Malcolm Newman aims to turn Stoke-on-Trent into a thriving intellectual city as part of his new job at Staffordshire University.
"It's about getting bums on seats at the higher education level," said the director of the University Quarter project, a partnership between the university, local colleges and funding bodies.
The university is to raise about £150 million in public and private funding to get the project off the ground.
"There's a huge opportunity here to transform Stoke and get the university and colleges to share facilities and buildings and to work on curriculum development," he said.
Stoke needs to improve what is presently a low-skill, low-wage economy, he said. "We want to improve retention, progression and attainment. It's an exciting project."
Liz Coulter-Smith has been appointed head of fine art. She was senior lecturer in new media at Birmingham Institute of Art and Design.
Peter Gilbert , former deputy director of Staffordshire Social Services and visiting professor in health and social care, has been appointed professor of social work and spirituality in the faculty of health and sciences.
Mike Goodwin has been promoted to the post of dean of the faculty of computing, engineering and technology.
John Rees , director of research and enterprise in the faculty of computing, engineering and technology, has been appointed dean of the faculty of technology at Southampton Solent Univer-sity.
Terry Shave , head of fine art, has been appointed academic team leader in visual arts at Nottingham Trent University.