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St Andrews Principal asked to extend contract

Professor Sally Mapstone, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of St Andrews.
Professor Sally Mapstone, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of St Andrews

The Principal of the University of St Andrews, Professor Sally Mapstone, is to lead the institution for a further five years after her current contract concludes in 2021, St Andrews Court confirmed today.

Professor Mapstone has been in charge at Scotland’s oldest university since September 2016.

Under her leadership, St Andrews last year broke the decades long Oxbridge duopoly at the top of UK university league tables by beating Oxford to second place in one, and being named UK University of the Year by another.

In a message to students and staff, St Andrews Senior Governor, Dame Anne Pringle, confirmed that Professor Mapstone had accepted an invitation from University Court to remain at the helm.

“The decision to invite Professor Mapstone to continue to lead the University beyond the conclusion of her current contract in 2021 was taken after detailed consultation with members of Court, including our student, staff and alumni representatives,” she said.

“It reflects the Principal’s outstanding performance at St Andrews and her particular strengths in leadership, strategic development and engagement with stakeholders.

“During the Principal’s tenure, the University has achieved its most impressive performances yet in university league tables, ranking second in the Guardian Guide last year and being named the 2020 UK University of the Year by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide.

“St Andrews will continue to require strong, thoughtful and creative leadership in the years ahead. Court is delighted that this decision will provide continuity of leadership at a critical time and ensure that the University’s considerable ambitions and challenges can be met.”

During her tenure, Professor Mapstone has led work on behalf of Universities Scotland to develop policies to widen access to Scotland’s universities.

She is a member of the Board of Universities UK, a member of the Advisory Board of the Higher Education Policy Institute, Chair of the international advisory board of the University of Helsinki, a trustee of the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland and of the Europaeum.

In June 2018, she was appointed the first woman President of the Saltire Society, and in February 2019 was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.


Issued by the University of St Andrews Communications Office.

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