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New Pro Vice-Chancellor joins Glyndŵr University

27 January 2010

Glyndŵr University has appointed Dr Allan Howells as Pro Vice-Chancellor Operations.

The new post will see Dr Howells take on executive responsibility for administrative functions and academic support services at the University.

Dr Howells joins Glyndŵr University from Keele University, where he was Director of Academic Services.

A Physics with Planetary and Space Physics graduate from the University of Wales Aberystwyth, he spent six years as a researcher at the west Wales university, gaining a PhD in Atmospheric Physics.

Dr Howells first moved into university management and administration in 1994 at the University of Sheffield, initially working in areas of institutional research strategy and policy.   He moved to Keele University in 2000 to establish a strategic planning office and provide executive support to the University’s leadership.

His achievements to date in higher education include restructuring the academic framework at the University of Keele, to enable the University to respond to the increasing changes to the external higher education environment.

More recently he was leading the implementation of a significant curriculum review, designed to deliver a more flexible curriculum that met future students’ needs and demands in a more challenging employment market.

Commenting on his move to Glyndŵr University, Dr Howells said: “Glyndŵr University is at a really interesting time in its history. It’s recently been awarded university title and university status which is a fantastic achievement. Now it’s about building on University status, living up to being a University and moving the University forward.

“I’m excited about coming to somewhere that’s on the verge of achieving fantastic things.

"I’m operating from a position of strength, especially in terms of the University’s links with industry - students can come here and get a good job when they leave – but we’ve now got to make the next step and I want this University to be really successful and realize its potential.

"Without doubt, what motivates me the most is seeing organizations fulfil their potential and seeing individuals fulfil their potential.

“The aspiration is to make Glyndŵr University a world class university.

"We want to make Glyndŵr University known around the world for really positive things – outstanding teaching, cutting edge research and highly employable graduates.”

Originally from Blaina, a former mining village in Blaenau Gwent in south Wales, Dr Howells said he was keen to continue the University’s excellent track record in opening up opportunities in higher education to all those with potential, regardless of background.

“It dawned on me only recently that I’m a typical widening participation student,” he said. “I was born into a farming family in a remote part of South Wales and I was the first from my family to go to university.

"I’ve always had great support from my family and I’ve gone on to achieve.

"There shouldn’t be anything that stops anyone else from getting on in life and achieving and one thing we must do as a University is continue to find ways of supporting them and fulfilling their potential.

“There are world class pupils in and around Wrexham and one of our roles as a University should be to unlock that potential.

"Even if they don’t come and study here we want them to benefit from having a university in Wrexham.”

Dr Howells is married with two young children. He is a Fellow of the British Interplanetary Society and away from the university is a keen golfer. Among his other interests he lists following Welsh rugby – and following his passion for human space flight.

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