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Kingston Dean becomes new Vice-Chancellor of the University for the Creative Arts

Posted Friday 24 June 2011

Kingston is in the top ten in the Guardian’s league table of art and design schoolsThe Dean of Kingston University's Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture, Dr Simon Ofield-Kerr, has been appointed Vice-Chancellor of the University for the Creative Arts (UCA).

Dr Ofield-Kerr will be leading a university of 7,000 students based across five campuses in Canterbury, Epsom, Farnham, Maidstone and Rochester.

"I am delighted Simon's considerable talents have been recognised by the UCA, but very sorry to see him leave us," Kingston's Vice-Chancellor, Professor Julius Weinberg, said. "I would like to thank him for his efforts at Kingston which have maintained and built on the university's reputation as a leader in the fields of art, design and the built environment."

Dr Ofield-Kerr has been FADA's Dean since 2006. During this time, the university has risen to the top ten in the Guardian's league table of art and design schools and the faculty's students have won a host of national and international honours, including awards from the Royal Society of Arts, the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, the British Fashion Council, D&AD, 100% Design and Adobe Design Achievement among many others. Under his leadership, FADA has opened a hi-tech moving image suite and a state-of-the art 3D workshop.

Dr Ofield-Kerr is particularly proud of his role in establishing Digital Media Kingston, a range of cross-faculty MA and MSc courses which bring together experts in design, engineering and the social sciences along with industry partners, including DreamWorks, Sony and Samsung. He also counts setting up MA Design for Development and MA Fashion, which applies new thinking and technologies, among his key achievements.

"Making the decision to leave Kingston has been difficult," Dr Ofield-Kerr said. "I know my time here has been the formative experience of my career - the place where I have learned so much about the true quality and importance of art, design and built environment education. It has been a real pleasure to have worked with colleagues in the faculty and university and I am very proud of what we have achieved together during the past five years."

Professor Weinberg said Dr Ofield-Kerr was joining an illustrious group of senior Kingston academics who had gone on to take up leadership roles at other institutions. These include Professor Caroline Gipps, Kingston's deputy Vice-Chancellor 1999-2005, her successor Professor Mary Stuart, Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences Nick Petford and the late Professor Mike Pittilo, former Dean of the joint Faculty of Health and Social Care Sciences with St George's, University of London, all of whom went on to become Vice-Chancellors at other British universities. One of Dr Ofield-Kerr's predecessors as Dean of the Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture, Dejan Sudjic, is now director of the Design Museum.

Dr Ofield-Kerr's start date at UCA is currently being finalised and will be announced shortly. Dr Trevor Keeble, currently Associate Dean at the Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture, will become Acting Dean until a full-time appointment can be made.

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