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August 15, 2013

Cardiff University

Rachel Cowgill

The new head of the School of Music at Cardiff University said she was encouraged to learn that her appointment had the unanimous support of her colleagues. Rachel Cowgill, who has been a professor of musicology at Cardiff since 2011, added that she wanted to build on the school’s strengths and heighten its profile internationally. Professor Cowgill works in the area of cultural musicology, exploring the practice and meaning of music in its cultural, historical and political contexts. “Music is sometimes discounted as trivial or peripheral,” she said. “But think how central it is in all aspects of our lives. Studying music academically as well as performing it is key to our understanding of what makes us human.” She said the biggest musical influence in her life was her cello teacher, who told her she would probably be bored if she went into performing as a career. Professor Cowgill said: “When I went to university I wanted a balance between the academic and the practical, and I was a freelance musician when I was completing my PhD, but ultimately my academic side won out and I’ve no regrets. I still play, but not as much as I did.” Professor Cowgill studied at Goldsmiths, University of London for her undergraduate degree and at King’s College London for a master’s in historical musicology and a PhD. She has held posts at institutions including the universities of Huddersfield and Leeds and Liverpool Hope University.

Allan Young, King's College London

King’s College London

Allan Young

Allan Young, who has joined King’s College London to lead the new Centre for Affective Disorders at the Institute of Psychiatry, said a significant part of his role was to raise the profile of affective disorders in the medical mental health community and in society more widely. “If we take depression for example, one of the bugbears is that the very word is perhaps inappropriate,” he said. “I think it was [the novelist and depression sufferer] William Styron who called it a ‘true wimp of a word for such a major disorder’.” It is essential, he continued, to educate people “that there are really dire consequences for these disorders and that they are suitable for care, consideration and treatment”. Professor Young added that “stigma and prejudice” about mental ill health persists. “This isn’t a group of people from some sort of horror movie stuck in a closet, it’s us, our families, so we’ve just got to get real about it, accept it, and change society’s attitudes about it,” he said. The new unit will be a centre of excellence for understanding the science related to mood and anxiety disorders; researchers will draw on this knowledge to help develop new treatments, including psychological and pharmacological ones. Professor Young, who was previously chair of psychiatry at Imperial College London, has also worked at the universities of Edinburgh, Oxford, British Columbia and Newcastle.

Ross Hall, University of South Wales

University of South Wales

Ross Hall

The University of South Wales has appointed an academic and former Royal Engineer as its new Armed Forces Champion. Ross Hall, a principal lecturer in psychology in the Faculty of Life Sciences and Education, takes up the role after South Wales signed the first covenant of its kind in the UK with the armed forces to provide guidance on the education opportunities open to forces leavers and their families. “I know from my own experience, and that of my former colleagues in the forces, that so many people leave service without having considered what might be next for them in terms of careers,” he said. “Many do not think of university as an option, and often this is because the system of applying and choosing a course appears confusing. Service leavers have many transferable skills that many employers rate as some of the most valuable in future employees: being prepared to meet a challenge; determination; communication skills; performing under pressure; dedicated; adaptable; disciplined; being able to work as part of a team.” Mr Hall will also become chair for the Military Education Committee Wales, which oversees officer cadet training.

Shamit Saggar, University Partnerships Programme

University Partnerships Programme

Shamit Saggar

The University Partnerships Programme, the UK’s largest private provider of managed on-campus university accommodation, has appointed Shamit Saggar to the post of independent non-executive chairman. Professor Saggar, professor of politics at the University of Sussex, has research interests in the fields of public policy, regulation and the leadership of public bodies. His appointment, said the company, “builds on UPP’s unique approach of creating long-term partnerships with the UK’s higher education sector”. Professor Saggar said: “This is an exciting time in the landscape of higher education. Universities are changing to adapt to new conditions and stakeholders, and creating new collaborations to produce a more student-oriented service.” In addition to his position at Sussex, he is non-executive chairman of the legal complaints board of the Law Society of England and Wales and commissioner of the Independent Asylum Commission. His former roles include that of senior policy adviser in the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit under Tony Blair. He gained his PhD from the University of Essex.

Other changes

The Institute of Education, University of London has announced the conferment of 11 new titles to members of its staff. Phil Jones, Pam Meecham, Martin Oliver, Jessica Ringrose and James Thomas have all been made professors. Andrea Creech, Gwyneth Hughes, Chloë Marshall, Jenny Parkes, Sara Price and Niall Winters have all been made readers. “I am delighted to announce these new titles for the year 2013,” said Michael Reiss, pro-director of the institute. “We are fortunate to have first-class academic staff, and we believe that it’s important to recognise their achievements in their respective fields and to promote their individual development.”

Birmingham City University has appointed two new pro vice-chancellors. Bashir Makhoul and Paul Ivey have joined the institution from the University of Southampton and Coventry University respectively, and they will take up their positions in the autumn. Professor Makhoul – an internationally recognised practising artist – will become pro vice-chancellor for academic portfolio and market development. Professor Ivey, an engineer who has built strong academic relationships with industry and business, will take up the role of pro vice-chancellor for engagement, enterprise and research.

Patrick Hackett, the University of Liverpool’s chief operating officer, has been moved to the position of deputy vice-chancellor at the institution, while Ian Greer and Stephen Holloway, executive pro vice-chancellors of the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences and the Faculty of Science and Engineering respectively, have become provosts.

A graduate of the University of Leicester is about to return to the institution in a senior role. Bob Carter, who received his PhD from Leicester in 1999, will become director of research for the university’s department of sociology and will also take up a chair in sociology.

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