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Professor James Knowles takes up his position as the new Vice-Chancellor of Solent University, Southampton today (Monday 17 April).

17th April 2023
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Professor James Knowles takes up his position as the new Vice-Chancellor of Solent University, Southampton today (Monday 17 April).

“I have already been really impressed by Solent’s strong and growing reputation, not only for teaching excellence, but for providing the skills, experience and real-world learning students need for their future success,” says Professor Knowles.

Speaking about the job ahead he says, “In my new role I will be focussing on the next phase of the University’s development, building on the tremendous progress made so far by achieving the goals set out in our current strategic plan, and looking beyond 2025, to ensure we achieve our mission and vision.

“I’m also keen to utilise our position at the heart of the city; to grow and develop our strong relationships with the communities we serve and to address the local needs and opportunities to shape the future of Southampton and beyond. For me, universities are at their best when they are engines are change.”

Professor James Knowles in the Spark Building at Solent University

Professor Knowles joins Solent from his role as Senior Vice-Principal for Education at Royal Holloway, University of London, where he has been responsible for delivering clear, strategic leadership for all aspects of teaching and learning, student experience and student outcomes.

His role covered curriculum change, teaching, and learning development, the university’s Access and Participation Plan and working closely with the Students’ Union to ensure the effectiveness of student representation and the recognition of the student voice in education. He also chaired the university’s Student Success project, which aimed to narrow attainment gaps for BAME and other students as well as working on a range of inclusion projects including Conversations About Race, Union Black and the White Ribbon initiative.

Educated at a comprehensive school, and the universities of London and Oxford, Professor Knowles has previously been Executive Dean and Vice-Principal of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at Royal Holloway, University of London, Professor of Renaissance Literature and Culture and Vice-Dean (Research) at Brunel University, London, and Professor of Medieval and Renaissance Literature and Head of the School of English at University College, Cork.

Professor Knowles is currently Strategic Reviewer for the AHRC and a Member of the AHRC Peer Review College. In recent years he was a member of the TEF Subject Level Pilot panel, and he has been appointed to the main panel for TEF 2023.