THE Vice Chancellor of Winchester University is set to retire after 15 years in her post.

Professor Joy Carter will step down at the end of March.

During her time, she has overseen significant growth of the University with student numbers more than doubling, expansion of the course portfolio and a bolstering of the university's standing within the city, region, UK and abroad.

Alan Lovell, chair of the Governing Body, said: "Joy's leadership, passion and wisdom over the past 15 years as Vice-Chancellor have been the driving force behind the University going from strength to strength. The significant impact Joy has had extends beyond the success of this institution to her leadership more widely within the sector where she has helped develop the shape and nurture the health of higher education in the region and nationally.

"On behalf of all Governors, our staff and students - both current and former - we wish Joy all the very best in her retirement. We are enormously grateful for all Joy has achieved and brought to this University."

Professor Joy Carter CBE DL, added: "It has been an absolute joy and privilege to serve this wonderful, values-driven university.

"I would like to extend my warmest thanks to all colleagues within the university and friends and supporters in the region for their wisdom and encouragement throughout my time here.

"I am confident that the University will go from strength to strength and that Liz will be excellent in the role of Vice-Chancellor in the interim. I will remain a loyal friend and supporter forever."

The Board of Governors has begun the selection process for a new Vice-Chancellor who would ideally be in place for the beginning of the new academic year.

In the meantime, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, The Reverend Professor Liz Stuart, who in April will have been at the University for 23 years and Deputy Vice-Chancellor for 13 years, will be Vice-Chancellor.

She is an internationally renowned theologian, joined the University in 1998 as a Professor of Christian Theology and Director of the Centre for the Study of Theology and Religion.

She became Director of Research and Knowledge Transfer in 2005 before being appointed Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Academic) in August 2008, and then First Deputy Vice-Chancellor in January 2013.

She has been involved in various national initiatives relating to internationalisation and higher education, equality and diversity and the Research Excellence Framework, and degree classification.

Mr Lovell added: "We are grateful to The Reverend Professor Liz Stuart taking up the post of Vice-Chancellor from April until a new Vice-Chancellor is in post. With her length of service and skilled contribution to the leadership of the University over the past 13 years, Liz has played a hugely instrumental role in this institution's success. The Board of Governors has every confidence this will be a smooth transition and that under Liz's leadership the University will continue to flourish.