Growing gains

As QMU head, Petra Wend hopes to build on changes already made to one of Scotland's smallest institutions

April 9, 2009

Linguist Petra Wend has seen the highs and lows of university management, with stints at Oxford Brookes and London Metropolitan universities. Now she is turning her hand to improving one of Scotland's smallest institutions as head of Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh.

Dr Wend takes up the reins as principal of QMU in September, after a spell as deputy vice-chancellor and deputy chief executive of one of the UK's largest post-1992 universities, Oxford Brookes. She is on secondment supporting the senior management at London Met as it undergoes a number of "strategic developments" in the wake of the vice-chancellor's resignation and the funding council's decision to claw back about £50 million of funding wrongly paid because of incorrect student data.

She will join QMU at a time of change; the institution gained full university status in 2007, moved to a new campus in Edinburgh and opened an international campus in Singapore.

Ian Percy, chair of the court of QMU, said the university had "opportunities to grow and develop further" under her leadership. "Dr Wend brings with her experience in senior management of new universities where the concepts of relevance, collaboration and community are central to academic development. She brings with her particular strength in change management, widening participation and international initiatives," he said.

Dr Wend read undergraduate Italian and French language and literature and education at the University of Munster in Germany. She moved to the UK to continue her studies, gaining a PhD in Italian at the University of Leeds.

Dr Wend taught German and Italian at Middlesex University and worked her way up through the academic management ranks. She was appointed dean of the faculty of humanities and education at the University of North London in 1999, now London Metropolitan University, and then took over the role of pro vice-chancellor (teaching and learning). In 2005, she joined Oxford Brookes.

Dr Wend said she was excited to join a university that "has an excellent basis to grow and develop further".

She said: "I am very much looking forward to working with my new colleagues to realise QMU's potential in the context of the challenges facing the university sector at this time."

She is a member of the Society of Renaissance Studies and last year played a part in Harvard Business School's Women's Leadership Forum.

Dr Wend will succeed Anthony Cohen who retires at the end of this academic year.

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