Sally Mapstone

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Sally Mapstone
Principal Sally Mapstone.jpg
Professor Sally Mapstone
Principal of
the University of St Andrews
Assumed office
September 2016
Preceded by Louise Richardson
Personal details
Born 1957
Spouse(s) Martin Griffiths
Alma mater Wadham College, Oxford
St Cross College, Oxford
Profession Academic

Sally Mapstone (born 1957) is an academic and Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of St Andrews.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Sally Mapstone grew up in West London and read English Language and Literature at Wadham College, Oxford between 1975 and 1978, she gained her DPhil on the advice to princes tradition in Older Scots literature from Oxford in 1986.[2]


After graduating with first-class honours from Wadham in 1978, Mapstone became an Editor with Weidenfeld and Nicolson Publishers, London, and was Mother of the Chapel of the National Union of Journalists at Weidenfeld.

In 1984 she was appointed Lecturer in Medieval English Language and Literature, Worcester College, Oxford and Randall MacIver Junior Research Fellow at St Hilda's College, Oxford.[3]

At St Hilda's she was Lecturer in Medieval English Language and Literature, Fellow and Tutor in Medieval English Language and Literature, and Joanna Morse Memorial Fellow.

In 2006 she became Reader in Older Scots Literature in the University and was made Professor of Older Scots Literature in 2013; in 2006-7 she served as Junior Proctor of the University.

She was appointed Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Personnel and Equality) at Oxford in 2009,[4] and in 2011 became Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Education)[5] with responsibility for Oxford's strategy and policies for teaching, learning, student support and admissions.

On 1 September 2016 Mapstone took up her position as the 11th Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of St Andrews, and was formally installed in post on 29 November 2016.[6]

Research and professional interests[edit]

Mapstone's research is primarily on Older Scots literature, of the fourteenth to seventeenth centuries (including literature in Latin) and on book history, she has also published on Chaucer and on Malory; and on Shakespeare. A number of her publications concern the identification of previously unrecognised textual witnesses to Older Scots texts, she also publishes on later Scottish writers.

Mapstone is Past President and Honorary President of the Scottish Text Society, a member of the Advisory Board of Studies in Scottish Literature, a member of the Editorial Board of Scottish Studies Review (to 2009) and an Honorary Fellow of the Project for the History of the Book in Scotland at the University of Edinburgh, she was elected a Fellow of English Association in 2013.

In May 2017, Professor Mapstone became the first UK university leader to be honoured by the Foreign Policy Association, which presented her with a medal to recognise her leadership in international higher education, and made her an honorary fellow.

In 2017, she was also made an emeritus fellow of St Hilda’s College, Oxford and an honorary fellow of Wadham College, Oxford, and St Cross College, Oxford.[7]

She is currently chairing a workstream examining admissions policies in the HE sector in Scotland for Universities Scotland.

She is a member of the Board of Universities UK,[8] a member of Advisory Board of the Higher Education Policy Institute[9] and the Chair of the international advisory board of the University of Helsinki.[10]

In June 2018, she was appointed the first female president of the Saltire Society.[11]


1. Scots and their Books in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance (Oxford, 1996)

2. The Long Fifteenth Century: Essays for Douglas Gray, co-ed. with Helen Cooper (Oxford, 1997)

3. The Rose and the Thistle: Essays on the Culture of Late Medieval and Renaissance Scotland, co-ed with Juliette Wood (East Linton, 1998)

4. A Palace in the Wild: Vernacular Culture and Humanism in Late Medieval and Renaissance Scotland, co-ed, with L.A.J.R. Houwen and A.A. MacDonald, (Leuven, 2000)

5. Ed. William Dunbar: ‘The Nobill Poyet’ (East Linton, 2001)

6. The European Sun, co-ed, with G. Caie, R.J. Lyall, and K. Simpson (East Linton, 2001)

7. Ed. Older Scots Literature (Edinburgh, 2005)

Management and leadership[edit]

Mapstone was Deputy Chair of the University of Oxford Council and its General Purposes Committee, she served as a Member and Chair on a broad range of Oxford committees and boards. From 2011 to 2013, she chaired the group responsible for revising the University’s Strategic Plan 2013 to 2018.

She took a strong interest in diversity issues at Oxford, and launched the University’s mentoring scheme for senior women, Ad Feminam, in 2012; in 2016 she was the organiser of a major series of lectures by 'Women of Achievement'.[12]

Mapstone served as the only British representative on the steering group for the Pro-Vice Rectors for Teaching and Learning of the League of European Research Universities (LERU). She was lead author on an advice paper "Online Learning at Research-Intensive Universities"[13] published by LERU in 2014. She serves on the international advisory board for the University of Helsinki.

She is active in the media as an academic and higher education leader, contributing to several programmes including Scots: the Language of the People (BBC2 Scotland, 2005) and Princes and Poets[14] in the BBC Radio 3 essay series on the Stewarts in October 2010.


  1. ^ "New Principal of St Andrews". University of St Andrews Press Office. St Andrews, UK. 22 February 2015. Retrieved 22 February 2016. 
  2. ^ "Professor Sally Mapstone". University of Oxford Council. Retrieved 22 February 2016. 
  3. ^ Staff profile at St Hilda's College, Oxford Archived 24 April 2016 at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ University of Oxford Gazette, Supplement (2) to No 4925, Wednesday 21 July 2010, p.1324
  5. ^ Blueprint University of Oxford staff magazine, January 2011, p.4
  6. ^ Installation Address: Professor Sally Mapstone
  7. ^ Honorary fellows, 'St Cross College, Oxford', Retrieved 22 August 2017
  8. ^ Universities UK Board, Retrieved 18 August 2017
  9. ^ Higher Education Policy Institute advisory board, Retrieved 18 August 2017
  10. ^ University of Helskini board and the university collegium, Retrieved 18 August 2017
  11. ^ Saltire Society appoints uni principal as first woman president, Retrieved 01 June 2018
  12. ^ Wadham College, Oxford news
  13. ^ LERU Open Seminar on Online Learning, 6 February 2015
  14. ^ BBC Radio 3: Princes and Poets, The Stewarts Episode 3 of 5
Academic offices
Preceded by
Louise Richardson
Principal of the University of St Andrews
September 2016–
Succeeded by