Skip to main content

Who's Who

Professor Joe Elliott, Principal 

Joe was appointed Professor of Educational Psychology at Durham University in 2004. His research and teaching interests include dyslexia, special educational needs, intelligence, behaviour management and psychological assessment. His work on dyslexia is well-known internationally and he is frequently interviewed on television, radio and in the mainstream press.

Joe was a student at Hild Bede College from 1973-77 where he trained as a teacher. After teaching for several years, he retrained and subsequently worked in clinical practice as an educational psychologist in the North East. In 2020, he received the British Psychological Society’s annual award for Outstanding Contribution to Educational Psychology. His most recent book, “Children in Difficulty: A Guide to Understanding and Helping (4th edition) will be published by Routledge in Autumn 2021.

Joe became the Principal of Collingwood College in 2011. Fundamentally, he sees his role as leading a team that is highly focused upon the delivery of a shared college vision which reflects Collingwood College's motto: Love the best. For us, this means enabling every member of our community to recognise and realise their maximum potential; academically, socially, and personally. 

Find out more about our college values

Ms Emma Brownlow, Vice Principal

As the Vice Principal, Emma is responsible for the strategic development of Collingwood, particularly in relation to student experience, enrichment, employability and opportunities, as well as alumni relations, fundraising and community engagement. Emma is an alumna of Collingwood College. Her role at Collingwood is full-time and although she does not deliver academic teaching at Durham, her academic background and interest lies in Theology, Global Ethics and Sustainability.

“My role (in just one sentence) is to manage the strategic direction of Collingwood, especially when it comes to student development, opportunities for enrichment, and overall student experience. Over a number of years we have been building an impressive programme to provide opportunities for Collingwood students to enhance their personal development in a whole range of ways. From research placements as part of Collingwood’s flagship Undergraduate Research Internship Programme, to global internships in professional domains, and opportunities to make a difference to the lives of others around the world. Our priority is to make these opportunities accessible to all Collingwood students; our alumni gifted funds ensure that no Collingwood student has to turn down a life-changing opportunity simply because they might otherwise not be able to afford it. So many of these opportunities are made possible thanks to the generosity of Collingwood alumni and supporters. Joining Collingwood means you become part of a community of people dating back to 1972 (Collingwood’s founding year) who continue to support each other even after they leave the physical grounds of The Wood. As a Collingwood alumna myself, I know this to be true – I met my very closest friends (including my husband!) at Collingwood; those friendships and our connection to the College will last a lifetime, wherever we are in the world.”

Mr Grant Slater, Assistant Principal

As the Assistant Principal, Grant is responsible for all matters related to student support and wellbeing and for the allocation of accommodation to students. Grant heads up the Student Support Team at Collingwood and is available to support students with any personal, medical or support issues, as the need arises. Grant works full time at Collingwood and although he does not deliver academic teaching at Durham, his academic background and interest is in History.

“It is my pleasure to head up the student support side of our community. This element of the College is important to us as a ‘family’ and your wellbeing is something we take very seriously indeed. We won’t do your degree for you (bad news, I know), but if things get hard or you fall on the way, we will help you up and get you back on your path as much as we can. The student support provided within Collingwood and across the University as a whole is one great reason our retention figures are so high here in Durham. Student support is easily accessible here in College - most of you will walk past our offices several times a day. Our doors are always open to anyone with health, academic or financial concerns, or just to have a chat; and we work closely with our amazing student run JCR Welfare Team. If we can’t help find a solution for your woes, we will know someone who can.

My other responsibility in College relates to discipline and behaviour. At Collingwood we expect the best of our students and in almost all cases we get that. Where people occasionally fall below the standards we set ourselves, we prefer to take a supportive approach to putting things right and all of us here take pride in how effective that is. Every member of staff here plays a vital role in student support, from the porters, the cleaners, catering staff, admin teams and management right through to the Principal. We are here for you in good times and in bad. For me, the most special thing about Collingwood is this: we are a family. We want to see each other do the best and be the best we can be. We care for each other; we look out for each other. There is a spirit in this place that is hard to find elsewhere (and difficult to capture in a few words).”