Professor Paul Boyle, vice-chancellor (VC) of Swansea University, is to be the new chair of Jisc.
With a strong background in social science and research, Boyle has been VC at Swansea since 2019 and prior to this was president and VC of the University of Leicester.
Previously, Boyle was chief executive of the Economic and Social Research Council, the international champion of Research Councils UK, and president of Science Europe.
Prof Boyle says:
“I am very pleased to be joining Jisc at this critical time for the higher and further education sectors.
“The digital platforms that underpin our educational and research needs have never been more important, and the opportunity for Jisc to build upon its longstanding reputation is clear.
“The breadth of expertise at Jisc is impressive, including the provision of cloud services, cyber security protection, student analytics, championing open access, and much more.
“I am looking forward to seeing how the vision for Jisc will be shaped, as the reality of more blended virtual learning and research environments will become the new norm.”
Boyle will start an induction programme at Jisc from January before fully taking the reins as chair in mid-May 2021. He succeeds Professor David Maguire, interim principal and vice-chancellor at the University of Dundee, who has helped steer Jisc through a period of great change during his six-year tenure.
“I have great admiration for the skilled and hard-working staff at Jisc and it has been rewarding to work with a succession of very able and committed trustees.
“Together, they have moved decisively to support the sector with a number of major developments over recent years. Among them is the upgrading of the Janet Network and extra cyber security measures to protect its users, an expansion of digital resources provision and the creation of the world’s first national learning analytics shared service.
“During 2020, Jisc led from the front with research projects for higher and further education, which have helped members through the pandemic and will help steer them towards profound digital transformation.
“Paul Boyle inherits a robust, forward-thinking organisation of which I am extraordinarily proud. I’d also like to thank Ken Thomson, principal at Forth Valley College, for his service as a Jisc trustee.”
Three new trustees are also serving on the Jisc board. They are Joanna Campbell, principal and CEO of Dumfries and Galloway College, Dr David Pilsbury, deputy vice-chancellor (international development) at Coventry University, and Professor Anthony Forster, vice-chancellor at the University of Essex.
Campbell spent 22 years as a computing lecturer before moving into management roles. She has particular interest in curriculum innovation, widening access, change management and performance excellence.
“I am delighted to be appointed as an FE trustee for Jisc and look forward to working with the board, the executive team and key stakeholders to realise their vision in advancing the UK to become a world leader in technology for education and research.”
Pilsbury brings his knowledge of transnational learning to Jisc. Previously, he was chief executive of the Worldwide Universities Network and head of research policy at the now defunct Higher Education Funding Council for England.
“As a higher education practitioner and organisational leader, I understand the value of - and the increasing need to develop - our world-class digital infrastructure and data services.
“From an international perspective, Jisc is unique globally with an exceptional operating model, developed with and for the sector. I look forward to supporting its continued evolution as it works with members to address the challenges and further grasp the opportunities associated with digital leadership.
“I am particularly delighted to have been asked to chair the new Student Services advisory board, to build on the success of HECSU as we pioneer Employability 4.0.”
A former army officer, Forster is a political scientist and author of 11 books. He is an elected academician of the Academy of the Social Sciences and, between 1999 and 2002, was the special advisor to the House of Lords select committee on the European Union common foreign and security policy.
“Jisc’s mission to deliver outstanding service and products that make a difference to its members and providing pioneering thought leadership really resonates with me and I believe that its work is more important than ever, given the challenges we face.
“I am looking forward to serving as a board member, supporting the vital work of Jisc, and to playing a full part in driving forward its strategy to deliver world-class infrastructure to support research.”
Finally, Divyata Ashiya, who has held senior roles at Goldman Sachs asset management, will take up a position on the Jisc finance and treasury committee, following a successful recruitment process conducted in partnership with Nurole.
Dr Matthew Andrews, university secretary and registrar at the University of Gloucestershire, has been appointed to the audit and risk management committee.