Stephen May



Stephen May MRCVSStephen May graduated from Cambridge in 1980. After spending time as a large animal house surgeon at Liverpool and in general practice, he undertook further training in equine surgery and diagnostic imaging, at Liverpool, subsequently gaining Diplomas in Veterinary Radiology and Equine Orthopaedics.

He then studied for a PhD at the Royal Veterinary College, followed by a return to Liverpool as Lecturer in Equine Orthopaedics, and was recruited to the Royal Veterinary College in 1993 to rebuild the equine clinical services, and expand the equine research focus.

In 1997, he became Head of the Farm Animal and Equine Clinical Department. He was appointed the College’s Vice-Principal for Teaching from 2000 to 2013, held the post of Deputy Principal from 2004 to 2017, and is currently Senior Vice-Principal and Professor of Education.

His broader contributions include chairing the Higher Education Academy UK Teaching Excellence Award Panel. Until recently he was President and then Senior Vice-President of the European Board of Veterinary Specialisation, and served on their Executive Committee for six years from 2011 to 2017. He is a past President of the European College of Veterinary Surgeons. In 2011, Stephen was awarded the prestigious Miegunyah Fellowship of the University of Melbourne.

Having come from a clinical and applied research background, Stephen set about converting himself into an “educationalist”, adding generic educational theory and discipline-related pedagogical research to his largely empirical teaching skills!

He was challenged to expand the College’s educational vision from a training school for veterinary surgeons to an educational academy for the whole veterinary team, both at first degree and also postgraduate degree and CPD levels. New Bachelors, Masters and professional certificate programmes have followed, alongside radical development of the BVetMed itself.

At every stage, attempts have been made to inform change with best practice from elsewhere, and research the impact and efficacy of changes that have been made. Notable achievements have been developments in assessment and learning, in communication and technical skills, and distance and blended learning models of delivery.


Council Member category

  • Elected: 2012 – 2020
  • Appointed (University of London): 2001 – 2010


Committee membership

  • Legislation Working Party (Chair)
  • Education Committee (Observer, as Chair of Graduate Outcomes Working Party)
  • Certificate in Advanced Veterinary Practice Subcommittee
  • Continuing Professional Development Working Party (Chair)
  • Graduate Outcomes Working Party (Chair)
  • Estates Strategy Project Board


Declaration of interests


Director as member of RVC College Executive Committee, of RVC Developments Ltd and RVC (Hong Kong) Ltd

Relevant financial interests, eg shareholdings, bonds and derivatives




Appointments to other bodies

  • Member, Royal Veterinary College Council
  • Chairman, Royal Veterinary College Animal Care Trust


Membership of other veterinary or allied organisations

  • Member, European College of Veterinary Surgeons (Past President)
  • Member, British Veterinary Association
  • Member, British Equine Veterinary Association (Past Member of Council)
  • Member, British Inflammation Research Association
  • Member, Association for Veterinary Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics
  • Member, Association for Veterinary Teaching and Research Work
  • Member, European Association for Veterinary Diagnostic Imaging
  • Member, Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire Veterinary Society
  • Fellow, Higher Education Academy
  • Member, Association for Medical Education in Europe
  • Member, Veterinary Education Worldwide
  • Member, Pirbright Institute (as an officer of the RCVS)



Royal Veterinary College, University of London:

  • Senior Vice-Principal 2017 - Present
  • Professor of Education 2017 - Present
  • Deputy Principal 2004 - 2017
  • Vice-Principal for Teaching 2000 - 2013
  • Head of Department of Farm Animal and Equine Medicine and Surgery 1997 - 2000
  • Professor of Equine Medicine and Surgery 1993 - 2017



  • Lecturer/Senior Lecturer in Equine Orthopaedics University of Liverpool, Veterinary Field Station 1988 - 1992
  • Research Fellowship supported by Welfare Grant from Home of Rest for Horses, Royal Veterinary College 1986 - 1988
  • Temporary Assistant (Small Animal Practice) Beech House Veterinary Hospital, Stockton Heath, Cheshire 1985
  • Horserace Betting Levy Board Research Training Scholarship in Equine Surgery (Orthopaedics) University of Liverpool Veterinary Field Station 1982 - 1985
  • Temporary Assistant (Small Animal/Equine Practice) E & R Veterinary Surgery, Eastleigh, Southampton. Large Animal House Surgeon 1982
  • University of Liverpool Veterinary Field Station 1980 - 1981
  • Temporary Assistant (Small Animal Practice)
  • Beech House Veterinary Hospital 1980

Qualifications (other than veterinary qualifications listed in the Register)

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA) 

Interests relating to immediate family or close friends


Other relevant information