At the end of July, Julian’s period as Vice Principal of Heriot-Watt University will end, after ten years in the role. He joined us in 1988, became Head of Physics in 1998, was appointed as our first Head of the School of Engineering and Physical Sciences in 2001 and became a Deputy Principal in 2007. During his time as DP and VP he has made an enormous contribution to the University and I would like to start by thanking him for the dedicated support he has given to me and indeed my predecessors at Heriot-Watt.
Julian has played a major role in the leadership and development of the University, supporting us through some challenging but also many exciting initiatives. He has taken a lead role as VP in guiding the organisation through the annual planning and budgeting processes and given leadership as a senior member of our academic community. With his close colleague and recently retired Director of Planning, Richard McGookin, he was responsible for creating the University’s first strategic plan, published in 2008 and its second one in 2012, as well as making major contributions to our current one, Strategy 2025.
He will now return to some extent into his Academic Community, taking some time to reconnect more fully with his subject area and continuing his external roles including membership of the Scottish Science Advisory Committee and the Council of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. However, I have asked Julian to retain some University level responsibilities to support the University through the coming challenges arising from the Coronavirus situation. He will continue to chair the Covid-19 response group, co-ordinating our journey from lock-down over the coming months. He will also work with colleagues in the HR team to assist with planning for our future as we emerge from the crisis and think about the shape and focus of our university, and academic community in particular, as we continue to work towards the delivery of Strategy 2025 in a post-Covid world. The Strategic development of our Academic Community has never been more important and I am pleased that Julian will still be contributing to this going forward.
Whilst VP, Julian played a key role in the development of our strategy and I am pleased that he will continue to support the senior team as we work with our University Community to take this forward in the most challenging of circumstances. Julian will step down from the University Executive but carry the title of Senior Deputy Principal in his role supporting me and the wider team. He will be reducing his working hours to three days per week from August, but I am sure will continue to contribute to our University Community with the same levels of commitment, insight and energy as he has to date.
Julian has twice covered for the role of Principal and I wish to mark my sincere thanks to him personally for his support to me. We will wish to mark this transition in a more traditional way once we are able on campus.
Richard A. Williams
Principal and Vice-Chancellor