The Governors of Writtle College in Essex have confirmed that Dr Stephen Waite, currently Vice-Principal Higher Education at Hartpury College in Gloucestershire and an Associate Dean of the University of West of England, will join Writtle as Principal from 2 April 2013.
Dr Waite, who has a passion for science - especially biology, particularly plant ecology and plant sciences - has a distinguished academic career in areas that align with and complement the Writtle portfolio, gained through his time at the University of Brighton, Birkbeck College University of London, the University of Westminster and the University of Sussex. He also brings extensive research and commercial expertise to his post including experience gained as a botanical and environmental consultant.
His research interests lie in the areas of landscape and plant ecology, biotreatment and phytoremediation, He has supervised 16 PhD students through to successful completion, and continues to be actively involved in collaborative research with colleagues at the University of West of England and University of Brighton.
In addition to his UK academic credentials, Dr Waite has been involved in a number of global joint education ventures including in India, Malaysia, China and Vietnam. He has taught for the National State Mongolia University and carried out project work in the Ukraine. He looks forward to using this experience to help Writtle strengthen its international profile. The College currently attracts students to its undergraduate and postgraduate programmes from more than 60 countries worldwide.
Dr Waite is an advocate of the strength and diversity that specialist colleges bring to education, creating life choices and opportunities through their breadth of vocational courses outside of traditional portfolio offering. He has been struck by the commitment and pride of the staff during his visits to the College prior to taking up his appointment and has found students exceptionally complimentary and proud of their time at Writtle.
Looking ahead to his time as Principal of Writtle College, Dr Waite said: “Education has value but education linked to vocational training has added value. The blend of higher and further education choices at Writtle enables students to realise their potential in a unique learning environment. My priority will be to develop strategies to enable the College to grow and flourish in a very harsh economic landscape.
“I will be focusing on the College’s strengths and ensuring that we target investment in facilities and resources to support these areas whilst also protecting the unique synergism of further and higher education at the College.”
While growing up on the south coast, and as a student, Dr Waite was a keen middle distance athlete and dinghy sailor. He is looking forward to exploring the Essex countryside and coastal areas.
Lotte Olsen, Chair of Writtle’s Governing Body, commented: “We are delighted to be welcoming Dr Waite to Writtle. He brings with him a wealth of experience in management of prestigious academic institutions as well as a real empathy for and understanding of Writtle’s portfolio through his own research interests and he joins with enthusiastic support from all of the Governors.”