Changes to Structure and Membership of Principal’s Office



In an email sent round to students and staff, Principal Sally Mapstone announced updates to the structure and membership of the Principal’s Office.


Such changes are part of the application of a refreshed University Strategy 2022-7. This strategy will have as its key pillars World-Leading, Diverse, Digital, Entrepreneurial, and Sustainable. All of these goals will form part of a wider pledge to Social Responsibility.


This strategy will go to University Court in October for approval. Explaining the reasoning behind the strategy, Principal Mapstone wrote, ‘A robust strategic plan is more important than ever, given very significant constraints on public funding, the cost-of-living emergency, domestic and international political turmoil, and the imperative that is the climate crisis’.


To put the strategy into action, new appointments have been created as of 1 July 2022 (with the exception of Dr Rebekah Widowfield who began her role last month).


These appointments aim to create a senior team able to provide the highest quality leadership, support, and service to the Schools and Units of the University of St Andrews, as well as the undergraduate and postgraduate student community.

The roles include: Vice-Principal (Strategy, Policy and Planning), to be taken on by Ester Ruskuc; Vice-Principal (Digital Education, Research, and Environment), led by Professor Monique Mackenzie; Vice-Principal (People and Diversity), headed by Dr Rebekah Widowfield; and Vice Principal (Communications), run by Niall Scott.

Principal Mapstone wrote of these appointments, ‘These colleagues have specific skills, experience, and vision which St Andrews will require to found strategy in evidence and consensus, and translate it to action, inclusivity, and measurable progress.’


‘I am delighted that they have accepted the considerable additional challenges and responsibilities of their new roles, which will be in service to you, the people who ultimately determine the success and health of our university’.


In addition to these changes, the current Vice-Principal (Collections, Music and Digital Content), Professor Katie Stevenson, is leaving the University of St Andrews to take up a Decanal post at Monash University.


Professor Stevenson’s responsibilities for Collections will be transferred to Professor Tom Brown, Vice-Principal (Research, Collections and Innovation).

Responsibility for the Byre Theatre and Laidlaw Music Centre will transfer to the Dean of Arts; responsibility for the Botanic Garden will transfer to the Dean of Science.


Professor Frank Muller, Assistant Vice-Principal (Learning and Teaching), has also taken on additional responsibilities of Provost as of 1 July.


Further adjustments to the structure and membership of the Principal’s Office are being made over the summer and will be announced in September.


These announcements were made alongside recognition of the back-to-back Graduations which took place over three weeks in June. Principal Mapstone wrote,

‘The planning, professionalism, goodwill and dedication of our staff have been simply remarkable. No-one could ever do three weeks of back-to-back Graduations quite like St Andrews.


‘On behalf of our 2020, 2021, and 2022 graduates, and those of us fortunate to be supported by such able and dedicated colleagues, thank you to all of you. Yours was a truly Herculean task.’


Principal Mapstone ended her email with well wishes for summer, writing, ‘I wish you all an enjoyable and restorative summer break, whenever you are able to take it’.



Image: Valentine Kulikov, Pexels

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