“If you had told me when I was 22 and graduating from art school that I would spend almost my entire adult life working in art schools I wouldn’t have believed you for a second,” said Jordan Baseman, who has been appointed head of sculpture at the Royal College of Art. “I’m a frustrated musician so I would have liked to have been in a loud rock band playing guitar! [If he wasn’t an artist.] I never planned to work within academia but it has certainly allowed me opportunities that wouldn’t have existed otherwise.” As a practising artist alongside his role as an academic, he said it was important to be prepared to “adapt, change and alter perpetually”. “I’m interested in experimentation, trial and error, spontaneity and taking risks,” he said. “I hope to create, with the team, an environment where that is possible.” Mr Baseman has exhibited and held residencies at many public institutions across the UK and thinks the cuts in arts funding in the UK are a “tragedy” and “devastating” to such places, some of which have closed since. “We haven’t begun to feel the long-term impact yet, but it’s something that future generations will be hurt by, not only that there are fewer opportunities for artists but it’s important for everybody to have access to art,” he said.
David Phoenix, who has been named as the next vice-chancellor of London South Bank University, said he felt “real excitement” at being offered the opportunity to lead an institution with such a “long and distinguished history of helping people from all walks of life achieve their potential”. Professor Phoenix said that LSBU had a range of strengths, especially around engagement with business and the professions, as well as its “great asset” in having a central London campus. He said he wanted to ensure that the university continues to build on these strengths and become recognised in the capital and beyond as a “model of an enterprising civic university”. Professor Phoenix joins LSBU from the University of Central Lancashire, where he has worked for the past 21 years, most recently as deputy vice-chancellor. “Of course there will be a degree of sadness [in leaving],” he said. “But once I overcome the shock of property prices I look forward to the adventure of developing new friends and exploring new places.” Professor Phoenix studied at the University of Liverpool and The Open University and has worked at many institutions including Liverpool, Utrecht University in the Netherlands and Sichuan University in China.
Derk-Jan Dijk, who has been appointed associate dean (research) in the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences at the University of Surrey, said he wanted to “emphasise the quality and impact” of research in his faculty. “We can talk about volume, income or impact factors of the journals in which we publish – which is, of course, significant – but it is important that our research has [a societal] impact as well,” he said. “I would [like] the researchers to think about…that particular context and then they will see how well their research fits and how it could maybe fit even better.” Professor Dijk is a professor of sleep and physiology and director of the Surrey Sleep Research Centre and will continue to do his own research. He noted Surrey’s commitment to continue improving as a university with its recent recruitment drive. “Surrey is a research-intensive university and that is one of the signals being sent by all these appointments,” he said. “I’m confident that we can deliver on that message. Surrey has always emphasised its links with society and industry and that’s a very modern view of what research in academic institutions should be about.” After studying at the University of Groningen, he held positions at Harvard University Medical School, Groningen and the University of Zurich before coming to Surrey in 1999.
Plymouth University has appointed a respected former college principal who helped to introduce and establish higher education provision in the Channel Islands as a special adviser for the region. As honorary consultant in academic partnerships, Edward Sallis – who was principal and chief executive of Highlands College in Jersey for 15 years – will oversee Plymouth’s strategy in what is one of its key geographical areas. On average, more than 100 students enrol at Plymouth every year from Jersey, Guernsey and Alderney, in addition to the 160 who study for Plymouth degrees delivered through Highlands College. “My aim is to make Plymouth the number one university of choice for Channel Islands students,” Professor Sallis said. “Plymouth…has a wide range of programmes that appeal to island students including its superb marine facilities, its excellent law and business courses and its growing arts focus.” His connection with the university brought eight degree programmes to Jersey and established the University Centre at Highlands College, which allows islanders to study for a degree on home soil. Professor Sallis’ career in higher and further education spans 40 years and includes positions at universities including the West of England, Brunel, Southampton and London South Bank.
An expert in nutritional biochemistry from the University of East Anglia has secured a prestigious Royal Society award for her research into how flavonoids in food affect cardiovascular health. Aedin Cassidy from UEA’s Norwich Medical School has been successful in receiving a Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award, which is jointly funded by the Wolfson Foundation and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. Professor Cassidy’s research focuses on the health benefits of eating foods rich in flavonoids, which are present in many fruits and vegetables.
Richard Taylor, currently deputy registrar at the University of Leicester, has been named chief operating officer at Loughborough University. It marks a return to Loughborough for Mr Taylor, who worked as an administrator at the institution from 1995 to 1996. “I am absolutely delighted to be joining Loughborough University,” he said. “It is an organisation that has enjoyed significant success in recent years and has huge potential to build on that record.”
The University of South Wales has named Janine Griffiths-Baker as its new dean of the Faculty of Business, Law, Accounting, Humanities and Social Science. Professor Griffiths-Baker, who studied at Cardiff University and the University of Bristol, was previously deputy principal and professor of law at St Mary’s University College, Twickenham, London.
Children’s author and creative writing lecturer Judith Heneghan has been appointed director of the University of Winchester Writers’ Conference. The annual event is hosted by Winchester’s Research and Knowledge Exchange Centre and has attracted keynote speakers including Lord Fellowes, Alan Titchmarsh and Sir Terry Pratchett. “The conference is a vital hub for emerging writers and a platform for creative writing,” Ms Heneghan said.
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