Professor Hetherington, who will take up the role on 1 March 2022, was previously Pro Vice-Chancellor at The Open University and has a 30-year career in higher education as an academic, researcher and senior leader.
He will join Vice-Chancellor Professor Martin Jones and the University’s Executive and Senior Leadership Team in shaping and delivering the new strategic plan. Professor Hetherington will have specific responsibility for mainstreaming the research agenda, leading the further development of the academic strategy and providing strategic leadership on internationalisation to ensure global connectivity across the full breadth of the University.
He said: “I’m excited to be taking on this role and I am most looking forward to being part of Staffordshire University as it sets out on its plans for success over the coming years. I am also looking forward to re-acquainting myself with Stoke-on-Trent and its region, a city I lived and worked in for much of the 1990s, and helping to put Staffordshire University centre-stage in its developments too.”
Welcoming the appointment, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive Professor Martin Jones said: “This year heralds the start of a new chapter for Staffordshire University, and we are delighted to be appointing Professor Hetherington to the role of Deputy Vice-Chancellor following a formal international recruitment process.
“Kevin comes with considerable knowledge and expertise, and we have every confidence he will help the University accelerate its direction towards innovative and impactful research, alongside effective academic and strategic planning, which is so critical to the University’s development and the success of our wider region.”
Having studied for his PhD at Lancaster University, Professor Hetherington secured his first teaching role as Sociology Lecturer at Keele University in 1992. He then moved to lecture at Brunel University before moving to Lancaster University where he was appointed Professor of Cultural Sociology in 2003.
His next appointment was to The Open University as Professor of Geography. After serving as Dean and Director of Studies there, he took up the role of Pro Vice-Chancellor in 2015 with responsibilities for research, academic strategy and enterprise.
During his time in post, Professor Hetherington led The Open University research response to the COVID-19 pandemic and oversaw the University’s Research Excellence Framework submission in March 2021. A regional council member for the Confederation of British Industry since 2018, he was also a Universities UK delegate on Brexit.
Professor Hetherington added: “I have always seen higher education as something that should be open to all and am proud of having been able to support so many students achieve that ambition throughout my career. That is something I will continue to do at Staffordshire University.”
Professor Hetherington has a strong research profile on urban and cultural issues, including on museums and heritage, and has authored four books and numerous peer reviewed journal articles.