University of Hertfordshire welcomes new Deputy Vice Chancellor

 9 January 2024 9 January 2024
9 January 2024

The University of Hertfordshire has welcomed its new Deputy Vice Chancellor, Professor Mairi Watson.

Previously Pro Vice Chancellor (Education and Student Experience), Professor Watson was responsible for fostering Herts’ excellent academic experience amongst its vibrant community. She will bring her considerable expertise in higher education and strategic leadership to the senior role.

Starting at Herts in 2020, she has since been responsible for the educational experience of its 33,000-strong population, particularly championing widening access for students from underrepresented postcodes, BAME students, mature students, and students with registered disabilities. The University became the top in the East of England for overall student positivity last year, according to National Student Survey.

As the new Deputy Vice Chancellor, Professor Watson will have overall responsibility for University planning, including the development of all academic areas through the respective deans, staff development, international and regional partnerships and developments, recruitment, induction and retention of students, student experience and student outcomes. She will also be leading on the development of the University’s new strategy, due to be published next year.

A Chartered Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute and a Professor of Learning and Teaching, Professor Watson joined Herts at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, helping to steer the University during unprecedented times. Previous to that, she was Dean of the Faculty of Business and Law at the University of Northampton, and previous to that, and before coming into higher education worked as a prison governor where she says - similar to her role at Herts - her focus was on “making a difference to people’s lives – which is hugely important to me.”

Professor Mairi Watson, Deputy Vice Chancellor at the University of Hertfordshire, said:

“I am very pleased to have begun my new role as Deputy Vice Chancellor at Herts. Since starting here in 2020, I’ve been so impressed by the energy and enthusiasm of our staff and by the amazing achievements of our students, both while they are with us and when they graduate.

“The University’s excellent results in the Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey, National Student Survey, Teaching Excellence Framework and Research Excellence Framework are just a flavour of our achievements and impact. They give us a strong foundation to build from as we work towards launching our new strategy later in the year. I will do my absolute best to ensure that we maintain and accelerate our status as an excellent higher education institution and to support and drive our ambitions.

“I’ll be out and about as much as possible so that I can find out more about the great work staff do and to hear their views on what we can do to make Herts even better.”

Professor Watson is taking over from Professor Julie Newlan MBE, who has retired after 28 years at Herts. Originally joining as a Senior Lecturer in the Business School, she held various senior posts including Head of the Business School and Pro Vice-Chancellor for Business and International Development, before being appointed as Deputy Vice Chancellor in 2022. During her time at the University, she oversaw the completion of its Enterprise Hub and won the Lifetime Achievement Award at the University Alliance Awards 2023. She was awarded an MBE in 2014.


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