De Montfort University appoints new Vice-Chancellor

Following an extensive recruitment process, Professor Katie Normington has been appointed as the new Vice-Chancellor of De Montfort University (DMU).

Currently Deputy Principal (Academic) at Royal Holloway, University of London, overseeing strategy and policy for teaching and research at the London institution, Professor Normington is expected to join DMU in the new year.

Commenting on her appointment, Professor Normington said:

“Over the last few months I have been able to meet DMU staff and students online and in person and have been struck by the deep commitment of the university to offering a transformative education that is open to everyone.

“At the heart of the institution is its focus on equality and sustainability and its innovative and creative approaches to teaching and research. Given the recent past of the university and the global pandemic, there is much work to do together to build an outstanding university of the 21st century for the benefit of students, staff and the city. I look forward to leading us on that journey and am honoured to serve the DMU community as its next Vice-Chancellor.”

Prior to her role as Deputy Principal, Professor Normington was Dean of Arts and Social Sciences/Vice-Principal (Staffing, including Equality and Diversity) and before this, Head of the Department of Drama and Theatre.  She joined Royal Holloway as a lecturer from Greenwich University in 1997. Her research focuses on theatre history – in particular, medieval English drama and contemporary theatre practice. She has published six books in these areas and continues to write articles within the field.

In her roles as Dean, then Deputy Principal, Professor Normington led capital and culture change projects at Royal Holloway. In 2017 she led the ‘Student First’ project that focused on improving student experience, support and student voice. In 2019 she led the university’s move from 21 departments and schools to six schools, a change that strengthened Royal Holloway’s ability to navigate the impact of Covid-19.

She was Project Chair for large new build and infrastructure refurbishment projects across the university’s historic campus and chaired cross-college and interdisciplinary groups concerned with the hosting of athletes at Royal Holloway in 2012 for the Olympics, and the preparations for the celebration of the anniversary of the Magna Carta in 2015, and for Suffrage in 2018.

Outside of Royal Holloway, Professor Normington is the founding director of the nine-strong university Arts and Humanities Research Council doctoral training partnership, Techne, and has been a Board member at a further education college and dance company. She has served on the expert review panel for the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers and was a subject panel member for TEF pilots.

Ian Squires, Chairman of the Board of Governors, warmly welcomed Professor Normington’s appointment, saying:

“On behalf of the Board of Governors, I’m delighted that Katie has accepted this position as the new Vice-Chancellor of DMU. The process has been a thorough and extremely robust one and the choice of the panel – including governors and our external adviser, Professor Dame Janet Beer, the Vice-Chancellor of Liverpool University – was unanimous.

“Katie fully embraces all of DMU’s values and beliefs and will be a passionate advocate of the university and a great colleague for all of us. Her commitment to our staff and students is absolute. Her creativity, her deeply collaborative style and her clear vision promise great things. Above all Katie’s vision of the ways in which DMU can develop and have even greater impact on Leicester, on the region and more widely will be an inspiration.

“I would like to take this moment to thank the Interim Vice-Chancellor, Professor Andy Collop, for his leadership of the university over the past 18 months. The university faced some significant challenges during that period, surpassed only by the difficulties we continue to bear in the wake of COVID-19. The way in which the university has been navigated through these immense practical and financial obstacles represents a very significant contribution by Andy to DMU’s proud history and we all have much to be grateful to him for.

“With this as a foundation, the university is on the verge of beginning an exciting new chapter in its history and we look forward with great anticipation to Katie’s arrival in the coming months.”