Vice-chancellor at Staffordshire University to retire

Professor Liz Barnes CBE DL is to retire as vice-chancellor and chief executive of Staffordshire University at the end of the year

The vice-chancellor of Staffordshire University, Prof Liz Barnes, is to retire at the end of this year.

Prof Barnes CBE DL joined Staffordshire University as vice-chancellor and chief executive in April 2016, having previously been deputy vice-chancellor at Sheffield Hallam University and University of Derby, following a long career at Teesside University.

When she steps down in December 2021, Prof Barnes will have spent 35 years in higher education.

The university paid tribute to her efforts realise to Staffordshire University’s ambition to become the UK’s “foremost digital university”.

Prof Barnes said: “Having been born and grown up in Staffordshire, it has been a great honour to lead Staffordshire University during the past five years. I will always be grateful that I have had this opportunity and have been able to impact on the lives of so many people.

“During my career I have had the great privilege to be part of some amazing networks of people, across higher education and much more widely, which have been humbling and also presented opportunities for me to grow personally.

“My constant throughout this journey here at Staffordshire has been to secure the role of our university in our sector and region. I am – will remain – ‘proud to be Staffs’.”

Before departing, Prof Barnes says there is ‘”still much to do… to further strengthen our university”.

“I look forward to the opening of The Catalyst building in Stoke-on-Trent, the development of the Centre for Health Innovation at Stafford and the new Nursery and Forest School in Stoke-on-Trent, all symbols of what we can achieve, of our ambition and demonstrate our readiness for the future.”

Awarded for services to higher education

Barnes is a member of four Multi-Academy Trusts in the region, co-chair of the Opportunity Area Partnership Board, member of the Stoke-on-Trent Children’s Improvement Board and a director of the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Skills and Enterprise Partnership Board.

She was appointed a CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list in 2019 for services to higher education. In 2020, she became a Deputy Lieutenant of Staffordshire.

Colin Hughes, chair of the board of governors at Staffordshire University, said: “During her time as vice-chancellor, Liz has created a ‘Connected University’ identity, and ensured that Staffordshire University regained its prominence and market position in the field of digital innovation.

“Furthermore, we are now widely recognised within the sector and beyond as a university that is willing to challenge the status quo, and seek to innovate for the benefit of staff, students, and the development of our region. I wish to place on record my thanks to Liz for her tremendous leadership.”

My constant throughout this journey here at Staffordshire has been to secure the role of our university in our sector and region. I am – will remain – ‘proud to be Staffs’
– Prof Liz Barnes

A search for a new vice-chancellor will commence shortly.


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