Professor Sally Mapstone to be the next Principal of the University of St Andrews

Monday 22 February 2016


Professor Sally Mapstone, currently Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Education at the University of Oxford, is to be the next Principal of the University of St Andrews.

A distinguished academic whose research is on Older Scots Literature, Professor Mapstone (58) succeeds Professor Louise Richardson and will become the 11th Principal of St Andrews when she takes up post in September.

As Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Education at Oxford, she is responsible for the university’s strategy and policies for teaching, learning, student support and admissions. She was previously Oxford’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Personnel and Equality.

Professor Mapstone said: “I am thrilled to be coming to the University of St Andrews as its next Principal. Its focus on quality in education and student experience, its commitment to outreach, and its emphasis on independent-minded research all speak strongly to my own values. I have known the university for many years as a scholar of Scottish culture, and it will be an honour to be part of building its future.”

St Andrews Chancellor, Lord Campbell of Pittenweem, said: “I am delighted that we have been able to persuade Sally to graduate to St Andrews from Oxford! She is a scholar of considerable distinction and an inspired choice to lead St Andrews as it seeks to consolidate its place among the best universities in the world.”

St Andrews Senior Governor, Sir Ewan Brown, said: “St Andrews is fortunate to have found an academic leader of such outstanding character and calibre.

“The university undertook an exhaustive international search and in Professor Mapstone we are appointing a Principal whose experience, values and drive will be essential to St Andrews’ strategic ambitions in teaching, research, fundraising and widening access to higher education.

“As a scholar, Sally is no stranger to Scotland and St Andrews and I know that she is assured of a very warm and enthusiastic welcome from our community of staff and students.”

Professor Mapstone is Professor of Older Scots Literature in the Faculty of English at Oxford and a Fellow of St Hilda’s College. Her research deals primarily with literature in Scots and in Latin, with political literature, and with book history.

She is Honorary President of the Scottish Text Society, an Honorary Fellow of the Association for Scottish Literary Studies, and a Fellow of the English Association. From 2007 to 2010, she served as Chair of the English Faculty Board at Oxford; she became Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Personnel and Equality) in November 2009, and took up her present post in January 2011.

In her leadership roles at Oxford, Professor Mapstone was the architect of Oxford’s current strategic plan. She has also led on diversification of the university’s student body and of its curriculum.

She launched and remains the main sponsor of Oxford’s mentoring scheme for senior women and is currently staging a major new series of Oxford lectures on the theme of “Women of Achievement.”

Professor Louise Richardson, Vice-Chancellor at Oxford and formerly Principal of St Andrews, said: “We will miss working with Sally at Oxford where she has made so many valuable contributions over the years, and I hope she will be as happy in St Andrews as I was.

“Sally will bring a deep commitment to the mission of the university. I am confident that both she, and St Andrews, are in good hands.”

Professor Mapstone grew up in West London and was educated at Wadham and St Cross Colleges, Oxford. She is married to Martin Griffiths.


University of St Andrews

St Andrews is Scotland’s first university and the third oldest in the English speaking world. Teaching began on the east coast of Scotland in 1410 and the university was formally constituted in 1413.

St Andrews is now one of Europe’s most research intensive seats of learning and one of the top rated multi-faculty universities for research, teaching quality and student satisfaction. It is consistently ranked among the UK’s top five in leading independent league tables produced by The Sunday Times and The Times, The Guardian and The Complete University Guide.

Its international reputation for research-led teaching and student satisfaction make it one of the most sought after destinations for prospective students from the UK, Europe and overseas. It receives on average 12 applications per place and is Scotland’s most international university – a third of the student body of 8,200 is from overseas.

It has a staff of 1,800 and maintains one of the strongest records in Europe for teaching quality, demanding entry standards, good degrees and student support. Over 98% of students complete their degrees. The University has a 1:12 academic staff to student ratio and has consistently ranked in the upper reaches of the UK National Student Survey.

In recent years it has invested heavily in new scholarships and widening participation initiatives to broaden its intake and improve access for students from non-traditional university backgrounds. In 2014/15, over a third of its entrant class of Scottish students was admitted with an access qualification.

Issued by the University of St Andrews

Further information:

Niall Scott, Director of Communications

Email: [email protected]

Tel: +44 1334 462530

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