Appointments - 7 February 2013

February 7, 2013

Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology
Peter Robertson

The new head of creative engagement at the Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Peter Robertson, said he was attracted by the all-encompassing nature of the position. “It’s almost a cradle-to-grave sort of role - I’m involved with everything from recruitment and incubation of graduate businesses right through to alumni and development projects, so it’s really a complete circle of activity,” he said. “It’s got that nice mix of everything tied together.” He added that despite the numerous fields associated with his position, he viewed them as a whole: “It always looks very disparate when you say: ‘OK, so we’ve got arts right across to digital media, and television across to film - how does that work together?’ But if you’re in the industry itself, you do integrated projects [in all aspects].” Professor Robertson holds a BSc in architecture and a PhD in engineering design from Robert Gordon University, and has held positions at the University of Central Lancashire, the Kent Institute of Art and Design (which became part of the University for the Creative Arts) and Massey University in New Zealand. He joins from the University of Glamorgan, where he was dean of the Cardiff School of Creative and Cultural Industries and professor of creative industries.

University of Winchester
Tommy Geddes

The University of Winchester is the latest in a select group of UK institutions to have appointed a complaints ombudsman. Tommy Geddes, who retired last month from the post of deputy vice-chancellor, will continue his 19-year relationship with the institution by ensuring that complaints from students, staff and external stakeholders are dealt with fairly and independently. “With students paying much higher fees, it is more important than ever that any complaints are dealt with quickly and effectively,” he said. “While we get very few complaints, we must learn from those that are justified to try and make sure there is no repetition.” Mr Geddes joined Winchester in 1993 from London South Bank University. After leaving school at 16 with few qualifications, he embarked on a career in the sector by accident after attending the London School of Economics on a Trades Union Congress scholarship in his mid- twenties. Originally intending to study for a year, he became engrossed in university life and went on to study at the universities of Stirling and Aberdeen. He said an important part of the ombudsman’s role would be addressing systemic failures or shortcomings in university procedures. “It is usually pretty straightforward to address a genuine complaint and to satisfy a complainant,” he added. “The tricky bit is putting right a process or even a culture that has led to the complaint arising in the first place.”

Bangor University
Andy Smith

A keen mountaineer who marries his hobby with his academic field has described his latest appointment as his “dream job”. Andy Smith, who will take up a position in April as a lecturer in forestry at Bangor University, said it was a job he had been working towards throughout his life. “Mountaineering started as purely recreational; I grew up in a small rural village and was encouraged to explore and play in the outdoors as a child,” said Dr Smith. “Throughout my teens I would spend free time building bivouacs in the woods and wild camping. Later this became a normal way to spend a weekend, rock climbing or out on the hills. As my academic career has progressed, I find that being in the mountains not only inspires my research but also provides me with lots of teaching material.” He said he was excited by the prospect of introducing new teaching material to enthuse students. “I firmly believe that traditional lectures should be combined with field trips and practical problem-based learning. Bangor and the surrounding area is an excellent environment to achieve this,” he said. Dr Smith holds a BSc and a PhD from Bangor and was previously a climate change impact scientist at the Natural Environment Research Council’s Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.

University of Dundee
Karl Leydecker

The appointment of Karl Leydecker as vice-principal for learning and teaching at the University of Dundee “cements our commitment to excellence”, according to Pete Downes, Dundee’s vice-chancellor. Professor Leydecker will join Dundee from the University of Kent, where he is dean of the Faculty of Humanities and has institution-wide responsibility for flexible learning. He is a professor of German and comparative literature whose research focuses on areas including the treatment of divorce in German literature. “My aim is to ensure that the university maintains and enhances its excellent reputation for learning and teaching, and for an outstanding student experience which transforms lives,” he said. Professor Leydecker studied at the University of Oxford and has held numerous academic posts, including head of the School of European Culture and Languages at Kent and head of the School of Languages, Cultures and Religions and vice-dean for learning and teaching in the Faculty of Arts at the University of Stirling.

Other changes

Alison Smith has been named head of executive education and corporate relations at Nottingham Trent University’s business school. Ms Smith joins Nottingham Trent from Loughborough University’s business school, where she was director of professional programmes and acting director of the professional management development centre.

The University of Chester has appointed Bill Stothart chief financial officer, bursar and pro vice-chancellor (finance). Mr Stothart, who will take up the post at the beginning of February, has served as vice- principal and director of finance and resources at Wirral Metropolitan College since 2003. He holds an MBA from what was Henley Management College.

An associate professor in the department of English at the University of Maryland in the US has been made visiting fellow for 2012-13 at the School of Advanced Study, University of London. Kimberly Coles, who has published numerous articles on the topics of women’s writing, gender and religious ideology, was chosen from what the institution described as a particularly strong field of applicants. She will be based at the school until June, during which time she will be working on her current research project, titled: “A fault of humor: the constitution of belief in early modern England”.

The University of Westminster has appointed Kerstin Mey dean of its School of Media, Arts and Design. Professor Mey joins from the University for the Creative Arts, where she was director of research and enterprise and held a professorship in art and design.

Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks has been awarded an honorary doctorate of humane letters from Liverpool Hope University. Lord Sacks has served as chief rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth since 1991.

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