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New senior leadership appointments at University of Leeds


The University of Leeds (@UniversityLeeds) has announced appointments for two new senior leadership roles supporting its strategic ambitions

Professor Neil Morris has been formally appointed Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Digital Transformation, having held the role in an interim capacity since last October. 

Professor Jeff Grabill will be joining Leeds on 1 August from Michigan State University, USA, as Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Student Education. 

Vice-Chancellor Professor Simone Buitendijk said:

“Neil has already made a huge difference since being in post, and I am thrilled that after a successful recruitment round, he has been formally appointed as the new Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Digital Transformation.  

“His experience, insights and vision will help our University to transform itself digitally and to become a global leader in the strategic use of digital technology for education and research – and ultimately to help solve global challenges through high-quality education, research and societal impact at scale.  

“I am also delighted that Professor Grabill will be joining us from Michigan State University, where he has built up a strong track record of academic leadership in student education. He has already demonstrated a passionate understanding of the aims of our strategy, particularly our ambition to reduce inequalities and implement a modern and evidence-based curriculum. He is a fantastic addition to the University’s senior leadership team, who I know will help us to prepare for some of the complex and critical challenges facing the higher education sector.” 

Currently Associate Provost for Teaching, Learning and Technology at MSU, as well as Director of the Hub for Innovation in Learning and Technology, Professor Grabill will take over the reins from Professor Peter Jimack, who has served as the Interim DVC since last November. 

Professor Buitendijk said:

“I would also like to thank Peter for all his continued hard work and support as Interim Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Student Education. The past year has been a difficult time for our students and colleagues and Peter’s leadership has been instrumental in supporting our community to ensure our students receive the high-quality education they deserve.” 

Professor Morris directs Leeds’ strategic aim of becoming a globally leading digital university,  creating its Digital Transformation Strategy with a focus on student education and experience, and harnessing digital technology to enhance research activities and impact. 

He said: “Leeds has been my academic home for nearly 20 years, and I am deeply honoured to be able to continue to serve our students, staff and our global community through this appointment.  

“I am passionate about the benefits that effective use of digital technologies, data and digital approaches can have to enrich our education, research and operations, and I am very much looking forward to continuing to work with colleagues and students across our community to deliver positive, impactful change and support our new University Strategy.” 

As Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Student Education, Professor Grabill will lead the overall education strategy, ensuring the University attracts, excites and retains high-quality students from diverse backgrounds, and further boosting their employability. 

Professor Grabill, currently professor of rhetoric and professional writing at MSU, said:

“My conversation with colleagues at Leeds revealed a number of extraordinary possibilities beyond the fact that this is an exceptional university with a remarkable international reputation.  

“The new strategy’s values of collaboration, equity and impact are compelling and key to how we educate. Student education is fundamental to the strategy and the way we will make a positive difference in the world. I’m excited to join an institution so clearly leading in educational transformation.” 

These latest appointments follow several other recent senior leadership changes, which saw Deputy Vice-Chancellor: International, Professor Hai-Sui Yu, also taking on the broader role of Deputy Vice-Chancellor, and Professor Nick Plant appointed Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Innovation. 

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