Rick Trainor

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Sir Richard Trainor
Principal of King's College London
In office
Preceded by Arthur Lucas
Succeeded by Ed Byrne
Personal details
Born 1948
United States of America
Spouse(s) Marguerite Dupree
Children Richard and Meg Trainor
Alma mater Brown University
Princeton University
Merton College, Oxford
Nuffield College, Oxford
Profession Historian and academic administrator

Sir Richard Hughes "Rick" Trainor KBE, FRHS, FKC FAcSS (born 31 December 1948), is an academic administrator and historian who served as the Principal of King's College London from 2004 to 2014. He was previously the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Greenwich from 2000 to 2004. He is currently Rector of Exeter College, Oxford.

Trainor was born in the United States. He was awarded an honorary knighthood (KBE) in June 2010 for services to higher education in the United Kingdom. The award was honorary because of his American nationality, but on 31 December 2010 the knighthood was made substantive by Queen Elizabeth II following his assumption of British nationality.[1]


Trainor was educated at Calvert Hall College High School in Towson, Maryland, in the United States. He graduated from Brown University with a BA summa cum laude in American Civilization. He subsequently earned MAs from Princeton University and from Merton College, Oxford, before completing his D.Phil. in 1981 at Nuffield College, Oxford, entitled "Authority and social structure in an industrialized area: A study of three Black Country towns, 1840–1890". He is a former Rhodes Scholar.

He is a member of the Academy of Learned Societies for the Social Sciences, Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and a member of the Athenaeum Club. He is also an Honorary Fellow of Merton College, Oxford, and Trinity College of Music, and a member of the Anglo-American Fulbright Commission.

He is married to Marguerite Dupree, an academic historian of medicine currently at Glasgow University. They have two children.


Trainor was Vice-Chancellor of the University of Greenwich (2000–2004). Prior to this appointment, he was Senior Vice-Principal of the University of Glasgow.

In 2004 Trainor became Principal of King's College London, where he is also Professor of Social History. In 2009 the title of President of King's was added.

Between 2007 and 2009 Rick served as President of Universities UK (UUK),[2] the organisation that represents the heads of all UK Universities. In this role he engaged with the new Department of Innovation, Universities and Skills and latterly, successor Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, on a wide range of issues including autonomy, funding, research, standards and immigration.

He served on the Confederation of British Industries' Higher Education Task Force from 2008–2009.[3]

Since becoming Principal of King's in 2004, Trainor has overseen the promotion of the College from 96th to 19th place in the QS World University Rankings (2013), making it the 6th ranked UK university.[4]

In 2010 King's was named UK Sunday Times University of the Year.[5]

Trainor oversaw the College's role in the creation of King's Health Partners in 2009, an academic health science centre, in which King's College London collaborates with Guy's and St Thomas's Hospitals, King's College Hospital and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trusts.[6]

During Trainor's tenure, in 2009 King's acquired the East Wing of Somerset House,[7] after 180 years of intermittent negotiations between King's and Somerset House Trust. Somerset House East Wing was opened by Her Majesty The Queen in February 2012.[8]

Under Trainor's leadership, the College has launched King's Cultural Institute, enhancing ties to a number of nearby national cultural institutions.[9]

Trainor received the Annual Leadership Award of the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education in June 2011 for his role in the College's fundraising and for alumni relations.[10]

Trainor has overseen the establishment of a number of Global Institutes – the Brazil Institute,[11] the Russia Institute,[12] the India Institute[13] and the China Institute[14] – at the College as part of greater focus on internationalisation at King's. These centres of research and study aim to focus on contemporary developments in fast-changing parts of the world.

In March 2012 Trainor was invited to join the IPPR Commission on the Future of Higher Education. In May 2012 HEFCE announced it was to undertake a Review of Philanthropic Support for Higher Education throughout the UK and Trainor will sit on the review board.[15]

In June 2013, Exeter College, Oxford announced that Trainor had been appointed as Rector, to succeed Frances Cairncross. Trainor took office on 1 October 2014.[16]

Restructuring at King's College London, 2010 and 2014[edit]

In response to actual and further anticipated cuts in public sector funding in 2009/2010, Richard Trainor introduced plans for 'financial and academic sustainability' and 'strategic disinvestment' at King's College London which provoked letters of protest by prominent scholars both in the UK and abroad.[17][18][19][20]

The University and College Union (UCU) and the British Medical Association (BMA) voiced their concerns about the restructuring at King's College London.[21] The situation at King's has attracted national press coverage.[22][23][24][25][26]

Trainor responded by highlighting the pressures facing UK Universities and giving an interview to The Times about the challenges of funding cuts[27] and his belief that further higher education funding cuts would risk serious damage to the sector.[28][29] The King's College London UCU executive committee commented on Richard Trainor's responses[30]

