James Fraser University of the Highlands and Islands

By | 12th June 2017

James Fraser University of the Highlands and Islands

Professor James Fraser CBE

Professor James Fraser CBE

Tuesday 17 June 2014

Congratulations to our former principal and vice-chancellor who has been awarded a CBE in the Queen’s birthday honours list for services to higher education in

Chair of the university court, Professor Matthew MacIver CBE, commented:

“James Fraser joined UHI Millennium Institute in 2002 and was instrumental in the achievement of taught degree awarding powers in 2008. This and the subsequent attainment of university title in 2011, and the new University of the Highlands and Islands, owed a great deal to his drive, diligence and meticulous attention to detail.

“Through his experience and leadership, James made a major contribution to the success of the university as an essential part of the social, cultural and economic infrastructure of the Highlands and Islands.”

James Fraser University of the Highlands and Islands

James Mackenzie Fraser CBE (born July 1948) is a former university administrator who was the first principal and vice-chancellor of the University of the Highlands and Islands, in the north of Scotland. He held senior management roles in Scottish educational institutions for over 23 years, working at three colleges that went on to achieve University status.

Early life and education

Fraser was born in July 1948. He was brought up in Inverinate, near Kyle of Lochalsh, he was educated at Plockton High School in Ross-shire under the reign of Sorley Maclean, the famous Gaelic poet. Fraser studied at the University of Edinburgh and graduated in 1971 with a MA honours summa cum laude in mental philosophy, having also been a class medallist in moral philosophy and metaphysics. During his working life, he also completed a master’s degree in education and a further education teaching qualification.

Early career

Fraser began his career as a lecturer in English and liberal studies at the former Inverness Technical College, now Inverness College UHI. During this time, he was an active member of the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) and was elected to the newly formed Highland Regional Council Education Committee as one of three teacher members representing Further Education staff.

He took up an administrative post in the Academic Registry of the University of Stirling in 1977 and gained promotion to assistant registrar three years later. From 1972 to 1979 Fraser also worked part-time with The Open University as a tutor on some on its arts foundation and other courses in the faculty of arts.

In 1987 Fraser was appointed secretary of Queen Margaret College in Edinburgh. In 1989 Fraser took up the position of secretary of Paisley College of Technology. The college was granted university status as the University of Paisley. Fraser remained there until 2002 and during his time there the organisation went through much change: expanding its student numbers, undertaking a building programme and merging with the former Craigie College of Education in Ayr.