Professor Shirley Congdon appointed Yorkshire Universities Chair

Professor Shirley Congdon, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Bradford, has been appointed as the new Chair of Yorkshire Universities (YU). Professor Congdon will take over from Professor Sir Chris Husbands, Vice-Chancellor of Sheffield Hallam University, whose term of office ends on 31 July 2020. Professor Congdon will be the first woman to take up the role.

YU’s core mission is to strengthen the contribution Yorkshire’s universities make to the region. Professor Congdon’s responsibilities as YU Chair will include steering the organisation’s relationships with national and local government, devolved institutions, business, further education colleges and public sector partners, such as those in the health and care sector.

Professor Congdon said: “I am delighted to take up the role as Chair of Yorkshire Universities. Universities in the region have stepped up magnificently in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and they will be vital in the recovery and rebuilding effort through research and innovation, knowledge exchange, skills and the nurturing of talent, and in their role as civic anchor institutions in the towns and cities of Yorkshire. Our focus, as a partnership, on tackling inequalities and creating new opportunities for people, businesses and communities in the region to prosper and fulfil their potential is central to the government’s levelling up agenda”.

Welcoming Professor Congdon to her new role, Dr Peter O’Brien, Executive Director of Yorkshire Universities, said: “I look forward to working with Shirley over the next two years. Our universities in Yorkshire are real assets and it is by working collaboratively within and across higher education, and with national and local partners, that we can achieve so much more for the region. I would like to thank Sir Chris for his many contributions as Chair of the YU Board at a time of significant change and challenge.”

Notes to Editors

Professor Shirley Congdon is the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Bradford. She has significant experience of working in higher education championing the quality of the student experience, widening participation, engagement with business and communities and advancing the quality of research and innovation.

Originally qualifying as a Registered Nurse, Professor Congdon’s professional and academic expertise lies within the area of health and social care, service modernisation and cultural change, research methods and evidence-based practice. She has a strong track record in all aspects of university leadership, having worked within the field of higher education for 25 years and held senior roles in three different universities.

Professor Congdon is passionate about equality and diversity, social inclusion and widening participation in higher education; opening up opportunities and unlocking potential for people of all backgrounds. She is a tireless ambassador for students and is committed to ensuring students get the best possible education and support that leads to a rewarding career after they graduate. Her number one priority is to focus social inclusion and economic growth through a whole system inclusive approach to excellence in research, innovation and teaching.

Professor Congdon is a Board member of the Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership and also sits on the West Yorkshire Economic Recovery Board.

Yorkshire Universities has a shared commitment to strengthen the contribution of universities and higher education institutions to the economic, social and civic well-being of people and places in Yorkshire. Members are: Leeds Arts University; Leeds College of Music; Leeds Beckett University; Leeds Trinity University; Sheffield Hallam University; University of Bradford; University of Huddersfield; University of Hull; University of Leeds; University of Sheffield; University of York; and York St John University.

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