Hugh Byrd, who has just joined the University of Lincoln as professor of architecture, joked that he must be “crazy” to swap New Zealand for the East Midlands. “I have a house on a subtropical island in the Pacific with vineyards around me,” he said. But Professor Byrd, a professional architect and consultant for the firm designing Christchurch’s first new housing developments since it was struck by earthquakes in 2010 and 2011, said it was a “fantastic challenge”. On his work at Pacific Environments Architects in Auckland, he added: “As an architect, it is extremely rare that you are given the opportunity to take part in the rebuilding of a city, and working to construct a resilient community has never been more important. It is imperative that people can once again become confident in the city and its ability to endure.” In a career spanning more than 30 years, Professor Byrd has mixed professional and academic work at prominent institutions such as the University of Auckland and Universiti Sains Malaysia. He holds a BA and a graduate diploma in architecture from Birmingham City University (then University of Central England) and a PhD from Aston University.
The inaugural James Riady chair in Asian business and economics at the University of Melbourne said the job was “exactly what I want at this stage of my career”. Jane Lu, associate professor in the National University of Singapore’s School of Business, said that although she currently had a “comfortable” role, “the business part of me or entrepreneurial part of me does not like this ‘comfort’. I want a job that is slightly different but yet matches with my strengths.” Professor Lu said that as the chair’s first recipient she hopes to play an active role in the “formation and implementation of the school’s Asia strategy”, which aims to strengthen engagement with the region. Although she expected some culture shock on moving from Singapore, she said she hoped her love of physical pursuits would be well suited to Australia’s expanse. “I participated in the Gobi Challenge - trekking the Gobi desert for several days in a competition - and I look forward to more [of these] opportunities in Australia.” Professor Lu has an economics degree from Shanghai International Studies University and was one of the first batch of MBA holders from the China Europe International Business School. She received her PhD from the University of Western Ontario and has held positions at the University of Auckland, Singapore Management University and the Stockholm School of Economics.
The University of Sheffield has appointed Jacqueline Labbe pro vice- chancellor for the arts and humanities. Professor Labbe is currently chair of the graduate school and a professor in the department of English and comparative literary studies at the University of Warwick. “I am thrilled to be offered the opportunity to take up the role,” Professor Labbe said. “The faculty draws together seven departments, 350 academics and some 4,000 students all committed to the understanding of all aspects of human society and culture - past, present and future.” Professor Labbe brings both extensive university management and academic experience with her to Sheffield. She has previously held the position of director of the Humanities Research Institute at Warwick and, as a leading authority on the Romantic period, has been president of the British Association for Romantic Studies. “I am looking forward to helping develop the faculty at a time of challenge and opportunity in higher education, and to becoming part of the university’s ambitious and motivated executive team,” she added. Professor Labbe holds a BA from Ohio State University and an MA and a PhD from the University of Pennsylvania.
Jörg Fachner, who has been appointed professor of music, health and the brain at Anglia Ruskin University, said it was his own musical experiences that helped to inspire his research. Professor Fachner studied social sciences at the University of Wuppertal and has a “Dr rerum medicinalium from Witten/Herdecke University in Germany. His research interests focus on music therapy and its applications in healing cultures, modern medicine and special education. “I remember exactly the time and the place when listening to The Beatles for the first time, getting shivers down the spine. I wanted to learn guitar and understand what they were singing about,” he said. He added that “jamming with others and the free jazz community in Wuppertal” also prepared him for the study of music therapy. “Knowing the process of doing music is very important for a music researcher, no matter whether you are able to interpret complex piano or guitar pieces or not,” he said. Professor Fachner added: “Luckily, there is no such thing as a ‘music pharmacy’ in music therapy approaches. Here, all elements of music can be the ‘right medicine’ if it occurs in the ‘right moment’.” He has previously held positions at Witten/Herdecke and at the University of Jyväskylä in Finland.
Birmingham’s newest university has strengthened its leadership team with the appointment of two pro vice-chancellors. Newman University has made Duncan Lawson and Peter Childs pro vice-chancellor (formative education) and pro vice-chancellor (research and scholarship), respectively. Professor Lawson will also take on the role of professor of mathematics education, while Professor Childs will become professor of modern and contemporary literature.
A University of Stirling sport psychologist has gained a leading teaching recognition. David Lavallee, professor of sport psychology, has been named the first principal fellow of the Higher Education Academy based at a Scottish higher education institution. Professor Lavallee is head of Stirling’s School of Sport, which has developed a “teaching hospital” model where students can apply their learning and gain professional practice opportunities. The HEA has also named psychology of sport lecturer Pete Coffee a senior fellow, while sport and exercise psychology lecturer Calum Arthur has been made an HEA student award supervisor.
The University of the West of Scotland has announced the appointment of Margaret Arnott as professor in public policy. Professor Arnott, who took up the post in January, has more than 20 years’ experience of working in the UK higher education sector. She joined UWS from Glasgow Caledonian University, where she held a similar post. In addition to Glasgow Caledonian, she has held posts at a number of universities, including Edinburgh and Birmingham.
Ralph Findlay, chief executive officer of Marston’s, the brewing and pub retailing business, has been named the next pro-chancellor of Keele University. He will join the university’s council in April before taking up the role of pro-chancellor and chair of council from August 2014.