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New vice chancellor appointed for University of Cumbria

John Freeman
Professor Julie MennellThe University of Cumbria Board has approved the appointment of Professor Julie Mennell, currently Deputy Vice Chancellor (Development) at the University of Sunderland, as the next vice chancellor of the university.

The appointment followed an extensive recruitment period which was overseen by a search committee appointed by the University Board and resulted in the board having a very large and wide ranging field of strong applicants which was reduced to a final short list of six candidates to consider.

“I am delighted to find such a strong candidate for vice chancellor to take the University of Cumbria through its next stage of development," says Chairman of the Board, Euan Cartwright. "Julie’s strong academic career and extensive experience in management and leadership positions makes her particularly qualified for this role. I was sure that, following the final day of interviews, she would be an excellent successor to Professor Peter Strike, and I am confident we have made a first rate appointment.

"I want to pay tribute to Professor Peter Strike for the excellent job he has done in positioning the university so that it is able to look forward to the future with confidence and I am sure Julie will build on the strong foundation laid by Peter and his colleagues.”

Professor Mennell is looking forward to joining the University of Cumbria.

“I am honoured to be given the opportunity to lead the University of Cumbria into the next phase of its development," she says. "Although the university itself is not yet 10 years old, many of its component parts have, for many years, played a significant role in the cultural and economic life of the region. The challenge for us moving forward is to continue to build on this legacy, creating a vibrant institution of high academic merit that provides opportunities for all those who have the potential to benefit from the experience of higher education, with reach and impact across Cumbria, Lancashire and beyond.

“I look forward with enthusiasm to working with the staff and students of the university, and with our partners and stakeholders, to deliver that outcome.”

Professor Mennell is expected to start her new role on 1st August 2016. Professor Strike leaves the institution on retirement on 31st July.

Julie is currently Deputy Vice Chancellor (Development) at the University of Sunderland, where her responsibilities encompass leadership of the university’s development activities including oversight of major development projects, international and transnational activities, University of Sunderland in London, student recruitment, new product development, relationships with key partners, employer engagement, graduate employment, and access and widening participation work.

Prior to this, Julie held the position of Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) for the University of Sunderland for five years, having responsibility for the academic and research provision, student experience and graduate outcomes; including academic programme development and delivery, careers and employability, student and learning support and quality assurance and enhancement.

She has held senior positions at Northumbria and Teesside universities and is a former President of the North East Association of Science Education and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, The Chartered Society for Forensic Sciences, Institute of Measurement & Control and the RSA.

Professor Mennell has an international reputation in the field of forensic science, having made significant contributions to forensic science education and workforce development in the UK and overseas.

Professor Mennell is a mathematics and physics graduate from the University of Leeds and holds a PhD in Applied Physics from Teesside University. Married, with three teenage children, she was born in Middlesbrough and is a life-long Middlesbrough Football Club supporter. She counts her family, cycling and walking among her interests and enjoys spending time in the Lake District. Last year saw her complete the Whitehaven to Sunderland coast to coast cycle route.