FOLLOWING an Aberystwyth University Council meeting on the 4th December 2015, Vice-Chancellor Professor April McMahon announced plans to step down at the end of the 2015/2016 academic year.
Professor April McMahon was appointed in August 2011 on a five-year term. Her time at the University has been peppered by controversies: from petitions calling for her resignation last year, to controversy about how much she is paid.
Following some poor performances in the league tables over the past few years, Aberystwyth University has recently had some successes – with Prof. McMahon saying that she feels “very confident that the University is now firmly on the right track”. She added that it meant it was “now the right time” for a new Vice-Chancellor to start the new phase for the University.
Prof. April McMahon has said her decision to announce that she will step down now is to “allow an orderly handover and for succession planning”, stating that from February onwards she is to participate in “outward-facing aspects of the VC role”.
She spoke very positively about her time at Aberystwyth University, stating that:
“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.
Sir Emry Jones-Parry, the Chancellor of Aberystwyth University, spoke of Prof. McMahon’s “positive contributions” to the University during her tenure, and wished her success in her 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.”
While Prof. McMahon is undertaking international and national aspects of her role, the University Council will appoint an Acting Vice-Chancellor to take over her internal duties from the beginning of February 2016. A Selection Committee will also be established to seek a new Vice-Chancellor to join the University from 1st August 2016, or as soon as possible before the start of the 2016/2017 academic year.