The Pro Vice-Chancellor for Digital Transformation will provide strategic leadership and management of the University’s continuing digital transformation agenda, together with the leadership of Digital and Technical Services.
Professor Nawaz will lead transformative action across the University, to deliver digitally enabled, streamlined ways of working, leading to enhanced academic experience and financial efficiency.
Professor Nawaz joins Staffordshire University from Manchester Metropolitan University, where he holds two substantive roles. As the Director of Digital Technology Solutions, he heads Man Met’s award-winning cross-faculty Digital Degree Apprenticeships portfolio, where he leads a team of academic and specialist support colleagues delivering UG/PG programmes to nearly 900 apprentices from 70-plus leading technology employers. As the Director of Business Transformations Research Centre, Professor Nawaz leads nearly 200 researchers specialising in digital transformation, analytics, industry 4.0, transforming markets and transforming places. He is also the founding Head of the Apprenticeships Research Unit and the Text and Data Mining lab at Manchester Met.
Professor Nawaz is a renowned expert in industry-academia co-creation, especially for high impact work integrated programmes like Degree Apprenticeships. He has advised on the establishment and launch of such programmes in Spain, New Zealand, Canada and Pakistan. He has addressed the Westminster Education Policy Forum twice and has recently been commissioned by the QAA to systematically analyse the Degree Apprenticeships pedagogies across English universities and advise the sector on best academic practices.
Professor Nawaz is also a leading researcher in Applied Artificial Intelligence and Educational Data Science. He holds several adjunct professorships and scientific directorships across Asia and North America. He sits on the boards of research and charitable organisations like the National Centre for Artificial Intelligence (Pakistan), TechSkills (UK), and NTF (UK), and has advised national policy organisations including the Prime Minister’s Task Force on Science and Technology (Pakistan). He has authored over 120 peer-reviewed research articles and his career grant capture stands at over £14 million. He has graduated 19 PhD students so far.
In the past, he has held senior leadership positions in the private further and higher education sector and was an army officer before that.
Professor Nawaz said: “Staffordshire University has led the field of digital education for more than 60 years; from being the first UK university to launch a computing degree to the recent launch of the Centre for Health Innovation which includes sector-leading simulated learning environments which will be used to train healthcare and social care students and help to build on the skills of NHS staff.
“I am delighted to be joining such a digitally forward-thinking University at a time of excitement and rapid change.
“I very much look forward to working with colleagues across the University to support the University’s aspirations to become the UK’s foremost digital University and deliver on their strategic ambition with a focus on next generation education, experience, engagement and environments.”
Welcoming the appointment, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of the University, Professor Martin Jones, said: “We are delighted that Professor Nawaz is joining our University at an exciting time as we are underway on the next phase of our strategic development.
“In this new role, Professor Nawaz will work to develop and then lead the implementation of a transformation plan to deliver the University’s strategic goals in the digital arena, leading the process of defining, differentiating, and shaping the institution during its next phase of development.
“This is a pivotal role for the University as we work towards our goal of cementing our reputation within and beyond the sector as the consistently best modern university in the UK, with strong academic, research and enterprise credentials, pivotal in the development of the regions in which we are based.”
Professor Nawaz’s formal appointment to the post as Pro Vice-Chancellor for Digital Transformation at Staffordshire University commences on 1 July 2022.