In the news: Simon Lee

September 6, 2002

Simon Lee has spent most of the past decade fighting to keep the word "university" in the title of his institution. Having recently won the battle to keep the name Liverpool Hope University College, he has now acquired a full university title having this week been appointed vice-chancellor of Leeds Metropolitan University.

Liverpool Hope was formed from the merger of Catholic and Protestant teacher training colleges in 1980. But in 1999, it fell foul of Quality Assurance Agency rules designed to clamp down on university colleges. It has only just won the right to use university in its title after becoming the first institution in the country to pass the QAA tests.

It will be a huge transition to move from a college that describes itself as "small enough to feel part of a community where people know one another" to a university with more than 25,000 students.

Professor Lee, 45, said: "If people really thought it was five times more difficult to manage an institution that is five times bigger, they would pay five times the salary.

"When I came to Hope, I spent a long time listening to the experts in the institution, and I am going to repeat that. My track record shows that I find out what people think, set up a vision that depends on what they think and turn the vision into a reality."

Professor Lee went to school in Gillingham in Kent. He won a scholarship to Balliol College, Oxford, where he studied law; his son is to follow in his footsteps this autumn. After a spell at Yale Law School as a Harkness fellow, he taught at Trinity College, Oxford, and King's College London before being made professor of jurisprudence at Queen's University, Belfast, at the age of 31. He rose to become dean of the law faculty before leaving, with the title of emeritus professor, to head Liverpool Hope in 1995.

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