Marine physicist elected as university rector
Anton Edwards, an enthusiastic supporter of the value of the role of education in encouraging skills, confidence and independent thought, has been elected as the fifth rector of the University of the Highlands and Islands. Anton takes over from Garry Coutts, who recently stepped down to become a member of the university court.
Unlike most traditional universities, the rector is chair of the foundation. This is an important body within the University of the Highlands and Islands constitution, where members act as a valuable two-way link between the university and our communities. Members include representatives from business, our communities, public bodies, alumni, current students and staff.
Anton, who lives in Caputh near Dunkeld, and has been a member of both the foundation and university court for three years, said: “Students should be able to follow full lives in their own area, enjoying tertiary education while benefiting from the best outside influences. In exciting times we achieved long-sought university status. I’ve valued, at first hand, the need to balance our representative institutional unity against our retention of creative local diversity in academic partners, our aspirations for higher education against the important realities of further education, and student needs against financial essentials. I will continue to do so.
“We need to build even stronger links with our local partners so we can represent communities better. And we should all press for the research-degree awarding powers that are crucial to our status as a university.”
Acting principal and vice-chancellor, Dr Crichton Lang, said: “We are delighted that Anton has been elected to serve a three-year term as our rector as he will bring skill, great enthusiasm and commitment to the job.
“The position of rector is unlike similar positions in Scottish universities. Our rector is elected by members of the foundation. The foundation is our link to the various communities we serve in this wonderful and diverse region in which we live. The rector chairs the foundation and is a member of the university court and hence plays a central role in our mission to be a distinctive and innovative regional university of national and international significance.
“Foundation must be formally consulted and its agreement obtained before any resolution is adopted to change the constitution or admit new academic partners, and individual members also act as ambassadors for the university and its mission.”
Anton has been a marine physicist for most of his life, applying oceanography to issues of ocean circulation, coastal pollution, defence, aquaculture and marine management and regulation. After lecturing, scientific and management careers in the Scottish Association for Marine Science UHI and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, he now works as an independent marine consultant. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Physics, member of the Academic College of the Natural Environment Research Council, secretary of his community council, editor of the journal of the Scottish Rock Garden Club, scientific advisor to the Scottish Aquaculture Research Forum, a member of Tay Estuary Forum and in 2006 was made an honorary professor of the University of St Andrews.
Notes to editors
Former rectors are:
Sir Alistair MacFarlane
Dr Val McIver