Dr Anne Wright, vice-chancellor and chief executive of Sunderland University, has been named as the new chief executive designate of the University for Industry, writes Harvey McGavin.
Dr Wright will take charge of the Government's flagship initiative for lifelong learning on November 1. Sunderland University, where she has been chief executive since 1992, has earned a reputation as an innovator of community and industry-linked learning initiatives. It has been running a University for Industry pilot scheme for the past 12 months and set up the successful and influential one-stop education "shop", Learning World, in conjunction with Gateshead College.
The appointment is a personal triumph for Dr Wright - who is a member of the Equal Opportunities Commission and chair of the Committee on University Career Opportunities - and a breakthrough for female representation in top academic posts. A recent survey by the Association of University Teachers found that only six of the 113 members of the Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals - and just one in 12 professors - are women.
Dr Wright said: "I am delighted to have this unique opportunity to help set up one of the most exciting initiatives in lifelong learning in decades. The University for Industry will play a crucial role in making learning more accessible for more people."