Chris Millward will take up a position at the University of Birmingham when he departs as director for fair access and participation at the Office for Students later this year.
Mr Millward will join the university’s school of education from January 2022 as a professor of practice in education policy. He will lead “advancements in the study and promotion of inclusive education, with a particular focus on educational transitions”, the university said.
The new professor will help identify “practical ways” to reduce inequality in higher education, Birmingham said, adding: “Working within the university’s Educational Leadership Academy, he will work with schools, colleges, employers and local agencies to build practical partnerships for change.”
Mr Millward has held the board-level position at the OfS since January 2018 – but the HE regulator announced earlier this year his four-year term would be his last. The OfS’s first director for fair access and participation has led the regulator’s efforts to ensure universities and colleges support underrepresented groups in higher education. He is also responsible for the Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework (TEF), health policy, student welfare and safeguarding.
We hope to explore further ways in which schools, the FE sector and universities can work together to enhance opportunity
– Prof Sir David Eastwood, University of Birmingham
He worked as the OfS’s predecessor body, the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE). Before that, he lent his expertise to the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Universities of Warwick, Edinburgh and Durham.
“The University of Birmingham provides a terrific platform for advancing understanding of equity and inclusion across the educational life course, and for applying these insights and evidence, so they have a real impact on policy and practice,” said Millward. “This will be more important than ever as we emerge from the pandemic, given its impact on education and employment in our most disadvantaged communities.”
“In his OfS role, Chris has rightly challenged universities to do more to promote fair access,” said Prof Sir David Eastwood, vice-chancellor of the University of Birmingham. “Through this appointment, we hope to explore further ways in which schools, the FE sector and universities can work together to enhance opportunity and bring the life-changing opportunities of education to all.”
The Office for Students has not yet revealed the next director for fair access and participation.