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March 7, 2013

University of Tokyo

Catriona Elder

A University of Sydney academic who has been appointed visiting professor in Australian studies at the University of Tokyo said it was evidence that her family’s investment in her academic career was paying dividends. “I was at my father’s house just before Christmas when I found out, and I thought it was a perfect gift to be able to give him - proof that all that financial and emotional investment in my education and work as an academic was really paying off,” said Catriona Elder, associate professor in Sydney’s department of sociology and social policy. “I have yet to meet a friend or acquaintance who has not enjoyed visiting Tokyo,” she said of the move. “I love big-city living - the buzz of a huge metropolis always excites me. Tokyo will take this to a whole new level. I’m also a fan of walking, so tramping through the Japanese alps and staying in alpine huts is high on my list of things to do.” While in the post, which she will hold for a year, Professor Elder hopes to build on the work her predecessors have undertaken in establishing the profile of Australia and Australian humanities and social sciences in Japan. Professor Elder studied at the University of Melbourne and La Trobe and the Australian National universities, and has previously worked at the University of Wollongong.

University of Greenwich

Mike Worboys

The new professor of spatial informatics at the University of Greenwich has expressed his joy at returning to his home city, although he said it is tempered with sorrow at leaving friends behind. “There’s excitement, tinged with sadness at losing some close colleagues in Maine,” said Mike Worboys, most recently professor and director of the School of Computing and Information Science at the University of Maine. He said he was grateful that his new post offered “the opportunity to focus solely on research without any onerous admin role”. He has set himself an ambitious three-year objective of helping to make Greenwich an international centre of excellence in geographic information science, with application to social and environmental sustainability. Professor Worboys studied at the universities of Reading, Bristol and Birmingham for his undergraduate, master’s and doctoral degrees, respectively. Before joining Maine in 2001, he held positions at institutions in the UK including Keele, Edinburgh and Leeds Metropolitan universities, and at universities in France, Austria and Australia. He said he would miss the “smiles and eye contact, summer heat and barbecues and open spaces” of the US, but not the “endless basketball”.

John Brewer, Queen's University Belfast

Queen’s University Belfast

John Brewer

“I didn’t expect to leave Aberdeen; I’m perfectly happy here,” said John Brewer, who has been named the first professor of post-conflict studies at Queen’s University Belfast. “But the establishment of the new Institute for the Study of Conflict Transformation and Social Justice is a remarkable academic opportunity.” Professor Brewer, currently professor of sociology at the University of Aberdeen, said the prospect of opening up the institute to societies emerging from conflict in other parts of the world was as much of a draw as his own research interests. “I’m particularly keen to open up to the global South - Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan, Nepal,” he said. “Forgive me for sounding grandiose, but it’s an opportunity to shape global citizens. I’m very keen to get people into Queen’s to learn from Northern Ireland’s experience, to empower them as peacemakers, and go back to their own country to shape the conflict transformation process there.” Professor Brewer, who takes up his post in April, said the move was like “going home”. “I spent 23 years there and although I’m not originally from Northern Ireland, I carry that biographical space with me; I carry Belfast with me.” He has held positions at the universities of East Anglia, Oxford and Cambridge, and Yale and the Australian National universities. He took his undergraduate degree and doctorate at the universities of Nottingham and Birmingham respectively.

University of Hertfordshire

Julia Williams

The new professor of paramedic science at the University of Hertfordshire, Julia Williams, called news of her appointment an “OMG” moment. “I was doing a little celebration dance inside my head while listening to the feedback from my professional panel. Quite a surreal experience.” Professor Williams, most recently principal lecturer and research lead for paramedic science and associate dean of school (research) at Hertfordshire, said the chair was a “landmark” in her career and she did not “take it as a given”. Like many healthcare fields, paramedic science has a shifting horizon, she observed. “Paramedics have an immense responsibility given the nature of their work and the unpredictable environments that they work in…They require an educational preparation that enables them to manage effectively such diverse situations.” Professor Williams holds qualifications from the University of Surrey, Goldsmiths, University of London and King’s College London. She has been at Hertfordshire since 1996 and is an adjunct professor in clinical science at the Queensland University of Technology.

Other changes

The Open University has named Belinda Tynan pro vice-chancellor for learning and teaching. Professor Tynan, who takes up her post in April, joins the OU from the University of Southern Queensland, where she held a similar position. Prior to this, she held the role of academic director in the Faculty of the Professions at the University of New England in Australia, where she remains an adjunct professor.

The University of West London has announced two changes within the vice- chancellor’s executive team. Kathryn Mitchell is promoted to the role of deputy vice-chancellor (academic), while Anthony Woodman, director of the Institute for Practice and Interdisciplinary Research, has been made pro vice-chancellor (research and enterprise).

Dame Judi Dench has been given an honorary fellowship by the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. She graduated from Central in 1957 with a first-class degree in acting and four acting prizes.

Geraldine Van Bueren, professor of international human rights law at Queen Mary, University of London, has been honoured with a prestigious law award. Professor Van Bueren, one of the drafters of the UN’s Convention on the Rights of the Child - the world’s most ratified human rights treaty - has been named Queen’s Counsel honoris causa. “Honorary silk” is awarded to lawyers and legal academics who have made a major contribution to the law of England and Wales, and whose scholarship has significantly benefited the public.

The University of Stirling has named Sharon Bolton head of its management school. Previously head of the department of management at the University of Strathclyde, Professor Bolton joined Stirling last year as director of research and professor of organisational analysis within the school.

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