Salford University’s Vice-Chancellor has announced he will step down – effectively leaving his position in just two weeks due to a sabbatical.
The short time frame comes as a result of Professor Martin Hall also astonishingly revealing he will be taking a six-month break from the start of January – only two days after announcing his retirement, which will be June 30.
Appointed to Vice-Chancellor in 2009, he joined Salford from the University of Cape Town, where he was Deputy Vice-Chancellor.
In his time at Salford, he has led the university through the commissioning of their new MediaCityUK campus.
Professor Hall said: “It has been a privilege to work and live in Salford and to have been able to contribute to the University’s continuing success. Our students and staff are an inspiration to all who believe in universities and their role in society.”
Originally planning to take the six-month leave back in 2013, Professor Hall announced his plans this week to use it just before his retirement, leaving him with only two weeks left at the helm of the university.
On Tuesday Professor Helen Marshall took over all internal line management responsibilities, and she will become Acting Vice-Chancellor from the New Year.
A spokesman from the university said they will begin looking for Professor Hall’s replacement from January.
Born in Guildford, Professor Hall is a dual British and South African resident. He studied archaeology at undergraduate and post-graduate level at the University of Cambridge before moving to South Africa in 1974.
More recently, Professor Hall’s career has been tainted with controversy after he and a senior colleague launched an expensive High Court libel case against a former lecturer – all at the cost of the university.
The pair brought the action against ex-lecturer Gary Duke early last year, arguing that in his blog, Rat Catchers of the Sewers, he had libelled the university.
The case cost the university £100,000 and was thrown out of court, with Judge Justice Eady commenting: “I regard it as wholly unreal, and indeed an abuse of the court’s process, for these proceedings to continue on the basis that the only claimant is the university.”
Professor Hall’s departure comes as part of a spate of resignations this year from vice-chancellors at higher education institutions across the country.
Chris Higgins, the vice-chancellor of Durham University announced in March that he would step down from his post in September. The statement was made shortly after a vote by the university’s senate on whether to reduce his powers.
Meanwhile, Plymouth University’s vice-chancellor, Wendy Purcell was ‘placed on leave’ by her institution’s board of governors last month, leaving her future in education uncertain.
Baroness Beverley Hughes, Chair of the Council of the University of Salford, said: “Professor Hall has made a significant contribution to the University’s continuing commitment to provide the best possible opportunities for our students. We wish him well in his retirement.”
With his partner, Professor Brenda Cooper, Professor Hall will be returning to South Africa where he is Professor Emeritus at the University of Cape Town.
Professor Hall refused to be interviewed by MM, and said he does not want to give advice to his successor.
Image courtesy of University of Salford Press, with thanks.