University of Stirling Principal and Vice-Chancellor Professor Gerry McCormac has been elected Convener of Universities Scotland.
Professor McCormac has served as Vice Convener of Universities Scotland – which represents the country’s 19 higher education institutions – since 2016 and will begin his two-year term as Convener on August 1.
He was elected to the position by his fellow Principals and takes on the role at a critical point for the higher education sector in Scotland as it continues to navigate the challenges posed by COVID-19.
Professor McCormac said: “It is an honour to be elected Convener by my colleagues, especially at a time of crisis. In the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic, education and research will play a vital role in rebuilding, reskilling and restoring the fabric of society. Our universities will work with partners across education, the public sector and industry to ensure that we adapt peoples’ skills and aptitudes, developing them, so that they can succeed in a changed economy. We will do all we can to play a pivotal role in avoiding the injustice of a ‘lost generation’ of people who became distant from the world of work during the recession.
“I firmly believe that universities will be at the centre of a successful recovery from COVID-19 in Scotland. Working with government, I am confident that universities will make a full and innovative contribution to the nation’s post-pandemic recovery and success. Scotland wants to ‘build back better’ after the crisis, the contributions universities will make to promote agile and relevant offerings for learners, how we can further support business and the economy through the recession, and how we promote cultural recovery and environmental sustainability, while keeping Scotland internationally focused and connected, are all critically important.”
Professor McCormac is an active member of the Universities and Colleges Employers Association, acting as chair of its Scottish Committee and sitting on its UK board. He is a fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, the Royal Society of Antiquaries, and the Royal Society of Arts, Commerce and Manufacturers. He chaired a review of teacher employment in Scotland for the Scottish Government in 2011.
He takes over the Convenership from Professor Andrea Nolan, Principal at Edinburgh Napier University, who served two consecutive terms in the role from 2016. Professor Sally Mapstone, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of St Andrews, has been appointed to the role of Vice Convener.
Professor McCormac added: “I want to pay tribute to Professor Andrea Nolan for her work as Convener over the past four years. She has led with passion, energy and a focus on unity for the sector during a period of great uncertainty. She worked tirelessly to promote the value of universities to society and sought, at every opportunity, to be fully inclusive and ensure that the value of learning and skills were recognised as the basis of a fair and just society and successful economy.”