Professor Mary Stuart CBE is Vice Chancellor of the University of Lincoln, UK. She is a graduate of the University of Cape Town, SA, and the Open University, UK, where she obtained her Doctorate in Social Policy in 1998.
Her research interests are focused on social mobility and higher education, life histories, and civic engagement and leadership in 21st Century organisations.
Mary has a strong track record in all aspects of university leadership, having worked in senior roles in three different universities. Since joining Lincoln she has developed the University significantly, culminating, in establishing the Lincoln Medical School which will have a major positive impact on the health and well-being of the people of Lincolnshire, training over 400 students a year.
Mary has also successfully led the development of Science provision at Lincoln, establishing several research institutes including the Lincoln Institute for Agri-Food Technology and in 2020 the Lincoln International Institute for Rural Health which conducts world-class research that focuses on the greatest health issues facing rural communities locally, nationally and internationally.
She has grown Humanities and the Social Sciences at Lincoln, expanding the University from 8,000 students when she joined to approximately 17,000 students in 2021, enhancing research provision and driving improvements in research infrastructure and capability. She has driven local and regional engagement as a key theme to enhance the regional economy and to connect the global challenges with local need.
She has recently worked with the Civic University Commission to develop national policy guidelines on Civic Universities. Mary is the founder of the 21st Century Lab, examining higher education’s response to changing society in our time.
Passionate about the student experience, Mary seeks to continually drive change and improvements in partnership with students, alumni and the academic community, promoting the traditional concept of a community of scholars. Mary was named as The Guardian’s ‘Most Inspiring Leader in Higher Education’ at their HE Awards in 2018. She was also awarded a CBE for her services to Higher Education in the same year. In 2021 Mary was awarded the Lincolnshire Lifetime Achievement Award by Lincolnshire Media Business Awards.
Mary’s achievements have culminated in the University of Lincoln being awarded a top five-star score overall in the prestigious QS Stars rating system of global universities, as well as a Gold award in the national Teaching Excellence Framework (an independent assessment of teaching quality in UK higher education) which reflects the exciting teaching and great support available for students. Additionally, in 2021 the University was crowned Modern University of the Year in The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide.
Mary was Chair of the UUK Social Mobility Academic Advisory Committee, a past HEFCE Board member and currently a member of the Office for Students – Student Information Advisory Group (SIAG), a Trustee of the Universities Partnership Programme (UPP) Foundation and a Fellow of the Bridge Group. Mary is also a Commissioner on the National Civic University Commission.
Mary is Chair of the Lincoln Cultural and Arts Partnership (LCAP) and the Founding Director of the Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership (GLLEP). She is a member of the Greater Lincolnshire Leaders Board, Director of Lincoln Science and Innovation Park (LSIP), Director of Lincolnshire Economic Action Partnership (LEAP), Chair of the Members of Lincolnshire Educational Trust (LET) and member of the Lincoln University Technical College (UTC).