A former nurse is to become principal at the University of the West of Scotland (UWS) in what is thought to be a national first.

Professor James Miller will lead the institution from November 1, bosses have confirmed.

The university said Prof Miller had a "substantial" leadership track record, having been deputy vice-chancellor of Glasgow Caledonian University since August 2015. He previously held a range of other senior roles, including director of the Open University in Scotland and chief executive of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow.

He is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine, a member of the Institute of Directors, and was a founder member of the British Council’s digital advisory board.

Prof Miller said: “I am absolutely delighted to have been appointed as the next principal and vice-chancellor at the University of the West of Scotland.

“It is a great privilege to join the team at such an important time for the University and higher education more widely.”

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Beginning his professional life as a clinical nurse in Edinburgh, Prof Miller held a series of roles in healthcare before embarking on a career in higher education. UWS leaders believe he is the first nurse to be chosen as a university principal and vice-chancellor in Scotland.

Following almost ten years in clinical nursing, he went on to become quality facilitator and deputy director of nursing for West Lothian Healthcare NHS Trust in 1992. He subsequently held the role of divisional general manager in South Glasgow University Hospitals NHS Trust from 2001 to 2005, later being appointed as chief executive of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow.

He entered higher education management as director of the Open University in Scotland in August 2010 before taking up his current role at Glasgow Caledonian University.

Prof Miller has an MBA from Edinburgh Napier University, a PhD from the University of Edinburgh and is an alumnus of Harvard University’s Institute of Education Management.

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He added: “The university’s enviable record on widening participation has seen it transform the lives of thousands of students as well as the economic and social wellbeing of the communities it serves in Scotland, the UK and globally.

“Our focus will be to build on the achievements of staff and students in taking the university into the next exciting phase of its history.”

UWS said its Court oversaw the appointment following an extensive recruitment and selection process that included student and staff representatives.

Chair of Court, Kate Allum, said: “It gives me great pleasure to announce Professor James Miller’s appointment to this important role, which also marks a momentous point in UWS’ history.

“As we work to deliver our ambitious strategic vision for the University and continue to provide a high-quality teaching and learning experience for our amazing students, I look forward to working alongside Professor Miller whose values-based leadership will ensure our wonderful institution continues to go from strength-to-strength.”