January 31, 2008

A new student complaints ombudsman has been appointed. The Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education has confirmed that Rob Behrens will take over as chief adjudicator on the retirement of Baroness Ruth Deech in May. Mr Behrens is currently Complaints Commissioner to the Bar Standards Board. He was previously a Cabinet Office senior civil servant and Secretary to the Committee on Standards in Public Life.

Edward Derbyshire, a visiting professor at Royal Holloway, University of London, has been awarded a Unesco prize in recognition of his research into landslides. The professor of geography was given the Varnes Medal by Unesco's International Consortium on Landslides in recognition of his work on geomorphology, sedimentology and geotechnical properties of glacial and wind-lain sediments. He has conducted research on six continents over 40 years. Among his many accolades, Professor Derbyshire holds the title Exemplary Foreign Expert of the Gansu Government, China.

Maria Gil-Molto has joined the University of Leicester's department of economics as a lecturer, from Loughborough University.

A former managing director of the McLaren Group has been appointed head of the University of the Arts London. International lawyer Nigel Carrington will succeed the university's current rector, Sir Michael Bichard, who leaves his post in August. Mr Carrington will join another recent appointment, the broadcaster Sir John Tusa, who is the university's new chairman. He is set to oversee a £165 million building project at King's Cross in London, to work to increase the number of partnerships with the creative industries and to position the university internationally "as the leading institution for arts education", according to the university.

Nick Johnson has left his post as director of policy at the Commission for Racial Equality to join Coventry University's Institute of Community Cohesion (iCoCo). He will become the director of policy at iCoCo. He is an expert on social integration and a fellow of the Royal Society for the Arts. He is currently working on a book on the political legacy of Robert Kennedy.

Adrian Smith, the principal of Queen Mary, University of London, has been appointed deputy chair of the new Government Statistics Board, which was set up to promote and safeguard the production and publication of official statistics that serve the public good.

Richard M. S. Wilson, emeritus professor of business administration and financial management at Loughborough University's Business School, has been awarded the J. Valentine visiting professorship in commerce at the University of Otago, New Zealand.

Dean Burnet, who bills himself as "Britain's only neuroscientist stand-up comedian", has made his national television debut. Mr Burnet, currently doing a PhD on memory at Cardiff University's School of Psychology, is building a reputation on the comedy circuit, having garnered good notices for his performance at last year's Edinburgh's Fringe Festival. His scientific background features heavily in his routines, including jokes about evolution, genetic modification and statistical analysis, all mixed in with a surreal view of life. Last week, Mr Burnet appeared in Funny Business, a BBC documentary about up-and-coming Welsh comedians.

The University of Hull has confirmed a number of new academic staff. Alison Peirse has joined as a lecturer in film studies from Leeds Metropolitan University. Jane Allen takes up the post of clinical research fellow in the department of obstetrics and gynaecology; she joins the university from the Hull Royal Infirmary, where she worked as a doctor. Cecily Simpson joins the Scarborough School of Education as lecturer; she was previously headteacher at Hertford Vale school. Susan Pierce has joined Hull as a lecturer at Scarborough School of Education from St Paulinus primary school in Guisborough.

Claire Callender, a regular adviser to the Government on university access, has left London South Bank University to take up a post at Birkbeck, University of London, as professor of higher education.

The University of Abertay Dundee has appointed Alexander Russell head of the Dundee Business School. Professor Russell is currently head of the division of accounting, finance and risk in the Caledonian Business School at Glasgow Caledonian University. He will take up his new post in April, when the present head of the school, Mary Malcolm, moves up to vice-principal (academic development) at Abertay.

The Association of University Administrators has appointed Alison Robinson as its new executive director. Ms Robinson joins AUA from the University of Hull, where she has been academic resources and quality manager at the Scarborough campus since June 2006.

Anglia Ruskin University has appointed a school headteacher, Chris Nicholls, as the new deputy chairman of its board of governors. Dr Nicholls, who joined Anglia Ruskin's governors in April 2002, has been a career teacher in London boroughs and in Essex and is headteacher at Moulsham High School and Humanities College. He is a member, and also pay and conditions officer, of the National Council for the Association of School and College Leaders. He was awarded a CBE for services to education in June 2001.

Matthew Hughes, a reader in history at Brunel University, has been appointed to the Major General Matthew C. Horner Chair in military theory at the US Marine Corps University in Quantico, Virginia. He will return to Brunel in 2010.

The Association for International Cancer Research has awarded one of its biggest grants to the University of Oxford's Wojciech Niedzwiedz. Dr Niedzwiedz, 37, has been given the AICR's annual fellowship, which is worth £820,000, to "help him discover more about a rare disease in children that can lead to a particularly aggressive form of leukaemia", the charity said. Dr Niedzwiedz will use the money to study Fanconi anaemia, an inherited genetic condition in which children develop acute myeloid leukaemia.


Two pictures were wrongly captioned last week. Nigel Clarke of Durham University was captioned as Andy Adams and Andy Adams of Huddersfield was captioned as Nigel Clarke. Apologies to both.

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