The University of Southampton has announced its new Vice-Chancellor and President will be Professor Mark E. Smith, current Vice-Chancellor at Lancaster University. It is expected that he will formally begin work in the role by 1st October 2019. He is currently in line to receive a basic salary 32% lower than that of the previous permanent Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Christopher Snowden.
In the blog post announcing the news, it’s stated that a mix ‘of very experienced candidates with an equal balance of women and men’ were being considered during the final stages. Referring to the open consultation of students and staff about what they wanted to see in a future Vice-Chancellor back in October 2018, Professor Mandy Fader, the academic lead during the Vice-Chancellor recruitment process, said:
From the consultation with our community back in October came a big ‘ask’. We not only wanted an experienced, credible and respected academic, business-person and top-notch influencer, but we also needed an exceptional individual who could unite us, listen, motivate and engage us, understand and value all of us, and above all trust us as much as we would trust them.
So, it was with an enormous sense of hope and relief that emerging from our penetrative, exhaustive (and exhausting) processes came a person who possesses all these qualities. Mark Smith we are downright delighted that you will become our new Vice Chancellor.
Meanwhile, VP Sports and Acting SUSU President Steve Gore commented:
On behalf of the Students’ Union, I wholeheartedly endorse the appointment of Professor Smith to the role of Vice Chancellor and President. Throughout our extensive consultation process the themes of accountability, honesty, and transparency repeatedly surfaced from students. Having had the pleasure to interview Professor Smith myself, I am certain that we have found ourselves a capable and seasoned leader who has met our brief and will be able to carry out his duties whilst connecting with students on a personal level.
Not only does Professor Smith have a thorough insight of the challenges facing student experience at Southampton, but he also shown that he genuinely cares about this facet of the role. I have confidence that our students will see marked improvements in their day to day university experience from very early on, and I look forward to seeing the University continue to climb league tables under his leadership.
Currently, the new Vice-Chancellor will be on a basic salary of £287,000 a year. This represents a fall of £136,000 or 32% compared to Professor Sir Christopher Snowden’s basic salary for the 2016-17 financial year. Professor Snowden’s salary had received considerable criticism from students, including an all-student vote last academic year in which 90.6% on a turnout of 2,335 students called for it to be cut. However, Professor Mark E. Smith’s salary will be reviewed in November once the results of the latest financial year have been fully analysed.