Prof Martin Jones next vice-chancellor of Staffordshire University

The university has appointed an internal candidate – its deputy vice-chancellor – to succeed outgoing vice-chancellor Prof Liz Barnes

Staffordshire University has appointed its deputy vice-chancellor Prof Martin Jones to succeed his chief, departing vice-chancellor Prof Liz Barnes.

Prof Jones won promotion both because of his “outstanding knowledge” of the university and “bold and ambitious plans” for its future, the chair of the board of governors said.

He has filled the post of deputy vice-chancellor since 2016, leading on academic and strategic planning, civic engagement, Staffordshire University’s Multi-Academy Trust, social and economic regeneration, research, enterprise and innovation, and estates, digital and technical infrastructure.

He has also led the new degree apprenticeships and skills centre at Staffordshire, the Catalyst building.

Colin Hughes, chair of the board of governors at Staffordshire University, said: “In Professor Jones we found a candidate who had outstanding knowledge of the university and the drive to take our Connected University forward with some bold and ambitious plans.

“Under the leadership of Prof Barnes, Staffordshire University regained its prominence and market position in the field of digital innovation, stabilised its finances, and clarified its mission and purpose.”

The incoming vice-chancellor was educated seven miles from the institution he is set to leave. His parents were teachers in the county. He says his appointment “means an incredible amount”. He will begin the position on 1 January 2022.

“To be amongst the best modern universities in the UK will need Staffordshire University to build on a strong legacy from the last six years under the leadership of Prof Barnes, her executive team and members of our university community,” said Prof Jones.

Prof Jones remains active in research, his interests lying in economic and political geography and urban and regional governance. Before moving to Staffordshire, he was director of the White Rose Doctoral Training Centre in the University of Sheffield and pro-vice-chancellor at Aberystwyth University.

University Business this year interviewed retiring vice-chancellor Prof Barnes. During her interview, Prof Barnes said she was “sad that the media and government share quite a negative perspective on what universities are doing, and I am disappointed because I think that universities are one of the country’s greatest assets”.

Commenting on her replacement, Prof Barnes said that under Prof Jones, Staffordshire would “continue to grow and thrive as a globally connected, digital pioneer within the fields of education, research and enterprise”.

Read more: Liz Barnes: ‘Don’t have boundaries. Get your hands dirty’

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