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New Chairman takes office at HESA

Professor David Melville CBE, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Kent, officially takes over the role of Chairman of the board of the Higher Education Statistics Agency today. Professor Melville was previously Chief Executive of the former Further Education Funding Council (FEFC) and was a member of the Research Advisory Group for the Higher Education Funding Council for England.

Professor Melville said "It is a great privilege to be taking over the Chairmanship of HESA from Mike Sterling, who has led a very successful and professional organisation through its last ten years. I look forward to working with Robin Sibson and his staff to develop the organisation in the future."

“The agency will have an increasingly important role to play in the future, in what is a rapidly changing sector. Higher Education is facing more and more scrutiny and the need for accurate and concise statistics is increasing. Our aim will be to ensure these whilst minimising additional burden on institutions.”

Professor Melville takes over from Professor Michael Sterling, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Birmingham, who has been HESA Chairman since the Agency’s inception in 1993. He is also Chair of the Russell Group of Institutions. Of his time as Chairman, Professor Sterling said “I am very proud to have been involved in the establishing of HESA and of its achievements over the past decade. It is a quite unique organisation and I am pleased to have helped overcome the many challenges the Agency has faced over the years.”

“It has been a delight to work with the other board members and the staff of the Agency to ensure it was a success and that its aims were fulfilled. I am sure that the Agency will continue to grow and build upon these successes in the coming years.”

HESA Chief Executive, Professor Robin Sibson said “Mike Sterling has steered the development of HESA from small beginnings to its present well-established position as the authoritative source of HE data for the UK. The Agency owes him a real debt of gratitude for the long-term commitment of time and energy which he has given to us.”

Professor Sibson was previously Vice-Chancellor at the University of Kent where he was succeeded by Professor Melville. Professor Sibson commented “I was very pleased when Kent appointed David Melville as my own successor there as Vice-Chancellor, and all the more so when Universities UK nominated him as a member of the HESA Board. His experience in a variety of senior positions means that he understands HESA’s work from the perspective of a funding body as well as that of a sector institution, and I and my colleagues here at HESA are looking forward to working with him as our new Chairman.”

Notes for editors

  1. HESA is the central source for higher education statistics. HESA was set-up in 1993 following a Government White Paper ‘Higher Education: A New framework’, which called for more coherence in higher education statistics. There are 45 staff at the Agency.
  2. Further biographical details for Professor Melville follow:

    Professor David Melville began his career as a lecturer in Physics at The University of Southampton and carried out research on magnetism and magnetic materials as well as bio and medical physics. He served on and was chairman of a number of research councils and Higher Education Funding Council Committees.

    David Melville went on to become Vice Rector of Lancashire Polytechnic and Vice-Chancellor of Middlesex University. During this period he also served as Vice-Chairman of the Committee for Vice-Chancellors and Principals (now Universities UK) and Chairman of its Longer Term Strategy Group.

    In 1996 he became Chief Executive of the Further Education Funding Council. He was appointed Vice-Chancellor of the University of Kent at Canterbury in September 2001.

    He is Chairman of the Higher Education Statistics Agency, Higher Education South East and the Universities Vocational Awards Council and is currently a member of the Tomlinson Review of 14-19 education and qualifications.

    He was educated at Sheffield and Columbia Universities and has Honorary Degrees from Sheffield, Middlesex, Derby and Southampton Universities. He was made a CBE for services to education in 2001.

  3. Photographs are available in JPEG format if required.
  4. Press Enquiries should be directed to Press Officer at HESA, 95 Promenade, Cheltenham, GL50 1HZ; telephone: 01242 211133.


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