Message from the New Chief Executive of the Academy of Social Sciences, Rita Gardner

It is a pleasure to introduce myself as the Academy’s new Chief Executive and I warmly thank those who have written to welcome me in this role.  I look forward to working with you all, with trustees and committee members, our staff team and wider stakeholders, to fulfil the Academy’s charitable remit of promoting the social sciences for public benefit. I also look forward, in the coming years, to us collectively developing further the Academy’s scope and activities in pursuance of its objective.

At the current time of change and uncertainty, the Academy’s well-established and successful roles in effecting policy change for the benefit of the social sciences and our Campaign for Social Sciences are more important than ever. So too is our collaboration with, and support for, our Learned Society members. Thank you for being part of the Academy.

The Academy today is in a very different place to 10 years ago and I add my voice to the many people who have warmly thanked Stephen Anderson for his sterling 10 years as Executive Director. Stephen, we wish you a happy and healthy retirement.

I bring to the Academy a background in academic geography, a keen interest in professional practice, and experience in advocacy, fundraising and organisational development. Much of that has been gained through 25+ years of leadership in the learned society and professional body sector, most recently as Director of the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG). Having worked in multi-disciplinary teams, I am delighted also to have the opportunity to engage now with the full breadth of the social sciences.

I already have some knowledge of the Academy, through a variety of roles in recent years. These include: as a Trustee and Council member (2013-2018), as a member of the Learned Societies CEO group, and as Chair of the Learned Societies working group on Open Access. I was elected a Fellow of the Academy in 2013. However, I still have much to learn.

I look forward to re-connecting with many of you in the coming months and to working together for the benefit of the social sciences, the Academy and the Learned Societies. First of all though, in this new, part-time role for me, I plan to ‘get my feet under the desk’, to listen, and to learn more about the organisation from the inside.

The British Academy of Management is one of 44 member Learned Societies of this national academy for academics, learned societies and practitioners and many of our leading members are Fellows; we particularly benefit from collaborative opportunities, additional networks and policy engagement and advice.