August 3, 2020 – The hunt for university leadership continues to remain strong, especially with searches for provosts. Sarah John, co-managing partner of Perrett Laver, recently placed David Isaac as the new provost for Worcester College University of Oxford.
Mr. Isaac’s experience and expertise proved to be the perfect fit as the college steps up its commitment to equality, diversity and inclusivity, continues transforming its undergraduate admissions and refreshes its traditions to meet the needs of a 21st-century community with three centuries of history, said Perrett Laver.
“David is a terrific appointment for Worcester at this time,” said Kate Tunstall, professor and interim provost. “The college has really come together this year, staff and students, especially during the pandemic, to put equity, inclusivity and sustainability on the agenda, right up there alongside academic excellence, and David’s track record on those issues augurs well for our future. I am so glad he is joining us. He is also a bee-keeper, and that’ll be a good thing for Worcester’s ecology too,” she said.
Mr. Isaac is currently chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, a senior partner at the law firm Pinsent Masons, and chair of governors at the University of the Arts London. He comes to Worcester with a deep understanding of the transformative power of education and a longstanding professional and personal commitment to equality, said the search firm. Mr. Isaac became a highly successful technology lawyer in London. In his capacity as chair of Stonewall (2003 to 2012), he advocated for and successfully helped bring about significant legal and social change in the U.K., including the right to civil partnerships and marriage for gay and lesbian couples.
As chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, Mr. Isaac promoted the rights of people with disabilities, advised the Lammy Review, and set up the inquiry into the effects on Black and Minority Ethnic communities of the COVID-19 pandemic. Mr. Isaac has also held a leadership role in higher education. As chair of the University of the Arts London, he has been a champion of the study of art and design and the essential role of the arts in society. He also knows Oxford well, not only the university, where he did his graduate work in socio-legal studies, but also the town, serving as chair of Modern Art Oxford from 2001 to 2018.
“I am delighted to be appointed as provost of Worcester,” said Mr. Isaac. “I look forward to working with students, staff, fellows, old members and other supporters to work towards widening participation and continuing to promote excellence in all Worcester does.”
Worcester College was founded in 1714, but there has been an institution of learning on the site since the late 13th century. Its predecessor, Gloucester College, was founded in 1283 by the Benedictine Abbey of St. Peter at Gloucester as a place of study for 13 monks. Over the past 50 years several residential buildings for undergraduates and graduates have been added, largely thanks to a series of generous benefactions. The most recent are the acclaimed Sainsbury Building, the Franks Building, the Earl Building and the Nash Building.
Perrett Laver works globally to identify leaders for organizations that are solving the world’s biggest challenges and have extraordinary impact in society. The firm is focused on mission-driven sectors and themes, partnering with organizations in over 60 countries worldwide, across every time zone and through its international team. Perrett Laver has strong internal commitments to diversity, mental health, social mobility, education and justice.
Ms. John is joint head, U.K. higher education and joint managing partner, U.K. Her experience of senior level executive search includes board, chief executive, senior academic and administrative appointments across higher education and health and social care. She is also a trained career coach.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media