Professor Riordan brings a wealth of sector experience, has led significant change within his higher education leadership roles and has an excellent understanding of the international recruitment market.
Prior to leading Cardiff University as President and Vice-Chancellor from September 2012, Professor Riordan was Vice-Chancellor of the University of Essex for five years.
He began his academic career teaching English at Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg in Germany, before returning to the UK to take up Lecturer and then Senior Lecturer roles in German at Swansea University. In 1998, He became Professor of German at Newcastle University, where he remained until 2007, leaving the institution as Faculty Pro-Vice-Chancellor.
He has published widely on post-war German literature and culture and has research interests on the history of environmental ideas in German culture.
Professor Riordan has previously served as a Trustee on the UCAS Board (between April 2013 and April 2019), and on the Boards of Universities UK (as Vice-President) and Advance HE.
Cardiff University Vice-Chancellor Professor Colin Riordan said: "I'm delighted to be taking up this role with UCAS, which provides an important service to universities and prospective students. As we move out of the pandemic and an extremely challenging time for higher education, I'm looking forward to working with colleagues across the sector to ensure students are given the best support as they make key decisions about their futures."
UCAS Chief Executive Clare Marchant said: “It is with great pleasure that we welcome Professor Riordan back to the UCAS Board. He brings invaluable experience of leadership from the higher education sector to us as we work on reform and change to the admissions process, and delivering our corporate strategy, Discover Your Future.
“Professor Riordan’s knowledge and understanding of UK higher education’s position in the global marketplace will be instrumental for us as we emerge from the pandemic and launch a new platform for international students later this month. I look forward to Professor Riordan supporting, championing, and also challenging, UCAS’s progress during his time on the Board.”
Chair of UCAS’ Board of Trustees, Trudy Norris-Grey, said: “I am delighted that Professor Riordan has been appointed to this post. As UCAS continues to adapt to the changing environment and growing demand from international audiences, especially in the light of the global recovery from the pandemic, I am confident Professor Riordan’s experience and expertise will be invaluable as UCAS continues to reinforce its position as a pioneering destination for providing students with the personalised information, advice and guidance they need to make the right choices for them about their futures.”
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Notes for editors
UCAS, the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service, is an independent charity, and the UK's shared admissions service for higher education.
Our services support young people making post-18 choices, as well as mature learners, by providing information, advice, and guidance to inspire and facilitate educational progression to university, college, or an apprenticeship. We manage almost three million applications, from around 700,000 people each year, for full-time undergraduate courses at over 380 universities and colleges across the UK.