Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Cultural Impact, Professor Dinah Birch CBE to retire

Professor Dinah Birch CBE (centre) with her husband Sid and daughter Rowena at Buckingham Palace.

Professor Dinah Birch CBE, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Cultural Impact at the University Liverpool, has announced that she will be retiring at the end of the calendar year.

Professor Birch arrived at the University of Liverpool as a Professor of English Literature in 2003, having previously held a fellowship in English at Trinity College, Oxford.  Her roles at the university have included serving as Head of the Department of English, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Impact, and Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Cultural Engagement.  Recently she has been leading the University’s annual Literary Festival, which has enabled local audiences (including students and staff) the opportunity to hear a wonderfully varied and fascinating range of writers talking about their books.

In 2016 Professor Birch received a CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) from the Duke of Cambridge at a special ceremony at Buckingham Palace. Professor Birch received the honour for services to higher education, literary scholarship and cultural life. She chaired the REF2014 sub-panel for English Literature and Language, and in REF 2021 was Chair of the Main Panel (Arts and Humanities).

External roles also included chairing the Advisory Council for the University of London’s Institute of English Studies, chairing the Editorial Board of The Conversation, and serving as President of the British Association for Victorian Studies.

A regular broadcaster and contributor to the Times Literary Supplement and London Review of Books, Professor Birch has also served as a member of the Man Booker prize panel. She has published widely on Victorian fiction and poetry, and on the work of the critic John Ruskin.

Dinah Birch said: “I joined the University as a Professor of English in 2003, and it has been a privilege to serve the University in a number of different roles over the years.  I have worked alongside brilliant colleagues in developing the University’s ambitious programmes for change, and it has been very satisfying to play a part in the remarkable progress we’ve been able to make together.  I’m looking forward to seeing all that the University will achieve in future years!”

Vice-Chancellor, Professor Dame Janet Beer, paid tribute to Dinah: “Dinah Birch is a truly outstanding colleague: she is a brilliant academic, teacher and public intellectual. It has been my pleasure and privilege to work alongside her for the last eight years and to have learnt something interesting from every conversation we have had. She has given many years of dedicated service to the University, to the sector and to her discipline. Generations of students and colleagues have many reasons to be grateful to her for her unfailing collegiality and generosity.”