The post of Vice Lord-Lieutenant is appointed by the Lord-Lieutenant at his discretion, subject to the approval of The Sovereign. The Vice Lord-Lieutenant undertakes to assist the Lord-Lieutenant in the performance of his duties, also standing in when the Lord-Lieutenant is absent, sick or otherwise unable to act. The Vice Lord-Lieutenant for The West Midlands is Professor Helen Higson OBE. Helen is the Provost and Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic) at Aston University.
Helen’s role at the University includes ensuring that the students have the best learning experience possible, and that their lives are transformed for the better via this and integrated work experience. In order to achieve this, Helen works with the Executive Deans to ensure staff can maximise their effectiveness in their research, teaching and external outreach.
Her career in education has spanned over 37 years and she is a Professor of Higher Education Learning and Management and a National Teaching Fellow (NTF), a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (PFHEA) and a Fellow of the Association of University Administrators (FAUA). She was awarded the OBE in 2011 for services to Higher Education.
Helen is also Chair and a Trustee of the IKON Gallery, Birmingham, the current Chair of the Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP Employability and Skills Board, a member of the Midlands Engine Skills Board ,and a Board member of Ravensbourne University, London.
Other positions include being a Board member for the UUK Outward Mobility Strategy Group, a Trustee and Chair of Governance and Appointments Committee for the Society for Research in Higher Education (SRHE), a Board member and Chair of the Peer Review Committee for Advance HE and a Board member of the University Vocational Awards Committee (UVAC).
She is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA) and has a Fellowship with Birmingham Metropolitan College.
Helen was appointed as Vice Lord-Lieutenant in September 2020 for a term of three years.