Skip to content
Skip to navigation menu


New Vice-Chancellor for Cardiff University

12 July 2011

Professor Colin RiordanProfessor Colin Riordan

Professor Colin Riordan is to be the next Vice-Chancellor of Cardiff University.

Professor Riordan, who will take up the post on 1 September 2012 when Vice-Chancellor Dr David Grant retires from office, is currently Vice-Chancellor of the University of Essex. He moved to Essex in 2007 from Newcastle University, where he had been Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Provost of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences since August 2005.

Professor Sir Keith Peters, Chair of Cardiff University’s Council said: "When appointing a new Vice-Chancellor we set ourselves an ambitious task: to appoint a person with academic standing, a commitment to high-quality teaching and someone with a clear view of the contribution that Cardiff University makes to Wales, the UK and internationally.

"In Professor Riordan we have found that person. As well as his outstanding leadership and management skills, he has a proven understanding of research, the teaching needs of students and of the wider contribution of higher education to society as well as the international context in which universities operate."

Professor Riordan has published widely on post-war German literature and culture, including editing books on the writers Jurek Becker, Uwe Johnson and Peter Schneider. Other research interests include the history of environmental ideas in German culture.

He has extensive experience of teaching and improving the student experience. In 2009 he chaired the Higher Education Funding Council for England’s enquiry into teaching quality. He has taught at a number of universities including Swansea University (1986-94) and Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg in Germany (1982-84). He was Dean of Postgraduate studies and Head of the School of Modern Languages at the University of Newcastle.

He is Chair of the Board of University Campus Suffolk and a Board member of Universities UK, the Edge Foundation and the Equality Challenge Unit, which supports equality and diversity for staff and students in higher education across all four nations of the UK.

As chair of the International and European Policy Network of Universities UK, he has been active in promoting and advancing the role of UK universities abroad.

Commenting on his appointment, Professor Riordan said: "I feel very privileged to be given the opportunity to lead Cardiff University and build on the outstanding achievements of Dr David Grant and all his colleagues in the University.

"This is a very challenging time in the development of higher education. However, as Wales’s leading university, Cardiff is well placed to play a significant role in the future landscape upon which so much depends.

"The University's achievements and ambition ensure that it will remain one of the top research-intensive universities, offering high quality academic and professional education to a diverse range of home and international students.

"I very much look forward to joining Cardiff University in 2012."

Read responses to the appointment