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May 7, 2008

Forum for Social Change

A new ‘Forum for Social Change’ (FSC) is under development in Scotland to bring innovators together and generate momentum for social change. FSC is led by Susan Deacon, former MSP and Scottish minister who is now Professor of Social Change at Queen Margaret University.

Queen Margaret University

Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh,has appointed Susan Deacon as Professor of Social Change. The former Minister and MSP took up position in April 2007.

As Professor of Social Change Professor Deacon will lead plans for the development of a Forum for Social Change to be launched in the autumn when the University moves to its new purpose-built campus at Craighall. The Forum will aim to inform and influence both policy and practice in Scotland and beyond by providing a range of opportunities for individuals and organisations from across the private, public and voluntary sectors to bring together their ideas and experience.

Professor Deacon will also contribute to the University’s teaching and research across a range of areas.

Welcoming the new appointment, Professor Anthony Cohen, Queen Margaret’s Principal and Vice Chancellor, said:

“ Queen Margaret University has set itself the objective of becoming a key forum for interests, expertise and opinion in public policy formulation and implementation across the public, private and voluntary sectors in order to help to enhance and inform policy processes in Scotland. We are delighted to have persuaded Susan Deacon to bring to Queen Margaret her formidable talents and experience to help us develop this aspect of our strategy. As a senior policy maker, and, more recently, as an incisive commentator and critic, she will bring rigour and dynamism to this activity. As Professor of Social Change, she will complement both the notable team we have now assembled in the area of public management, as well as our expertise across the full range of professions allied to health.”

Professor Deacon has more than 20 years experience of working with people and organisations in the management and development of change and, over the last decade, has been a prominent figure in the national policy arena.

Elected as Member of the Scottish Parliament for Edinburgh East & Musselburgh in 1999, she was appointed by Donald Dewar as Scotland’s first Minister for Health and Community Care. In the years since, Professor Deacon has been a regular contributor to debate, both in the Parliament and in the wider sphere, on a wide range of subjects including public service reform, leadership and management development and constitutional and governance issues. She has played a leading role in developing policy and practice on sexual and reproductive health, including work at both a UK and international level. She was a member of the RSA Commission on Illegal Drugs, Communities and Public Policy which has recently published a major report on the future of UK drugs policy.

Commenting on her appointment Professor Deacon said;

“I look forward to my challenging new role with Queen Margaret University and to developing plans for the new Forum for Social Change. I have long been impressed by the University’s work both as a provider of high quality education and as a dynamic and forward thinking organisation. I consider it a great privilege to have this opportunity to work with Queen Margaret at such an exciting stage in their development.”

“We live in a complex and fast moving world. Scotland has a wealth of talent, knowledge and experience and is well placed to develop new ways of thinking and practice. There is a real need to close the gap between policy and implementation and to get better at dealing with the challenging social issues we face. There is enormous potential to develop innovative and practical ways of bringing together people and ideas and I am looking forward to working with colleagues at Queen Margaret to take this important new initiative forward.”

The award of full university title in January this year confirmed Queen Margaret’s long-established position as a university level institution carrying out high level teaching and research for decades. It has a strong national and, in several areas, international reputation for delivering professional learning and research, particularly in the health professions, international health and development, business and the arts, that is of real value to the community and enhances people’s quality of life – at every stage of their lives.