What better credentials for heading troubled Thames Valley University than more than 40 years' experience in education, 30 years in management and three years in the army?
Add to this the coordination, in the 1970s, of a major research project in cognitive psychology, former chairmanship of several committees of the Council for National Academic Awards and Kenneth Barker becomes an obvious choice as TVU's new vice-chancellor.
Educated at the Royal College of Music, King's College London and the University of Sussex, where he took an MA, he served in the Royal Artillery before beginning his career as a school teacher and later a part-time professor at the Royal College of Music.
In 1971, he was appointed deputy principal, then principal of Gipsy Hill College, a teacher training institute of London University. Four years later, he became pro-director of Kingston Polytechnic, responsible for its financial, IT and estates strategies and performance analysis.
At this time, he also became involved with education quality. As well as his work with the academic awards council, he advised the government of Hong Kong in developing its higher education system, served as an external examiner and joined the management boards of several schools.
He became deputy director and director designate of Leicester Polytechnic in 1986 and guided it through a period when it was "technically insolvent" to its change of status and name becoming De Montfort University.
With its ten campuses, more than ,000 students, eight graduate schools, research institutes and turnover of more than Pounds 100 million De Montfort has now become one of the largest universities in the United Kingdom.
Described as "nice with a steely interior", he is a keen rugby union supporter, and a liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Framework Knitters.
Harriet Swain and researched by Lynne Williams.
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