SAMS news room

University names new principal and vice-chancellor

Prof Todd Walker is the new principal and vice-chancellor of the University of the Highlands and Islands
Prof Todd Walker is the new principal and vice-chancellor of the University of the Highlands and Islands

The University of the Highlands and Islands has appointed Professor Todd Walker as our next principal and vice-chancellor.

SAMS is an academic partner of the university and Director Prof Nicholas Owens welcomed the appointment, adding that he was looking forward to working with Prof Walker, an accomplished researcher.

Professor Walker is currently provost and deputy vice-chancellor at University of New England, which operates several campuses in the state of New South Wales, Australia. He leads the academic, quality, and indigenous portfolios at University of New England and is the chair of UNE Partnerships, a registered training organisation delivering further education.

He is an accomplished clinical cytologist with strong teaching, research and consultancy credentials. He has a degree in medical biotechnology, a PhD in molecular oncology and a graduate certificate in university leadership and management, all from Charles Sturt University.

He has worked in multi-campus, regional universities in Australia for over 20 years including, Charles Sturt University, University of Ballarat and Federation University Australia, where he co-lead the creation of the university through the acquisition and merger of the Gippsland campus of Monash University as deputy vice-chancellor (engagement).

Garry Coutts, Chair of the University Court, said: "Professor Walker's background makes him an ideal leader for us as we approach our tenth birthday as a university serving the Highlands and Islands, Moray and Perthshire.

"With an impressive 25-year career in senior academic leadership and management, he brings significant networking and experience to the role. He understands and values both further and higher education and has worked across institutions with multiple campuses based in communities with very different needs.

"Our communities need their university now and in the future. Whether it is training people in new skills, nurturing the leaders of tomorrow, or working with business to ensure they have access to the best research to help them grow and thrive, our university partnership will play a vital role in supporting the recovery of our region from the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. I am convinced Professor Walker is the right person at the right time to take us to another level."

Professor Walker said: "I am delighted to be joining the University of the Highlands and Islands, as its next principal and vice-chancellor at an exciting time in its development and growth. I look forward to working collaboratively with staff and students, partners and principals, community and government as we build and strengthen the university partnership.

"I believe the University of the Highlands and Islands is poised for a bright future and I am honoured and humbled to lead the partnership and all staff through the next chapter of the university's development."

Professor Walker will take up his appointment on 1 February 2021. He replaces Professor Clive Mulholland who retired in July 2019 and will be the university's third principal and vice-chancellor. He will join the university exactly ten years to the day since the University of the Highlands and Islands was founded.

Prof Owens said: "I am very pleased to welcome Prof Walker as the new principal and vice-chancellor of the University of the Highlands and Islands. SAMS, as a specialist research partner of the university, looks forward to working with Prof Walker, who has an accomplished research background. 

"Prof Walker joins us at a challenging time for all further and higher education establishments, but these challenges are also an unprecedented opportunity. We look forward to working together to make the most of these opportunities."