THE new Vice Chancellor of the University of Bradford has laid out her plans on how she is going to revitalise the university, boost student numbers, and rebuild its link to the city.

Professor Shirley Congdon takes over from current Vice Chancellor Prof Brian Cantor on August 1.

The former nurse and from a mining village in Durham is passionate about increasing social mobility and helping people in Bradford aspire to have successful careers.

Laying out her vision for the university, Prof Congdon said: “The university has to be at the centre of everything the city does, if we aren’t I think the city won’t be as successful.

“Every successful city needs a successful university and vice versa.

“We are making a significant contribution to the local economy, but we can do more in terms of engagement with business and impact on social mobility.

“We have a lot of talent in the university and my job is harness and liberate that talent and contributing as much as possible to social mobility.

“In cities like Bradford it’s important we work collaboratively to give young people the opportunity to get better jobs and progress, and increasing the number and quality of jobs.

“It is a real privilege, people think VCs are about pomp and ceremony, but really it is about working with enthusiastic people to try and make a difference to our students, businesses and the city.

“It’s a significant role with serious responsibilities, but I am really looking forward to it.”

In recent years student numbers have been in decline at the university, but Prof Congdon is confident she will be able to turn this around.

“There are still significant numbers of people who want to come and study for a degree in Bradford,” she continued.

“There has been a lot of discussion over the number of 18-year-olds applying falling nationally, but there is still a huge appetite and this number will increase.

“We recruit heavily from Bradford and the local region so I firmly believe we can and should increase our student numbers.

“We will do that by working in schools, improving our branding, working with the city, and making sure we tell everyone about the strength of our university and our assets.”

The university has a proud tradition of having a large and strong international student population, and with Brexit on the horizon this could mean a fall in foreign students coming to the city.

Prof Congdon added: “Brexit will impact the whole sector, potentially negatively.

“We do have students who come from Europe but we have more who come from outside of Europe which protects us in some way from a potential reduction.

“Our strategy is to increase our focus on non-EU countries, and countries where students can afford to come.

We won’t be impacted as much as other universities.”