Foreign affairs

David Law is keen to exploit Edge Hill's local strengths to help fulfil its ambitions to build a reputation in the global market

April 24, 2008

A senior university manager with experience at elite institutions in both the US and UK is to join Edge Hill University with a brief to boost its international standing. David Law leaves the University of Warwick, a Russell Group institution, to join Edge Hill next month as its new pro vice-chancellor (students and external).

As director of Warwick International, Dr Law's focus has been on developing global links and student recruitment overseas, skills that Edge Hill will hope to exploit to further its own international brand.

He acknowledged that the challenges at Edge Hill and its position within UK higher education and on the global stage differed from Warwick's, but saw parallels too. "I'm moving to a university that seems to me to be very ambitious and determined to make its mark so it's an interesting move for me to make," he said.

"I guess people who moved to Warwick 40 years ago were also moving to a very new university that was yet to make its mark, so it's obviously possible for new universities to do great things. I've always been fascinated by the way that universities need to relate to their regions, which is one thing that Warwick and Edge Hill have in common, and to be outward facing."

Prior to his current post, Dr Law was Warwick's academic registrar, a post that he had previously held at the University of Hull. He also lectured in history at Keele University, and was assistant director for quality assurance at the Quality Assurance Agency. In addition to his career in UK academia, Dr Law has first-hand experience of US higher education, and was based at Harvard University as a research fellow in the 1980s.

He said: "Any university that wants to make its mark has to be concerned about the region first of all, then its national context, but it's impossible for universities to ignore the international arena. One of the things that I hope I will be able to bring to Edge Hill is an understanding of how it is possible to build a reputation internationally and I see real possibilities there.

"You have to think about what the strengths are and how these can be promoted, but international higher education is very far ranging in terms of types of institutions.

"Clearly one has to accept that Edge Hill is a very different type of institution (from Warwick and Harvard), but higher education in the US is incredibly varied and there are plenty of institutions that serve regional constituencies that want to ensure their students have some time abroad. Edge Hill is a very good partner for that kind of institution."

john.gill@tsleducation.com.

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