University appoints new Pro Vice-Chancellor Dean

7 April 2022

The University of Derby has appointed a new Pro Vice-Chancellor Dean to lead the College of Health, Psychology and Social Care.

Dr Denise Baker, a registered diagnostic radiographer who joined the University of Derby in 2013, will be responsible for delivering on priorities including working in partnership with students to improve their learning experiences and outcomes, supporting staff with research opportunities, and collaborating with organisations across the region to support the new integrated care system.

During her time at Derby, Denise has held several roles within the College, most recently as interim Pro Vice-Chancellor Dean before securing the permanent position. Professional highlights have included introducing the Nursing Associate role, as well as some of the first online apprenticeships leading to professional registration.

Commenting on the appointment, Denise said: “It is an honour to take on such a key role at the University of Derby and to be continuing my work within the College and wider University, building enduring links with regional and national partners, and raising the University’s national and international profile through new partnership opportunities.

“I have found Derby to be an organisation that aligns closely with my personal values and a strong sense of wanting to make a positive difference to others. I would like to thank colleagues who have offered so much support during my time at Derby, but especially over the last six months while I've been in the interim position.

“Looking ahead, I am very excited about our future and working with colleagues and stakeholders to not only meet the health and social care needs of the region, and further afield, but supporting our students to realise their potential and achieve their ambitions.”

Denise trained at the Hereford and Worcester School of Radiography in the 1980s. Her clinical career commenced at the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch, Worcestershire, progressing to a senior radiographer position at Burton Hospital in the 1990s.

In order to pursue her ambitions to become an educator, Denise gained additional qualifications at Coventry University and moved into her first academic post at the then University of Central England (now Birmingham City University) while maintaining a clinical role for several years at Walsall Manor Hospital.

In 2013, Denise moved to the University of Derby as a programme leader for the Assistant Practitioner foundation degree, which later became a higher apprenticeship. This marked a significant development in Denise’s career, and she became the first representative from higher education working on the development of the Nursing Degree Apprenticeship in England.

This coincided with Denise embarking on a Doctorate in Health and Social Care Practice, which she was successfully awarded earlier this year. Denise’s thesis combined her professional experiences with her research interests, exploring how apprenticeship policy had been implemented in the NHS in England.

From programme lead, Denise progressed to Discipline Lead for Nursing, Head of School for Allied Health and Social Care, Interim Deputy Dean and, in October 2021, taking on the role of Interim Pro Vice-Chancellor Dean for the College.

Professor Kathryn Mitchell CBE DL, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of the University of Derby, added: “We are delighted to have appointed Denise to this role following a successful period as Interim Pro Vice-Chancellor Dean and a competitive recruitment process. 

“The College of Health, Psychology and Social Care, which continues to grow in both size and profile, seeks to provide an outstanding student experience, while striving for research excellence and supporting the region in training and developing future generations of the healthcare workforce.

“Denise’s knowledge, expertise and professional connections within the sector are pivotal in continuing to drive forward the ambitions of the College, and we wish her every success in the position.”

Find out more information about the College of Health, Psychology and Social Care.

For further information contact the press office at