Inside appointment as stalwart gets top job at Aberdeen College

2nd October 2009 at 01:00

Aberdeen College has gone against the trend of external appointments and turned to one of its own for leadership.

Its new principal is Rob Wallen, the college's director of learning and teaching, who has been on the staff for 18 years.

The institution has been without a principal since the sudden departure of Rae Angus in February, and the board of management lost no time in plugging the gap after announcing its decision last week: Mr Wallen, 55, took up post yesterday.

Before his arrival in Aberdeen, he worked in secondary, further and higher education in Egypt, China and England. His degree is in English from York University, and he also has an MA in second language learning and teaching from the University of London.

Learning and teaching has been his abiding interest. Although Mr Angus was given the credit for many of the awards won by the college over the years, Mr Wallen was a key player. The most recent accolade, a Beacon Award which recognises outstanding contributions to FE throughout the UK, praised the "creative production, adaptation and delivery of learning resources for its innovative use of e-learning resources to encourage students to become more effective learners".

Mr Wallen led a national working group whose 2004 report called for lecturers to have "a better knowledge of learning and a range of teaching strategies." He asked: "Do staff consider how learners learn, or only how they teach?" Looking ahead 10 years, he suggested that FE lecturers should have less of a focus on subject knowledge and more on generic skills.

But he has also looked outwards and been a driver in developing Aberdeen College's links with the community, particularly to connect with people who have kept their distance from education.

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