February 14, 2008

The Arts and Humanities Research Council has appointed a professor of art history as its new director of research. Shearer West will take up the post in May. Professor West is a professor of art history at the University of Birmingham as well as head of the School of Historical Studies and acting head of the College of Arts and Law. Prior to the appointment, she was an AHRC panel chair and a member of the 2008 RAE panel. Professor West said: "I passionately believe that the arts and humanities enhance the quality of life, provide an invaluable dimension to higher education, and benefit both society and the economy. I am looking forward to working ... to help shape and develop our already distinctive and world-class research culture."

Julia King, the vice-chancellor of Aston University, has been appointed to the board of the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills. She is one of four new board appointments announced last week. Professor King has both academic and industrial experience. She was principal of the engineering faculty at Imperial College London before she moved to Aston last year. Other appointees are Alan Aubrey, an entrepreneur with experience helping UK universities commercialise their intellectual property; Dame Julie Mellor, a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers; and Kristina Murrin, an author, TV presenter and founder of a firm specialising in creative problem-solving.

Dennis Hayes - the former joint president of the University and College Union, the founder of Academics for Academic Freedom and a member of Times Higher Education's editorial board - has been named visiting professor in the Westminster Institute of Education at Oxford Brookes University.

Roger Goodman is to become the next head of the social sciences division at the University of Oxford, leading the largest grouping of social sciences at any university in the UK. Professor Goodman has been the director of Oxford's Nissan Institute of Japanese Studies and head of the School of Interdisciplinary Area Studies since 2004. He takes up the new role in April. John Hood, the vice-chancellor, said: "The work carried out by this division has far-reaching impact, influencing policy and debate worldwide on the pressing issues and challenges of the 21st century." The current head of the division, Michael Spence, is leaving the position at the end of March to become vice-chancellor of the University of Sydney.

Michael Hartmann has joined Manchester Business School as its chief external officer. Mr Hartmann, formerly assistant dean and managing director of executive programmes at the University of Toronto's Joseph L. Rotman School of Management, will manage the school's executive education portfolio.

Joy Carter, vice-chancellor of the University of Winchester, has been appointed chair of the national University Vocational Awards Council. Uvac is a not-for-profit organisation set up in 1999 by the higher and further education sector to provide a voice for the sectors on matters relating to higher vocational learning. Professor Carter said Uvac would "continue to focus on supporting higher education to provide progression opportunities for work-based learners and recognising and valuing higher-level vocational learning" wherever it took place. She takes over the post from Sir David Melville, former vice-chancellor of the University of Kent.

University of Strathclyde chemistry PhD student Allan Watson has won a fellowship award to study in the US. Mr Watson, 26, is heading for Princeton University thanks to the $30,000 Lindemann Trust fellowship. He was chosen for research that works towards identifying the molecules that are the building blocks of recent drug discoveries. He is following in the footsteps of Strathclyde's deputy principal, Allister Ferguson, who won a Lindemann fellowship in 1977.

The University of Hull has appointed Yuehua Dou as a postdoctoral research associate in its department of surgery. She joins from the University of Glasgow, where she was a research assistant. Samantha Little, a postdoctoral research fellow, has left Hull's department of oncology to pursue a career in the pharmaceutical research industry.

The North East Wales Institute of Higher Education's board of governors has a new chair. Brian Howes takes up the post following Trefor Jones's retirement from the board. Mr Howes, who has been chairman of Finance Wales for the past seven years, said he was keen to play a role in supporting NEWI in "its ambition to be a market-led, student-centred university of international significance, and open to all".

Liz Bailey has joined the University of Leicester as assistant director of IT and customer services. The former ICI chemical engineer joins from Unilever UK Research and Development, where she was also head of IT services.

The Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies at the University of Exeter has made two key appointments. Ruba Salih joins as a senior lecturer in social anthropology. Her research interests include issues of gender, Islam and modernity in the Middle East and Europe. Gerd Nonneman joins as professor of international relations and Middle East politics; Al-Qasimi professor of Arab Gulf studies. His specialist interests include the politics and political economy of the Gulf and the Arabian Peninsula and relations between the Middle East and Europe.

Efthimios Poulis has joined Bournemouth University's Business School as lecturer in strategy and management. He was previously honorary lecturer in strategic marketing management at Manchester Business School.

Napier University's Monika Foster has been appointed visiting professor of the Shandong University of Finance, China. Dr Foster, a lecturer and teaching fellow in the School of Marketing, Tourism and Languages, has led the Learning and Academic Cultures collaborative project between Napier and its partner universities in China. She will now hold a visiting professorship attached to SUF's School of Foreign Languages. Dr Foster said: "Staff at Napier and in partner universities in China strive to create the best possible teaching and learning environment for the students to benefit from studying in both universities on a collaborative programme. This project helps to understand respective Napier and SUF learning and teaching contexts, challenges faced by students and, most importantly, strategies for students and staff to overcome the challenges."

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