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Solent University, Southampton is delighted to announce the appointment of Prof Sarah Jones and Prof Cathy Barnes as Pro Vice-Chancellors to ensure Solent University continues to deliver for our students and drive forward regional growth.

13th May 2024
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Professor Sarah Jones, as Pro Vice-Chancellor Education, will start her new role on 10 June.

As a Professor of Education Innovation, Professor Jones is committed to the transformation of higher education through pedagogy, technology and future practice.

She has held strategic leadership roles across a number of institutions, most recently as Pro Vice-Chancellor Academic Enhancement and Research at the University of Gloucestershire.

A strategic leader in the sector, after nearly a decade in television news, Professor Jones holds a PhD in Immersive Storytelling and has published extensively on virtual and augmented reality, while continuing to make and create immersive experiences.

Professor Jones has advised the UK Government on Immersive Technologies and speaks at conferences across the world on imagining future technology.

“I am absolutely delighted to be joining Solent as PVC Education. As a triple Gold TEF institution, it is clear that there is exceptional teaching and learning and I look forward to getting to see this in action and working with teams to develop it further.”

Professor Cathy Barnes will be joining the University on 1 July 2024, in the role of Pro Vice-Chancellor Research, Academic Strategy and Planning.

Educated at the University of Leeds and Cranfield University, Professor Barnes is proud to have started her working life as an apprentice in a shipyard. Since then, she has held a wide range of roles including Commercial Director at University of Salford and Professor of Innovation/Director of Research and Enterprise at Leeds Beckett University.

As a Mechanical Engineer, working across both Engineering and Business disciplines, she has researched and published widely on design and manufacturing across supply chains and sensory design to improve user interactions with products.

Through her research she developed leading collaborations with many companies and has held grants from InnovateUK, EPSRC and EU. Professor Barnes was appointed to the Knowledge Exchange Concordat Advisory Board and now advises UUK on Innovation and Growth Policy.

She is passionate about the positive impact that higher education has on social mobility and the role of research and knowledge exchange in delivering a better future.

Professor Barnes says, “I am delighted and honoured to be appointed to this role at such an exciting time for the University. I am looking forward to meeting colleagues and working together to achieve success locally, nationally, and internationally.”

Solent University’s Vice- Chancellor, Professor James Knowles, says, “We look forward to welcoming Prof Jones and Prof Barnes to Solent this summer. Their wealth of knowledge and experience will not only ensure that we continue to offer an excellent teaching and learning experience, that was recently recognised with a triple TEF gold award by the Office for Students, but also help drive our 2035 Strategy as a work-ready, world-ready, and future-ready organisation.”