Dr Lorraine Thomas joins the RAU in new role

Dr Lorraine Thomas, who has previously held senior leadership roles as Academic Director (Quality and Employability) at Anglia Ruskin University, London, and as Executive Dean at Newman University (a small and specialist university), has joined the Royal Agricultural University (RAU) as the University’s first Pro Vice-Chancellor (Education and Students).

Lorraine, who has worked in the education sector for more than 30 years and has experience across a range of institutions from schools to universities, is a member of the RAU’s Executive Team and the Vice Chancellor’s Advisory Group. She also chairs the University’s Academic Quality and Standards Committee and the Student Experience Committee.

Lorraine said: “I am delighted to join the RAU to lead on education, to champion the student voice regarding student learning experience matters and to work with colleagues, and the Students’ Union, to enhance our commitment to a student-centred learning experience.

“As Pro Vice-Chancellor (Education and Students), my role is to provide academic leadership and guidance for the quality assurance and enhancement of the University’s academic provision, for the strategically aligned development of academic staff, and for the continual improvement of the RAU student learning experience.”

Born in the Staffordshire Moorlands, Lorraine attended her local village comprehensive school where fantastic teachers inspired her passion for education. She went on to study French and German at the University of Birmingham, the first in her family to go to university. Lorraine later completed a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (Modern Foreign Languages) and MA Education.

Awarded a PhD in Education by the University of Birmingham, Lorraine researched and contributed to the knowledge base regarding the perceived benefits and the perceptions of students, academics, academic leaders, and professional key stakeholders regarding master’s level study and aspirations for a master’s level teaching profession.

Lorraine added: “I am passionate about making a positive difference to students’ lives by high-quality and innovative higher education which genuinely places the student learning experience, and student success, at the heart of everything we do including preparing students for meaningful careers and lives for the common good of their communities, and the wider society, once they leave higher education.”

During her career Lorraine has received regional, national, and international awards for excellence in learning, teaching, and leadership and successfully led a wide range of equality, diversity, inclusion, and widening access and participation initiatives.

In previous roles, Lorraine has consistently led the student experience to the highest levels, evidenced by excellent student satisfaction in the National Student Survey and a very successful Ofsted inspection, and directed student continuation, retention, attainment, and progression to the highest levels.