Howard Newby

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Sir Howard Joseph Newby CBE DL (b. 10 December 1947) was appointed vice-chancellor of the University of Liverpool in 2008 [1] and retired in December 2014.[2] He was vice-chancellor of the University of Southampton from 1994 to 2001.[1] He was appointed as the Vice- Chancellor of the University of the West of England (UWE), from March 2006. After only 15 months at UWE he moved to Liverpool University and was almost immediately put on "gardening leave" at UWE for the duration of his year-long notice period, with the then Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Steve West, acting up to the VC role before his subsequent substantive appointment.[3][4] On 11 February 2014 it was announced that Sir Howard will retire from his role as vice chancellor of Liverpool in 2015.

Early life

He grew up in Derbyshire, going to John Port Grammar School in Etwall, before attending Atlantic College, an independent (private) residential sixth form college in Wales, as a scholarship student. He attended the University of Essex where he gain a BA and PhD.[1]


His other academic posts include professor of sociology at the University of Essex and visiting appointments in Australia and the United States. From 1980 to 1983 he was professor of sociology and rural sociology at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

In August 2001 Sir Howard ended a two-year term as president of Universities UK, the UK body which represents the university sector. His year-long presidency of the British Association ended in September 2002.[5] He was appointed as the Chief Executive of The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) in October 2001. He served as President of the Academy of Social Sciences from 2008 to 2013. He is a director of the Universities Superannuation Scheme Limited, chair of trustees for the NatCen Social Research.

Sir Howard has published many books and articles on social change in rural England and was for eight years a Rural Development Commissioner, a member of the Government body responsible for the economic and social regeneration of rural England. From 1983-88 he was director of the ESRC Data Archive, a national facility for storing and disseminating computerised datasets for use by researchers in the public and private sectors.

In November 2008 Newby announced plans to transform Liverpool University into a centre for "knowledge exchange", extending the Liverpool campus in China and opening a graduate school in India.[6] In January 2009 academics and trade unions at Liverpool were reported as expressing unease at planned restructuring, the offer of voluntary redundancy to all staff and the use of a private company Spirit of Creation (previously used at UWE) in circumventing "established structures and procedures in pushing the plan through".[7] There is also concern at what is perceived to be a major shift away from humanities and social sciences towards science where research income is potentially higher.[8]

Recent events

In January 2010 the blogging platform WordPress suspended a number of blogs which it hosted after claims by the director of legal services at the University of Liverpool, Kevan Ryan, that some posts on them defamed Sir Howard.[9]

Personal life

He was married first in 1970 to Janet Elizabeth Craddock and they had two sons. The marriage was dissolved in 2003. He was married second in 2005 to Sheila Mary Mann and he has one step son and one step daughter.

Newby was awarded a CBE in 1995 for his services to social science and a knighthood in 2000 for his services to higher education. He is also a member of the Railway Heritage Committee[10] and trustee of Swindon Steam Railway Museum.


  • 1977 The Deferential Worker: a Study of Farm Workers in East Anglia. London: Allen Lane. ISBN 978-0-7139-0892-3
  • 1980 Green and Pleasant Land?: Social Change in Rural England. Harmondsworth: Penguin. ISBN 978-0-14-022252-4
  • 1987 Country Life: a Social History of Rural England. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson. ISBN 978-0-297-79063-1
  • 1988 The Countryside in Question. London: Hutchinson. ISBN 978-0-09-173104-5
  • 1989 (with David Rose, Gordon Marshall, Carol Vogler). Social Class in Modern Britain. London ; Boston: Unwin Hyman. ISBN 978-0-415-09876-2
  • 1995 (with D. Lee). The Problem of Sociology: an Introduction to the Discipline. London ; New York: Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-09453-5
  • 1995 National Trust: The Next Hundred Years London: National Trust ISBN 978-0-7078-0231-2

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 NEWBY, Sir Howard Joseph, Who's Who 2014, A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc 2014; online edn, Oxford University Press, Dec 2013; accessed 2014_01_26
  3. "Sir Howard Newby appointed Liverpool Vice-Chancellor". University of Liverpool. 6 July 2007. Retrieved 11 January 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Lipsett, Anthea (23 July 2007). "Will the Newby broom sweep clean?". Retrieved 11 January 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Sir Howard Newby". The Science Show, Australian Broadcasting Company. 29 September 2001.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Elson, Peter (5 November 2008). "A world of knowledge". Liverpool Daily Post. Retrieved 16 January 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Newman, Melanie (15 January 2009). "Unease over Liverpool's plans for a research-focused 'realignment'". Times higher education. Retrieved 16 January 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Sharpe, Laura (16 January 2009). "University of Liverpool offers all staff voluntary redundancy". Liverpool Daily Post. Retrieved 16 January 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. See Index on Censorship report, "WordPress removes blog after libel allegation" (6 January 2010)
  10. "Membership". Railway Heritage Committee. Retrieved 11 January 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

Academic offices
Preceded by
Sir Gordon Robert Higginson
Vice Chancellor University of Southampton
1994 - 2001
Succeeded by
Sir William Arnot Wakeham
Preceded by
Alfred Cosier Morris
Vice Chancellor University of the West of England
2006 - 2008
Succeeded by
Professor Steven George West
Preceded by
Sir James Drummond Bone
Vice Chancellor University of Liverpool
2008 - 2014
Succeeded by
Professor Janet Beer