University of Sussex appoints Professor Sasha Roseneil as next Vice-Chancellor
By: Neil Vowles
Last updated: Wednesday, 2 February 2022
The University of Sussex has appointed the world-renowned, interdisciplinary social scientist Professor Sasha Roseneil as its next Vice-Chancellor. Joining in the summer of 2022, Professor Roseneil will become Sussex’s ninth Vice-Chancellor - and first female VC - in its 60-year history.
Professor Roseneil has a long track record of forward-looking and collaborative leadership. She is currently Pro-Provost (Equity and Inclusion) and Dean of the Faculty of Social and Historical Sciences at UCL.
Professor David Maguire will continue as interim Vice-Chancellor until Professor Roseneil takes up her post in August.
Dame Denise Holt said: “I would like to congratulate Professor Roseneil on her appointment as the next Vice-Chancellor of our great university.
“After an extremely thorough and competitive recruitment process, we are convinced that Professor Roseneil is the right person to lead this exciting new phase in the University’s development.
“She is hugely respected as a globally-influential researcher, valued colleague, and champion of the transformative power of education.
“Her expertise and influence will be invaluable in harnessing our shared values to create a better university for a better world.
“I would like to record my appreciation for the excellent – and continuing – job David Maguire is doing in leading the University in this transitional period.”
Professor Roseneil led the creation of a new 10-year strategic vision for the social and historical sciences at UCL which addresses key contemporary social challenges, and she will bring this strategic approach, along with a deep-rooted commitment to interdisciplinarity, to Sussex as it enters its seventh decade.
Professor Roseneil said: “During its first 60 years, Sussex has established itself as one of the most innovative, progressive, and dynamic universities in the world.
“Sussex’s future is extremely bright and I am hugely honoured to be appointed as its next Vice-Chancellor.
“I will focus the energy and resources of the University on realising the full potential of its ground-breaking research, thought leadership and transformational education in the service of the common good. The world is currently facing enormous challenges, particularly relating to environmental sustainability and intensified inequalities, and Sussex has a vital contribution to make in tackling these problems and shaping a better future for all.”
At UCL, Professor Roseneil led the development of the UCL Teaching Concordat that improved working conditions, contracts, and career opportunities for teaching staff. Under her leadership, UCL retained its silver Athena SWAN award, achieved a bronze Race Equality Charter mark, and has committed to a bold new approach to widening participation for under-represented groups. Focused on staff wellbeing, she also led a group to reduce workloads during the Covid-19 pandemic.
UCL’s first Pro-Provost (Equity and Inclusion), Professor Roseneil said: “The University of Sussex has a fantastic history of welcoming people from a wide range of backgrounds and from all over the world. I will ensure that Sussex continues its work to make the University a truly inclusive community that values diversity of identity, background, and belief, in which everyone is able to be themselves and realise their ambitions.”
Over more than 30 years as an academic, Professor Roseneil has developed an international reputation for her pioneering research on gender, sexuality and intimate life, and on citizenship, social movements, and social change. Originally trained as a sociologist, she has played a leading role in establishing the interdisciplinary fields of Gender Studies and Psychosocial Studies, and she is a qualified psychotherapist and group analyst.
The faculty she leads at UCL has been the most successful in Europe at securing European Research Council grants in the social sciences and humanities, and its disciplines are highly ranked in national and global league tables. During her tenure as Dean, the faculty has launched a number of new interdisciplinary initiatives, including UCL Anthropocene, UCL Social Data Institute, and the Sarah Parker Remond Centre for the Study of Racism and Racialization. Recently she oversaw the REF2021 submissions of UCL’s 10 social science Units of Assessment.
Professor Roseneil said that students will be at the heart of her Vice-Chancellorship at Sussex. “My goal is to ensure that we attract a diverse body of students with the potential to benefit from a Sussex education, and that we offer them an inspirational, life-changing, challenging, and supportive education that equips them to flourish beyond university.”
Before joining UCL in 2018, she was Executive Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Essex. She also spent eight years as Director of the Birkbeck Institute for Social Research, served as Head of the Department of Psychosocial Studies at Birkbeck, University of London, and was the founding Director of the Centre for Interdisciplinary Gender Studies at the University of Leeds.