'I was contented but mmu is the kind of challenge I could not resist'

February 11, 2005

John Brooks is 'shocked' to have been appointed vice-chancellor of Manchester Metropolitan University

John Brooks, vice-chancellor of Wolverhampton University, was approached by Manchester Metropolitan University a fortnight ago to make a presentation on his vision for its future, which won unanimous approval from the appointments committee. He had assumed he would stay at Wolverhampton, where he became vice-chancellor in 1998, following 25 successful years at Sheffield University.

"I was quite contented but (MMU) is a challenge I couldn't resist. I see it as the university for Manchester, making a full contribution to establishing Manchester as the Learning City, very much dedicated to its region but holding on to the principle of high-quality research and scholarship," he said. "It's that (vision), the opportunities for collaborative developments with Manchester University and the fact that it's going to have the largest university campus in Europe that make it a tantalising prospect."

Professor Brooks has no fears for the future of Wolverhampton, saying it is now proud and self-confident, a first-class regional university. "I've learnt a lot from Wolverhampton and I think I've learnt more than I've given, particularly about working in disadvantaged communities. Equality of opportunity is an absolute byword in everything we do here."

Professor Brooks' new post is set to blend his concern both to widen access and to develop research that underpins a strong enterprise culture. He will take over at MMU in September, after the retirement of Dame Alexandra Burslem.

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