Staffordshire University is delighted to announce that Professor Martin Jones has been appointed as its next Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive

Professor Jones, who currently holds the position of Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University, will take up the post on January 1, 2022 following the retirement of Professor Liz Barnes CBE DL.

Since 2017, when Professor Jones joined Staffordshire University as Deputy Vice-Chancellor, he has led on a broad portfolio of areas including academic and strategic planning, civic engagement, Staffordshire University’s Multi-Academy Trust, social and economic regeneration, research, enterprise and innovation and infrastructure in terms of estates, digital and technical services.

Professor Jones has also been responsible for leading the development of the Catalyst, a new four storey building, bringing together the delivery of apprenticeships and skills, to meet employer demand, in flexible, high-quality, digitally enabled space. In addition, Professor Jones is currently Chair of the Potteries Educational Trust.

Colin Hughes, Chair of the Board of Governors at Staffordshire University, said: “I am delighted to congratulate Professor Jones on his appointment. The search for the new Vice-Chancellor began in March 2021 and the selection process in a highly competitive field has been rigorous.

“In Professor Jones we found a candidate who had outstanding knowledge of the University and the drive to take our Connected University forward with some bold and ambitious plans.

“Under the leadership of Professor Barnes, Staffordshire University regained its prominence and market position in the field of digital innovation, stabilised its finances, and clarified its mission and purpose.

“The Board of Governors, University Executive Board and Senior Leadership Team look forward to continuing working with Professor Jones, now as Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive, on the next exciting chapter of our University’s development.”

Commenting on his appointment, Professor Jones said: “I was educated and grew up seven miles from Staffordshire University, my parents were teachers in Staffordshire’s county, sending students to study here, so being that next Vice-Chancellor means an incredible amount to me.

“To be amongst the best modern universities in the UK will need Staffordshire University to build on a strong legacy from the last six years under the leadership of Professor Barnes, her Executive team and members of our University community.

“Taking that legacy forward, my ambition for Staffordshire University is for us to be known as one of the most innovative, vibrant and exciting places to work or study in the UK; a place that values, supports and – crucially – stimulates creativity across the academic, student, and professional services community.”

Professor Barnes, who will have spent 35 years in Higher Education when she steps down in January next year, said: “My time as Staffordshire University’s Vice-Chancellor has been my career highlight, and I am incredibly proud of everyone within our Connected University community who has worked so hard to secure the role of the University in our sector and region.

“I know that Professor Jones is very much ‘proud to be Staffs’ and, under his leadership, I look forward to seeing Staffordshire University continue to grow and thrive as a globally connected, digital pioneer within the fields of education, research and enterprise.”

Prior to his time at the Staffordshire University, Professor Jones was Director of the White Rose Doctoral Training Centre, University of Sheffield, and before this Pro Vice-Chancellor at Aberystwyth University. He has remained research active and is highly regarded internationally for economic and political geography, influencing debates on urban and regional governance. Professor Jones is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and The Royal Society of Arts.