Leading ancient historian Professor Michael Whitby has been appointed by the University of Birmingham as Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Head of College of Arts and Law.

Professor Michael Whitby is currently Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Academic Planning and Resources) at the University of Warwick, and will take up the post at Birmingham on 1 September 2010.

Michael brings a wealth of leadership experience in a variety of areas within the higher education sector, having held senior positions at both Warwick and St Andrews for the past 16 years.  At Warwick Michael has been the strategic lead for areas such as learning and teaching, internationalisation, and employer engagement.

On his appointment, Professor Michael Whitby said: “Higher Education in the UK, especially in the arts and social sciences, is under unprecedented pressure as a result of national and international challenges.  In this context Birmingham's College of Arts and Law has the ability, with the strong backing of the University, to stand out as a beacon of excellence where the very best research and pedagogy combine to give a special intellectual experience to the whole academic community; staff and students alike.”

Michael studied classics at Corpus Christi, Oxford University, and, after a period in the civil service, returned to pursue research in early Byzantine history.  He spent his early career lecturing at various Oxford Colleges, before appointment to the Ancient History department at St Andrews.

His main research interests include the social, political, and religious history of the later Roman Empire and Byzantium, Alexander the Great, and Athens in the 4th Century BC.

Michael will join the top decision-making table, University Executive Board, with the Vice-Chancellor, Professor David Eastwood, who comments on Michael’s appointment:

“I am delighted to have appointed Michael Whitby to lead the College of Arts and Law.  His extensive leadership experience, knowledge of the higher education sector and understanding of the vital role that the arts and humanities play in enriching and developing our society made Michael the ideal candidate.  I look forward to welcoming him to the University in September.”