New Vice-Chancellor looks forward to leading ‘pioneering’ university forward
THE incoming Vice-Chancellor of a North Wales university says she is looking forward to leading the ‘pioneering’ institution into a new era.
Dr Maria Hinfelaar will be joining Wrexham Glyndwr University in April, as she steps down from her role as President of Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT).
The 56 year-old is ready to make the move across the Irish Sea and has a clear vision for the future.
She said: “In two months’ time I will be joining Wrexham Glyndŵr University as its new Vice-Chancellor and I am really looking forward to it.
“Wrexham Glyndŵr is ambitious and has shown resilience in the face of significant challenges. It has a crucial role in the region, demonstrating remarkable widening participation metrics and excellent graduate employability outcomes.
“I can see huge potential for Wrexham Glyndŵr through deeper collaboration with industry in the region and partnerships with other educational providers.”
Dr Hinfelaar added: “The new Strategic Framework as the university of and for north east Wales sets clear direction, while leaving room for pioneering.
“When I arrive in early April, a key priority will be to get to know staff and students and experience the facilities at the university across all of its campuses. That will give me a better insight into what the university can achieve in the future.”
After 11 years at the helm of LIT, Dr Hinfelaar joins on April 1, replacing interim Vice-Chancellor, Professor Graham Upton.
Dr Hinfelaar joined LIT in 2004 and during her time has overseen a major period of expansion and innovation.
A Netherlands native, she was a student at The Leiden University and holds a PhD from the University of Maastricht – ranked in the top 10 of THE’s global list of universities under 50 years old.
She has overseen significant development at LIT, which was named Institute of Technology of the Year 2008/09 and 2012/13 in the prestigious Sunday Times University Guide.
It is now the fourth largest Institute of Technology (IoT) in Ireland with 6500 full time and part time students and over 500 staff. LIT has built up a strong enterprise incubation and R&D profile, which Dr Hinfelaar is keen to ‘export’ to North Wales.
A keen cyclist, Dr Hinfelaar is also eager to explore the beautiful surroundings of North Wales and will be moving to the area together with her husband Graham in the coming weeks.
Maxine Penlington OBE – unveiled as chair of the Board of Governors in December – believes Dr Hinfelaar’s appointment will ensure further growth at the institution.
“I am absolutely thrilled that Dr Maria Hinfelaar will be joining us next year to lead Wrexham Glyndŵr into the next exciting phase of its development, building on the very strong foundations laid by Professor Upton and the management team,” she said.
“Maria comes to us with an excellent track record of institutional leadership and of business and regional engagement and I am confident that she will be an asset both to the University and to the community of north east Wales.”
Professor Upton, who plans to step down on March 31, added: “This is an excellent appointment and shows what an exciting proposition Wrexham Glyndŵr University will be for students moving forward.
“The institution has huge potential and Dr Hinfelaar recognises that. Her vision matches that of the University – to become bigger, stronger and bolder – so the future looks very bright indeed.”
Reflecting on his own time at the university, Professor Upton said: “It has been a challenging year but one that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed.
“The staff worked incredibly hard to turn a corner and lay the foundations for the years ahead, which should see Wrexham Glyndŵr University grow in stature as an institution the people of Wrexham and north east Wales can be incredibly proud of.”
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