The vice chancellor of the University of Sussex Michael Farthing is to step down next summer, with the search for his successor starting immediately.
Mr Farthing, who has presided over the university for eight years, has guided it through many changes in higher education, as well as various student protests.
He leaves it as it prepares a major expansion of the Falmer campus, which will also see student numbers rise significantly.
His departure follows the retirement of his counterpart at the University of Brighton, vice chancellor Julian Crampton, who announced in March he would be standing down early next year.
Christian Brodie, chair of the university’s governing council, said: “I would like to pay enormous tribute to Michael Farthing’s tenure as Vice-Chancellor since his appointment in 2007.
“In particular I would highlight the University’s leading roles in widening participation and employability which demonstrates the real added value that Sussex brings to its graduates.
“Under Michael’s leadership, the University has grown its financial and pastoral support of students from low-income backgrounds and Sussex is now in the top three universities in the South East for the total amount of money it provides to these students.
“In addition, the proportion of Sussex students who work in graduate-level jobs or study within six months of finishing their degree has soared to 85 per cent this year, an improvement of ten percentage points from last year and consistently up on previous years.
“I would also highlight the solid progress that has been made under Michael’s leadership in executing the University’s ambitious strategic plan ‘Making the Future’, to ensure our sustainability as a research-intensive university.
“During Michael’s time as Vice-Chancellor he has overseen the University’s growth from a £120 million to a £219 million organisation, student numbers have grown from 9,750 to almost 15,000, and we have continued to attract high-quality staff from around the world.
“We have invested over £150 million in the development of the campus and have put in place plans to invest a further £200 million over the next three years. Michael has also personally been responsible for driving the refurbishment and opening of the Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts.
“Alongside this, he has led an internationalisation strategy to ensure that Sussex remains globally competitive and secured strong institutional partnerships with leading global universities as well as ensuring a diverse mix of international students now come to Sussex.
“Michael will leave the University in an excellent state, well placed in the league tables and in a sound and secure financial condition, and accordingly the University can look forward to the future with confidence.”
Mr Brodie went on to thank Professor Farthing, on behalf of the University’s Council, for his contribution and all that he has done for the University.
The University’s Council has responsibility for governance of the institution’s finances, property, investments and general business. It also has a role, alongside the University’s senior management, for the on-going strategic direction of the institution.
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