After joining Bath as Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Learning and Teaching) in 2010 Bernie was appointed Deputy Vice-Chancellor (DVC) in 2015.
As DVC Professor Morley has had a broad role with responsibility for strategic and corporate planning, the University Deans, student recruitment, admissions, and marketing and communications. Bernie also was acting Vice-Chancellor from September 2018 to April 2019.
An early priority for Bernie, working with colleagues across the University, was to improve Bath’s position in the annual National Student Survey measuring student satisfaction. From 29th place in 2010 Bath rose to 1st in 2013, retaining the top spot in 2014. Bernie also renewed the University’s focus on open days for prospective students, resulting in larger numbers and better feedback from attendees. Bernie spearheaded greater visibility of senior managers on the open days, regularly delivering talks and being available to speak to applicants and parents on campus.
He was also responsible for introducing a University Wellbeing Manager and creating the Health and Wellbeing Group, which he chaired. Managers, staff and students can now receive mental health training and Bernie has worked to raise awareness about taking care of our health and the support available to do so.
This attention to supporting students and staff has been a hallmark of Bernie’s approach. He has always striven to be approachable to people at all levels of the University and to consider the needs of different groups. Bernie’s ability to build positive relationships has also borne fruit when representing the University as liaison with our local council, schools and residents and forging greater partnership working with the local community. This has been demonstrated during the Covid-19 pandemic where Bernie’s work in serving on the B&NES Outbreak Engagement Board was much appreciated by the Director of Public Health.
A strong believer in the transformative power of education and the opportunities of the digital world, Bernie was closely involved in establishing the Institute of Coding in 2018, of which he remains co-chair. The University of Bath is the lead partner in the Institute (which was instigated with £20m of funding from HEFCE, now OfS, and £20m match-funding), which was set up with the aim of addressing the talent pipeline, diversity and inclusion issues in the tech sector, and the gap between skills provision and employer needs. The Institute of Coding has been a great success, engaging more than 800,000 learners, 200 employers and 35 universities, and attracting learners from much more diverse demographics than within the sector as a whole.
Professor Ian White, Vice-Chancellor, said: “I would like to pay great tribute to Professor Morley for all he has brought to the University in his eleven years at Bath. Bernie has made a significant impact in a whole range of areas, from wellbeing to student experience, and we are grateful for his contributions, both personally and professionally, to University life.”
Bernie said: “During my time at Bath, the high point for me has always been the people I have worked with, the professional service staff, the academics and the students. Their enthusiasm, their ability and their sheer professionalism, has made me confident that whatever we have set out to achieve we will do it. I wish the University, its staff and students, every success in the future. I will miss those interactions and being a part of such a great organisation, though I am looking forward to spending more time on the golf course!”
A molecular geneticist by training, Bernie was educated at the University of Liverpool, his home town, where he gained a degree in Biochemistry. He completed his DPhil at the University of Oxford in 1984 in Molecular Immunology.
He then worked at the University of California, San Francisco and the MRC Molecular Haematology Unit at the University of Oxford before taking up his first academic appointment at the Royal Postgraduate Medical School (RPMS) in 1991.
When the RPMS and Imperial College London merged in 1997, Bernie remained as part of the Rheumatology Unit, later becoming Professor of Molecular Genetics. His research interests are in the genetics of autoimmune diseases and the complement system.
From 2006, Bernie was the Director of the Graduate School of Life Sciences and Medicine at Imperial College London before joining Bath in 2010.
Bernie’s last day will be 31 May and if colleagues would like to send him a farewell message they can contribute to his online card and collection which will be donated to the University’s Student Hardship Fund.
A gathering to celebrate Bernie’s contribution to the University will be held later in the year, when Covid restrictions have been lifted.