James has successfully held a range of senior roles in very different kinds of Higher Education institutions including a monotechnic, small liberal arts university and a globally leading (Russell Group) research intensive university. Before entering higher education he spent some years as a banker with what is now JP MorganChase. As a Staff Governor of a teachers college he was on the merger board which oversaw the creation of a new Faculty. He was a highly successful Dean of Faculty, where he transformed the Faculty from a local teachers college into a world ranked research-led Faculty, now ranked in the Global top 50 (QS 2018). He has also been Head of Graduate School and Head of Department, creating the first online course in the University, the first TNE in the University and one of the first blended doctorates in the UK. Additionally, he has served on a number of government committees and chaired a number of international academic societies. He is a Philosopher of Education by background as well as being a leading figure in Second Level institutional leadership. He remains an active scholar, publishing regularly in leading SSCI journals and is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences.
For more than eight years James has been leading the University of Glasgow’s international activity and development, initially in the College of Social Sciences, where he developed the first strategic development plan and, for the last 5 years, as Vice Principal (Internationalisation). In addition to his contribution to the normal broad institutional leadership oversight and strategic development he carried overall strategic responsibility for the University’s international footprint and engagement. This included a watching brief of recruitment as well as consular and alumni engagement, TNE, global collaborations, European and International research funding, international student experience, language programmes, Confucius Institute, student mobility, internships and Glasgow International College (access partnership with Kaplan). In addition to establishing world leading partnerships including Hong Kong, Sydney, McGill, Radboud and others, he established and is now Academic Director of the European Centre for Advanced Studies in Luneburg (Lower Saxony). During his tenure as Vice Principal he completely restructured the organisation of international activity which saw the University’s reputation rise to be consistently a Global top 30 (THES) for international profile.
Nationally he has played a leading role in the evolution of the UK’s international activity having been appointed inaugural co-Chair of UUKi’s PVC International Forum, a Member of UUK’s Mobility Board and the Russell Group European Advisory Forum, for which he has participated in and led international delegations. In addition to having held visiting positions at Oxford, FU Rio Grande do Sul, Fordham, Australian Catholic University and the University of Georgia, in 2014 he was invited to join the Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, President’s 1783 Network.