Professor Dominic Shellard joined De Montfort University (DMU) in June 2010 as vice-chancellor and chief executive. During his tenure DMU has embarked upon a focussed journey of improvement. In 2014, DMU climbed 32 places in The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide, moving from 86th to 54th. This is the highest league table position DMU has ever achieved, as well as being the biggest improvement of any university in the UK.
An expert on post-war British theatre, Dominic was educated at Dulwich College and at St Peter's College, Oxford, beginning his academic career as a lecturer in English at the University of Salford. In 1996, he moved to the University of Sheffield, becoming Head of the School of English in 2005, and Pro Vice-Chancellor for External Affairs in 2008.
At DMU, Dominic has placed an emphasis on building creative strategic relationships with key industry and education partners in the UK and overseas, and promoting higher education and universities as a public good – this is encapsulated in DMU’s award-winning Square Mile community project, launched by Dominic in 2011, which won the 2014 Guardian University Award for Community Contribution as well as the Mahatma Gandhi International Award 2013, presented to organisations that make a “distinguished contribution” to the community.
Dominic’s focus on driving up quality and improving the student experience at DMU is reflected in the university’s £136 million campus redevelopment project, which is currently underway. When completed, the project will include an impressive new base for the Faculty of Art, Design and Humanities, the refurbishment of the historic Great Hall of Leicester Castle for the new Leicester Castle Business School, a Food Village for students and staff and a remodelled Campus Centre.
Dominic has led the expansion of the international agenda, most notably with the launch of #DMUglobal in 2013. This unique initiative will see half of DMU’s students benefit from an international experience during their studies, considerably advancing their employability prospects. This is complemented by DMU’s role as the education channel partner for the UK government’s international GREAT Festivals of Creativity.
A new initiative launched in 2016 led by Dominic – Square Mile India – represents the further development of Square Mile and #DMUglobal. The programme aims to make a real difference to the lives of some of India’s poorest and most vulnerable families whilst giving DMU students the chance to gain personal international experience and a more global cultural awareness. Projects are supporting local communities in the state of Gujarat, encouraging economic development and bringing a range of practical benefits to Indian communities.
Dominic continues to conduct research into post-war British theatre and Shakespeare. An author of nine books, he led the British Library’s Theatre Archive Project, and his latest publication, jointly edited with Siobhan Keenan, is “Shakespeare’s Cultural Capital”. Published by Palgrave in April 2016, this collection of essays, to which Dominic has contributed a chapter, examines the impact that Shakespeare still has on today's economy.
On a personal level, Dominic is a passionate supporter of Queens Park Rangers Football Club and one of the UK’s most active VCs on Twitter. You can follow him @DMUVC.