University Secretary and Chief Operating Officer

Tracey Slaven

Tracey Slaven

Tracey became University Secretary and Chief Operating Officer on 4 January 2021. The University Secretary is responsible for ensuring the quality of information presented to Court and for safeguarding the standards of good governance expected of universities. As Chief Operating Officer, Tracey is responsible for providing direct line management of the Professional Services directorates and their performance in support of Aberdeen 2040.

Tracey was previously Deputy Secretary Strategic Planning at the University of Edinburgh from 2013. During her time at Edinburgh, Tracey was responsible for a broad portfolio including Court Services, Strategic & Business Planning, Student Recruitment & Admissions, Widening Participation and Data Protection & Freedom of Information – as well as co-ordination of the submission to REF2014 and REF2021. In taking forward her roles, Tracey also draws on significant experience of Higher Education policy and strategic change leadership with roles in the Civil Service, Government agencies and in the private sector.

In 2018, Tracey became an independent Trustee on the HESA Board, ensuring insight into issues and challenges facing the Scottish Higher Education sector.


Personal Assistant: Amanda MacLean
Tel: +44(0)1224 273021 / 272094

Director of External Relations

Jenny Fernandes

Jenny was appointed to the role of Director of External Relations in September 2020.  Jenny heads up the different functions within External Relations, including:

•    UK Recruitment and Admissions, including Access and Articulation
•    International Engagement and Recruitment, including the Language Centre
•    Communications, including Digital Communications
•    Public Affairs, Stakeholder Engagement and Events
•    Marketing and Brand Development
•    Engagement and Conversion 

An alumna of the University of Aberdeen, Jenny joined the University in 2004 as Head of the International Office.  Prior to that she worked at the University of Glasgow and Queen Margaret University.  She studied in the United States and worked as a teacher in Japan. In 2009 she completed her MSc in Education from the University of Edinburgh.  Between 2006 and 2010 she acted as Vice Chair and subsequently Chair of the Scottish Universities International Group. She currently sits on the Board of BUILA (British Universities International Liaison Association) as the Scottish lead.


Personal Assistant: Jackie Willox

Director of People

Debbie Dyker

Debbie Dyker

Debbie joined the Human Resources Section in 1992 and was appointed to the role of Director of People in 2017.  Prior to this Debbie was Director of Human Resources with responsibility for managing the delivery of the Strategic and Operational HR Service across all areas of the University.

The Directorate of People includes Human Resources, Health Safety & Wellbeing, Student Experience, Student Support, Careers and the Chaplaincy.

The Directorate of People plays a key role in supporting the University to deliver upon strategic priorities and institutional initiatives in line with the Strategic Plan.

The Directorate provides comprehensive, co-ordinated front facing support services to all staff and students in the University community.  The teams within the Directorate work in partnership with key stakeholders, both internal and external to the University, including Trade Union colleagues and local, national and international organisations.

A number of institutional organisational development activities are undertaken within the Section, including ongoing work in support of the Healthy Working Lives accreditation. The team liaise closely with colleagues across the Academic areas and Professional Services to ensure a co-ordinated approach to matters including student engagement, employee engagement, student employability, mental health & wellbeing strategy, equality & diversity and health & safety.  

The University acknowledges that institutional success depends on the talent, expertise and commitment of staff and in recognition of the importance of ongoing personal and professional development, the team has developed a suite of Leadership & Management programmes, many of which have received external accreditation through the Institute of Leadership & Management.

Tel: +44 (0)1224 273732

Personal Assistant: Sarah Fyfe
Tel: +44 (0)1224 273732

Interim Director of Estates and Facilities

Duncan White

Duncan WhiteDuncan White is Interim Director of Estates and Facilities and responsible for the operation, maintenance and development of the University estate, provision of Residential Services and Catering and Commercial services.

He is actively involved in supporting the University’s strategic objectives through the enhancement and rationalisation of buildings to create a sustainable environment that will enable interdisciplinary exchange, innovation and a sense of place.

Duncan White joined the University in November 2021 and was previously Executive Director of Estates Strategy at the University of Gloucestershire and before that, other similar senior management positions in Higher Education establishments in Scotland and in the Midlands and South West of England. The focus within these institutions was on managing significant change programmes to the estate including capital programme development, right-sizing estates, financial sustainability and supporting culture and leadership change.


