Co-operative College awards honorary fellowship to Dr Cilla Ross

She is the first woman to be awarded an honorary fellowship in the College’s history

Dr Cilla Ross has received an honorary fellowship award from the Co-operative College, an organisation she joined six years ago as vice principal.

Dr Ross is the first woman to be awarded an honorary fellowship in the College’s history. She was appointed as the College’s first ever female principal in 2019, and has recently stepped down from the role.

At the College, she worked across multiple areas including teaching, learning and global research, leading on both co-operative higher education and the co-operative university project. As a fellow of the College, she will continue to work with the education co-operatives that the College has helped to establish.  

In 2019, she sat on the Centenary Commission on Adult Education, and has recently been appointed to a three-year honorary professorship in co-operative education at the University of Nottingham.

Dr Ross said: “I am truly honoured by this award. It has been a privilege being a custodian and steward of the College and in helping to ready it for its future.

“The sentiment that has always motivated me comes from a statement made at Congress in 1914 which says: ‘The college should create a burning desire for social justice, inspire a willingness to work for it, and provide the knowledge how best to attain it. …. Our aim should be to provide education in its widest sense: an education for the highest purposes of life…’ 

“The College has a magnificent record in empowering people through education and this imperative is as critical as ever. As a fellow, I will contribute in any way I can to support the College’s commitment to a relevant, high quality and distinctive learning offer that has social justice at its heart.”  

Jon Nott, chair of the College trustees, said: “Cilla has led the College through a period of incredible external challenges and internal transformation. She moves into her new role having provided a strong academic and organisational platform from which the new team can build and grow. I’m delighted that Cilla will be able to continue her commitment to co-operative learning through this fellowship.”

Neil Calvert, CEO and principal of the College, added: “Cilla’s contribution to the work of the College cannot be underestimated, and it is only right that it is being recognised by this award. Her influence will be sadly missed in our day-to-day working, but I am grateful that we will be able to retain our links with her through the honorary fellowship.”