Rob Woodward: I'm here to listen

20 February 2018

Rob Woodward: I

Our new Chair of Court Rob Woodward met with students during his first week at the University, while they shared their experiences and hopes for Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU). 

Rob joins GCU from STV, where he was chief executive officer. 

The Communications and Public Affairs team met with Rob to learn more about his vision for the University. 

Q. Why GCU?

A.  I worked with the team at GCU when I was Chief Executive of STV and admired the institution. I believe this University is distinct in the higher education sector for its values and outreach work. I am very happy to give my time and support to help take GCU from strength to strength.


Q. You were widely credited with making a significant difference to STV. How did you approach the challenge?

A. STV was in a difficult position when I joined. We needed to reconnect with Scotland, energise our staff and offer services that were relevant in the digital world. We needed a new focus, a new vision of the future and an understanding of STV's role. 


Q. What drives you?

A.  I am a very competitive person and I am driven by success. I love working with young people and seeing them thrive and flourish. I am a good listener and supportive. I make sure that everybody has a voice. I look forward to being a good ambassador for GCU.


Q. How do you envisage the future of GCU?

A. GCU has a unique opportunity to be a distinct institution in Scottish higher education and further afield. Inclusiveness, healthy living and sustainability are three great platforms to build on.

There is room for growth, in fact there is a necessity for growth. Becoming the first university to be granted a licence in New York is an amazing accolade. It's our responsibility to show that we can carve out a niche in that market.

GCU performs well for employability and is one of the very best for outreach in Scotland. Overall, it's a strong package. We should be proud of who we are and our unique role.


Q. You spent 12 years on the Council of City, University of London, the last six years as Chair. What progress did you oversee?

A. City University was unrecognisable to what it is now. Over those years we focused on improving the student experience and raising the quality of academic research and teaching.  Our NSS results for student experience rose from the bottom to the top in the London market.

GCU has its own story to tell. As a Court, we must make sure we support the Executive in doing what is right to develop the University. Top of my agenda is to make sure that we provide an excellent student experience. At my farewell dinner in London, all six student SU presidents who served during my time there attended.


Q. How do you see the future of higher education in Scotland and the UK?

A. There may well be a continuing reduction in Government funding. There is also an increase in student expectation. Therefore there will be more pressure to find other sources of funding. We have to make sure that the investments outside of Scotland can help GCU enhance its revenues.

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