New boss for university

UCLan's Prof  Mike Thomas

UCLan's Prof Mike Thomas

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THE University of Central Lancashire has appointed a new boss- the third in as many years.

Professor Mike Thomas, who has been holding the reins at the institution since the shock departure of vice-chancellor Gerry Kelleher in March, will take up the top post immediately but it won’t be officially ratified until the New Year.

He was appointed deputy-vice chancellor last year after moving from the University of Chester, where was responsible for working with deans and senior managers from eight academic faculties and also served on a number of senior executive boards and committees.

The new VC is an experienced clinician and educator, having worked within a variety of settings.

David Taylor, pro chancellor and chairman of the UCLan Board, said the appointment followed “a competitive recruitment process.”

He added; “The appeal of the University of Central Lancashire as a large, ambitious university at a time of great change in the sector guaranteed a high calibre shortlist of leadership candidates from a wide range of backgrounds. It is a great testament to Mike’s experience and skillset that we were able to appoint him with a clear mandate to deliver the new 2015-2020 Corporate Strategy.”

Prof Thomas said: “ “Working as Interim Vice-Chancellor over the last eight months has been the most intensive induction programme that I could ever hope for. I feel as if I already know the university inside out – its strengths; the areas where it needs to improve – but most of all, I feel a true affinity for the ethos of the institution.

“This is a university that changes peoples’ lives for the better, through its research and predominantly through its teaching and learning and the impact it has on the community around it.

“As someone who passionately believes that there is an onus on universities to do social good, and in the power of university education as a social enabler, I feel very much in tune with the approach taken at UCLan.”

Still an active researcher in psychology and mental health, his academic career also includes spells at Leeds Metropolitan University, the University of Salford and the University of Wales, and is balanced with experience as a practicing clinician and as a submariner in the Royal Navy.

He joined UCLan in 2014 and took over from Prof Kelleher who stood won for personal reasons less than two years after taking over from long-term vice-chancellor Malcolm McVicar in July 2013.