Michael Scott was founding Vice-Chancellor of Glyndŵr University; he is credited as the man who secured Wrexham its university.
For his secondary education, Scott attended St Chad’s College, Wolverhampton. He went on to study at St David’s College, Lampeter. He stayed five years, following his BA in 1971 with an MA in English in 1973. It was also at Lampeter that he met his future wife, Eirlys James. Eirlys, a local girl who lived in New Street Lampeter, was also a St David’s College student. She graduated in Welsh in 1973. The couple married in summer 1974. Scott said in 2015, ‘Lampeter is a very special place for both Eirlys and me. It is our alma mater but more than that it is Eirlys’ home town … It was at Lampeter that we met and were married and returned year after year with our daughters Jane and Jennifer.’ Sadly Eirlys died in 2016; Scott comments that any success he had was due partly to her. In 2020 he married Margaret, whom he had first met at primary school.
After leaving West Wales, Scott took a PGCE in drama and adult education at the University of Nottingham. His first academic job was at Sunderland Polytechnic, (now the University of Sunderland). He became Professor of English and Head of the School of Humanities. Whilst there, he established a long-standing educational relationship with the Royal Shakespeare Company. He also wrote the earliest of his numerous academic books and papers. In particular, he was the founding editor of two influential series, Text and Performance and The Critics Debate. Text and Performance aimed to introduce sixth-formers and undergraduates to the study of plays in production alongside the more familiar methods of literary criticism. The books examine major productions of the past fifty years, as well as the printed texts. Scott contributed the volume on Antony and Cleopatra. Although he has written on Harold Pinter, most of Scott’s works concentrate on Renaissance drama and Shakespeare in particular. He published Renaissance Drama and a Modern Audience in 1985 and Shakespeare and the Modern Dramatist in 1995. Even as a university vice-chancellor, Scott went on writing about Shakespeare, saying ‘This is my hobby so I always try to find time for it.’ Shakespeare’s comedies: all that matters came out in 2014 and Shakespeare’s tragedies: all that matters in 2015. Then, in 2016, Shakespeare: a complete introduction was timed to coincide with the four hundredth anniversary of the bard’s death.
Scott moved to De Montfort University, Leicester, in 1989, initially as Head of the School of Arts and Humanities. He then entered senior leadership with promotion to the role of Pro Vice Chancellor. It was also while he was at De Montfort that he achieved his PhD.
During this time, he successfully lobbied government for the UK’s resumed membership of UNESCO and was subsequently appointed an adviser to the Director General of UNESCO, for the World Congress in Higher Education. He also worked with the World Bank and the OECD in the stabilisation programme of universities in Eastern Europe, following the fall of the Berlin wall.
In 2001, Scott returned to Wales as principal of the North East Wales Institute of Higher Education (NEWI), based in Wrexham and one of the largest colleges of its kind in Britain. NEWI was approved as a full member institute of the University of Wales in 2004. Then it 2008 it became a university, with its own degree awarding powers and the autonomy to develop its research profile. The fledgling university was named after the medieval Welsh hero, Owain Glyndŵr. It became one of the new breed of institutions, specializing in vocational subjects tailored to the needs of business. It has strong links to its community. Scott commented, ‘This new type of university that Glyndwr represents is actually created for its area, its people and its industry. The rationale isn’t for itself – it’s for the community it serves.’ Glyndŵr is situated in the largest manufacturing area in Wales; it is able to do applied research helping the businesses all round it.
Furthermore, Glyndŵr made a definite effort to break down barriers to higher education. Scott said ‘We want to support the underrepresented people into universities and prove there is nothing intimidating about it.’ University education should be open to all. The aim of the new university was to create new opportunities, as well as new jobs.
Scott retired in 2015. David Jones, the former Secretary of State for Wales, commented, ‘Under his leadership, Glyndŵr has become a new kind of university, attuned to the needs of the community in which it was founded, but also outward-looking and internationalist in stance.’
Scott was is currently Senior Adviser to the President at Georgetown University, Washington, having previously been Visiting Professor of English there. In 1989 Georgetown awarded him the Centennial Award for Distinguished Teaching and Scholarship. Scott is also Visiting Professor of English at Dezhou University, Shandong, China, and a fellow at Gladstone’s Library, Hawarden. He has been director of the UK National Commission for UNESCO and chairman of UNESCO Cymru. He was a member of the council of BBC Wales from 2013 to 2017. Scott is director of Oxford-Scott Education, incorporated in 2015, which offers a consultancy service to senior leaders in higher education institutions. He is honorary Senior Provost at UWTSD and Senior Dean and Fellow at Blackfriars Hall, Oxford.
Porter, G. (2015, Jan 29). Tributes to Glyndwr University vice-chancellor as he steps down - Politicians and business leaders salute Michael Scott who is credited with securing Wrexham its university status. Daily Post - North Wales Edition: Web Edition Articles (Wales). Retrieved from https://infoweb.newsbank.com/resources/doc/nb/news/1532DF69E3D1DC60?p=UKNB
Glyndŵr University. (2012). Professor Michael Scott. Retrieved September 24 2020 from https://web.archive.org/web/20130217074137/http://glyndwr.ac.uk/en/AboutGlyndwrUniversity/Governance/ExecutiveGroup/ProfessorMichaelScott/
Scott, Prof. Michael, DL; Vice-Chancellor, Glyndŵr University, 2008–15. (2019, December 1). Who’s Who & Who Was Who. Retrieved 24 September 2020, from https://www.ukwhoswho.com/view/10.1093/ww/9780199540884.001.0001/ww-9780199540884-e-255914.
Scott, M. (2020). Professor Michael Scott. [LinkedIn page]. LinkedIn. Retrieved September 24 2020 from https://www.linkedin.com/in/professor-michael-scott-3b89b712b/
Returning to Lampeter. (October 2015). Grapevine. Retrieved September 24 2020 from https://issuu.com/lampetergrapevine/docs/grapevine_issue_33_oct_2015
Wiggins, M. (1990). Text and performance, Macmillan, London: Martin Wine, Othello; Gamini Salgado, King Lear; Gordon Williams, Macbeth; Michael Scott, Antony and Cleopatra. Critical Survey. 2(1),111-113. Retrieved from https://www-jstor-org.ezproxy.uwtsd.ac.uk/stable/41555513?seq=1#metadata_info_tab_contents
Wrexham Glyndŵr University (2014). World leading publishing house releases VC’s book on Shakespeare comedies. Retrieved September 24 2020 from https://www.glyndwr.ac.uk/en/AboutGlyndwrUniversity/Newsandmediacentre/Newsarchive/PressReleases2014/MichaelScottShakespeareComedy/
Bagnall, S. (2008, May 6). College to be university by summer's end. Daily Post (Liverpool). Retrieved from https://infoweb.newsbank.com/resources/doc/nb/news/1208517EB1659970?p=UKNB
'We want to raise the aspirations of communities and open the doors of the university to show that it's not a foreign place'. (2011, October 6). Western Mail. Retrieved from https://infoweb.newsbank.com/resources/doc/nb/news/13A3FB9CC288E530?p=UKNB