The Principal and Vice-Chancellor

Professor Sally Mapstone, Principal

Professor Sally Mapstone is the Principal and Vice-Chancellor.  The Principal and Vice-Chancellor is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the University of St Andrews.  Since the mid-1800s it has been customary that one person holds two titles, the post of Principal representing the executive function and the post of Vice-Chancellor the ceremonial function.

Responsibilities of the Principal include:

  • the overall running of the institution
  • presiding over Senate, the supreme academic body of the University
  • conferring degrees in the absence of the Chancellor.

Professor Sally Mapstone

Sally Mapstone became Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of St Andrews in September 2016. The core values of her Principalship are excellence, inclusiveness and fairness.

Professor Mapstone works to position the University in Scotland, the UK, and globally, in ways that speak to the University’s motto of Ever to Excel. She has led on developing a new strategic plan for 2018-2023, launched in the autumn of 2018. She has taken forward the University’s plans for the acquisition of the Madras College site on South Street. She has overseen a review of the University’s processes for promotion, has launched a new University nursery, and has sponsored and launched a new mentoring scheme for senior academic women, the Elizabeth Garrett mentoring programme. All of this has been done through close working with her senior team. Professor Mapstone is keen to encourage a culture of collegial leadership across the University, so that all those who believe they have the potential to assume roles that add value to the institution have the capacity to do so.

Professor Mapstone is a member of the board of Universities UK, a member of the Higher Education Policy Institute advisory board, a member of the trustee board of UCAS, and a trustee of the Europaeum.

Professor Mapstone also has a long-standing engagement in international issues. She is chair of the international advisory board for the University of Helsinki. In 2017 she received the Foreign Policy Association of America medal for services to higher education, and is an Honorary Fellow of the FPA.

Before taking up the role of Principal, Professor Mapstone’s academic career was spent at the University of Oxford, where she read English Language and Literature, gained her doctorate on Older Scots literature, and became Professor of Older Scots Literature in the Faculty of English Language and Literature. At Oxford she served as Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Education (2011-2016). Prior to this she was Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Personnel and Equality (2009-2011); Chair of the English Faculty Board, (2007-2010); and Junior Proctor (2006-2007). She is an Emeritus Fellow of St Hilda’s College, Oxford and an Honorary Fellow of Wadham College, Oxford and St Cross College, Oxford. Earlier in her career she worked as an editor in the book publishing industry.

Professor Mapstone’s research deals with literature in Scots and Latin before 1707, with political literature, and with book history. She is President of the Saltire Society, Honorary President of the Scottish Text Society, an Honorary Fellow of the Association for Scottish Literary Studies, and a Fellow of the English Association.