UCLan vice-chancellor future: Professor Mike Thomas takes the hot seat as Prof Gary Kelleher steps down

Posted on - 1st April, 2015 - 7:00am | Author - | Posted in - Business, Preston News, UCLan, University campus
Prof Mike Thomas is caretaker boss at a time of big investment for the university but stormy relations with staff

Prof Mike Thomas is caretaker boss at a time of big investment for the university but stormy relations with staff

Preston’s university has a new temporary leader after UCLan vice-chancellor Professor Gerry Kelleher stepped down on Tuesday last week.

Professor Mike Thomas takes over the lead role in a caretaker capacity while university board members decide how to replace Prof Kelleher.

Prof Kelleher, who joined the university in summer 2013, said he was standing down for personal reasons.

He said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed my time with UCLan. I know that I leave the University in good health and with a strong management and academic team in place.”

Chairman of the university board David Taylor said: “I speak for the Board, and indeed the entire University, when I say that we are very sorry to be losing Professor Kelleher.

“Gerry has had a major positive impact on the University since his arrival and our most recent student recruitment numbers demonstrate the excellent job he has done. I am sure I speak for everybody when I say that we wish Gerry all the best for the future.”

New man at the top: Professor Kelleher will take over from Dr McVicar

Professor Kelleher has decided to stand down

A recruitment process is underway to find a new vice-chancellor but until then Professor Thomas has been approved by the board to take on the role on a temporary basis.

Prof Kelleher was announced in March 2013 as replacing Dr Malcolm McVicar.

Kelleher was previously the deputy vice-chancellor at Manchester Metropolitan University.

The university has recently announced major expansion plans, with a new engineering centre to be built, as well as the transformation of the Adelphi Square.

Prof Kelleher was seen toasting UCLan’s success just before Christmas when it received improved research grants for millions of pounds into a number of subjects.

In September last year the university moved up 11 places in the Sunday Times Good University Guide.

However, this has been against a back-drop of staff cuts at UCLan with a number of strikes by lecturers and staff about pensions and teaching plans.

Lecturers walked out on Thursday 23 January in a dispute over pay and this saw UCLan move to dock a full days pay from staff who took part for a two hour strike.

A most recent proposal from the university saw it plan to ace 75 posts, mainly in the UK.

What do you make of the changes at the top of the university? Let us know in the comments below

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