Further, his decision to close the Division of Engineering in 2009, one of the oldest departments in the world[citation needed] was criticised for risking charges of "reckless academic vandalism".[31]

His choice of cuts were the subject of a House of Commons Early Day Motion in March 2010: "That this House notes the proposal by the Executive of King's College London as part of its budget review process to abolish the Chair of Palaeography, the only one of its kind in the United Kingdom; further notes the fundamental importance of palaeography to a broad and interdisciplinary scholarly community; considers that without the development of palaeographic skills, millions of documents would be rendered inaccessible, thus depriving the nation of its full historical legacy; and therefore urges King's College London to consider very carefully any proposals in respect to this prestigious and important Chair."[32]

In January 2012, King’s announced the appointment of Julia Crick as Professor of Palaeography and Manuscript Studies in the School of Arts & Humanities.[33]

Trainor did not seem daunted by the reputational damage of the 2010 restructuring, and he proposed another large-scale restructuring in May 2014, potentially affecting up to 15% of staff in biomedical sciences and at the Institute of Psychiatry.[34] This time senior academics at King's as well as students were highly critical of the plans[35] and once again King's suffered adverse publicity in the media.[36][37] Trainor and his management team were further accused of failing to follow advice from a credit agency, whose report they had commissioned.[38][39] The University and College Union were again highly critical of the restructuring, and provided a regularly-updated list of media coverage[40]

Published works[edit]

  • Black Country élites: the exercise of authority in an industrialised area, 1830–1900. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993.
  • Urban governance: Britain and beyond since 1750, edited by Robert J. Morris and Richard H. Trainor. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2000.
  • University, city and state: the University of Glasgow since 1870, by Michael Moss, J. Forbes Munro and Richard H. Trainor. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press for the University of Glasgow, 2000.


  1. ^ 2011 New Year Honours: Overseas List
  2. ^ Universities UK press release, 28 November 2006
  3. ^ BBC News online 17 September 2008
  4. ^ Universities QS World University Rankings 2013
  5. ^ The Sunday Times University Guide
  6. ^ Financial Times
  7. ^ The Independent, 10 February 2010
  8. ^ Times Higher Education, 15 March 2012
  9. ^ London 2012 Festival
  10. ^ CASE, 15 June 2011
  11. ^ Folha De S.Paulo, 27 September 2012
  12. ^ The Guardian, 20 November 2011
  13. ^ The Times Of India, 6 February 2012
  14. ^ Xinhuanet, 27 March 2012
  15. ^ UK Fundraising, 10 May 2012
  16. ^ "Exeter College Announces Selection of New Rector". Exeter College. Retrieved 17 June 2013. 
  17. ^ The New York Review of Books 9 March 2010
  18. ^ KCL 'Divestment in the Humanities'
  19. ^ The Harvard Crimson 4 February 2010
  20. ^ Philosophy Online in China 8 February 2010
  21. ^ University and College Union press release 26 February 2010
  22. ^ The Guardian 9 February 2010
  23. ^ Times Higher Education 4 February 2010
  24. ^ Times Online 28 January 2010
  25. ^ London Student 15 February 2010
  26. ^ London Evening Standard 4 February 2010
  27. ^ The Times, 4 June 2010
  28. ^ Times Higher Education 25 February 2010
  29. ^ The Observer 28 February 2010
  30. ^ UCU response
  31. ^ UCU response
  32. ^ http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2009-10/1179
  33. ^ Times Higher Education, 2 February 2012
  34. ^ King's College London, University and College Union. "Health Schools Restructure". Retrieved 19 July 2014. 
  35. ^ Bishop, Dorothy (3 July 2014). "No logic in King's College job cuts". Times Higher Education. Retrieved 16 July 2014. 
  36. ^ Rohn, Jenny (9 July 2014). "The King's College London scientist purge: what message does it send?". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 July 2014. 
  37. ^ Chakrabortty, Aditya (9 July 2014). "King's College London: world leaders in business nonsense". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 July 2014. 
  38. ^ Else, Holly (17 July 2014). "King's College was told cutting more staff could be 'difficult'". Times Higher Education. Retrieved 19 July 2014. 
  39. ^ "Standard & Poor's Rating report on King's College London" (PDF). 22 July 2013. Retrieved 16 July 2014. 
  40. ^ King's College London, University and College Union. "Coverage of Dispute". Retrieved 19 July 2014. 

External links[edit]

Academic offices
Preceded by
Frances Cairncross
Rector of Exeter College, Oxford
Academic offices
Preceded by
Arthur Lucas
Principal of King's College London
Succeeded by
Ed Byrne