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New leader for ARU's key workers of the future

Published: 25 March 2020 at 12:55

Professor Nigel Harrison

New Pro Vice Chancellor and Dean for Faculty of Health, Education, Medicine and Social Care

The Faculty responsible for training many of the region's future key workers – including nurses, doctors, midwives, allied health professionals, social workers and education professionals – has a new leader.

Professor Nigel Harrison has joined Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) as Pro Vice Chancellor and Dean of the Faculty of Health, Education, Medicine and Social Care, According to Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) data, ARU is the largest provider of Nursing, Midwifery, and Health and Social Care courses in England.

Professor Harrison joins ARU from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) having worked as an adult and mental health nurse and cognitive therapist in clinical and management roles in the Midlands, London and North West for a range of statutory, voluntary and charitable organisations.

While at UCLan, Professor Harrison led a self-assessment team leading to an Athena Swan Bronze Award for its work on developing gender equality. He was one of the first Principal Fellows of the Higher Education Academy, and has also worked in the voluntary sector, chairing a regional Age UK charity and holding the position of governor in an NHS Foundation Trust.

The first person in his family to go to university, Professor Harrison is a member of the National Council of Deans of Health Executive Team, and lead across the UK for education impact. He chairs the council’s Student Leadership Programme advisory group.

His role at ARU will be to oversee the provision and development of education, research and innovation for the faculty, which includes ARU’s new School of Medicine, and course provision across three campuses: Chelmsford, Cambridge and Peterborough.

Professor Harrison said:

“This is a wonderful opportunity for me to work with colleagues on preparing the workforce of the future, so we continue to be responsive to both the national priorities and the needs of local provider organisations.

“I was amazed by the facilities here, including the simulated learning environment and equipment and the commitment and provision of digital learning technologies. I am committed to enhancing teaching and learning and engaging students as co-creators of their learning.

“We want to enable students and staff from a broad range of backgrounds to achieve their full potential. I am particularly passionate about widening participation across higher education, so that opportunities are open to everybody, regardless of their background. I am particularly impressed that ARU shares this vision and has undertaken impressive work on this for many years.”


Professor Harrison replaces Professor Ruth Taylor, who returned to her native Scotland to take on a role at the University of Aberdeen in November.