Tel:  +44 (0)1224 272060

Estates Office General Enquiries:
Tel: +44 (0)1224 272063

Director of Finance

Mark White

More information and short biography coming soon.


Director of Digital and Information Services

Brian HendersonBrian Henderson

Brian joined the University in 2007, following a variety of technical and managerial roles in educational and council organisations.  Brian has over 20 years of experience in the Higher Education sector and was appointed to the Director of Digital and Information Services role in November 2017.

Brian is also currently a Director and Trustee of Aberdeen Science Centre, a Board member of Inverness College (UHI), Vice-Chair to the IT Directors in Scottish Higher Education Group (HEIDS) and a member of the Universities Scotland Efficiencies Taskforce.

Combining the Library & IT Services functions, Digital and Information Services delivers a comprehensive package of digital services to the staff and students of the University, as well as providing data centre services for Robert Gordon University and North East Scotland College through an award winning shared service.  Digital & Information Services will play a key role in the transformation of the University as we move forward with an exciting package of digital initiatives over the coming years.

Tel: +44 (0) 1224 273368



Personal Assistant: Lynne Kirton

Tel: +44 (0) 1224 273368


Director of Academic Services and Online Education

Dr Gillian Mackintosh

Dr Gillian Mackintosh

Gillian was appointed Director in 2009 and heads up the Directorate of Academic Services & Online Education. The Directorate encompasses the Registry, the Centre for Academic Development and the Online Education team. The Directorate provides professional services support across all aspects of academic student administration from registration through to graduation as well as supporting teaching and learning policy development and quality assurance, and also provides academic development support to staff and students including pedagogic staff development, eLearning expertise and academic skills support.

Gillian is a double graduate of the University having been awarded both a BSc and a PhD in Biochemistry.  Having undertaken a three year post as a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow funded by the British Heart Foundation, Gillian joined the Registry is 1998 and was appointed as Academic Registrar in 2007. More recently, she undertook a two year period of secondment as Director of Online Education & Academic Development where she had lead responsibility for the strategic growth of the University’s online education provision.  In her Director role, she continues to lead this work including the development of the University’s On-demand Learning portfolio. 

Gillian has extensive experience of quality assurance and enhancement of teaching and learning, online education and wider student-related administration. She has participated actively in a number of QAA and Universities Scotland committees in this area.

Tel: +44 (0)1224 272045

Director of Planning

Dr Hulda Sveinsdottir

Dr Hulda SveinsdottirHulda was appointed Director of Planning in October 2015 and heads the Directorate of Planning within Professional Services. The Planning team has oversight of the Strategic Plan and is responsible for managing the University’s strategic planning process, external and internal performance monitoring, the development of the Outcome Agreement with the Scottish Funding Council, the production and administration of management information, risk management, and the development and management of strategic institutional initiatives.


Hulda has been with the University of Aberdeen since 2009 when she joined the administrative team within the College of Physical Sciences, first as Assistant College Registrar and later as College Registrar. Previous to this, Hulda worked at Abertay University in Dundee where she was based within the Office of the University Secretary/Vice-Principal for Research & Commercialisation, with responsibility for planning and governance.  

Hulda has a BA in Politics from the University of Iceland, and an MA in East Asian Politics and PhD in Japanese Politics from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne.

Tel: +44 (0)1224 272016

Personal Assistant: Marina Glennie
Tel: +44 (0)1224 272016

Director of Research and Innovation

Dr Liz Rattray

Dr Liz RattrayLiz joined Research and Innovation in 1997 and was appointed Deputy Director in 2005 to lead the business development and commercialisation teams.

Dr Rattray has extensive experience of research administration, project and contract management together with commercialisation of research (from collaborating with industry, knowledge exchange, licensing to new company formation). She has held board positions with a number of companies, and previously been a member of the  Scottish Funding Council’s research committee.

The Research and Innovation section plays a key role in supporting the University to deliver upon strategic priorities for research and knowledge exchange in line with the Institutional Strategic Plan. The section provides support for research development, commercialisation, knowledge exchange, enterprise activities and provides administrative support for research policy and the newly formed Graduate School for post graduate research students. Research and Innovation  is the first point of contact for business - facilitating access to the University’s researchers, services and technologies and offering a wide range of commercial opportunities arising from the University’s research activities.