Higher education

Decent to succeed Gillies as principal at GCU

Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) has appointed Prof Stephen Decent to the role of principal and vice-chancellor, with effect from 1 January 2023.

Prof Decent (pictured) brings substantial senior leadership experience and a strong affinity with the University’s values to the role.

He will succeed Prof Pamela Gillies and joins GCU from his position of provost and deputy vice-chancellor at Manchester Metropolitan University, where he has led on strategic planning, academic delivery, and regional and business engagement. He has a proven track record in widening access and growth of degree apprenticeships.

Formerly pro-vice-chancellor (research and enterprise) and later pro-vice-chancellor (academic development) at Lancaster University, and vice-principal and head of college of the college of art, science and engineering at the University of Dundee, Professor Decent chairs the UUK-Jisc national strategy group that governs negotiations with publishers on behalf of the UK’s higher education sector.

Having graduated with a BSc in mathematics at Brunel University and a PhD at the University of St Andrews, he moved to the University of Birmingham as a research fellow, then lecturer, before becoming professor of applied mathematics and later the head of the school of mathematics. He then took on the additional role of director of research and knowledge transfer in the college of engineering and physical sciences.

Prof Decent is a fellow of the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications, and specialises in research on free-surface flows, including liquid jets and water waves. He also has a keen interest in hydrogen fuel cells.

The GCU principal and vice-chancellor position is the University’s most senior officer, responsible for the strategic direction and leadership of the University supporting more than 21,000 students in Scotland and around the world.

Prof Decent said: “GCU is clearly delivering education that transforms students’ lives and research that tackles the major challenges of our time.

“The high-quality of its education, student experience, research, partnerships, and professional and support services is clear.”

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