Martin Harris (academic)

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Sir Martin Best Harris CBE (born 28 June 1944) is a British academic and former University Vice-Chancellor. He was born at Ruabon, Wales, the son of William Best Harris, afterwards City Librarian of Plymouth, and educated at Devonport High School for Boys in Plymouth, at Queens' College, Cambridge and at the School of Oriental and African Studies. He began his academic career at the University of Leicester in 1967, where he lectured in French Linguistics. He spent fifteen years at the University of Salford as a Senior Lecturer, Professor of Linguistics, Dean and, later, Pro-Vice-Chancellor. From 1984 to 1987 he was a member of the University Grants Committee.

His first appointment as Vice-Chancellor was at the University of Essex in 1987, where he succeeded the founding Vice-Chancellor, Albert Sloman.

His most prominent academic appointment was Vice-Chancellor of the Victoria University of Manchester from 1992 until its dissolution in the formation of the new University of Manchester in 2004. During his time in Manchester he also at various times Chairman of both the Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals (now UUK), and of its Health Committee, a member of the Commission for Health Improvement and a member of the Department of Health – Department for Education and Skills Strategic Learning and Research Advisory Group: StLAR, and Chair of the Clinical Academic Staff Advisory Group of the Universities and Colleges Employers Association.

Martin Harris' appointments since retirement from the University of Manchester include Deputy Chairmanship of the North West Development Agency 2002-2008, Director of Fair Access at the Office for Fair Access (OFFA) 2004-2012, and Chancellor of the University of Salford between 2005 and 2009.[1]

He became President of Clare Hall, Cambridge in 2008 and stepped down in 2013.

Past positions[edit]

Present positions[edit]


HM The Queen appointed Professor Harris Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in 1992 and Knight Bachelor in her New Year Honours List 2000 for services to higher education.[2]

The Martin Harris Centre for Music and Drama at the University of Manchester is named in his honour.


  1. ^ "News: Sir Martin Harris Appointed University Chancellor". 24 January 2005. Archived from the original on February 6, 2005. Retrieved 2008-08-12. 
  2. ^ Honours List, BBC News, 31 December 1999 Accessed 29 August 2007

Further reading[edit]

  • Beckett, Francis "Powerful persuader: director of Offa Sir Martin Harris is certain he can achieve everything necessary for Offa's success--without using sanctions", AutLook; Association of University Teachers; Jan. 2005, pp. 16–17

External links[edit]

Academic offices
Preceded by
Professor Sir Walter Bodmer
Chancellor of the University of Salford
Succeeded by
Dr Irene Khan