We're delighted to confirm the appointment of the first woman Principal in our history following Simon Parkinson’s impending departure to the WEA. Dr Cilla Ross, a passionate educator and co-operator, will step up from the position of Vice Principal, a role that she has held with us since 2015.

Cilla Ross headshot

Officially taking up the post from 9 December, Cilla will lead on the implementation of our new five year strategy, launched during our Centenary Conference earlier this month.

A wealth of experience 

She brings with her a wealth of experience, having worked extensively across the UK higher education sector at the Universities of Sheffield, Leeds and the Working Lives Research Institute over the last 30 years.

Cilla is an adult educator and work sociologist and has been responsible for designing and managing teaching, research and learning initiatives throughout the European community and for quality assurance, curriculum design and blended learning innovations. She has taught, written and researched extensively on life wide education and the changing nature of work, as well as all aspects of ‘non-traditional’ adult and labour education. Her work at the College includes co-designing a future co-operative university, the  re-imagining Rochdale initiative and exploring union co-operatives. 

Commenting on her appointment, Cilla said:

I am delighted to be appointed to the position of College Principal at such an exciting time, particularly as we launch our new five year strategy. My aim is not only to strengthen the College’s position as the go to institution for co-operative education here in the UK and across the world, but to also continue advancing our programme of genuinely disruptive and radical ideas, shaking up the current education system, including continuing the development of the UK’s first ever Co-operative University. 

We will also continue to build on our excellent project work, increasing our impact in marginalised communities, both in the UK and internationally, by delivering and co-creating co-operative learning opportunities.

Look out for more news from our Centenary Conference over the coming days as we reflect on a wonderful three days in Rochdale, the birthplace of the modern co-operative movement!