Professor Sir Timothy O’Shea has announced that he will be stepping down from his positions of Principal and Vice Chancellor at the University of Edinburgh, effective as of September 2017, according to internal University sources.
Professor O’Shea plans to stay on as interim Principal and Vice Chancellor for the coming academic year of 2016/2017 while the University searches for his replacement, as stated by a University press release.
Professor O’Shea has been part of the University administration since 2002. In a press release he spoke of his pride in what was achieved by the University under his leadership.
“It has been an honour and a privilege to serve as Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Edinburgh and I am extremely proud of what we as an institution have achieved over recent years,” said Professor O’Shea.
The Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, John Swinney, spoke highly of Professor O’Shea’s administrative skills in a press release as well.
“Under Sir Tim’s leadership, the University of Edinburgh has built on its reputation as one of the world’s great universities and is widely regarded as a powerhouse of ideas and innovation across the breadth of academic endeavour, bringing distinction and talent to Scotland,” Mr. Sweeny said.
However, the ability of the administration to maintain a strong presence among the University community in the coming year has been questioned by some. Edinburgh University Student Association (EUSA)’s Vice President Academic Affairs, Patrick Garratt, spoke to The Student about the coming changes.
“While the following academic year may be the Principal’s transitional year, myself and the other officers will be pushing hard to make sure students’ voices are still heard on the issues that matter,” said Garratt.
The previous academic year also saw certain student groups challenging Professor O’Shea’s administration.
The student activist group People and Planet, who campaign for the divestment of University funds from arms and fossil fuel companies, and Black Triangle Society, who represent the needs and rights of the University’s disabled population, both called for Professor O’Shea’s resignation due to political disagreements.
However, there is currently no evidence that these tribulations are linked with the Principal’s resignation.
Indeed, the University administration maintain a positive view of Professor O’Shea’s time as Principal and Vice Chancellor of the University. O’Shea also reflects positively on the many changes he has overseen throughout his fourteen-year administration.
“The success and growth that we have enjoyed have only been possible thanks to our very gifted students and highly talented staff, as well as the tremendous backing we’ve received from our alumni, supporters and friends across Scotland, the wider UK and the world,” said Professor O’Shea.
“I have every confidence that the University will continue to go from strength to strength in the years to come.”
This is a developing news story. Check back regularly for further updates.
Image credit: Tom Wells