Professor Dominic Shellard


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 2017, DMU received a ‘Gold’ award (the highest ranking possible) in the Teaching Excellence Framework, the only UK Government endorsed measure of teaching quality in higher education, and was identified as the best university in the country for helping students find highly skilled work or further study. 97.3% of DMU graduates are in work or further study after graduating (Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education survey 2016-17). In 2018, DMU was named one of the 200 best young universities in the world by the influential Times Higher Education magazine.

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 Square Mile community project, launched in 2011. The project won a 2014 Guardian University Award and the 2013 Mahatma Gandhi International Award, 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 ambitious campus redevelopment project. This includes a multi award-winning base for the Faculty of Arts, 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.

He has also led the expansion of the university’s international agenda, most notably with the launch of #DMUglobal, in 2013. This unique initiative offers all DMU students the opportunity to benefit from an international experience during their studies, considerably advancing their employability prospects. This work is complemented by DMU’s role as the education channel partner for the UK Government’s international GREAT festivals of Creativity (Shanghai, 2015) and Innovation (Hong Kong, 2018).

Square Mile India, an initiative launched in 2016, represents the further development of Square Mile and #DMUglobal. Square Mile India, which won a 2018 Times Higher Education Leadership and Management Award for ‘International Strategy of the Year’, 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 global cultural awareness. These projects, which support local communities in the state of Gujarat, encourage economic development and bring a range of practical benefits to Indian communities.

In 2017, Dominic was appointed to the FA Council as a representative for British Universities and Colleges Sport. Also in 2017, Dominic was appointed as a special representative to the United Nations for the Gandhi Global Family, which aims to spread the work of Mahatma Gandhi around the world, in recognition of his and DMU’s commitment to the public good, locally, nationally and globally. Through this partnership, he was asked by the United Nations in early 2018 to lead the creation of a network of global universities in support of the UN’s Together campaign, which promotes respect, safety and dignity for refugees and migrants. Most recently, DMU has been made a UN Global Hub for Sustainable Development Goal 16, which promotes peace, justice and strong institutions.

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 titled “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.

Vice-Chancellor’s academic publications and research

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