internationally. Ross is regularly invited to speak at conferences and write articles to share his knowledge on widening participation, social mobility, student engagement and higher education policy.

Membership of Professional Bodies


Vice-Chair of the Forum for Access and Continuing Education (FACE)

Fellow of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures & Commerce (RSA)


Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE)

Society for Research into Higher Education (SRHE)

Member of EIAR (The European Higher Education Society)

Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS)

Recent Conference Contributions and Publications

Recent conference contributions and speeches:


Renton, R. (2019) ‘The student experience, building communities and working collaboratively’ [Plenary panel member]. AMOSSHE National Conference 2019. AMOSSHE.

Renton, R. (2019) ‘Wellbeing and Student Mental Health’ [Keynote address]. GDP: Governance for Small, Specialist or Independent Providers. AdvanceHE.

Renton, R. (2019) ‘Challenging Mental Health’ [Keynote address]. Access to HE Forum – Meeting the Challenge. Access to HE.

Renton, R. (2019) ‘Case Study: Engaging and Supporting Students from Widening Participation Groups’ [Keynote address]. Increasing Student Retention Across Higher Education. Inside Government.

Renton, R. (2019) ‘Leadership in Social Value’ [Plenary panel member]. Social Value Summit 2019. Social Enterprise UK.

Renton, R. (2019) ‘Knowledge Curators or Creators? The Future of Higher Education in the Age of the Digital Student’ [Keynote address]. Forum of Future Studies 2019 The Academic Society of Tomorrow. Riga Technical University.

Renton, R. (2018) ‘Developing a Whole Institution Approach to Student Support and Wellbeing’ [Keynote address]. Student Experience Conference. University of Leicester.

Renton, R. (2018) ‘Case Study: Providing Outstanding Mental Health and Wellbeing Support Services’ [Keynote address]. Enhancing the Quality of Student Services across Higher Education. Inside Government.

Renton, R. (2018) ‘Mental Health and Wellbeing - a University Crisis?’ [Keynote address]. OIA 2018 Casework Conference. Office of Independent Adjudicators.

Renton, R. (2018) ‘Student Mental Health and the Suicide Safer Project’ [Keynote address]. Access to Higher Education and Student Success Summit. 8th Action on Access and UUK Annual Widening Participation Conference. 

Renton, R. (2018) ‘Student Success’ [Keynote address]. Student Success Conference. University of Brighton.

Renton, R. (2018) ‘Widening participation, student success, teaching excellence and the student experience’ [Keynote address]. Advancing Aspirations through Student Partnership. Derby College.

Renton, R. (2018) ‘Student Mental Health Crisis? What Crisis?’ [Keynote address]. What impact does mental health have on widening participation to Higher Education? Forum for Access and Continuing Education.

Renton, R. (2018) ‘What students of the future will expect from their University education’, Malvern TEDx. Available at on YouTube

Renton, R. (2018) ‘What Are Universities For? The Significant Changes Within Higher Education and How They Will Impact Schools and Students’ [Keynote address]. Strengthening System Partnerships between HEIs and Schools. The Academies Show.

Renton, R. (2018) ‘How the University of Worcester is using data to create effective student services’ [Keynote address]. Improving Student Experience and Engagement. Understanding ModernGov.

Renton, R. (2018) ‘Embedding a Whole Institution Approach to Widening Participation’ [Keynote address]. Learning from Current Examples. Westminster Briefing.  


Selected publications and articles:

Ross has contributed to a number of blogs and online articles as well as newspaper, radio and TV interviews. This includes a chapter/section of the HEPI 2018 publication ‘Reaching the parts of society universities have missed.’

Broadhead, S., Butcher, J., Hill, M., Mckendry, S., Raven, N., Renton, R., Sanderson, B., Ward, T., Wynn Williams, S. (2019) ‘Transformative Higher Education: Access, Inclusion and Lifelong Learning [collection of essays from the 2018 Forum for Access and Continuing Education (FACE) annual conference at the University of Worcester]. Stoke-on-Trent: Sherwin Rivers Design and Digital Print.

Renton, R., (2016) ‘Universities as Agents of the State: The Example of Widening Participation’. UH Research Archive. University of Hertfordshire.

Renton, R., (2015) ‘GCSE Results Day: Why it matters to Universities’. Times Higher Education Supplement, 20 August 2015.  

Farenga, S., Renton, R., Collins, S., (2016) ‘Improving The Student Experience Through Innovative Delivery Of The National Scholarship Programme’. London: Forum for Access and Continuing Education (FACE).

Hill, M., Hudson, A., Jones, P., Renton, R, Saunders, D., Storan, J., (2013) [collection of essays from the 2012 Forum for Access and Continuing Education (FACE) annual conference at the University of Ulster]. London: National Institute of Adult Continuing Education.


Selected previous conference contributions and papers delivered:


Renton, R (2017) Improving Student Retention & Success in Higher Education [conference chair], Westminster Briefing, London.

Renton, R (2017) What does a Positive Health University Look Like? [Keynote address]. Enhancing Student Mental Wellbeing in Higher Education. Understanding ModernGov.

Renton, R (2016) ‘Caps, gowns and crystal balls: the use of future studies to enhance the experience of Widening Participation students in Higher Education’ [Keynote address]. Forum for Access and Continuing Education (FACE). University of Ulster, Belfast.

Renton, R (2011) ‘Access Initiatives to Involve WP Students in European Placements’. Widening Participation within Erasmus. British Academy, London.

Green, A., Hillman, N., and Renton, R., (2011) ‘Keeping Your (Strategic) Head While All Around You Are Losing Theirs: University Funding in an Age of Austerity’. Association of Institutional Research Conference. Toronto, Canada.

Renton, R (2010) ‘Style Over Substance? An Historical Analysis of Policy Developments in Widening Participation’. International Conference on University Learning and Teaching. University of Hertfordshire.

Renton, R (2009) ‘The University as an Agent of the State: The Demise of the 'Idea' of the University’. The Society for Research into Higher Education. Newport, Wales.

Green, A, and Renton, R., (2009) ‘Higher Education as an Instrument of Social Change: Educational Means to Political Ends?’ The European Association for Institutional Research. University of Lithuania.


External Roles



Forum for Access and Continuing Education (FACE) – Vice-Chair and Trustee

Office for Students – Main panel member of the Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework (TEF) Subject Pilot and designated Widening Participation Expert

GuildHE – Chair of Widening Participation

The Higher Education Careers Service Unit (HECSU) – Non-Executive Director

Graduate Prospects – Non-Executive Director

Open University – External Member of the Learning and Teaching Board

Worcester Wolves – Chair and Non-Executive Director

Seven Stars – Board member

Aimhigher West Midlands – Member of the PVC strategic group


Selected previous:


Co-Chair of the 25TH Annual FACE Conference ‘Transformative Higher Education – Access, Inclusion & Lifelong Learning’

Member of the HE advisory group for the Schools Network

Committee member for the Department for Education and Universities & Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) Curriculum Committee

Deputy Chair of Aimhigher (Hertfordshire) Board and institutional lead (until 2011)

Member of HE National Steering Group of the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust (SSAT) until 2011 and an expert advisor until 2009

Advisory work with the University Alliance on social mobility and widening participation (until 2015)

Founding member of four new schools and two University Technical Colleges:

  • Chair of Governors/Trustees of the Watford UTC
  • Non-Executive Director/Trustee of Elstree UTC
  • Non-Executive Director/Trustee West Herts Community Free Schools Trust and Hatfield Community Free School

    Non-Executive Director of Hertfordshire Community Free School Company Ltd.Governor Marlborough Science Academy