University marks retirement of Professor Anne Anderson

Published: 22 July 2019

Principal pay tribute to Professor Anderson's contributions to the University

Professor Anne Anderson will retire at the end of this month after nine years as Vice-Principal and Head of the College of Social Sciences.

At an informal reception in the Senate Room to mark her retirement, the Principal, Professor Sir Anton Muscatelli, led tributes to Professor Anderson’s long association with and many contributions to the University.Anne Anderson & principal - retirement

As un undergraduate student, she began to hone her leadership qualities when she served as Convener of the Library committee of the Queen Margaret Union. After graduating with an MA and then a PhD in Psychology, life in academia beckoned. Her research investigated how people communicate, collaborate and solve problems, and the way in which IT systems do or do not replicate the advantages of face-to-face interactions. She became a lecturer at the University of Glasgow in 1986 and 11 years later was promoted to Professor.

In 2000, she was appointed to the position of Director of the Graduate School and Associate Dean of Graduate Studies; she became Deputy Dean of Research in the Faculty of Law, Business and Social Sciences in 2005. Following a period at the University of Dundee, she returned to Glasgow in 2010 to establish a new College of Social Sciences as part of the University’s restructuring programme.

Professor Anderson led a significant recruitment charge to enhance the breadth and depth of the academic team in CoSS and this was matched by her international vision and push to bring more international students to the University, with the Adam Smith Business School pre-eminent in this area of recruitment.

“Perhaps her most significant international achievement has been her commitment to establishing our links with Nankai and the creation of the Joint Graduate School. The School, the flagship of the Glasgow-Nankai Institutional Strategic Partnership, is the first of its kind in China and the first cohort of students graduated on 26 June, 2017, with MScs in International Relations, Environmental management and Urban and Regional Planning. A fantastic moment, and proof indeed that the partnership was real and effective,” said Sir Anton.

He added that Professor Anderson had also been identified with promoting gender equality issues, had served with dedication and commitment as the University as Gender Equality Champion, and established and driven forward the Athena Swan charter.

“She has undoubtedly made a positive and significant impact in this whole area, and while there is much work still to be done, the University is in a far better place today because of her efforts,” added Sir Anton.Anne Anderson - retirement

Professor Anderson's influence beyond Gilmorehill campus included:

  • Research Programme Director for the Economic and Social Research Council from 1995-2006
  • Director of the ESRC Cognitive Engineering programme, an initiative which funded 15 projects across the UK on topics concerned with people and information technology;
  • From 2000-06, Director of the People at the Centre of Information and Communication Technologies (PACCIT) programme – a £7m LINK programme funded by ESRC, EPSRC and the DTI, which sought to build research collaborations between the universities and industry. In this capacity, Professor Anderson was responsible for 30 research projects throughout the UK;
  • 2008 – appointed to the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, involved in shaping the engineering and physical science research strategy and in developing open and transparent advisory structures;
  • Influenced national policy through the Advisory Group for the Government’s Office of Science and Technology Foresight Project on Cyber Trust and Crime Prevention (2003);
  • Gave evidence to the Commons Select Committee on Science and Technology on identity cards (2006);
  • Served as a member of the working group which produced the Royal Academy of Engineering’s 2007 report “Dilemmas of Privacy and Surveillance: Challenges of Technological Change”.
  • Professor Anderson was awarded an OBE in 2002 for her contribution to Social Science.

Professor Jude Robinson, Deputy Head of the College of Social Sciences, will be Interim Head of CoSS until Professor Sara Carter takes up the position of Vice-Principal and Head of College.

She also paid tribute to Professor Anderson’s many contributions to CoSS: “All the five schools in the college have grown not only terms of staff and student numbers, but in terms of the quality, scope and diversity of the subjects taught and supervised at undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

“Under Anne’s leadership we continue to innovate and lead by responding to opportunities in the Higher Education landscape – with new programmes for 2019/20 including: Common Law for Law; FinTech for the Adam Smith BS; International Relations for Social and Political Sciences; End of Life Care in Interdisciplinary Studies; and Children’s Literature, Media and Culture in Education. To further consolidate our growth, Anne has secured 65 new strategic investment posts for the next five years, and these will ensure we are well placed to embed the College’s strategic objectives as well as respond to new challenges.”

Professor Robinson added that in one of the College’s areas of excellence – postgraduate teaching – under Professor Anderson’s leadership, over an eight-year period, academic staff had been awarded seven Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degrees, making Glasgow the most successful UK university in this arena, with total awards in excess of 30 million Euros for 650 full scholarships.

Professor Anderson told friends and colleagues at her reception: “I am a Glaswegian and this is my university so I can’t be other than double committed to its success. It has been a real privilege to be part of its story.”

From being a university serving the West of Scotland, the University of Glasgow had become truly international, she said.

Dumfries campus was particularly close to her heart “because we inherited it at a rather difficult situation – but I think with hard work we have turned it round”, said Professor Anderson.

She recalled a well-travelled career – from the U.S. Supreme Court with students from the School of Law, to China and Azerbaijan.

“I hope I have taken this great College of Social Sciences forward but it would not have been nearly as enjoyable had it not been for colleagues in CoSS and SMG,” she said.



First published: 22 July 2019