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UCEA announces new Chair

The Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA) is delighted to announce that Professor Mark E. Smith, Vice-Chancellor of Lancaster University, is UCEA’s new Chair. Professor Smith succeeds Professor Sir Paul Curran who has held the position for the last five years. 
Commenting on his new position, Professor Smith said: “I am delighted to have been appointed Chair of UCEA at this time of such significant change and challenge for all involved with UK higher education. There will undoubtedly be considerable sector uncertainty in the next few years with challenges faced in the period before ‘Brexit’. I look forward to helping UCEA navigate these challenges on behalf of its 170 members and to working constructively with the HE trade unions on both pay and non-pay issues.”
Helen Fairfoul, Chief Executive of UCEA added: “We are delighted that Professor Smith has been appointed as UCEA’s new Chair. His experience from positions at a number of institutions and knowledge of employment issues will be much valued in leading the UCEA Board and guiding UCEA’s work on behalf of its members during the coming period. I would also like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to UCEA’s outgoing Chair, Professor Sir Paul Curran, who has chaired UCEA with such dedication and success for five years. His excellent leadership has helped guide the sector employers through tough times and always demonstrated his dedication to the sector and its workforce.”

UCEA’s Board has also welcomed four new members in recent months. Jerry Cope, Pro-Chancellor and Chair of the Board of Governors at London South Bank University, Professor Stuart Corbridge the Vice-Chancellor of Durham University, Professor Graham Baldwin the Vice-Chancellor of Southampton Solent University and Dr Frances Dow, Chair of Court at Queen Margaret University Edinburgh.

For further information please contact: Andy Fryer, Head of Communications and Membership ( or Marc Whittaker, Communications and Events Manager ( on 020 7383 2444.

Notes to Editors

Professor Mark E. Smith brings extensive UK HE sector experience, having been Vice-Chancellor of Lancaster University since January 2012 and previously Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Warwick. He has also worked in Germany and Australia. Mark is the current Chair of the Graduate Prospects and HECSU boards, and is a member of the HESA Board. He also serves on the UniversitiesUK Research Policy, Funding Policy and Long Term Strategy Network groups, and in June 2015 he became Chair of the Financial Sustainability Strategy Group for Higher Education. Mark chaired the national review of A-level content 2013-14, is a member of the Strategic Advisory Network for the EPSRC, Trustee of the AQA Council, and member of both the UPP Foundation Advisory Board and HEFCE’s Leadership, Governance and Management Committee. In December 2014, Mark became a Trustee and Board Member of Jisc. Regionally in the North West of England, Mark is a member of the LEP Board for Lancashire and also serves on the North West Regional Leaders Board.

UCEA is the body that represents the interests and views of UK higher education organisations as employers.

UCEA’s Board is made up of 18 members drawn from both the Committee of University Chairs (CUC), and Vice-Chancellors/Principals from Universities UK, GuildHE and Universities Scotland.

UCEA’s Deputy Chair is Professor Julie Lydon OBE, Vice-Chancellor, University of South Wales

For more information on the UCEA’s Board visit the webpage 

To contact Lancaster University’s press office email or call 01524 594486.