Professor Beer was elected following a ballot of Universities UK members. She will succeed the current President, Professor Dame Julia Goodfellow, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Kent, next year (from 1 August 2017) and will hold the post for two years until July 2019.
Professor Beer has been Vice-Chancellor of the University of Liverpool since 2015. Before that, she spent seven years as Vice-Chancellor of Oxford Brookes University. She is currently Vice-President of Universities UK (England and Northern Ireland), Chair of the Board of the Equality Challenge Unit and was a member of the recent taskforce on dealing with violence against women, harassment and hate crime affecting university students. She is also a board member of UCAS, a board member of the National Centre for Universities and Business (NCUB) and a trustee of the British Council.
Professor Beer has an established record of research and scholarship in late nineteenth and early twentieth century American literature and culture and most recently completed a study of the late writing of Edith Wharton.
Nicola Dandridge, Chief Executive of Universities UK, said: “Janet is widely respected throughout the university sector. With ten years’ experience as the head of two universities, and having chaired and served on the boards of some of the sector’s main bodies, Janet will bring considerable experience and leadership to the role of UUK President.
“The Brexit negotiations will have considerable implications for UK universities in the coming years. On top of this, the Teaching Excellence Framework, Higher Education Bill and more debates about international student visas means we have our work cut out.”
Professor Beer said: “I am delighted and honoured to have been elected President of Universities UK. These are challenging times for our sector and I look forward to working closely with members to ensure that UK higher education grows stronger than ever. That means attracting the best talent, producing well-rounded graduates and cutting-edge research, and making a major contribution to our social and economic development. I welcome the opportunities we will have to build upon the already outstanding work that universities do.”
Dame Julia Goodfellow remains President of Universities UK until 31 July 2017. Professor Beer will not be giving interviews about the new role as Universities UK president until later in 2017. For further information, please contact the Universities UK press office on firstname.lastname@example.org or 020 7419 5407.
More biographical information on Professor Janet Beer is available via the University of Liverpool website.
The president is elected from and by the membership of Universities UK for two academic years and is only eligible for re-election by special resolution. The president chairs all Universities UK Members' Meetings, the UK Board and the Executive Committee meetings.