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Uncertainty was the dominant theme in last week's HE news, and it looks like the sector can expect more of the same into the New Year, says Ross Renton, Pro Vice-Chancellor for students at the University of Worcester, in the third of our weekly HE news reviews.
Universities leaders in Scotland have criticised a real terms budget cut for higher education.
More women are rising to top posts in UK universities, but turbulence in the sector means turnover remains high among HE leaders, a new HEi-know survey has found.
Mike Ratcliffe, Academic Registrar at Nottingham Trent University, reviews HE sector news in a week when T levels, educational “snobbery”, Oxbridge admissions, and a new universities minister made the headlines.
A third of all vice-chancellors have left their posts or announced their intention to leave in the past two years, leading to a marked churn at the top in universities, an HEi-know analysis has found.
As many as 47 (33 per cent) have quit their jobs or given notice that they are stepping down in the past 24 months out of 139 universities surveyed - and more than a dozen vice-chancellor jobs remain unfilled.
The churn at the top of university management teams is despite significant increases in vice-chancellors' pay in recent years, with remuneration packages for VCs now worth an average £260,000 a year.
Some vice-chancellors have made career moves while others have left quietly with minimum publicity, citing health problems. In some cases departures have been sudden and unexpected, leaving questions over reasons behind the decision. English institutions have seen the most departures, but three Scottish universities have experienced change at the top, as have two in Northern Ireland and one in Wales.
Vice-chancellors leaving their posts include nine from Russell Group universities, including Bristol, Durham, Imperial College London, Leeds, Liverpool, Queen’s University Belfast, Southampton, Warwick and York.
Commentators suggest the turnover may be due to an increasingly competitive and commercial culture in higher education, along with concern over the impact of tax changes on pensions.
Read the full analysis: HE Insight paper 08
Departures and Arrivals: Turnover of VCs
Reason for leaving
University of Bradford
Summer 2007 to 1 October 2013. Retired age 59
Brian Cantor who left York where he was VC
Sir Eric Thomas
University of Bristol
Retirement. Age 62. Leaving August 2015.
Hugh R. Brady from Sept 2015
Retirement “with almost immediate effect”. Age 63. Was v-c April 2001 to August 2014
Buckinghamshire New University
Retirement. Jan 2006-Feb 2015
Canterbury Christ Church University
Resigned in October 2012
Rama Thirunamachandran took over on 1 Oct 2013
University of Central Lancashire
Retired. Was vc from 1 Oct 1998-Aug 2013
Gerry Kelleher took over in Sept 2013
Appointed chief exec of Hefce 1 Jan 2014
John Latham took over in March 2014
Sir John O’Reilly
Left in Feb 2013 to become Director General of Knowledge and Innovation at BIS: a post he has since left.
Sir Peter Gregson left his job at Queen’s Belfast to become V-c in Aug 2013
University of Derby
Retiring summer 2015. Joined August 2004
He took early retirement on 30 Sept 2014 after Senate discussed whether to reduce his powers
Acting VC is Prof Ray Hudson
University of East Anglia
Retired in September 2014 at age of 65. Was VC from 2009-2014
Professor David Richardson
University of East London
Stepped down suddenly in Jan 2013 on health grounds.
Professor John Joughin appointed in July 2013. He was acting VC for 6 months and before that deputy VC for two and a half years
Prof Dame Joan Stringer
Edinburgh Napier University
Retired. VC from Jan 2003-June 2013
Prof Andrea Nolan
Announced he was standing down with immediate effect. Will formally leave on 31 March 2015.
Graham Upton is new interim VC
Announced that he was leaving to run Edith Cowan University in Perth, Western Australia in early 2015
James M Fraser
University of the Highlands and Islands
Was the first VC when UHI became a university in 2011. Had been Principal since Oct 2009
Professor Clive Mulholland became Principal and Vice-Chancellor in June 2014
Sir Keith O’Nions
Imperial College London
Retired in August 2014
Professor Alice Gast who came from President post at Lehigh University
Announced he was leaving to pursue “a number of academic and personal opportunities”. This will take effect in summer of 2015 when he is 60. He started VC role in August 2010.
