University of St Andrews appoints new principal

Professor Sally Mapstone is to be  11th Principal of St Andrews University.'(Picture by  John Cairns.)
Professor Sally Mapstone is to be 11th Principal of St Andrews University.'(Picture by John Cairns.)

The University of St Andrews has announced that its new principal will be Professor Sally Mapstone, currently Pro-Vice-Chancellor for education at the University of Oxford.

Professor Mapstone, a distinguished academic whose research is on Older Scots Literature, will be the 11th Principal of St Andrews when she takes up post in September, succeeding Professor Louise Richardson, who is now Vice-Chancellor of Oxford.

She said she was thrilled to be coming to the University of St Andrews, commenting: “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 senior governor Sir Ewan Brown said the university had undertaken an exhaustive international search before selecting Professor Mapstone as 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 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.

She was the architect of Oxford’s current strategic plan and has also led on diversification of the university’s student body and of its curriculum.

She launched 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.”

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.”

Professor Louise Richardson 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.”

She 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, became Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Personnel and Equality) in 2009, and took up her present post in January 2011.

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