Aberystwyth University Vice-Chancellor announces plans to step down in 2016

04 December 2015

Professor April McMahon was appointed to her role as Vice-Chancellor on a five year term in August 2011. Professor McMahon has informed the Chancellor of Aberystwyth University that she wishes to step down at the end of her term in July 2016. 

Professor McMahon said: “After a great deal of thought I have decided not to seek renewal of my contract at the end of my five year term. I am immensely proud of the work I have done with so many exceptional people in setting Aberystwyth University securely on the path to future sustainability. It has been and continues to be a pleasure and a privilege to serve and lead this very special University, to work through the difficulties we have had to confront, but even more importantly, to encourage everyone to celebrate our many successes.

“There have been a lot of those successes lately, and I therefore feel very confident that the University is now firmly on the right track, making this the right time for someone else to come in and lead the next phase, and allowing me to think about my own priorities and next opportunities.

“I will continue to be Vice-Chancellor until the end of July, but I am making this announcement now to allow for an orderly handover and for succession planning. In terms of the handover, the Chancellor and I have agreed that I will focus from February onwards on outward-facing aspects of the VC role, and I am looking forward to prioritising a range of key projects including development and alumni work.”

The Chancellor of Aberystwyth University, Sir Emyr Jones-Parry said: “I am deeply grateful to the Vice–Chancellor for her positive contributions to Aberystwyth University over these past years, and for her consideration in giving early notice of her intentions so we can ensure the best possible handover. Personally, and on behalf of the Council, I wish her every success in the future.

“During her time at Aberystwyth, the Vice-Chancellor demonstrated quickly an ability to cope well with the rapid changes needed in Aberystwyth against a difficult external environment. This included a restructuring of the academic operations of the University into Institutes to allow devolution of leadership and financial responsibility; and much enhanced transparency of information flow to Council. 

“Under her leadership, the University has adopted an ambitious Strategic Plan with wide ownership within the University and developed a vision for investment in the Estate, and for improved recognition and reward for teaching as well as research. These strategies are now leading to a recovery in the University’s position in the university sector league tables. Indeed, recent announcements on the development of the Teaching Excellence Framework have shown April’s leadership on re-valuing teaching to be prescient – alongside a very strong performance in REF2014, this positions the University well for future success.

“We have agreed that, to allow the University to make best use of the Vice-Chancellor’s talents and expertise during the time she is still with us, she will be concentrating on fulfilling external commitments, nationally and internationally, during the spring of 2016. To allow her to do so, and to provide her with the necessary flexibility, we must also ensure that internal duties are covered. Therefore the Council will move to appoint an Acting VC for that internal work from 1 February 2016, and establish a Selection Committee to seek a new Vice-Chancellor to join us from 1 August 2016 or as soon as possible thereafter.”