University appoints three local independent members to its governing body

Willie Printie, managing director, LifeScan Scotland, James MacDonald, group finance director, Global Energy Group and Vicki Nairn, head of e-government at The Highland Council have been appointed to serve as independent members of the new University of the Highlands and Islands Court.

The University Court, or governing body, is responsible for the strategic direction of the university and must ensure the good governance of the institution and its financial health, as well as managing risk.

The University of the Highlands and Islands chief operating officer and secretary, Fiona Larg, said: “We received an excellent response to our advertisement for new independent University Court members.

“We were looking for members of the University Court of the highest calibre with a balance of the skills and experience our university needs at this exciting time in its development. It has been exceptionally difficult to choose our final appointees.

“I’m sure these new independent University Court members will all demonstrate the commitment to and enthusiasm for the exciting journey on which we are embarked.”

Willie Printie said: “The evolution of the University of the Highlands and Islands is of great importance to our local community and to all the businesses that operate in this region.  For businesses to thrive in the Highlands there must be a constant flow of appropriately educated and skilled people as an enabler to growth and wealth creation.  One of the biggest challenges to the business sector in our region is the sourcing and retaining of highly skilled employees; the University of the Highlands and Islands has the power to meet this need and I am delighted to play a part in shaping that future.”

James MacDonald said: “This is a particularly exciting time to join the University of the Highlands and Islands’ journey and I look forward to helping make a contribution to the strategic plans and actions that will move the university along the road from good to great.”

Vicki Nairn said: "I am delighted to have been appointed to the University Court and very much looking forward to working with colleagues to build on the success of the university to date and to contribute to the exciting future ahead."

The reconstitution follows a review of the governance and management of the university and recognises that the Scottish Government’s proposed legislation on post-16 education will designate the University as having regional responsibility for the provision of further education as well as higher education in its operating area.

The new structure will assist in developing the provision of post-school learning in the region, for both full- and part-time learners. It will provide more and clearer progression opportunities through all qualification levels, with access through the further and higher education colleges and specialist institutions that comprise the university partnership.

About the new Court. The new independent members are:

As well as lay members, the new University Court will comprise the principal and vice-chancellor, rector and seven further members drawn from the university’s staff, students, academic partners and sponsor universities.

About the university:

The University of the Highlands and Islands is a partnership of thirteen further and higher education colleges, specialist colleges and research institutions, distributed throughout the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. They are bound together through constitutional, management and academic structures, and coordinated through an executive office.

There are currently over 7000 students studying on undergraduate and postgraduate courses or undertaking postgraduate research with the university.

The University of the Highlands and Islands is the only university based in the Highlands and Islands.

Its purpose is to have a transformational impact on the development and prospects for the region, its people and its communities.

The University of the Highlands and Islands is a limited company registered in Scotland No. 148203. Scottish charity No. SC022228. Registered office: 12B, Ness Walk, Inverness, IV3 5

27 May 2013