Glasgow Caledonian University appoints new Principal and Vice-Chancellor

Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) has announced the appointment of Professor Stephen Decent as its new Principal and Vice-Chancellor, with effect from January 1, 2023.

Professor Decent brings substantial senior leadership experience and a strong affinity with the University’s values to the role. He will join GCU from his position of Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Manchester Metropolitan University, where he leads on strategic planning, academic delivery, and regional and business engagement, and has a proven track record in widening access and growth of degree apprenticeships.

Formerly Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research and Enterprise) and later Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Academic Development) at Lancaster University, and Vice-Principal and Head of College of the College of Art, Science and Engineering at the University of Dundee, Professor Decent chairs the UUK-Jisc national strategy group that governs negotiations with publishers on behalf of the UK’s Higher Education sector.

Having graduated with a BSc in Mathematics at Brunel University and a PhD at the University of St Andrews, Professor Decent moved to the University of Birmingham as a Research Fellow, followed by being a Lecturer, before becoming Professor of Applied Mathematics and later the Head of School of Mathematics. He then took on the additional role of Director of Research and Knowledge Transfer in the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences.

Professor Decent is a Fellow of the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications, and specialises in research on free-surface flows, including liquid jets and water waves. He also has a keen interest in hydrogen fuel cells.

The GCU Principal and Vice-Chancellor position is the University’s most senior officer, responsible for the strategic direction and leadership of the University supporting more than 21,000 students in Scotland and around the world.

The University’s Court, chaired by Rob Woodward, approved the appointment following a process that included student, staff and union representatives, as well as lay governors. Professor Decent will succeed Professor Pamela Gillies CBE FRSE who has transformed the University for the Common Good over her many years of service in the role and who has left an outstanding legacy for her successor.

Speaking on his appointment, Professor Decent said: “I am extremely excited to join a university which, led by its values and an international outlook, is making high impact contributions to social innovation and sustainability. GCU is clearly delivering education that transforms students’ lives and research that tackles the major challenges of our time. The high-quality of its education, student experience, research, partnerships, and professional and support services is clear. I am very much looking forward to engaging with the University’s talented students, staff, partners and local communities in the great City of Glasgow and beyond, as we work together in the years ahead.”

Commenting on the appointment of Professor Decent, GCU’s Chair of Court, Rob Woodward said: “I am delighted to welcome Professor Decent to GCU and wish him every success in his new role as our Principal and Vice-Chancellor.  I look forward to us working together to build on GCU’s strong foundations as the University for the Common Good.”

The current Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Pamela Gillies CBE FRSE, said: “I would like to offer my congratulations to Professor Decent on his appointment. He is joining an exceptional University community and I offer him my sincere best wishes for the years ahead.”