Professor Behagg, who joined the institution as a history lecturer in 1976, will formally assume the post from 1 January after the move was approved by Chichester’s board of governors following a selection process involving a “strong field” of other candidates.
He has been acting vice-chancellor since February this year (2010) after the last head of institution – Robin Baker – moved on to become vice-chancellor of Canterbury Christ Church University.
Professor Behagg said: “Since taking the role on an acting basis earlier in the year, I have made no secret of my intention to apply for the permanent position when it became available, and I’m delighted that I have been successful.
“This is a fantastic place to work and study, and I will do my utmost for the students and staff here, as well as for our neighbours in West Sussex.”
Chichester has about 5,000 students and 1,000 members of staff, making it one of England’s smaller institutions. It is currently undergoing a multimillion-pound investment in its campus at Bognor Regis.
Professor Behagg, who last month criticised a University and College Union report that placed Chichester on a list of institutions at “high risk” from funding reforms, added: “We are one of the best-placed institutions to deal with the challenges of the future, and anyone who suggests otherwise should come here and see for themselves.”
He said the number of applications for places were more than three times the national average, student satisfaction scores were high and Chichester also was “financially stable” with a surplus of more than £2 million last year.