Swansea seeks pro v-c in drive for research promotion

‘Inspirational leader’ needed as university adds £450m campus to city-centre base. Plus the latest higher education jobs and appointments

February 20, 2014

Source: Corbis

Goal-oriented: Swansea’s focus is on research with ‘real and genuine’ impact

By 2017, Swansea University aims to be a “top 30 research-intensive UK university”, according to the registrar and chief operating officer, Raymond Ciborowski.

It is therefore looking for an “inspirational leader” when it appoints a new pro vice-chancellor for research, with responsibility for arts, humanities and social sciences, he said.

The successful candidate will arrive at Swansea at a critical juncture because, in September 2015, the university will open its new 65-acre, £450 million Bay Campus, situated east of the city on the seafront.

Although the new facility will house the College of Engineering and School of Management – which will not fall under the purview of the new pro vice-chancellor – this relocation opens up more space for humanities in its existing Singleton Park campus in the heart of the city, Mr Ciborowski explained.

He said that the university was looking for a candidate who is “a recognised academic leader and has experience of managing change”.

The role will involve “minimal line manager responsibilities” as the position of pro vice-chancellor “is to lead”, he explained.

Mr Ciborowski said that the university expects the successful candidate to ensure that Swansea’s research has a “real and genuine” impact on the world.

As an example of what the university was already doing in this area, he pointed to a joint project with Swansea Council to regenerate the Hafod-Morfa copperworks in the lower Swansea Valley by protecting listed buildings and allowing visitors to learn about the sites’ role in the Industrial Revolution.

In the 2008 research assessment exercise, Swansea was ranked joint 52nd, up from 65th in the 2001 exercise, according to Times Higher Education’s own RAE ranking.

The improved performance in the 2008 RAE showed that Swansea was “meeting its ambitions” to boost its research profile, Mr Ciborowski said. He hoped that the results of the 2014 research excellence framework would show “further progress”.

Asked whether the new pro vice-chancellor will have money to play with in the new role, he said: “We’re a thriving university that’s growing.”

Swansea’s turnover is currently £178 million, and “the opportunities for growth at the university are significant”, he added.

With storms and rain battering the UK at the time of writing, living on the Welsh coast (albeit a stretch of it sheltered from the Atlantic by Swansea Bay) might not appeal just at the moment.

But Mr Ciborowski testified that Swansea is “one of the most attractive sites of any UK university. It’s a beautiful place to live and work…the outstanding natural beauty is exceptional.”

He also pointed out that any applicant with an interest in top-flight football will be drawn to the success of Swansea City AFC, now occupying the middle ranks of the Premier League, having been promoted for the 2011-12 season.


Room at the top: senior management posts

Newcastle University
Newcastle University is looking to appoint a pro vice-chancellor for engagement and internationalisation.
Closing date for applications: 3 March 2014
View the full job description and apply for this role

De Montfort University
De Montfort University currently has a vacancy for the post of pro vice-chancellor (teaching and learning).
Closing date for applications: 14 March 2014
View the full job description and apply for this role

University of KwaZulu-Natal
The University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa is seeking to hire a new vice-chancellor and principal.
Closing date for applications: 14 March 2014
View the full job description and apply for this role


Stuart Franklin has joined Lancaster University as director of communications and marketing. Mr Franklin started his career in journalism before joining the University of Exeter’s press team, where he was later made director of communications and marketing.

Leeds Metropolitan University has appointed Christopher Prince as dean and pro vice-chancellor of the Faculty of Business and Law. Professor Prince, who takes up his position in May, joins Leeds Met from Birmingham City University where he is currently executive dean of the business school.

Chris Davies, associate dean of teaching, learning and students in the University of Manchester’s Faculty of Humanities, has been made pro vice-chancellor for teaching and learning at the University of Kent. Dr Davies will take up the newly created post in July.

The Leadership Foundation has appointed Louise Bright associate director for Wales. Dr Bright joins the foundation on secondment from her post as head of the research office at the University of South Wales.

Robyn S. Hadley has been named associate vice-chancellor and director of the John B. Ervin Scholars Program at Washington University in St Louis.

David Willetts, the minister for universities and science, has announced the appointment of Christian Brodie as a non-executive chair of the Student Loans Company. Mr Brodie holds the position of chair of council at the University of Sussex and was formerly vice-chairman of UBS Investment Bank.

Lord Grabiner is to become the 45th master of Clare College, Cambridge, from the start of the next academic year. He succeeds Tony Badger in the post.

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