'I'm not here to create a revolution. it will be evolution from where we are'

April 7, 2006

Richard Barnett officially assumes the role of Ulster University vice-chancellor, succeeding Gerry McKenna

Richard Barnett, the new vice-chancellor of Ulster University, is in no need of a settling-in period. After all, he has been doing the job for more than a year.

The former pro vice-chancellor for teaching and learning became acting vice-chancellor in November 2004 after the departure of Gerry McKenna, who officially left the university's employment five weeks ago under a confidential agreement.

Gerry Burns, chairman of UU's council said: "Professor Barnett was appointed on merit from an international field of strong, well-qualified and experienced candidates."

Professor Barnett came to UU in 1990 to take up a chair in public finance and management, having previously worked at Salford and York universities and Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada.

He has been a champion of social inclusion. In addition, he beefed up the role of committees, with each pro vice-chancellor accountable to a key senate committee. And for the first time, UU's corporate strategy plans have been put out for consultation throughout the university.

Professor Barnett believes informal contact with staff is just as important as formal meetings, and he prefers to "manage by walking about, just wandering into offices" in UU's four campuses.

He said: "I'm not somebody who's coming in to create a revolution. It will be evolution from where we are."

He added: "Over this past year, we made a respectable surplus and for the first time in ten years reduced our borrowing, so things are going in the right direction."

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