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Higher Education Wales Welcomes New Chair and Vice Chair

Higher Education Wales (HEW) is pleased to announce that Professor John Hughes, Vice-Chancellor of Bangor University, is set to become the next Chair of Higher Education Wales, beginning his term of office from 1 August 2011. He will succeed the current Chair, Professor Noel Lloyd, Vice-Chancellor of Aberystwyth University, who retires on 31 July 2011.

Professor Hughes has been Vice-Chancellor of Bangor since September 2010. Born and raised in Belfast, John is a mathematician and theoretical physicist by academic background. Following appointments at Queens and at the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, he became Professor of Information Systems Engineering, and later Dean and then Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research) at the University of Ulster from 1991. In 2004 he was then appointed President of National University of Ireland (NUI) Maynooth in 2004.

Professor Hughes has a strong reputation for working closely with industry and in the commercialisation of research and has built up an extensive network of international partnerships in Europe, the US and Asia. He has initiated a large number of successful research collaborations with prestigious institutions including the Max-Planck Institutes, Carnegie-Mellon University, MIT and Peking University.

Speaking on his election as HEW Chair, Professor Hughes said:

“I am keen to continue the excellent work that Higher Education Wales has carried out in representing our sector over a particularly turbulent period. The sector faces challenge and opportunity in equal measure and HEW will ensure Higher Education’s voice is heard and its strategic value recognised.

I look forward to working with the Welsh Government, the Higher Education Funding Council and colleagues in other Welsh universities on the key issues facing the sector in Wales. Each one of our universities is committed to the challenge of delivering a substantial economic gain to Wales, of breaking the cycle of low skills and to delivering the social justice that Wales deserves.”

Whilst working at NUI Maynooth, Professor Hughes revitalised the use of Irish on campus, and academic meetings there can now be conducted bilingually. With this in mind, he committed to learning Welsh on his appointment as Vice-Chancellor at Bangor.

HEW has also elected Dr Peter Noyes, Vice-Chancellor at the University of Wales Newport to serve alongside Professor Hughes. Dr Noyes takes over this position from Professor David Warner, Vice-Chancellor at Swansea Metropolitan University, whose term in office will come to an end at the end of this current academic year.

Peter has been Vice-Chancellor of the University of Wales, Newport, since January 2007 having been Deputy Vice Chancellor and Deputy Principal at the institution. Following a brief career in child care and primary teaching in Cornwall and three years as a Research Associate at the University of Bristol, he was appointed as a Senior Lecturer at Cheltenham and Gloucester College of Higher Education and soon progressed to the role of Director of Research.

Peter joined the then University of Wales College, Newport as Dean of the Faculty of Education in 1996. He is also a Chartered Psychologist, a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufacturers and Commerce and has published in leading educational and psychology journals. Peter also holds the position of Chair of the Wales International Consortium of universities.

Speaking of his election as Vice Chair of HEW, Peter said:

“Now more than ever, universities have to prove their worth.  HEW represents all higher education institutions in Wales and we will continue to work together to meet not only the needs of learners wherever they are in Wales but also provide them with an excellent learning and teaching environment so that they can develop the skills required for employment.”

Amanda Wilkinson, Director of HEW said:

“Both John and Peter will bring tremendous commitment, knowledge and experience to the role of Chair and Vice Chair and we are all very much looking forward to working with them both.”