Tuesday 22 September 2020


After three years at the helm of the School of Advanced Study, University of London, Professor Rick Rylance has decided to step down as dean and retire at the end of September.

In a message to the School’s staff, he thanked everyone for their support. “I’ve really enjoyed my time with you as dean and before that as director of the Institute of English Studies,” he wrote. “It has been creative, rewarding, and above all special, as SAS is. As ever this is mainly due to the quality of the people among whom one works.”

Professor Rylance, who also served as pro vice-chancellor (research) for the University, confirmed that his connection with the University of London would continue in an unpaid role in an advisory and ambassadorial capacity. He hopes to use his contacts and experience for SAS’s benefit during the “challenging period ahead”. 

Vice Chancellor Wendy Thomson said: "Rick has made a significant contribution to both the School of Advanced Study and the wider university over the past five years, drawing on his considerable experience gained both within higher education institutions and as the leader of two of the sector’s major funding bodies.

“Of perhaps particular note is the instrumental role he played in securing the School’s ongoing funding from Research England UK and his work in developing, with colleagues, a compelling future strategic vision.

“I am delighted that Rick will continue his association with the University as an (unremunerated) adviser and ambassador and look forward to working with him in this role. “ 

Before joining SAS, Professor Rylance was CEO of the Arts and Humanities Research Council and executive chair of Research Councils UK. He has also held senior positions at the Universities of Exeter and Anglia Ruskin.