Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis
Anthony ‘AJ’ Baucum II
Anthony “AJ” Baucum II, recently appointed assistant professor of biology at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, said his initial thoughts focused on how “to get my research programme up and running as quickly as possible” at his new institution. Professor Baucum is a specialist in brain development and ageing disorders whose expertise covers cellular and molecular neuroscience, Parkinson’s disease and the effects of drug abuse. He wants to be a “world-class researcher” but also has a strong teaching motivation. “I want to be the best teacher that I can be,” he said. “Teaching the next generation of scientists and researchers is critical. Getting students interested and engaged in their own learning is important to the goal of retaining people in the STEM fields. Also, for me, getting people exposed to, and interested in, neuroscience is an ongoing goal.” He studied at Loyola Marymount University for his undergraduate degree and gained his PhD at the University of Utah. He previously worked at Vanderbilt University.
Gary Hutchison, who was recently appointed head of Edinburgh Napier University’s School of Life, Sport and Social Sciences at the age of 34, acknowledges that his age had given him cause for concern about how he would be perceived. He asked himself: “Would I be taken seriously outside the university?” However, having been offered the position and reflected on it over the previous six months – during which he served as interim head of the school and was also appointed to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’ Hazardous Substances Advisory Committee – he realised that “age doesn’t correlate with being recognised as good and respected in your job…These accolades have to be earned, and the respect/trust I have earned in this short period makes me proud,” he said. Dr Hutchison, who leads Edinburgh Napier’s Centre for Nano Safety, said he wanted to achieve official recognition for the university’s excellent student experience, besides consolidating and building on its cutting-edge research. A researcher in nanotechnology, Dr Hutchison is responsible for leading nano safety research. He said nanotechnology is “more science fiction than reality” at the moment and that it is “not well communicated to the public and policymakers”. However, despite the potential benefits, there are dangers and concerns that need to be addressed in relation to human and environmental safety, he said.
The new head of the College of Arts, Humanities and Law at the University of Leicester, Mark Peel, is looking forward to working in a mix of disciplines. “I had done a lot of research and preparation, so my immediate thoughts focused on what I had already identified as the main challenges and the main opportunities – especially a mix of disciplines, some very impressive recent research successes, and a real focus on students,” said Professor Peel, who previously taught at the University of Liverpool as well as at Monash University and the Australian National University. He added that the variety of disciplines in the college was one of the reasons he pursued the position. “I really enjoy interdisciplinary conversations,” he said. “I want to encourage some adventure and experiment, especially in undergraduate and postgraduate taught education, and I also want to continue encouraging the college’s scholars to engage in local as well as broader debates about the future, building upon some real past and current successes (and not just digging up dead kings!).” Professor Peel, a British-Australian who studied for his undergraduate and doctoral degrees at Flinders University and the University of Melbourne respectively, said he missed “the smell of eucalyptus” in his home country, among other things.
University of London
The president of Grenada’s Senate has been made an ST Lee visiting professorial fellow at the School of Advanced Study, University of London. Lawrence Joseph, who studied for his PhD at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies at the SAS, said he was “pleasantly surprised” when he was offered the fellowship. Dr Joseph, who has served as speaker of the House of Representatives in Grenada as well as its attorney general, has expertise in interdisciplinary fields that span law, political science and modern history. He will be based at the SAS – in close association with the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies – in spring 2014 and will give a series of public lectures during this time. “It is my hope that I perform my ambassadorial role as an ST Lee fellow with excellence to the benefit of both the university and myself,” he said. “It is my intention to lecture on the dilemma which confronts common law judges when they adjudicate on extra-constitutional issues which arise following a coup d’état or a revolution.” Dr Joseph took a degree in economics at the University of the West Indies before studying at the Inns of Court School of Law in London, qualifying as a barrister. He said that, once the opportunity arises, he would “endeavour to forge links between UK universities and the University of the West Indies”.
A Leeds Metropolitan University academic has received an international award for her work developing a model that integrates simulated clinical practice into the healthcare curriculum. Ann Sunderland won in the category of excellence in the academic setting at the International Nursing Association for Clinical Simulation and Learning Awards in Las Vegas. Ms Sunderland, a senior lecturer in simulated practice and clinical skills, said she was thrilled.
Yu Xiong, senior lecturer in operations management at the University of East Anglia’s Norwich Business School, has been elected to China’s equivalent of the House of Lords. Dr Xiong joins the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference – which has representatives at five levels: national, provincial, city, county and town – as a member of the international affairs committee for the provincial CPPCC for Chongqing.
Fleur Loveridge, an academic at the University of Southampton, has been awarded a prestigious research fellowship from the Royal Academy of Engineering. The fellowships provide significant support for five years to outstanding researchers to establish independent careers. Dr Loveridge, a research fellow in engineering and the environment, was awarded a fellowship for her research into how building foundations can be used to reduce the UK’s energy demand and carbon emissions.
Alison Twycross has been appointed head of the department for children’s nursing in the Faculty of Health and Social Care at London South Bank University. Dr Twycross, currently reader in children’s nursing at Kingston University and St George’s, University of London, will also take on a role as reader in children’s pain management. Her role as head of department will involve being academic and professional lead for children’s nursing as well as managing departmental staff.
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