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2 November 2011 | PR 11/136

Professor Shirley Pearce announces decision to step down as Loughborough Vice Chancellor

Professor Shirley Pearce has announced her decision to step down from her role as Vice Chancellor of Loughborough University at the end of the current academic year.

By July 2012, Professor Pearce will have been Vice Chancellor of Loughborough for seven years. During this time, the University has strengthened its research and innovation performance to secure its position as an international leader, particularly in the areas of manufacturing and sport, exercise and health sciences.

“From the moment I was appointed in April 2005, I have felt privileged to be part of such a distinctive university,” says Professor Pearce. “Loughborough is a very special place and has been extremely successful as a consequence of the commitment to excellence that we see right across the campus. It has been a very exciting time with numerous highlights, including topping the league for the UK’s best student experience for five years running.”

She continues: “I am announcing my decision now to allow the university sufficient time to appoint my successor and so that I can, openly, explore future opportunities. I am keen to remain within higher education and public affairs and will continue to be committed to promoting excellence in teaching, research and knowledge transfer.

“I am enormously grateful to all my colleagues and to the students at Loughborough for their support to me personally and for their commitment to excellence which has made my role at the University so enjoyable and rewarding.”

Sir Bryan Carsberg, Loughborough’s Senior Pro Chancellor and Chair of its governing body, the University Council, said Professor Pearce has made an exceptional contribution to the development and success of Loughborough.

“Shirley is one of the truly outstanding vice chancellors of our generation and she has guided Loughborough through a period of great success,” he comments.

“Under her leadership the University has developed significant new partnerships, including the Midlands Energy Consortium, which was chosen to host the headquarters of the Government’s £1 billion national Energy Technologies Institute, and the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC), which is now part of the Government’s Technology Innovation Centre (TIC) initiative. Recent successes in attracting three EPSRC Centres for Innovative Manufacturing have made Loughborough the focus of national investment in manufacturing research.

“Loughborough has also been selected by the British Olympic Association (BOA) as The Official Preparation Camp Headquarters for Team GB prior to the London 2012 Olympic Games and will host Team Japan in the build up to the Games.”

During Professor Pearce’s tenure as Vice Chancellor, Loughborough University’s turnover has grown from £160 million to £235 million. Professor Pearce has been instrumental in the diversification of Loughborough’s income streams and she has raised over £12 million in philanthropic support.

Sir Bryan concludes: “I am proud to have been able to work with Professor Pearce. When she leaves Loughborough next summer, she will be very much missed, right across the University. I wish her great success in whatever comes next.”

As Vice Chancellor of Loughborough University, Professor Pearce also plays a significant role in the UK Higher Education sector. She currently holds a number of national appointments, including Board Membership of the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), the Council for Industry and Higher Education (CIHE), the 1994 Group, Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA) and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE). She is also involved in a number of Universities UK committees.


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Hannah Baldwin
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Loughborough University
T: 01509 222239
E: H.E.Baldwin@lboro.ac.uk 

Notes for editors:

About Professor Shirley Pearce

Professor Shirley Pearce was appointed as Vice Chancellor of Loughborough University in April 2005, succeeding Professor Sir David Wallace.

After graduating from St Anne’s College Oxford University with a degree in PPP (Psychology, Physiology and Philosophy), Professor Pearce trained as a clinical psychologist gaining an MPhil in Clinical Psychology from the Institute of Psychiatry in London.

She then worked at St Mary's Hospital in Paddington as a clinical psychologist before becoming lecturer in Psychology at University College London. She studied part time as a post graduate student obtaining her PhD in 1986.

In 1994 Professor Pearce moved to the University of East Anglia where she established the School of Health Policy and Practice. In 1998 she led the bid for a new medical school at UEA to enable medical students to learn in an inter-professional environment.

As Pro-Vice-Chancellor for the Health and Professional Schools, and Director of the Institute of Health Professor Pearce was a member of UEA's executive team for five years prior to moving to Loughborough.

During that time she was also a Non-executive director of Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire Strategic Health Authority and a Commissioner for the Healthcare Commission which is responsible for the regulation of NHS and private healthcare providers in England and Wales.

In 2005 she was awarded the CBE for services to education in the National Health Service.

Previous external appointments

  • Healthcare Commission – Deputy Chair
  • UUK Health Committee – Member
  • National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) Faculty Implementation Group – Member
  • HEFCE Board Strategic Advisory Committee for Business and Community – Member
  • HEFCE League Tables Research Project Steering Group –  Member
  • Vice-Chancellors’ Ad hoc Group
  • FE-HE 2012 Steering Group (UUK) – Member
  • East Midlands Regional Sports Board (Sport England) – Member
  • Equality Challenge Unit – Director and Board Member
  • Leicestershire Economic Partnership (LSEP) – Board Member and Chair of LSEP Strategy Group
  • UUK Sustainable Development Task Group –  Member
  • UUK Panel for Research Integrity –  Member
  • Loughborough Endowed Schools –  Governor
  • National Teaching Fellowship Scheme –  Chair of (Individual) National Advisory Panel
  • Board Review of the Joint Information Systems Committee –  Member
  • The Youth Sport Trust –  Member of Board of Trustees
  • Leadership, Governance and Management Fund Evaluation – Member

About Loughborough University

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

It was awarded the coveted Sunday Times University of the Year 2008-09 title, and is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in national newspaper league tables. In the 2011 National Student Survey, Loughborough was voted one of the top universities in the UK, and has topped the Times Higher Education league for the UK’s Best Student Experience every year since the poll's inception in 2006. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, the University has been awarded six Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

Loughborough is also the UK’s premier university for sport. It has perhaps the best integrated sports development environment in the world and is home to some of the country’s leading coaches, sports scientists and support staff. It also has the country’s largest concentration of world-class training facilities across a wide range of sports.

It is a member of the 1994 Group of 19 leading research-intensive universities. The Group was established in 1994 to promote excellence in university research and teaching. Each member undertakes diverse and high-quality research, while ensuring excellent levels of teaching and student experience.

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