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June 20, 2013

Aston University

Simon Green

The new executive dean of Aston University’s School of Languages and Social Sciences, Simon Green, said that it was a “huge privilege” to take on the role, while noting the responsibility that goes with it. “Languages [at university] are clearly suffering from declining recruitment,” he said. “Yet if the UK is to succeed in global competition, we cannot afford to become a monoglot nation.” Professor Green, who joined Aston five years ago as professor of politics and in 2009 founded and became co-director of the Aston Centre for Europe, said modern languages would “remain an essential part of Aston University’s intellectual profile; they are a key element of the university’s mission of global citizenship and employability”. He said that he was keen to exploit the interdisciplinary space between languages, translation studies, English language, politics and social sciences. Professor Green studied European studies and German at the University of Manchester and had been preparing for a career in the private sector before an Erasmus exchange at the University of Heidelberg “opened my eyes to studying for its own sake…I never looked back.” After a PhD at the University of Birmingham, where he would later return to be a senior lecturer, he held the post of lecturer at the University of Portsmouth.

University of Luxembourg

Conchita D’Ambrosio

An Italian academic who has taken up the post of professor of economics in the €4.5 million (£3.8 million) Programme Excellence Award for Research in Luxembourg (Pearl) team at the University of Luxembourg said that she was enjoying her new position despite the challenges of relocation. Conchita D’Ambrosio, who joins Luxembourg from the University of Milano-Bicocca, added that the stress of moving was the “price you pay” for the advantages of working in such a small country. “You feel much more important because there is only one university in Luxembourg,” she said. “The good thing about Luxembourg is that the theme I’m working on – social and economic inequality – has always been [important to] this country.” Professor D’Ambrosio said that she hoped to use her research to persuade policymakers to focus on single individuals and to look more closely at well-being. She said that the financial crisis in Italy had had a significant impact on higher education funding, and on her own research. “The situation was so dramatic that they had to cut a lot of the budgets of the universities, and I was left with no future prospect of research money,” she said. “When I came to Luxembourg it felt as if I was in the El Dorado of research.” Professor D’Ambrosio studied economics at Bocconi University in Milan and gained her PhD from New York University.

University of Greenwich

Paul Ward

An expert in the study of split-second decisions made under stress has joined the University of Greenwich as head of its Centre for Sports Science and Human Performance. Paul Ward, known for his work in perceptual-cognitive skill in elite sport, has also researched professionals who make decisions in high-pressure situations, including soldiers and surgeons. Professor Ward joins Greenwich from Michigan Technological University, where he was adjunct professor of psychology, cognitive and learning sciences. His research focuses on understanding the parts of the mind that support skilled or heightened performance. He has been a consultant for the US Olympic Committee’s high performance division and the US national shooting team. “The goal is to improve the performance of those who make critical decisions on a daily basis. It’s one way to build a better, safer world,” he said of his research. At Greenwich, he said, he was looking forward to “working with students on real-world problems and developing the skills they will be taking into industry”. After completing a PhD at Liverpool John Moores University, he held academic posts at the University of Central Florida and Florida State University before moving to Michigan.

University of Hertfordshire

Sal Jarvis

The University of Hertfordshire has made Sal Jarvis dean of the School of Education. Ms Jarvis, who has already served as the school’s associate dean (international), said the big changes in teacher education at the moment made the role exciting, opportune and challenging. She said she agreed with the parliamentary Education Committee’s reports that say there is a place for higher education in the government’s preferred model for schools-based teacher training. “I see it as a synergy…I don’t think it’s best to be in a university environment most of the time, nor to be [only] in a school. The slight tension between the two of them, where students are challenged to think and reflect, [is best],” Ms Jarvis observed. Students training to be teachers should also be seen as “partners” in their learning along with schools and universities, she added. Ms Jarvis studied philosophy at Hertfordshire in its former guise as Hatfield Polytechnic and trained as a teacher at Homerton College, Cambridge. She taught for 13 years before accepting a seconded position at Hertfordshire, later becoming a permanent staff member. She is currently working towards her doctorate in education at Lancaster University.

Other changes

Lancaster University has appointed Labour peer Lord Liddle pro-chancellor for five years. Lord Liddle will take over from Bryan Gray, who retires from the post after 10 years of service. The pro-chancellor is the chair of the university’s council.

Derek Mowbray has been named visiting professor of psychology at the University of Gloucestershire. Professor Mowbray is an organisation health psychologist whose research interests include the prevention of psychological distress at work.

London Metropolitan University has announced the appointment of Phil Chapman as its new director of external relations. Mr Chapman, who takes up his position on 1 July, will lead teams including public and media relations, brand and marketing, student recruitment and admissions, alumni relations and the development office.

Chris Ballentine, professor of isotope geochemistry at the University of Manchester, has been appointed to a chair in geochemistry in the department of earth sciences at the University of Oxford with effect from 1 August. Professor Ballentine will be a fellow of St Hugh’s College.

Roger Mosey, the BBC’s new editorial director, has been named chair of Bishop Grosseteste University’s council. Mr Mosey, who takes over from Haydn Beeken, will be renewing old associations with the city of Lincoln. His BBC career began in 1980 when he joined BBC Radio Lincolnshire as a reporter.

Ian Murray is to become head of the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Robert Gordon University. Professor Murray joined Robert Gordon last month from the University of Stirling, where he was deputy head of the School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health. He succeeds Brian Webster, who takes up the post of assistant dean at Edinburgh Napier University.

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