Heads of Colleges appointments announcement

23 August 2022

The strategic vision to ensure SOAS remains a world-class leading university takes further shape today, as new Heads of Colleges are officially announced following a competitive interview process.

Professor Edward Simpson, Professor Elisa Van Waeyenberge, and Professor Graeme Earl, have all been successfully appointed to the three new separate posts and will take up their positions in each of the Colleges this academic year.

The three new Colleges will enable SOAS to meet the challenges of the strategic plan in addressing the key global questions of our time through the intensification of research activity and collaboration, and strengthening the student experience.

The Heads of College will work closely with the Deputy Director and Provost to ensure the successful transition to the new academic groupings.

SOAS Director, Professor Adam Habib, said: “We are pleased to be announcing yet another major step forward in our vision and we extend a warm welcome to our new leadership team as we enter another phase of successful growth for SOAS. Our recent REF and QS World University Rankings results go to prove that we are leading the way in many academic areas, and we will continue to do so as our focus sharpens on the challenges we must meet. My congratulations to all of the newly appointed Heads of Colleges.


Professor Edward Simpson said:

“I am delighted to have been appointed as the Head of College. The College brings together a new cluster of disciplines, strong departments and excellent academics. I look forward to working with colleagues and building something innovative and strong together. I also take this opportunity to solicit suggestions for a catchier college name.

Professor Simpson is former Head of Social Anthropology and former Director of the SOAS South Asia Institute.

Professor Elisa Van Waeyenberge said:

“I look forward to working with colleagues across the academic and professional services to bring to life the vision embedded in the Strategic Plan. Many elements of the Strategic Plan indeed offer unique opportunities and this is acutely urgent given the multiple challenges humanity is facing. In my new role I will work closely with our vibrant staff and student body as we re-imagine our teaching, research and knowledge exchange in support of our broader social justice mandate, with new partnerships with institutions in the Global South as core to that mission.”

Professor Van Waeyenberge is former Co-Head of the Economics Department.

Professor Graeme Earl said:

“I am delighted to be joining SOAS at such an exciting time. The disciplinary breadth and depth at SOAS is extraordinary, and it will be a great pleasure to work with all my new colleagues and students in achieving the School’s ambitious vision. My archaeological career is grounded in the regions that are at the heart of SOAS’ unique approach to global questions, and in the benefits of working collectively, globally. I’m excited by our opportunity to create new forms of partnerships, to innovate and increase access to our teaching, and to grow what is already transformative and world-renowned research and engagement.”

Professor Graeme Earl joins SOAS from King’s College, London, where he is Professor of Digital Humanities and Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities (External Relations).