December 13, 2012

City University London

Carl Stychin

The new dean of City University London's law school said the job had become "more and more attractive" as he became convinced of the contribution it could make to helping the wider institution achieve its ambitions. Carl Stychin, who joins City from the University of Reading, added that the City Law School also had a "good foundation" on which to build. "It's (got) a diverse portfolio from undergraduate to professional stage - and making it all work together towards a common purpose is going to be the key," he said. Although he added that everything was very "embryonic", given that he had just started in the role, he was keen to ensure that the law school did well in the research excellence framework and increased international collaboration. "This university is in a great location and we need to really market that," he said, adding that he was "very attracted" by the WC2 network of world-class universities located in major world cities that City had helped to found. Professor Stychin gained a BA and a JD degree from the University of Alberta and the University of Toronto, respectively, and took a law master's at Columbia University. He joined Keele University as a lecturer and then a senior lecturer before moving to Reading as a professor of law. He was awarded the degree of doctor of laws by Reading.

Plymouth University

John Wright

The new chief information officer at Plymouth University said he was excited, if a little surprised, to be offered the job because "I clearly don't come from a higher education background". John Wright joins Plymouth from the Land Registry with a strategic mandate to advance the institution towards the goal of becoming "an edgeless university". "I was looking for something new, [and the job description] mentioned something about an 'edgeless university'," he said. "I didn't know what that was, so I started investigating...and I found the whole proposition completely compelling." He said the term referred to the idea of universities breaking free from the traditional campus model. He said the move was evident in research, which was becoming "increasingly dependent on collaborations between other institutions worldwide". Mr Wright added that his new role embraced not just the traditional management and delivery of ICT services, but also "the academic discipline of educational technologists". Mr Wright studied computer science at the University of Portsmouth and has worked at the logistics company DHL.

University of Winchester

Alan Murray

The University of Winchester has appointed Alan Murray its first professor of responsible management, based in the institution's business school. Professor Murray has an international reputation in the field of corporate social responsibility, as well as considerable managerial and business experience from careers in both the public and private sectors. He was a key member of the United Nations task force that developed the Principles of Responsible Management Education. "It's an evolving area, but Winchester has been at the forefront of it," he said, adding that Winchester was the first business school to come up "with a really innovative way of approaching responsibility and ethics" in its courses. In his position he hopes to continue the "focus" of responsible management in the business school, ensuring that it establishes a reputation for research in this area. "The focus in my research is on senior managers from larger companies," he said. "They need to consider the role business has in society, which goes beyond making the shareholders richer at the expense of everyone else." Professor Murray studied as an undergraduate at the University of Dundee and gained his PhD from the University of Glasgow. He joined the University of Sheffield in 2001 as a lecturer before moving to the University of Leeds in 2010 as a senior lecturer.

University of Greenwich

Gregory Sporton

The new professor of digital culture and creativity at the University of Greenwich said his passion for bringing together expertise from different disciplines was his inspiration for the role. Gregory Sporton, who joins Greenwich in January from Birmingham City University, has devoted most of his academic career to researching the impact of new technology and computing on the visual and performing arts. A former professional dancer, Professor Sporton said the arts and sciences were drawn together closely by technology and there is "less differentiation than people think". He said he wanted to build a research environment at Greenwich to explore this linkage. "It is a fantastic part of London, with a culture all (of) its own: we have lots of arts organisations on our doorstep with whom we can work." At Birmingham City, he was the founding director of the Visualisation Research Unit, responsible for the development of research facilities and staff. Professor Sporton completed his undergraduate studies at the Victorian College of the Arts, Melbourne, and holds an MA and a PhD from the universities of Warwick and Sheffield, respectively. He has previously held positions at the University of Wolverhampton and the Laban Dance Centre.

Other changes

Suzy Walton, a chartered scientist and occupational psychologist, has been appointed to the board of the Higher Education Funding Council for England. Dr Walton is currently deputy chair of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, and deputy chair of the University of Westminster's board. She has more than a decade's experience as a senior civil servant and has served in the Cabinet Office, the Prime Minister's Strategy Unit and the Ministry of Defence.

Veronica Lewis, director of London Contemporary Dance School, has been awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Kent for her services to dance and higher education. Professor Lewis has been director of the contemporary dance conservatoire since 1998. She is also joint principal of the Conservatoire for Dance and Drama, which she helped to found in 2001 to link the LCDS with other specialist performing arts centres to form a new higher education institution.

The University of Surrey has appointed an experienced senior software industry executive as professor in entrepreneurship and innovation at the business school. Prior to joining Surrey, Alan Brown was an engineer at IBM Rational software. In addition to teaching activities at Surrey, he will focus on innovation in a number of practical research areas with regard to global enterprise software delivery, agile software supply chains, and the investigation of "open commercial" software delivery models.

Newcastle University has honoured noted social campaigners with honorary degrees, highlighting their commitment to social change. Sunil and Rakesh Mittal, Shami Chakrabarti and Garry Runciman have all been awarded honorary doctorates of civil law to mark the launch of the Newcastle Institute for Social Renewal.

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