Appointment of new Pro Vice Chancellors

Published: 19/08/2020

York St John University is delighted to announce the appointment of two new Pro Vice Chancellors: Professor Susan Orr as Pro Vice Chancellor for Learning & Teaching, and Professor Robert Mortimer as Pro Vice Chancellor for Research & Knowledge Transfer.

The Pro Vice Chancellors will be members of the Executive Board and will help drive forward the University’s ambitions, champion its community spirit and ensure York St John builds on its achievements as a University. The Pro Vice Chancellor for Learning & Teaching will play a crucial role in York St John’s ongoing growth and success, providing strategic and academic leadership to improve the impact and outcomes of the student experience across the UniversityThe Pro Vice Chancellor for Research & Knowledge Transfer will provide strategic academic leadership to improve the impact and outcomes of research and knowledge transfer across the University.  

Professor Karen Bryan, Vice Chancellor at York St John University said: “I am very much looking forward to welcoming Professor Orr and Professor Mortimer to the University and working with them to shape the next chapter at York St John University. With their collective expertise, we can capitalise further on the talents of our ambitious academic staff and ensure that we are a future-focused university that enriches the lives of our students and the wider community.” 

Professor Susan Orr is currently Dean of Learning and Teaching Enhancement at the University of the Arts in London, a post she has held since 2013. Prior to this she held roles at Sheffield Hallam University as Assistant Dean and Acting Pro Vice Chancellor in their Faculty of Arts, Computing, Engineering and Sciences. Some of you will also know Professor Orr from her time at York St John from 2003 to 2011, as Principal Lecturer and then Deputy Dean in the Faculty of Arts. Professor Orr studied at University College London (UCL) and completed a Doctor of Education at UCL’s Institute of Education. 

At UAL Professor Orr leads the Teaching, Learning and Employability Exchange, which comprises Arts Education, Careers and Employability, the Academic Enhancement Team and Digital Learning. She is responsible for delivering the University’s Teaching and Learning Strategy. In 2017 Professor Orr was a member of the main Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) Panel for TEF 2 and in 2018 she was appointed Chair of the Arts Panel for the first subject-level pilot of the TEF. She also currently chairs the European League of Institutes of the Arts’ Teachers Academy. Professor Orr is a National Teaching Fellow whose published research, focused on creative education, has helped her develop a strong external profile. Professor Orr is editor of the international journal Art, Design and Communication in Higher Education and a Visiting Professor at Bournemouth University. Bringing a wealth of experience from her previous roles, Professor Orr will be responsible for delivering York St John’s ambitious Learning, Teaching and Student Experience Strategy to ensure delivery of the 2026 Strategy and beyond. 

Professor Robert Mortimer is currently Executive Dean in the School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences at Nottingham Trent University, a role he has held for five years. Prior to joining Nottingham Trent University, Professor Mortimer was Head of the School of Earth and Environment at the University of Leeds. He was based at the University of Leeds for 20 years following his undergraduate degree in Mining Geology at Imperial College London and his PhD in Biogeochemistry at the University of Reading.  

At Nottingham Trent University, Professor Mortimer has been responsible for building capital projects and leading research activity. Over five years he has successfully quadrupled the number of PhD students, trebled research income and overseen a fivefold increase in the number of 3*- 4* papers in his School. Much of Professor Mortimer’s own research is applied and linked to problem-solving with industry. This experience and expertise will help York St John improve the impact and outcomes of research and knowledge transfer across the University. 

Professor Orr will take up her position on 2 November 2020 and Professor Mortimer will start at York St John on 8 December 2020. 

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