University of Sunderland Appoint New Vice-Chancellor

Sir David Bell KCB will be the next Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of The University of Sunderland. The appointment was approved by the University’s Board of Governors at their meeting on 5th July.

John Mowbray OBE, DL, Chair of the University’s Board of Governors said: “The appointment is excellent news for the University of Sunderland. Sir David impressed the selection panel with his exceptional leadership qualities and his outstanding career in public office and the education sector. We are confident that he is a worthy successor for Shirley Atkinson who is stepping down from her role as Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive later this month, leaving a financially robust institution that is rightly proud of its heritage and recent achievements – and confident about its future.

“We had an extremely strong field of applicants who were attracted by the University’s ambitious Strategic Plan, our life-changing student centric ethos and our transformative regional impact and global reach.”

Sir David will join the University from the University of Reading where he has held the post of Vice-Chancellor since January 2012.

Under Sir David’s leadership and through working with his colleagues, student numbers, research activity and overall income have grown substantially at Reading since 2012. In addition, the University has expanded the reach of its work through major initiatives such as the Thames Valley Science Park and large-scale partnerships with organisations as diverse as the British Museum, the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, Arts Council England and the British Army. Sir David has also overseen a campus capital investment programme of nearly £200m.

Sir David said “I am both thrilled and honoured to be joining the University at such an exciting time in its development. I have always had the greatest respect for the University’s inclusive ethos and how it delivers opportunities and personalised support for students from all walks of life.

“I know that Sunderland is highly regarded as an anchor institution in the region, committed to delivering excellence in teaching and research. I am particularly excited about the prospect of working with students, staff and partners to deliver a flexible, relevant academic curriculum and a compelling research agenda. I am also committed to delivering a vibrant student experience and great outcomes for Sunderland’s learners. All in all, I look forward to leading this inspiring institution and becoming part of its community.”

Sir David will take up the post as Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of the University of Sunderland in the autumn.

A spokesperson for the Students’ Union said: “The student body will be delighted with this appointment. Sir David has a track-record in overseeing the student journey and working with the student community to improve the overall experience. We are looking forward to working with him.”

More on Sir David Bell:

Sir David will join the University of Sunderland from the University of Reading, where he has held the post of Vice-Chancellor since January 2012.

Originally from Glasgow Sir David attended a comprehensive school in the city and studied at the University of Glasgow.

His early career included primary school teaching posts culminating in a head teacher role in Essex. He was appointed as Director of Education and Libraries at Newcastle City Council in 1995 and has a great affinity with the North East region.

He became Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Schools in 2002 and then Permanent Secretary at the Department of Education from January 2006 to September 2012.

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