V-c's FE appointment fuels merger talk

April 19, 1996

Further education's top job is to go to David Melville, vice chancellor of Middlesex University, who will take over as chief executive of the Further Education Funding Council, writes Alison Utley.

An announcement is expected soon following months of speculation after Sir William Stubbs's surprise decision to leave the post in July to head the London Institute.

Professor Melville's background is solidly higher education. A physicist, he went to Middlesex University (then polytechnic) as director in 1991.

He gained his PhD at Sheffield University in 1969 and lectured at Southampton University until 1984 when he went to Lancashire Polytechnic to be professor of physics then assistant director. He is vice president of the Committee of Vice Chancellors and Principals and a member of the inner executive group.

Although some candidates from within the college sector were shortlisted for the chief executive's job (salary Pounds 95,000, budget Pounds 3 billion) many observers felt few of them commanded sufficient respect outside the sector. There may be some disappointment among college principals, many of whom were hoping for an appointment from within FE.

The appointment will fuel speculation that a merger of the higher and further education funding councils could still be under consideration.

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