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The senior management team in each MPLS department is led by an academic Head of Department working in close partnership with a Head of Administration and Finance (known as the 'HAF'), who is effectively the department's Chief Operating Officer. You can find out more about leadership in MPLS departments here.

Our nine academic departments vary in size, from around 270 staff and students in the smallest, to over 2,000 in the largest. Some are laboratory-based, and others have no lab facilities. This means that each HAF role is different, but every HAF works closely with their management team and department colleagues, as well as with teams in the Divisional Office, and colleagues in other divisions, colleges and central University services, to ensure the smooth running of their department, day in, day out.

MPLS HAFs come from a wide variety of academic and professional backgrounds, and diverse career paths, each bringing a different set of skills and experience to their role.

What does the 'HAF' role involve?

Watch this short video to find out more:


We spoke to three of our current HAFs about their roles. They told us about the highlights in their roles so far, aspects of their work that might surprise people, and what they would say to someone thinking about becoming an MPLS HAF.

Louisa Bailey

Department of Earth Sciences

Louisa Bailey

Read about Louisa's role


Mathematical Institute

Jocasta Gardner

Read about Jocasta's role


Department of Physics

Simon Probert

Read about Simon's role

Here's what some of our other HAFs said about their roles:

Being a HAF is like being a bridge. You take an overview of a department and focus on the bigger picture.
It's about joining the dots and making connections, between individual people, teams, departments, divisions, central teams, and the outside world.
We’re constantly balancing resources – physical, monetary and people resources.
I'll be talking about teaching policy in one meeting, and out on a building site with my hard hat on the next! In both cases, people will seek out and value my opinion.
As the HAF I'm constantly thinking, 'Where can I add value?'
What I love about it is that I'm right at the interface with brilliant academics!