University of the Highlands and Islands Principal and Vice-Chancellor announces retirement

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Professor Clive Mulholland

The Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of the Highlands and Islands, Professor Clive Mulholland, has today (Wednesday 28 November 2018) advised the University Court, the governing body of the university, that he intends to retire in July 2019.

Professor Mulholland, a native of Belfast, Northern Ireland, joined the university in 2014. A biomedical scientist by training, he began his career in the scientific civil service before moving to the NHS and, latterly, the university sector. Professor Mulholland held appointments in the University of Ulster, Queens University Belfast, Swansea University and the University of South Wales before moving to the Highlands.

The chair of the University Court, Garry Coutts, said: “On behalf of the court, I would like to thank Professor Mulholland for his service and commitment to the university’s development over the last four and a half years and wish him well for his retirement.

“Under his leadership, we have seen our college and university student numbers grow and a significant period of legislative change, which saw responsibility for further and higher education in our region come together under the university court.

“There have been new campuses and student residences and developments in health, including our new nursing department. Earlier this year, we had our highest ever rating from satisfied higher education students in the national student survey and have seen career prospects improve for our college leavers. In addition, twinned with very positive Education Scotland further education review reports for our partner colleges, we achieved the best overall judgement for the university in our institutional review.

“We achieved research degree awarding powers in 2017, completing our university journey. Furthermore, we continue to participate in city region and growth deals for the benefit of our communities and have nurtured business and community partnerships. We have come a very long way during Professor Mulholland’s tenure.”

Professor Mulholland said: “It has always been my intention to retire at 60, after a career spanning 44 years. The university has achieved a lot over the past five years and its reputation has grown enormously, both nationally and internationally. We have had many challenges and we will face more in the future. However, we have also taken great opportunities and turned them into successes that we can all be proud of, right across the region.

“The University of the Highlands and Islands is a unique institution and I would argue the greatest educational success story in Scotland in a hundred years. Twenty-five years ago, the idea of a university in the Highlands and Islands was thought by many to be quite fanciful and unrealistic. I feel privileged to have played a small part in the evolution of such a fantastic creation. I hope very much to continue to be an ambassador for the university and to sing its praises far and wide.”

The University Court will oversee the process to appoint a successor to Professor Mulholland ahead of the 2019 to 2020 academic year.