24 October 2019
SOAS University of London has set out a positive and ambitious prospectus as it seeks to appoint its next Director to succeed Baroness Valerie Amos in summer 2020.
Introducing the recruitment pack, Marie Staunton says: “As Chair of Trustees, I am proud to be part of SOAS’s vibrant community and our truly global outlook. Our staff, students and alumni have a strong sense of social purpose and are uniquely placed to inform and shape thinking about the economic, political, cultural, security and religious challenges of our world. We are inspired by SOAS’s core values, including our commitment to excellence, diversity and freedom of speech, and our vision is to be a research-driven, innovative and sustainable university that creates change-makers in the world.”
The new director will join at a time when a new strategy for 2020 and beyond is being shaped. The candidate pack highlights exciting new initiatives in the planning stages – such as a commitment to providing ambitious online and on-campus blended learning for all students and an international placement in one of the SOAS regions; and a new business, management, public policy and law school for primarily international students.
Under Baroness Amos’ leadership as Director, SOAS has taken a strategic approach to its development. Over the last 5 years, new management as well as new academic and professional service structures have been introduced. There is a new academic strategy with each department looking at what and how subjects are taught. Rising in the UK and world rankings, and having led in the sector in action to decolonise the curriculum and to tackle the BME attainment gap.
The School is seeking a new Director who will build on the progress SOAS has made and shape the future in exciting and innovative ways. They will be tasked with ensuring SOAS’s ongoing strategic development and its ambitions in relation to learning, teaching, research and international collaborations. Priorities will include maintaining the current momentum to deliver SOAS’s long-term financial sustainability; overseeing an outstanding student experience; and uniting students and staff behind shared values.
The School is able to point with confidence to its strengthening financial position – having improved by £1.6m in 2018-19 and with surplus projected for 2022 – and the launch of successful new initiatives, such as the new Foundation Year which has already proved highly popular with students. Student intake has grown by 15% this year, across both home and international undergraduates. SOAS has also risen nine places in the 2020 Times/Sunday Times Good University Guide, and four places to 57th in the world in the Times Higher World Rankings for Arts and Humanities.
In a distinctive approach to its recruitment, fitting with the SOAS mission and values, the Students’ Union’s ambitions for the new Director is set out in the recruitment pack, setting out the opportunities that SOAS. They note that: “SOAS is an incredible place to work and study. It is an institution full of potential and inspiration. This is the kind of place that makes you want to wake up and head into the office. We have big dreams, and the belief that SOAS has what it takes to be leading in the sector.”