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.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today