Adam Tickell to stand down as Sussex’s Vice-Chancellor
By: James Hakner
Last updated: Friday, 25 June 2021
Adam Tickell will stand down as the University of Sussex’s Vice-Chancellor later this year.
He has been appointed as the next Vice-Chancellor of the University of Birmingham, the institution he left to join Sussex in 2016. He will take up his new position in January 2022.
In an email to all staff this morning, Dame Denise Holt, Chair of Council, the University’s governing body, paid tribute to Professor Tickell’s contributions since taking up his role in 2016. She said: “I would like to share my immense gratitude to Adam for his thoughtful and purposeful leadership of the University during his tenure.
“As Vice-Chancellor, Adam has re-energised the Sussex spirit that has been our unique feature since our founding 60 years ago. That spirit was distilled down into our Sussex 2025 strategy, published just two years into Adam’s tenure. It is a strategy unlike any other in the sector. It boldly professes our belief in doing things differently, staying proudly outward-looking and being welcoming to all. It describes and celebrates a university united by values, not background or circumstance. Most compellingly, it highlights how all of these things are not by-products of success but are in fact central to our ambitions.
“On behalf of Council, I am delighted with the progress we have made under Adam’s leadership in bringing Sussex 2025 to life. With four years still to go, we have already achieved much of what we set out to.
“We’ve consistently remained in the world’s top 200 universities and were ranked 41st in the world this year for our action towards meeting the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. We have been number one in the world for Development Studies for six of the past seven years.
“As you all know, this has all taken place against the backdrop of an incredibly challenging and turbulent period in UK higher education.
“Adam’s belief in Sussex, his trust in our people and his influence and standing within the sector and beyond have undoubtedly steered us towards calmer waters.
“While there is still much we must weather, the fact that the University of Sussex remains in a sound financial position is testament to the astute planning and strategic oversight led and embodied by Adam. The important planning that is taking place through the Size and Shape programme will ensure we remain sustainable and successful into the future.
“I’m, personally, extremely proud of the University’s award-winning response to the pandemic, which was a perfect illustration of our University values in action. We are at our strongest when we show the world exactly who we are and what we stand for. When we published Sussex 2025, we set out to reimagine the unique spirit of Sussex for new times and a new generation. In this, our 60th year, I truly feel we are once again that pioneering institution and huge credit must go to Adam for his part in that.”
Adam Tickell said: “After five years at this wonderful university, it has taken a lot of soul searching for me to reach this decision.
“I admired Sussex long before I worked here and that affinity has only strengthened during my time as Vice-Chancellor. There can be no greater privilege than to lead an institution which shares one’s own values and is committed to living them through its words and actions.
“Sussex is a truly unique proposition in UK higher education and has a brilliant future. I will do everything I can during my remaining time in office to continue to lay the foundations for its continuing, sustainable success.”
Council, under Dame Denise’s leadership, is already making plans to carry out an exhaustive search for Adam’s replacement and hopes to have a new Vice-Chancellor in post by next summer. Council is really keen to engage with the whole University community to understand what you would like from your next Vice-Chancellor and will be back in touch with you about this.
To ensure continuity over this important period, suitable interim leadership will be put in place for early 2022. A possible candidate has already been identified and will be considered by Council in the coming weeks.
Adam Tickell joined the University of Sussex on 1 September 2016 from the University of Birmingham, where he had been Provost and Vice-Principal. He has also held leadership roles at Royal Holloway (University of London) and the University of Bristol. He will succeed Sir David Eastwood, who is retiring as Birmingham’s Vice-Chancellor in December.