Posted Thursday 9 June 2022
A senior academic, who has devoted much of his career to boosting quality and innovation in teaching and learning, has been named Pro Vice-Chancellor of Education at Kingston University. Professor John Craig, currently Dean of Social Sciences at Leeds Beckett University, will take up his new appointment later this summer.
A strong advocate of the role universities can play in transforming lives, Professor Craig believes their contribution is essential in supporting the development of students as creative and capable individuals, able to contribute to society while pursuing successful careers. "With every generation of students, there's a process of understanding the world they inhabit and working with them to ensure the education we provide builds on the skills they have and meets their aspirations," he said. "We've got to find the common language and shared vision to empower them to succeed and achieve their ambitions."
Having spent three decades based in the north of England, Professor Craig, who originally hails from Barnet in north London, is eagerly anticipating a return to the capital. As Kingston's Pro Vice-Chancellor of Education, he will assume responsibility for Academic Registry, quality assurance and enhancement and learning and teaching.
An experienced academic leader, he joined Leeds Beckett University as Head of the School of Social, Psychological and Communication Sciences in 2015, before moving up the ranks to become Dean. Prior to that, he was Senior Director for Education and Research at the Higher Education Academy, where he led national projects spanning such areas as graduate employability, student retention and the internationalisation of the student experience.
Former roles also include a period as Assistant Dean for Social Sciences and Law at Teesside University. A political scientist by subject specialism, he has held a range of teaching posts at the University of Huddersfield, Open University and University of Leeds.
His career high points include being named a National Teaching Fellow in 2009. He is also a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and, as Chair of the Deans' network for Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (DASSH), has sat on British Academy strategic forums. Last November, the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) appointed him chair of its Politics and International Relations Subject Benchmark Review Panel.
Also an active researcher, Professor Craig's latest work explores the development of teaching in universities from a historical perspective. He has numerous publications to his name and has served as a member of several editorial boards, including for the Journal of Political Science Education and The International Journal of Higher Education in the Social Sciences.
His extensive experience as an external examiner and panel member has encompassed more than 20 higher education institutions and includes a recent role at Kingston, where he has been part of its programme assessment board. This had given him more of an insight into the University's approach to enriching its students' lives, which had particularly resonated with him, he said. "Kingston is a university committed to working with communities to make a real impact on people's lives and engage with students from a diverse variety of backgrounds and experiences, providing education that will open up enormous opportunities for them," he added.
As chair and co-convenor of the Political Studies Association Teaching and Learning Network from 2018, Professor Craig was responsible for leading work supporting academics to develop online teaching during the pandemic. This contribution resulted in a special recognition award. He predicts the effects of the pandemic will still pose challenges for higher education for some time to come. "I learned from that period that the sector can't just focus on the immediate. We need to be constantly looking up and looking out, being open to different conversations and experiences and being ready to learn and adjust," he said.
Provost Professor Helen Laville said the expertise and innovation Professor Craig had demonstrated in delivering high quality teaching and learning outcomes throughout his career would make him an asset to the University's senior leadership community. "As Pro Vice-Chancellor for Education, John will be responsible for supporting an educational community which inspires learning innovation and drives academic achievement," she said.
"I am very much looking forward to working with him on further developing the University's impressive reputation for diversity and inclusivity within higher education. His wealth of experience in promoting student success will be enormously important to our work ensuring students not only thrive during their studies but graduate brimming with the skills and confidence to embark on successful careers."
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