In an email circulated to all students last week, Professor Chris Brink, Vice-Chancellor of the University, announced that he will be retiring on 31 December 2016.
Professor Brink, who will be turning 65 next year, has been Vice-Chancellor of the University since 2007.
“Underpinning all our work at Newcastle has been a philosophy of excellence, but excellence with a purpose, and I am looking forward to seeing this come through in the initiatives we have underway for 2016,” Professor Brink said in his statement. “I recommend to you again the two key questions about our academic work which have guided our vision of a world-class civic university over the past few years: ‘What are we good at?’, and ‘What are we good for?’”
“Chris Brink has pioneered huge change, not only in the University, but also in the city”
After gaining his PhD at Cambridge, Professor Brink has held numerous academic posts in universities all over the world. He has served on the Boards of the QAA and the Equality Challenge Unit, Board of Universities UK and the Leadership, Governance and Management Strategic Advisory Committee of HEFCE. He has also delivered addresses at various Higher Education conferences around the world.
“Chris Brink has pioneered huge change, not only in the University, but also in the city,” said Mark I’Anson, Newcastle’s governing Chair. “The University’s partnership with Newcastle City Council to develop Science Central from a former derelict site to an exemplar of urban sciences and digital technology, creating jobs, new business and academic excellence, is a very visible example of his vision.”
For the next year, Professor Brink has promised to “continue to progress the University’s key initiatives to improve further the student experience here in Newcastle. These include the on-going refurbishment of the Armstrong Building, the redevelopment of Richardson Road accommodation block and extension to the Sports Centre and Science Central where work on the new Urban Sciences Building is set to begin next month.”
“Chris has now initiated an ambitious programme of investment in the University’s research capability. ‘Raising the Bar’ is a multi-million pound initiative to develop the academic strengths of the institution, supporting existing staff by providing new funds and facilities and also to recruit new researchers and PhD students. Chris will continue to champion this crucial project throughout next year,” Mark I’Anson added.
During 2016 Professor Brink will also be focussed on overseeing important developments at Newcastle’s international campuses. These include the first year of the University’s new London campus, building the research activity of its Singapore operation and its medical school in Malaysia and finalising Newcastle’s partnership with Xiamen University in China.
A Professor of Mathematics, Chris Brink, who is originally from South Africa, joined Newcastle from Stellenbosch University in the Western Cape. As its Rector and Vice-Chancellor he was the head of a revolutionary project that set teaching quality, diversity and research for public good as its main goal He also initiated, with the city’s Mayor, a town-and-gown collaboration called ‘Reinventing Stellenbosch’ aimed at overcoming the divisions of the apartheid era.
Professor Brink’s successor will be appointed sometime in the new year, according to the email.