Professor Peter Francis

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) and Professor of Criminology (Panel Group 6)

Professor Peter Francis joined Birmingham City University in July 2021. He previously worked at the University of Northumbria, University of Hull and the University of Leicester. His responsibilities as Deputy-Vice-Chancellor (Academic) include the academic portfolio, academic partnerships and TNE, home and international student recruitment, student experiences, student support, and student mental health and wellbeing. He also leads on the University’s response to TEF.

Professor Francis graduated from Newcastle upon Tyne Polytechnic, and the University of Hull. With a track record in higher education leadership, Professor Francis’ career spans all aspects of academia, from education to research and knowledge exchange. Along with experience working as a Senior Advisor to the Home Office, and member of national committees and Boards, this means that he is extremely well placed to lead the academic agenda for a university embedded in its community, which is student centred and known for its business engagement, innovation, and academic excellence.

As an active researcher, Professor Francis has undertaken consultancy, evaluation and applied research for public, private and third sector bodies. He has supervised PHD study on domestic violence, community policing, the culture of policing, youth justice, crime prevention, partnership working, policing victims of racist violence and he has a particular interest in exclusion and intersectionality. His published research has focussed on victims and victimisation, criminological research methods, policing, prisons, drug testing at work, and crime and social divisions. He is currently writing a book on Contemporary Criminological Theory for Sage Publications.

Professor Francis has a keen interest in student employability, and educational / learning analytics, and in student mental health and wellbeing. He has supervised doctoral study into employability and sport, while he has recently published three articles on educational analytics in HEIs, and on the platform society. Currently he is leading a major multi-partner and multi-site R&D project on mental health analytics using student data to create thriving and striving student cultures. The team he is leading was awarded OfS Mental Health Challenge Competition funding to examine student mental health and wellbeing delivered through advanced educational data analytics, relationship management, and effective models of support. Having spent the last year developing the model and approach, the project team are now working towards its operationalisation in several HEIs, alongside engaging with the wider sector on interoperability and implementation. He is also supervising three PhD students as part of this project.

Professor Francis’s interests outside of BCU lie in the creative arts and culture, vinyl collecting, and live music, travel, and the highlands and islands of Scotland.