Former Rothesay dux is made university vice-chancellor

The Rev Professor Peter Neil, a past dux medallist at Rothesay Academy and an ex-pupil of Rothesay Promary, has been appointed vice-chancellor of Bishop Grosseteste University in Lincoln.
The Rev Professor Peter Neil, a past dux medallist at Rothesay Academy and an ex-pupil of Rothesay Promary, has been appointed vice-chancellor of Bishop Grosseteste University in Lincoln.

A former Rothesay Academy dux medallist has been appointed as the next vice-chancellor of one of England’s newest universities.

The Rev Professor Peter Neil, son of Nessie and the late Syd Neil of Craignethan, a past pupil of Rothesay Primary, will take up his post at Bishop Grosseteste University in Lincoln - known as ‘BG’ - in May.

Professor Neil, who was born on Bute, will succeed Professor Muriel Robinson OBE, who retires in April after ten years in the post.

Currently interim executive dean of the faculty of education, health and social Sciences at the University of the West of Scotland, Professor Neil has a distinguished academic record in the fields of education and theology and is a prominent figure in the world of Scottish higher education.

The chair of BG’s university council, Haydn Beeken, said: “Peter stood out amongst a strong field of candidates for his academic and leadership track record.

“His passion for BG’s ethos shone through the selection process and BG’s governors are confident that he is the right person to lead the university through the next stage of its development.”

The Bishop of Lincoln, the Rt Rev Christopher Lowson, who was also involved in the selection process, added: “This is an excellent appointment which will ensure that BG continues to develop in its valuable role as a Church of England university and to play its part in the life of the city and region.”

Professor Neil said:: “I am delighted at this opportunity and feel very honoured to be given the responsibility of leading BG at this exciting time in its history.

“I have followed the progress of this gem of an institution for many years and I very much look forward to working with the staff and students through the next phase in its development.”

After working as a teacher of modern languages in Scotland, Peter moved to Northern Ireland, where he became a senior lecturer in education at Queen’s University Belfast,

Whilst at Queen’s he completed a PhD in Education and began studying theology. In 2003 he took up the role of director of education and lifelong learning at Aberystwyth University, subsequently returning to Scotland as head of the school of education at the University of the West of Scotland.

With a wide range of research interests centred on education and on theology Professor Neil has written books on language teaching, continuing professional development and teacher mentoring.

He has researched topics ranging from language education to school leadership and ordinary theology, publishing in academic journals and speaking at international conferences.

While teaching in Aberystwyth he was accepted for the priesthood in the Church in Wales, training at St Michael’s College, Llandaff, Cardiff, and was ordained in St David’s Cathedral.  

He currently serves with the Scottish Episcopal Church and is an assistant priest in three parishes in south Ayrshire.

Professor Muriel Robinson commented: “It is wonderful to feel that the university will be in such capable hands for the future.

“Peter will be a real asset to the city and brings enormous experience of working with communities in relation to higher education. I wish him every success in taking BG to the next stage of its future.”

Bishop Grosseteste University is an independent higher education institution, based in Lincoln, which was established in January 1862 and awards its own degrees at foundation, undergraduate and postgraduate level.

It changed its name from Bishop Grosseteste University College to Bishop Grosseteste University in November 2012 after a change in government rules allowed higher education institutions with more than a thousand students to apply to call themselves a university.

Under the previous rules only institutions with 4,000 or more students could use the title.