Bill Rammell takes over as Vice Chancellor of the University of Bedfordshire on 1 September.
The former Minister for Higher Education said making university accessible was at the core of his vision alongside improving student experience and expanding internationalisation.
“I have a very passionate belief that many more students should have the opportunity to get a university education, which is driven by my own life experience,” said Mr Rammell, who grew up in a council house, in Harlow and went to the town’s Burnt Mill Comprehensive before graduating with a BA in French from Cardiff University.
“It is both a social good and economic necessity as 50 per cent of the jobs being created over the next decade will be those requiring graduate level qualifications.”
Chairman of the University’s Board of Governors Alan Cook, said: “We welcome Bill to the University and we look forward to supporting him in adding to its successes.
“We were very impressed with Bill’s experience and expertise and, in particular, his commitment to improving further the staff and student experience at Bedfordshire.”
Mr Rammell, who comes to Bedfordshire from Plymouth University where he was deputy vice chancellor, will ensure students are well looked after and take with them real experience alongside academic degrees.
“In the new marketised environment universities that thrive will be the ones that really value students, involve them and deliver exemplary student services,” he said. “The focus we give to personal tutoring and feedback, for example, is going to be critically important.”
He also intends to expand the University’s international aspect which, he believes, is a key tool for fostering friendships and building bridges.
He said: “To have campuses where you have students from all different backgrounds, all different nationalities and all different faiths and beliefs from across the planet is potentially an enormous power for good.
“It also develops in students the global mind and skill set, increasing in demand in the world of work.
“I’ve always been incredibly committed to higher education. I feel enormously privileged to have this opportunity to lead Bedfordshire through a period of significant external changes.”
Mr Rammell is a French graduate from Cardiff University. He built a successful career in public sector management and between 1987 and 1997 was Head of Youth Services with Basildon Council, General Manager of Kings College London Students’ Union, and General Manager of the University of London Union.
Mr Rammell was elected as the Member of Parliament for Harlow in 1997, and spent eight years serving in Government as Minister of State at the Foreign Office, where he was responsible for relations with North and South East Asia and the Middle East, Minister of State for the Armed Forces, and Minister of State for Further and Higher Education.
In the latter role Mr Rammell was responsible for implementing the old fees regime, and leading the Prime Minister’s Initiative for the globalisation of higher education. From February 2011, Mr Rammell was Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Plymouth University, responsible for the student experience and internationalisation.
Mr Rammell was appointed as Vice Chancellor of the University of Bedfordshire to succeed Professor Les Ebdon CBE DL, and took office in August