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The Queen honours Vice-Chancellor

31st December 2015

The Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of Northumbria University, Newcastle, Professor Andrew Wathey, has been appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the New Year 2016 Honours List, for services to Higher Education.

caption: Professor Andrew WatheyProfessor Wathey has been Vice-Chancellor at Northumbria University since 2008, developing a new Vision for the institution as a research-rich, business focussed, professional university. In this period Northumbria has transformed its research standing, its appeal to highly-qualified students, its contribution through partnerships to regional economic, social and cultural development, and its national and international prominence.

Under Professor Wathey’s leadership the University has more than doubled its research capacity, moving from 80th to 50th in research power ranking - the largest rise of any UK university. At the same time, the number of highly-qualified students choosing to come to Northumbria has increased by over 50% and the University now ranks 34th in England for student entry standards. He has led continued growth in the University’s global activity, including new joint venture campus developments in Indonesia and London. He has also been a strong advocate for partnership working with regional organisations, driving the University’s economic, social and cultural contribution to the North East.

The University’s successes over this period have been numerous. In 2013 the University was awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher Education in 2013 for the outstanding community and pro-bono work of its Student Law Office. The following year Northumbria became the first (and so far the only) university in Europe to achieve double accreditation in Business and Accounting from the Association to Advance Collegiate Business Schools (AACSB), putting its Business School in the world’s top 1%. And in November, the University’s Newcastle Business School won Business School of the Year in the prestigious Times Higher Education (THE) Annual Awards.

Born in Plymouth, Andrew Wathey graduated in Music from the University of Oxford, where in 1987 he also took his doctorate. He held posts in Oxford and Cambridge before moving to Royal Holloway University of London in 1989, where he was appointed Professor of Music History in 1999, Vice-Principal in 2003 and subsequently Senior Vice-Principal. His published research focuses on the social and cultural history of music in late-medieval England and France. He is a co-founder of the Digital Image Archive of Medieval Music (DIAMM), and a member of the British Academy's Early English Church Music Committee, which he chaired 2002-2007. He also chaired the Music subject panel in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise.

Professor Wathey has served on a number of national bodies and committees. He chairs the Student Loans Company Stakeholder Forum, and is a Board member of the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education, and of the Quality Assurance Agency, and is a member of the Council of the All Party Parliamentary Universities Group.

Regionally, he is an elected Member of the CBI Regional Council, and a Governor of Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. He also serves on the Boards of the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Arts and the NewcastleGateshead Initiative.

Professor Wathey said: “I am very honoured to be recognised in this way, but this award is for the University as much as for me, and a real testament to the many successes that colleagues at Northumbria have achieved in recent years. My thanks go to all those – students, staff, alumni and partner institutions – who have played a part in Northumbria’s numerous attainments: many great things have happened here, and I feel certain we will see many more in the future.”

Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, Chancellor of Northumbria University, said: "I am delighted and proud for Professor Andrew Wathey. It is a great honour for all he has done and the contribution he has made to both the University and the North East."

Chris Sayers, Chair of the Board of Governors at Northumbria, added: “This is wonderful news for Andrew and for the University – Andrew has been instrumental in transforming Northumbria into a new kind of excellent university, equipped for the challenges of the 21st century, and he has created an environment at Northumbria that now demands excellence in everything that we do. In the face of national funding challenges he has led the University through a period of restructure and change to create a streamlined, flexible and vibrant institution that will meet the increasing demands of students and the needs of businesses for years to come. Furthermore, he has made a massive contribution across the HE sector regionally, nationally and internationally, fuelled by his determination that Higher Education should transform both individuals and wider society. The award of this CBE is a fitting recognition of Andrew’s leadership, vision and contribution to the HE community at large”.

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