Who's in who's out?

July 27, 2007


Plymouth University's new vice-chancellor is not one to sit on the fence. "There will be changes," she said. "This is not a time to be ambivalent."

Wendy Purcell, formerly deputy vice-chancellor at Hertfordshire University, was appointed after the death of Roland Levinsky on January 1. While mindfulof the tragic circumstances of her succession, she does not downplay their differences. "There were some tensions between the previous vice-chancellor and the university, and I don't want the message to go out that I will continue what he did without critical analysis.

"Professor Levinsky's agenda was centred on research. His view was that Plymouth should be the next University College London. I think we have a different heritage and position in the sector."

Professor Purcell, a Plymouth graduate who takes up her post next year, does not think universities should have to choose between research or teaching. "For Plymouth it would be a mistake to go 'either-or'."

A former pro vice-chancellor for research at the University of the West of England, she has attracted more than £10 million in research grants since 2000 for her work on cell cultures for pre-clinical studies. While Professor Purcell is "utterly committed to research", she feels that Plymouth could gain from promoting its quality teaching.

"We have four Centres of excellence in teaching and learning (Cetls) and nine national teaching fellows. We should market that. Students should aspire to study here."

To that end, she backs Professor Levinsky's plan to spend £10.5 million on new campus buildings. "Now the university will have the campus to match its aspirations."


Mike Totterdell joins as dean of the faculty of education from Manchester Metropolitan University, where he was director of the Institute of Education.

Liz Kay becomes dean of the Peninsula Dental School, arriving from the School of Dentistry at Manchester University.

Mary Watkins has been promoted from pro vice-chancellor to deputy vice chancellor.

Gail Rees joins as lecturer in human nutrition from London Metropolitan University.

Jinging Xu joins as a lecturer in maritime economics.


Mark Cleary , acting vice-chancellor, has left to take the vice-chancellor's post at Bradford University.

Peter John , deputy vice-chancellor, this month became vice-chancellor of Thames Valley University.

Ian Tunbridge , former dean of the faculty of University of Plymouth Colleges, has become executive director of the Combined Universities in Cornwall.

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