The new dean of human and health sciences at the University of Huddersfield joked that you can break yourself into the role by playing "the new person for the first few months, which is quite useful". John Playle, who joined in September from the University of Manchester, where he was most recently associate dean for external affairs in the Faculty of Medical and Human Sciences, added that he was "delighted" to take a post at an institution where he not only completed his undergraduate and postgraduate studies but also had his first academic appointment. "A dean's post was something I was looking to move on to, particularly at a university that has such an excellent record of innovative teaching and learning, but also has an increasing reputation for research and enterprise," he said. "A key focus of my role," he added, "is continuing to build on the progress that's been made in research, in preparation for the [research excellence framework], but also beyond. High-quality research output is the key." A mental health nurse by profession, Professor Playle has worked in a range of clinical settings. "It's crucial to have a collaborative approach to developing education through both practice and research," he said. "What it's about at the end of the day is making a real difference to the experience of people who are using health services."
A leading researcher in the field of composites has joined the University of Bristol to run the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council's Industrial Doctorate Centre (IDC) in composites manufacture. Ivana Partridge, professor of composites processing and director of the new centre, has joined Bristol after leading research activity in the field at Cranfield University for three decades. "It was a very pleasant surprise because I had been at Cranfield for 33 years and hadn't ever considered leaving," she said. "But it's a very exciting opportunity." In her new role, Professor Partridge will get the IDC "up and running". The centre aims to provide the composite manufacturing industry with engineers equipped with advanced technical and leadership skills. "The target is to produce 30-plus elite research engineers for the composites industry over the next six years," she said. "The scientific challenges are complex and it's only now with the advent of new techniques that it's possible to put academic rigour into [the field]," she said. Professor Partridge studied physics at the University of Cambridge and completed her doctorate at Cranfield.
A prominent figure in the study of political ideology is joining the University of Nottingham's School of Politics and International Relations. Michael Freeden, emeritus professor of politics at the University of Oxford after a long career at the institution, will take up a three-year part-time chair in political theory at Nottingham in January. "I was looking for a new challenge and was delighted to have been approached by a first-class university such as Nottingham," he said. "I hope to initiate a number of research and learning activities and to organise projects on ideologies, on conceptual history and on the study of actual political thinking." Additionally, he said, he was keen to engage with the students at the school. "There have been countless occasions when I have learned from students' analyses and consequently improved my own understanding," he said. "Academics need that particular kind of freshness and enthusiasm to prevent them from sinking into routine." Professor Freeden took his undergraduate and doctorate degrees at Oxford and became a tutor of politics at Mansfield College in 1978, where he was also a professorial fellow.
A psychologist who joined the University of Bath to continue his research into the senses said the strong interdisciplinary environment and the systems in place to facilitate research were key in making his move so smooth. Michael Proulx, a senior lecturer in the department of psychology, said: "All the conversations I've had about shared research interests are going nicely; it feels like collaborations are naturally starting to spring up even though it's only been three months [since starting]." Dr Proulx joined Bath from Queen Mary, University of London and is currently involved in research into fundamental issues in cognition through the study of multiple sensory modalities, especially sight. "One of the major aims is to capitalise on the strengths of combining psychology and technology," he said. "A good proportion of my work is looking at the development of technology to aid blind people, allowing [them to participate] in leisure activities and not be limited by their disability." Dr Proulx is currently working with academics from Queen Mary and Goldsmiths, University of London on whether smartphones can be used to help blind people. Dr Proulx studied at Arizona State University and Johns Hopkins University for his undergraduate and postgraduate degrees respectively, and conducted postdoctoral research at the University of Düsseldorf. He also holds a visiting senior lecturer position in electronic engineering at Queen Mary.
The University of Stirling has made two appointments at its management school. Sharon Bolton and Alex Wood have joined as director of research and professor of management respectively. Professor Bolton will lead the development and delivery of the school's research strategy. Professor Wood brings new experience in behavioural science, supporting a new initiative to encourage excellence in this area after the development of a new research group and proposed master's programme.
Sheffield Hallam University has named Karen Bryan pro vice-chancellor for its Faculty of Health and Wellbeing. Professor Bryan joins from the University of Surrey where she is currently head of the School of Health and Social Care. Her research interests are in workforce development and the effectiveness of interventions for communication disorders associated with stroke, dementia and other neurological conditions. She takes up her post in February 2013.
A university that has become the new centre of excellence for entomology teaching and research in the UK has welcomed three recent appointments. Simon Leather, Tilly Collins and Tom Pope have joined Harper Adams University College as professor of entomology, senior lecturer in entomology and research entomologist respectively. Professor Leather and Dr Collins join from Imperial College London and Dr Pope from ADAS environmental consultants.
Perrett Laver, the global executive search firm, has announced the appointment of David Allen as a principal consultant in April 2013. Mr Allen will be a senior leader in the global higher education and global chairs and professors practices. Mr Allen has been registrar and deputy chief executive of the University of Exeter since 2009, having been registrar and secretary since 2003.