In a message to governors, staff and students, Michael Scott said the restoration of Glyndwr’s licence to recruit international students earlier this week meant the time had come to address his own future, writing that it had been “the subject of speculation around the university for some time”.
“Whilst I am not in a position presently to give any formal notice under the terms of my contract of employment I can advise that it is my current intention that subject to satisfactory arrangements I would like to relinquish my role as vice-chancellor at some point during the next calendar year,” Professor Scott said.
“The determination of the date will be dependent on a number of personal and institutional factors but with an objective to allow a smooth transition for the benefit of the university. Rumours can be put to rest permitting us to get on with the work of rebuilding and safeguarding the university for the benefit of students, stakeholders and the communities which we serve.”
Professor Scott’s future had been in doubt before Glyndwr’s licence to recruit internationally was suspended in June, when the government raised concerns about “invalid” or “questionable” English language qualifications held by hundreds of its students.
The university also faces significant financial difficulties, having run up a deficit of nearly £4 million during 2012-13. Part of the deficit has been blamed on management decisions, such as the decision to set average tuition fees at the low level of £6,643, and two major acquisitions made by the university – a mirror manufacturing company called Optic Glyndwr and the Racecourse Stadium in Wrexham.
Professor Scott was the subject of a vote of no confidence from staff in March after he announced plans to make almost one in 10 staff redundant.
Sir Jon Shortridge, the chancellor of Glyndwr, released a statement describing Professor Scott as an “inspirational leader” of the university and its predecessor institution since 2002.
“He has been a tireless worker for the interests of both students and the North East Wales community,” Sir Jon said. “On behalf of the board of governors, I want to express our sincere thanks for the contribution he has made to higher education.”
Glyndwr still faces an uncertain future, despite the return of its highly trusted immigration status.
The Home Office has told the institution that it must close its London campus, which contributed millions of pounds annually to its parent institution. It is now only allowed to recruit a maximum of 100 international students for its Welsh campus, with a review planned in January.
Merging Glyndwr with a further education college or another university is one option which has been considered.