Reinforcing cultural links, harnessing the power of inter-disciplinary working and promoting the benefits of an arts education are among the priorities for the University of Chester’s newly-appointed Pro Vice-Chancellor (PVC) and Executive Dean.
David McGravie joins the University this autumn from his current role as the University of Derby’s Interim PVC and Dean of the College of Arts, Humanities and Education, with overall strategic and operational responsibility for those broad curriculum areas and for UK and overseas partnerships. This has included wide-ranging involvement in academic quality; learning and teaching skills; portfolio development; international and planning strategy; and championing civic and community liaison.
He will lead Chester’s newly integrated Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences as its Executive Dean, and be a member of the Strategic Executive Team in this new post.
His academic career spans more than 20 years. Eight of those were at Derby and before that, he was Associate Dean for the School of Creative Arts at the University of Hertfordshire, with a remit covering international, partnerships and recruitment. He has worked extensively overseas, particularly in China and Malaysia. A staunch advocate of Transnational Education, he is an Honorary Professor at Beihei University of Art and Design and Visiting Lecturer in Industrial Design at Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astrophysics and was invited last year by the Cypriot equivalent of the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education to lead the team reviewing provision at the European University Cyprus.
David’s own studies were undertaken at Leeds Polytechnic and the Universities of Staffordshire and Hertfordshire, after growing up in South Liverpool. His background is in product design and related fields and he was an early adopter of 3D modelling and rapid prototyping, incorporating this within tradition design methods as a key part of his teaching.
His research interests are in higher education leadership and in the intersection between creative thinking and critical thinking.
David is “really excited” by his new role and the significance of strong connections within and outside the University. He said: “The rich and diverse mix of courses offered by the new Faculty is a real strength, presenting a stable foundation for collaboration and working together in support of common ambitions: whether this is through the sharing of academic research or learning and teaching good practice.
“It is important that we establish the new Faculty as a community with a clear and common vision, which engages with colleagues across the University and is more active and visible externally across our University footprint and in interactions with our cultural partners and stakeholders.”
David chairs UK New Artists, enabling audience to see new young artists’ work in cities for free; is Vice Chair of The Council for Higher Education in Art & Design (CHEAD); and Director of Artists Access to Arts Colleges, providing placements for visual artists and designer-makers in HE. He is a Fellow of both the Higher Education Academy and Royal Society of Arts and has Staff and Educational Development Association (SEDA) accreditation.
On the national stage, David has been an expert panel member for UCAS and delivered sessions for CHEAD’s Leadership Development Programme. He contributed to an All Party Design and Innovation Group at the House of Commons, reviewing the transition from school to university in design education and the impact on the industry of a decline in secondary-level creative arts courses, and has similarly discussed the English Baccalaureate on a Creative Industries Federation panel.