University of Law
John Latham appointed Provost and CEO as from 23 Sept 2013
University of Leeds
Left at the end of August 2013 to become President and Provost at UCL
Sir Alan Langlands, who left the job of Chief Executive of Hefce to become VC of Leeds on 1 Oct 2013
Leeds Beckett University
Retiring end Sept 2015 after leading the institution since Jan 2010
Sir Bob Burgess
University of Leicester
Retired in summer 2014, having led institution since 1999
Paul Boyle, former chief exec of the Economic and Social Research Council
Sir Howard Newby
University of Liverpool
Retired, having led the university since 2008
Janet Beer, former VC of Oxford Brookes University
London Metropolitan University
Retired last summer
John Raftery, former pro VC at Oxford Brookes
London South Bank University
Retired in summer 2013 after four years at the helm
Prof David Phoenix, former deputy VC at UCLAN
Manchester Metropolitan University
Retiring June 2015 after 10 years running the institution
Professor Malcolm Press, pro VC at University of Birmingham
He is retiring after almost 20 years as VC
Professor Tim Blackman, formerly acting VC at the OU
He retired in the summer of 2014 after 11 years in post
Edward Peck took over in August 2014 from pro VC role at Birmingham
He left in Feb 2015 to take up the top job at RMIT University in Australia
Peter Horrocks, director of the BBC’s World Service, takes over on 5 May 2015
Left to run University of Liverpool in February 2015 after having been VC of Oxford Brookes since 2007
Alistair Fitt, who was a pro VC at Oxford Brookes
University of Plymouth
Is still at the university but is not running it, after been suspended for a period by Sir William Taylor, then chairman of governors
David Coslett is currently the interim chief executive with overall responsibility for running the university
University of Portsmouth
Retired in July 2013 after running the university for 16 years
Professor Graham Galbraith, deputy VC at University of Hertfordshire, took over in September 2013
Sir Peter Gregson
Queen’s University, Belfast
Left to take over the reins at Cranfield University on 1 August 2013 after nine years in Belfast
Professor Patrick Johnson took over in March 2014
University of Salford
Stepped down suddenly after six years. He will return to South Africa.
Prof Helen Marshall has been acting VC since the New Year
Has announced he is retiring in spring 2016 after nine years. He will be 65 in Oct 2015
Southampton Solent University
Retired in August 2014, having led the university since 2007
Professor Graham Baldwin, formerly deputy VC of UCLAN
University of Southampton
Has announced his decision to leave. Has been VC since 2008
University of St Mark and St John
Left unexpectedly in Sept 2012 to run a tertiary institution in New Zealand
Cara Aitchison took over in May 2013
University of Sunderland
Retired. Took up newly created post as president of the university in Sept 2014, two years before he planned to retire
Shirley Atkinson is interim VC and chief executive
Retiring August 2015 having served 12 years
Paul Croney, deputy VC at Northumbria, to take over
Sir Richard Barnett
University of Ulster
Retiring end of March 2015
Paddy Nixon, formerly deputy VC at the University of Tasmania
Sir Nigel Thrift
University of Warwick
Has announced his decision to retire. He will leave at the end of 2015
University of the West of Scotland
Retired July 2013 after 8 years
Craig Mahoney, former chief exec of Higher Education Academy
University of York
Left unexpectedly early in summer of 2013
Koen Lamberts took over in January 2014
York St John University
Has announced he will retire in September 2015 due to ill health
School of Oriental and African Studies
Has announced he will step down in 2015 owing to ill health
Sir Rick Trainor
King’s College London
Retired in 2014 to become rector of Exeter College Oxford
Edward Byrne, former president and VC at Monash University, Australia
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