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WGU ten years

New developments in 2016 for Glyndŵr University staff and students

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Students and staff at Glyndŵr University Wrexham are preparing for a positive year packed with new developments and fresh faces.

The University is getting ready to welcome incoming Vice-Chancellor Dr Maria Hinfelaar – current President of the Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT) – as well as a new Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Director of Finance in the weeks ahead.

Alec Shepley will return to the institution from the University of Lincoln to replace outgoing Head of Media, Art and Design, Professor Estelle Thompson, and other recruits include Mike Hamer, who joins Glyndŵr as Head of Estates and Campus Management, and Campus Services Manager, Edward Taylor-Robinson. Naomi Squire has also recently joined the team, as Chaplaincy Coordinator.

As well as changes in personnel, the Students’ Guild building will undergo further improvements in 2016, including a new bar lounge, and the University plans to refocus its approach to postgraduate study and research, with Heads of Schools working with Research Centre leaders to develop graduate students.

This all follows the launch of a five-year strategic framework last summer, which unveiled proposals to double student numbers by 2020 and increase turnover to £75m over the same period.

After more than a decade at the helm of LIT, Dr Hinfelaar says she is looking forward to the challenge of taking on the Welsh institution and joins at an “exciting” time in its short history.

“I can see tremendous potential for the University at the heart of north east Wales, which is a region undergoing interesting development,” said the 56 year-old.

“Personally, having spent the last 11 years leading a similar institution in the mid-west of Ireland, I have discovered first-hand how crucially important universities are to their area.

“I look forward to joining Glyndŵr University and getting to know the staff, students and wider stakeholders.”

A Netherlands native, Dr Hinfelaar has overseen significant development at LIT, which was named Institute of Technology of the Year 2008/09 and 2012/13 in the prestigious Sunday Times University Guide.

Maxine Penlington OBE - recently unveiled as chair of the Board of Governors, alongside new Chancellor, Trefor Jones OBE – said the appointment marks a big step for the University.

“Maria comes to us with an excellent track record of institutional leadership and of business and regional engagement and I am confident that she will be an asset both to the University and to the community of north east Wales."

Professor Graham Upton, who stands down as Interim Vice-Chancellor on March 31, believes new alliance agreements with further and higher education partners in North Wales and the North West shows the institution can move forward as an independent entity in a position of strength, working closely to benefit the region.

He added: “I may have only arrived in Wrexham last February to take on this interim position but during that time I have come to feel part of the University and am very proud that we have achieved so much in such a short time.

“The institution has huge potential and Dr Hinfelaar recognises that. Her vision matches that of the University – to become bigger, stronger and bolder – so the future looks very bright indeed.”

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