The Vice Chancellor of AUW is elected by the Board of Trustees to serve as the chief academic and administrative officer of the University. The Vice Chancellor administers and manages the affairs and funds of the University; selects academic deans and other chief academic officers; and implements the decisions of the Board of Trustees in directing, conducting, and carrying out teaching, research, and other activities at AUW. The current Vice Chancellor is Professor Nirmala Rao, OBE, FAcSS.
Professor Rao is a former Pro-Director (Learning and Teaching) of SOAS, University of London. After completing her PhD from Queen Mary and Westfield College, University of London, she joined the Politics Department at Goldsmiths College where she was elected Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in 2003. She has published extensively in the field of urban governance and has served as an advisor to a range of bodies including the UK Audit Commission and the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM). She currently serves as a Trustee of the Learning from Experience Trust, and is a member of the Governing Body of Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, and of the Council of the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU).