University of Sussex Students' Newspaper

First Generation Scholars Founder Clare Mackie to leave Sussex

Jordan Wright

ByJordan Wright

Oct 6, 2017

Professor Clare Mackie, Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Teaching and Learning, has announced she will be leaving Sussex to take up the position of Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Birmingham City University.

Professor Mackie started at Sussex in June 2010, and in the seven years she has been at the university she has been a strong advocate of Sussex’s widening participation initiatives. In 2011, Professor Mackie and other colleagues proposed the ‘First Generation Scholars’ scheme to the University’s Council. This scheme was designed to encourage and assist more students from disadvantaged backgrounds, or those who were the first in their families to go to university, to come to Sussex.

Officially launched in 2012, the scheme continues today and provides pastoral and financial support to approximately 40% of students at Sussex who are eligible for the initiative. So far the scheme has produced impressive results, with large numbers of first generation scholars graduating with either a first or 2:1, and good results for students gaining graduate-level employment or going on to further study within six months of graduation. Professor Mackie has consistently sought to improve the employability chances of Sussex students, which has been growing in effectiveness due to further investment in undergraduate internships, research placements and summer schools, both at home and abroad.

This effectiveness has been validated by the Teaching Excellence Framework, which awarded Sussex a silver award earlier this year, and praised the university’s ‘outstanding employment strategy’ and emphasis on ‘transferable employment skills’. The report also commends the amount of students from a variety of backgrounds who complete their course and progress to highly skilled employment or further study.

Commenting on Professor Mackie’s departure, Vice-Chancellor Adam Tickell said: ‘I would like to thank Clare for her hard work and dedication to the University. Clare was one of the main architects of our successful ‘First Generation Scholars’ programme and has shown a huge commitment to ensuring that students of all walks of life can benefit from a Sussex education.’

Professor Mackie will begin informally assisting Birmingham University from October 1st , and will be standing down from her executive duties at Sussex to avoid any conflict of interest. Whilst other officials will be taking over Professor Mackie’s formal duties, the university will be announcing plans to recruit a new Pro-Vice- Chancellor of Teaching and Learning in due course.

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