Woolley returned to the HKAPA in Sept 2000 and, in his second period as Dean, helped forge contacts with companies such as Apple and Sony HK. Student films were screened at festivals and won several awards including Best Direction in Poitiers, Best Screenplay in Beijing and Kodak's Pacific-wide Best Cinematography Prize in 2001 and 2003. He also initiated development of MFA programmes in screenwriting and film production and instigated closer cooperation with the Academy's other schools.
In 2003/04 he received a commission from the Dutch Film Fund to write a feature film entitled The Babymakers, set in Holland and Hong Kong.
In 2005 he took up the Greg Dyke Chair of Film & Television at the University of York and became the university's first Professor of Film & TV. His remit was to forge a new Department of Theatre, Film & Television from existing elements in English, Sociology and Electronics.
During 2005/06 he designed a 10-year programme - incorporating BA, MA and Research Degrees - guided it through University Council, argued its case with Government and oversaw initial architectural discussions. In late 2006, due to the postponement of new premises and family concerns, Woolley handed over to an internal team led by Professor Andy Tudor.
In 2007 he went to New Zealand where he completed two novels. In 2008, he returned to the UK to join Birmingham City University as Associate Dean of the new Faculty of Performance, Media and English, which had been recently set up as an organisational umbrella for the Birmingham Conservatoire, the Birmingham School of Acting, the Birmingham School of Media and a School of English with one of the UK's top creative writing courses.