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Lancaster University Vice Chancellor, Professor Paul Wellings, will leave his post at the University to take up the position of the Vice Chancellor of the University of Wollongong in New South Wales.
Wellings is also the chair of the 1994 Group, an association of small research intensive universities in the UK. His three year term as chair was due to run until August 2012, but Wellings will now resign this role when he leaves the UK.
Professor Wellings has been vice chancellor at Lancaster since 2002, and his resignation comes shortly after it was announced that Lancaster will be charging the full amount of £9,000 tuition fees from September 2012.
Wellings is said to be responsible for the almost complete transformation of the University’s estate since his appointment in 2002, including InfoLab21, the Lancaster Institute for the Contemporary Arts and the Lancaster Environment Centre, as well as increased student rooms on campus. These changes have cost the University more than £350 million, but the financial position of the University has reportedly been improved under his leadership.
Wellings has also been at the helm during the period in which Lancaster has been placed as one of the top ten universities in the UK, according to The Times, as well as being ranked 125th in the world.
Despite the increase in fees and various student issues with senior staff at the University, the student experience ratings and international profile of the University have soared in recent years.
Pro-Chancellor, Bryan Gray has said that the University is now to begin a global search for a new vice chancellor, to take up the role in January 2012. Gray added that “Wellings has been an exceptional leader over nine years at Lancaster. The university has been transformed and its academic reputation greatly enhanced”.
“We are sad to lose such a creative and energetic leader and wish Paul Wellings every success in the future”, Gray added.
Wellings, who was born in Nottingham, has dual UK and Australian citizenship, and lived there from the early 1980s, before returning to the UK to take his role as Lancaster’s vice chancellor.
Professor Wellings will replace Professor Gerard Sutton, who has been vice chancellor at Wollongong for 16 years, when he leaves Lancaster at the end of 2011.