The Principal and Vice Chancellor of Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU), Professor Pamela Gillies CBE FRSE, is to step aside from her role at the University for the Common Good in December 2022. The process to identify the next Principal and Vice-Chancellor will begin immediately.  

Under Professor Gillies’ leadership, the University’s mission as the University for the Common Good has been brought to life and the University has gone from strength to strength.   

Since taking up post in January 2006, Professor Gillies has led the University to its preeminent position in Higher Education in widening participation, developing vital areas of research, and promoting strategic international relations to benefit Scotland as well as most recently integrating and promoting the centrality of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in seeking solutions to global challenges. Professor Gillies has played a leading role across the sector on a range of issues including raising awareness and a better understanding of student mental health and wellbeing.

During the Principal and Vice-Chancellor’s tenure, GCU was among the first in the sector to adopt the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals as the framework for its Research Strategy in 2017. The goals then became the guiding framework for the University’s Strategy 2030 and this approach was recognised as an example of best practice by the United Nations. Further, the University was recently named number one in the UK for promoting gender equality – and in the top five in the world – by the Times Higher Education (THE) University Impact Rankings which shines a light on institutions working hard to tackle global issues.   

The University’s research addresses three challenges of inclusive societies, sustainable environments and healthy lives.  The quality and impact of the research has been recognised through the Research Excellence Framework (REF) and GCU is now the top Modern University in Scotland for research power.  The University has a thriving community of post-graduate researchers, early career researchers and research leaders across our Schools, centres and campuses.  

GCU mobilised to support Scotland’s national COVID-19 response by delivering vital research into the physical, social and economic impacts of the virus, as well as hosting Glasgow’s first walk-in test centre, providing vital PPI equipment and nursing and other health and social care students for the NHS frontline.   

Most recently, and with Professor Gillies’ close involvement, GCU’s Centre for Climate Justice operated at the highest level at COP 26 to support the United Nations, World Health Organisation, and ensure the voices of people in developing nations who are being hit hardest by the climate emergency are heard. 

Under the leadership of the Principal and Vice-Chancellor, GCU has a truly global outlook, with campuses in Glasgow, London and New York, alongside transnational partnerships in South Africa, Oman, Bangladesh and Mauritius.

Most importantly, the University works for the Common Good by widening participation to a transformative education and learning experience, supporting students to realise their potential, upskill, reskill and prosper.  This is reflected by GCU holding the strongest track record in the Scottish HE sector of widening access recruitment combined with resulting quality outcomes for our students.