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Vice-Chancellor of Buckinghamshire New University to step down

Professor Nick Braisby, Vice-Chancellor of Buckinghamshire New University (BNU) has announced his intention to step down from his role in 2025. Having joined the University in 2017 as Deputy Vice-Chancellor, he has been Vice-Chancellor since first assuming the role in 2018.

Speaking about his decision, Professor Braisby said: “It is an honour and privilege to serve as Vice-Chancellor for BNU’s very special and diverse community. I want to thank my colleagues for their tireless efforts, Council members and strategic partners for their continued support, and our students and learners for choosing BNU and so wholeheartedly embracing all it has to offer.

“I am proud of all that we have achieved together so far during my tenure including an award-winning response to the cost-of-living crisis, record financial and NSS results, the expansion of and significant investment in our campuses, and the appointment of Jay Blades MBE as our inaugural Chancellor. At BNU we proudly punch above our weight and we have led the sector in developing a pledge to support Gypsy, Traveller, Roma, Showmen and Boater students into and within higher education, by creating a definition of Islamophobia, and by calling for changes to boost sector-wide quality of franchise provision.

“Putting the interests of our students and staff first is always my core priority and, having achieved nearly everything I set out to on taking up the role of Vice-Chancellor, I’ve chosen to announce my decision now so there is plenty of time to find the very best person to lead BNU through its next chapter. BNU will always hold a very special place in my heart and I am committed to ensuring that the institution remains in excellent health until, and beyond, the time I step down. While I am not seeking another Vice-Chancellorship, I intend to continue contributing to the UK higher education sector in the years ahead.”

Professor Braisby added that ‘the BNU community takes great collective pride in all that has already been achieved’ during his leadership which includes:

· Record financial results, returning four consecutive surpluses and more than doubling its cash reserves. A growth in student numbers has seen income from taught students increase by 45% in the last three years.

· Substantial growth in student numbers underpinned by significant portfolio expansion, including the creation of two new academic schools – the Missenden Abbey International Hotel and Hospitality School and the School of Engineering and the Built Environment.

· BNU ranked No 1 in England for overall student positivity, averaged across questions, in the 2023 National Student Survey. The University also ranked 1st in 2022 for overall satisfaction in the Postgraduate Research Experience Survey. 

· Two consecutive Silver Awards in the Student Outcomes and Teaching Excellence Framework, with every single feature in 2024 judged to be very high or outstanding quality.

· Significantly improved league table rankings which in the past year included maintaining BNU’s top 80 position in the Guardian University Guide; ranking 13th for student satisfaction in the Complete University Guide; and remaining in the top 10 for teaching quality in the Times and Sunday Times University Guide.

· £25m+ investment in the High Wycombe and Aylesbury campuses, the acquisition of the Brunel Engine Shed to create a new community space in High Wycombe, and an enhanced accommodation offer for students with the purchase of Alexandra House adjacent to the High Wycombe campus. 

· BNU featured as a case study of excellence in a Higher Education Policy Institute report about universities’ response to the cost-of-living crisis. 

· BNU awarded University of the Year for Student Support in the Daily Mail University Guide. 

· Successful delivery of the University’s Impact 2022 strategy and embedding its Thrive 28 University strategy to deliver BNU’s mission of transforming lives through inspiring, employment and profession-focused education, and enabling people to positively impact society and their future.

· Distributed leadership based on a strong executive team and wider management group.

Maggie Galliers CBE, Chair of University Council and Pro-Chancellor said: “I and everyone at BNU are truly grateful for Nick’s loyal, dedicated service and for all that he has already done to transform the University’s standing and ensure it is a great place to study and work.

“It is credit to Nick’s determination to always do the right thing that he has given the University time to conduct a thorough, fair and robust recruitment process and to ensure a smooth transition. The University Council will soon begin the search for a successor to continue Nick’s legacy of excellent leadership, of which he can be immensely proud, as we look to build success on success.”


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