New Dean aims to strengthen links with industry

Gail Boag takes charge of Business School

Date posted

AN inspirational leader and manager with a long record of success in both the public and private sectors has taken charge of Edinburgh Napier University’s Business School.

Gail Boag takes on the role of Dean following seven years with BT which saw her become a regional director and member of the BT Scotland Board.

She comes to the University’s Craiglockhart-based Business School with a wealth of experience, having worked with a wide range of organisations from small start-ups to global corporations.

The new Dean aims to build the School’s academic reputation, strengthen commercial relationships and improve student experience. Her vision also includes developing the international profile of the School, which offers the chance to gain a recognised business degree from anywhere in the world via its Global Online programmes.

Mrs Boag, 48, who studied at the university when it was Napier College in the 80s, said: “It’s unusual for someone with my business background to take up a role as Dean but I like the idea of helping young people achieve their potential and, after many years building my skills and experience, Higher Education is a sector which interests me and where I know I can make a difference.

“This is a really interesting time for the sector, which has been experiencing a period of unprecedented change, with increasing student demand, new providers emerging, new learning models, increased globalisation and a reduction in the availability of national funding.

“While these changes bring their challenges, they also bring significant opportunities and my commercial background is ideal to tackle these head on and grasp each opportunity.”

Mrs Boag said Edinburgh Napier was “ambitious and forward thinking” and “produced graduates with critical thinking skills and business connections.”

“I aim to provide a strategy which will enable us to work with industry to help create the workforce of the future in a Business School renowned for high quality programmes and research which drives improvements in business practice.

“We want to be first choice for students, and the partner of choice for commercial activities. Our learning and teaching has to prepare students for the modern workplace, developing the skills demanded in not only today’s roles but those that will exist in five or ten years’ time.”

The programmes delivered to the Business School’s 8000 students include accountancy, finance, law, international business, marketing, sales, entrepreneurship, tourism and languages. 

The School is also at the heart of the University’s Transnational education programmes, which give international students, particularly in the Far East, the chance to study for a degree awarded by Edinburgh Napier and delivered in collaboration with an overseas partner without leaving their home country.

The new Dean’s own business experience spans commercial management, sales, large-scale contract management and business development in large global organisations, as well as setting up, running and then selling her own health education publishing venture.

With more than 25 years’ experience working in public, private and third sector organisations managing end to end businesses, fostering collaboration and driving successful strategies for income generation and sustainable growth, the mother-of-two’s career has also included two spells at BT 15 years apart, the second of which saw her take responsibility for business and public sector clients across Scotland. 

However, the Stirling University graduate has kept in touch with Higher Education through voluntary student mentoring roles at both Stirling Business School and Roehampton University. She also acted as Executive Sponsor for the MBA programme at Strathclyde Business School. 

Mrs Boag said: “In my new role, I will be listening to and learning from our internal and external stakeholders. I will also be listening closely to the voices of our students through channels like the National Student Survey with the aim of providing them with an outstanding student experience.”

Professor Andrea Nolan, Principal & Vice Chancellor of Edinburgh Napier University, said: “I believe Gail will provide the Business School with great leadership, industry insight and strong commercial awareness as she builds on the success of the School to date to deliver an excellent student experience, and support our academic community to thrive.”