2021 Rector Election


The voting in this election closed at 4pm on Friday 2nd July

The votes have been counted and verified in accordance with the rules of the election - Fiona Mclean won the election and will be appointed as the Rector with effect from 1st August 2021.

Fiona will also be appointed to the University Court as an ex officio member representing the University Foundation with effect from this date

Election Details

The nominated candidates:

  • John Erskine
  • Fiona Mclean

Candidate 1 - John Erskine

Born in Inverness and raised in Ross-Shire, I attended Maryburgh Primary School and Dingwall Academy before going on to study for a B.A.(Hons) in Philosophy and Politics and a Postgraduate Diploma in Strategic Public Relations from the University of Stirling

I would have relished the opportunity to undertake my university course in the Highlands, however, when I was making this decision back in 2007, UHI and its colleges were not afforded the parity of esteem with many of Scotland’s other Higher Education institutions that it enjoys today.

I like to think that in the intervening 14 years teachers discussing University with their sixth years will readily suggest and promote UHI. They should be aware just how well respected the university is in the Highlands and across the U.K., with world leading research and exciting new and innovate programmes available in every part of the region.

In this time of immense change to the way we all live, work and study, I want to reinvigorate the UHI Foundation and give it a renewed purpose over the coming years as we emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Highlands and Islands and UHI now have an exciting opportunity to re-assert it’s offering to anyone considering Further or Higher Education. Distance and remote learning has now been well established and opens up new avenues to attract students, staff and others to our region.

This is crucial to UHI and the regions ambition to attract more people to settle here and reverse the “brain-drain” that resulted in so many people moving away from our region and not returning.

Of course, there are physical and digital infrastructure challenges that remain, but UHI can be a voice in advocating for that change to support our region and allow the Highlands and Island to keep pace with the rest of Scotland, the U.K. and the world.

I hope you will consider supporting my vision to embolden and reimagine what the Foundation can achieve and I look forward to the opportunity to address Foundation members at the hustings and to a dialogue over questions if that is possible.

Candidate 2 - Fiona Mclean

I am passionate about the Highlands and Islands and its University, and am committed to ensuring that UHI engages effectively with its many stakeholders. I live and work in the highlands, and  until recently, I was privileged to be the Vice Chair of the UHI Court. This has given me significant understanding of the UHI Partnership, and has strengthened my resolve to enable Foundation to act as a meaningful conduit for stakeholder engagement. I would be a committed representative of Foundation on  Court, and would ensure that the voice of stakeholders is heard.

My recent experience lies in non-executive director roles, currently as a Scottish Government appointed board member of Historic Environment Scotland and the Cairngorms National Park Authority, as well as the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service. Previously, I worked in universities, latterly as Professor of Cultural Heritage Management at Glasgow Caledonian University. I have also availed myself of the opportunities that UHI offers, and have undertaken studies at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig UHI. I recently joined Foundation and have been an engaged member, initiating discussion at Foundation meetings.

Foundation is rooted in highlands and islands communities, and I would work with Foundation members and the University to ensure Foundation membership is representative of the diversity of its communities and many stakeholders, including the University's alumni. I would be keen to ensure that Foundation engages effectively with the Academic Partners, and would hope to resurrect the annual conference to be hosted at a UHI College campus. I would explore other ideas with Foundation members, such as joint workshop lunches with Court members and/or College Board members, so that Foundation members can learn more about UHI, and share their reflections and experience.

I am standing for election as Rector because I believe I can support Foundation in growing in its role in advising and enriching UHI from a stakeholder perspective, as well as acting as an ambassador for the University. I would commit my time, energy and enthusiasm to strengthening Foundation to support Court, staff and students in UHI's journey to becoming a connected university.