The Role of the Vice-Chancellor
Vision 2015: The University Strategy
Since becoming Vice-Chancellor in 2006, Professor Thrift has launched an ambitious new strategy for Warwick’s future and has led the University in:
- implementing an extensive capital plan
- achieving a large increase in research income
- producing high levels of philanthropic income
- establishing high-profile partnerships and research collaborations with leading universities in the US, Australia, India, Asia and Europe
- rapidly increasing Warwick’s international profile through initiatives such as Warwick in Africa and the International Gateway for Gifted Youth
Professor Thrift has also been instrumental in building on Warwick’s strong links with business and industry, both nationally and internationally.
What does the Vice-Chancellor do?
The Vice-Chancellor is the chief academic and administrative officer of the University. The Statutes prescribe that he has ‘a general responsibility to the Council and the Senate for monitoring and promoting the efficiency and good order of the University’. The Vice-Chancellor is the ‘ designated officer’, as specified in the HEFCE Financial Memorandum, responsible for ensuring that the University complies with the terms and conditions specified by the Funding Council for the use of Funding Council funds and may be called, with the Chief Executive of the Funding Council who is the accounting officer for the institutions funded by the Council, to give evidence before the Public Accounts Committee. The Vice-Chancellor is a member of all University committees and chairs the Senate and a number of committees of the Council and the Senate.
The Vice-Chancellor executes his responsibilities through a number of different activities, a significant number of which are detailed below.
Research and Publications
Professor Thrift was educated at Aberystwyth and Bristol and is an international research figure in the field of geography. He continues to maintain an active research career alongside his role as Vice-Chancellor and has been the recipient of a number of distinguished academic awards including the Royal Geographical Society Victoria Medal for contributions to geographic research in 2003, Distinguished Scholarship Honors from the Association of American Geographers in 2007 and the Royal Scottish Geographical Society Gold Medal in 2008. He was made a Fellow of the British Academy in 2003 and received an Honorary LLD from the University of Bristol in 2010. His current research spans a broad range of interests, including international finance; cities and political life; non-representational theory; affective politics; and the history of time.
Recent invited academic lectures include:
- March 2012 ‘The Insubstantial Pageant: Producing an Untoward Land’, Annual Lecture, The Interdisciplinary Centre of the Social Sciences, University of Sheffield.
- November 2011 ‘The Insubstantial Pageant: Producing an Untoward Land’, Movement and Meaning Lab, Siobhan Davies Studio, London.
- October 2011 ‘Clocks and Control in Everyday Life England 1300 – 1800’, Greenwich Time Symposium, London (with Paul Glennie)
- May 2011 ‘The Insubstantial Pageant’, Goffman Memorial Lecture, University of Edinburgh, UK.
- May 2011 ‘Wrapping Worlds’, Imagining Business Workshop, European Institute for Advanced Studies in Management (EIASM), Segovia, Spain
- April 2011 ‘The Untoward Land’, Cultural Geographies Annual Lecture, American Association of Geographers, Seattle, US.
- February 2011‘Wrapping Worlds’, Ca’Foscari, Venice, Italy
Recent publications include:
- ‘The Insubstantial Pageant: Producing an Untoward Land’,Cultural Geographies, April 2012, Vol 19 no 2, pp. 141-168.
- ‘But Malice Aforethought: cities and the natural history of hatred’ (2011)in Ryan Bishop, Greg Clancey and John Phillips (eds) The City as Target (Oxford, UK: Routledge, 2012)
- ‘Lifeworld, Inc. – And what to do about it’ (2011)Environment and Planning D. Society and Space, Vol 29, pp. 5-26
- ‘Slowing down race’ (2010)Environment and Planning A, Vol 42, pp. 2428-2430.
- “Callon and the life of democracy” (2011)in Akrich, M., Barthe, Y., Muniesa, F., Mustar, P.(eds) Débordements. Melanges Offerts â Michel Callon. Paris, Presses des Mines, 393-403.
- “Interview with Nigel Thrift” (2010)Distinktion. Scandinavian Journal of Social Theory, No 21, 93-105.
- “Interview with Nigel Thrift” (2010)in Anderson, B., Harrison, P. (eds) Taking-Place. Non-Representational Theories and Geography. London, Ashgate.
- (with A.Leyshon, S.French) ‘A very geographical crisis: the making and breaking of the 2007-2008 financial crisis’Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, 2, 287-302.
- “Understanding the Affective Spaces of Political Performance”Bondi, L., Cameron, L., Davidson, J., Smith, M. (eds) Emotion, Place and Culture. Aldershot: Ashgate Press, 79-96.
Overseas Profile Raising Activities
As a globally connected university, Warwick attracts staff and students from over 140 countries. It is a key part of the Vice-Chancellor and President's role to raise the visibility of the University all over the world. In the past year, the Vice-Chancellor and President has represented the University in numerous different countries, including the US, Australia, Hong Kong, China, Singapore and India.
The Vice-Chancellor delivers on average between 70 and 80 speeches per year, to a number of different audiences, including internal speeches to the academic and student community, and external speeches to a wide range of audiences, including government representatives, senior university figures, business and industry representatives, and academic colleagues across the world.
The Vice-Chancellor writes a blog for the Chronicle of Higher Education, ‘Worldwise’, posting on average one blog per week.Read the Vice-Chancellor and President's Blog
The Vice-Chancellor has also written for a number of higher education publications, including the Times Higher Education, and the Chronicle of Higher Education. In 2010, he was interviewed for the BBC Series A History of the World in 100 Objects, on the ‘Ship’s Chronometer for the HMS Beagle’.
Membership of Significant External Committees
- Board MemberHigher Education Statistics Agency
- TrusteeCouncil for Industry and Higher Education
- ChairCentre for Research on Socio-Cultural Change (CRESC) Advisory Board
- Board MemberCoventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership Board
- Board MemberEuropean Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) Governing Board
- MemberNational Curriculum Review Advisory Committee
- CommissionerMarshall Aid Commission
The Vice-Chancellor hosts numerous evening and working dinner events every year. These events are wide-ranging and serve to host senior members of the University community, long-serving staff, important development contacts, alumni and key international and business/industry contacts.