New Director of Communications and Engagement appointed

Tim Watkinson has been appointed as the University’s Director of Communications and Engagement, taking up the role on 1 July.

New Director of Communications and Engagement, Tim Watkinson

New Director of Communications and Engagement appointed. April 2023

Tim is currently Director of Communications and Advocacy at the University of Nottingham, where his remit covers media relations; staff and student engagement; civic, stakeholder and public affairs; as well as digital and social media. 

Before joining the University of Nottingham in 2017, Tim was Director of Communications at Sheffield Hallam University. He has spent 10 years leading communications in the higher education sector and is currently Co-chair of the Russell Group Directors of Communication network. 

Prior to his career in universities, Tim held senior communications roles in Government between 1994 and 2013, including more than a decade at the Department for Education, where he was latterly Director of Communications.  

In his new role at Leeds, Tim will lead the Communications and Engagement team, which is responsible for building, enhancing and protecting the University’s profile and reputation, and engaging its internal and external communities to support the delivery of institutional goals. 

Tim is a graduate of the University of Leeds, with a BA Hons in English Literature (1992) and an MA in Medieval Studies (1994).

Jennifer Sewel, the University Secretary, said: “I look forward to welcoming Tim back to Leeds and working closely with him as we pursue our 10-year strategy. Tim has extensive experience in delivering high-level strategic communications and marketing for universities, central government and public sector organisations, and will be real asset for the University. 

“As one of our graduates, it was clear through the recruitment process that Tim has a real affinity for the University and understands what makes Leeds special.”

Tim said: “I am delighted to be returning to the University where I spent many happy years as both an undergraduate and Masters student. Leeds is a fantastic University with a distinguished history of producing outstanding research and providing a superb education to its students. 

“The University also has its eyes set firmly on the future, and I look forward to contributing to the delivery of the goals set out in its ambitious 10-year strategy, Universal Values, Global Change. I am particularly looking forward to leading the Communications and Engagement team, and getting to know the staff and student community at the institution, which in many respects prepared me for the career path I have followed since graduation.”

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