12:38, January 17 143 0 theguardian.com

2019-01-17 12:38:07
Other lives  Frances Mannsåker obituary

In 2003 my friend Frances Mannsåker, who has died aged 72, was appointed the first female pro-vice-chancellor at the University of Lincoln. She implemented academic quality systems to assure the standards of the university’s courses and the fruitful experience of its students, and later tackled governance procedures. The university prospers to this day. Frances was held in high esteem, and retired as deputy vice-chancellor in 2011.

She was born in Leeds, West Yorkshire, to schoolteacher parents, Marjorie (nee Godfrey) and Cecil Hale. Frances grew up in the North Yorkshire villages of Scorton and Bolton-on-Swale, attending the local primary school, then Richmond high school for girls. She studied English to doctoral level at the University of Nottingham, specialising in Anglo-Indian literature.

In the late 1960s she applied for Voluntary Service Overseas and taught English at Mumbai University. On her return to the UK, she was appointed lecturer in communication at Loughborough College of Higher Education, then moved in the mid-70s to Newcastle Polytechnic, rising from junior lecturer to become head of English. As a senior manager from 1990 at the Polytechnic of Wales, which became the University of Glamorgan, she oversaw humanities and social sciences, including law.

Aside from her university day jobs, working extensively for national degree-awarding and quality assurance organisations, Frances was among the critical peer group of academics helping UK higher education to evolve. She was proud when the polytechnics and certain colleges were rightly granted university status. Among other appointments, Frances served on the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales and, from 2013, a committee of the skills council for the justice sector.

Frances always had time, humour and energy to mentor and support others. She became chair of the parish council in Harmston, Lincolnshire, the village where she lived, and engaged with its processes, projects and people.

A connoisseur of art, design, food and wine, Frances created beautiful homes. She was a fantastic cook and party-giver and once parked a refrigerated lorry in her garden for a week to store food, cooked from scratch, for 80. The party swung. She loved her family and made many strong friendships, so always when midnight chimed it was ignored: conversation and wine continued to flow and Frances was the last to retire, having tidied up to perfection.

Frances met Håkon Mannsåker when they were both students at Nottingham, and they married in 1970; they had a son, Edward. Although Håkon and Frances divorced, they remained friends. Both Håkon and Edward predeceased Frances. Her beloved grandsons, Seth (Edward’s son) and his younger brother, Barney, their mother, Clare, and father, Andy, survive Frances, as do her sisters, Jill and Brenda.

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