February 21, 2008

Peter Strike has taken up the post of deputy vice-chancellor for research and enterprise at Northumbria University. The geneticist and bioscientist joins from Napier University, where he was vice-principal with responsibility for research and knowledge transfer. Professor Strike said: "Research in the post-92 sector has never been more important. It informs our teaching to give it freshness and relevance, and it exposes our students to the rigour and analytical thinking that are indispensable attributes of any good graduate. The absolute priority for universities such as Northumbria has to be applied research, and I am confident that there are plenty of opportunities to build a high academic reputation on research work that addresses real issues."

The University of Northampton has announced the appointment of Kishwer Falkner - Baroness Falkner of Margravine - as its inaugural chancellor. Baroness Falkner was made a life peer in 2004. She became the first Muslim frontbench spokesperson in UK Parliamentary history when she was appointed Liberal Democrat spokesperson on communities and local government in 2005.

Liz Beaty, the former head of teaching and learning at the Higher Education Funding Council for England, will return to her northern roots to join the management team at the University of Cumbria from next month. She will take up the new post of director of strategic academic practice and partnership after five years at Hefce, where she was also responsible for the funding council's relationship with institutions in the north of England and was involved in the creation of the University of Cumbria last year from the merger of local institutions. She is a native of the region, having been born in Carlisle, where she attended school. "I am really looking forward to contributing to the creation of a new institution that links people across Cumbria and provides enrichment and benefit to the whole community," she said. "I will enjoy the opportunity of living and working in an area of such outstanding natural beauty, social and cultural distinctiveness and potential in so many areas of public and private enterprise." In a separate development at the University of Cumbria, reader in cultural history Mike Huggins has been awarded the 2008-09 John H. Daniels visiting fellowship at the National Sporting Library in Middleburg, Virginia, US. Dr Huggins, an expert on the cultural history of horse racing, will spend six weeks at the library's research centre, where he will study the interaction of America and Britain in horse racing and breeding between 1800 and 1900. Dr Huggins said: "I am very much looking forward to visiting Virginia ... The library is only 42 miles from Washington, and I hope to find time to visit there too."

The Robert Gordon University has appointed Melfort Campbell as the new chairman of its board of governors following the retirement of Allan Bruce, who had served on the board for 11 years. Dr Campbell is chairman and chief executive of Imes Group.

Stephen Heppell, who was once described by the computer giant Microsoft as "Europe's leading online education expert", has joined Bournemouth University as professor of new media environments. Professor Heppell has joined the university's Centre for Excellence in Media Practice to help develop new teaching methods through technological innovation. He said: "In 2020, multimedia applications will be a fundamental part of our social and cultural interaction and therefore crucial to keeping young people engaged in the learning experience". In the 1980s, Professor Heppell created the technology research centre Ultralab.

Maria Touri has been appointed as a lecturer in the department of media and communication at the University of Leicester. She was previously a research associate on a project funded by the Alcohol Education and Research Council that investigated the role of marketing in teenage alcohol consumption.

Can Britishness be learnt? This was the subject of a recent public lecture from Chris Gifford, head of criminology, politics and sociology at the University of Huddersfield. The lecture was part of the university's department of behavioural sciences public lecture series entitled "Life, but not as we know it". Professor Gifford said: "The focus on the need for a greater sense of Britishness is taking place in our schools, and there are already citizenship tests and 'British way of life' classes for immigrants coming into the country. The underlying message is that some groups need to learn Britishness more than others."

DBK Group, the construction and property consultancy, has appointed its first public-sector associate director. Grant Charman has joined from the University of Leicester, where he was deputy director of estates. He will be responsible for setting up a new higher education team at the company. Mr Charman said: "Having worked for Leicester for the past five years, I wanted to move into a role that not only allowed me to get involved in public-sector and higher education projects from a consultancy perspective, but also allowed me to join a company with a diverse portfolio."

Ayesha Shahid has joined the University of Hull's Law School as a lecturer from the University of Warwick, where she worked as a part-time lecturer at the School of Law. Patricia Stoneman has retired from the English department, where she worked as a research fellow.

David Gillingham has left a senior post at Coventry University to join the private higher education sector. He has been appointed the new dean of faculty at Holborn College, which is a part of Kaplan's international higher education business. He is currently pro vice-chancellor and director of entrepreneurship, education and internationalisation at Coventry. He was previously dean and vice-president, academic and international, at ESC Rennes, one of France's grandes ecoles, where he founded the Network of International Business Schools. He joins Holborn in April.

Martin Popple has taken up his post as the first director of Bath Spa Live, the new performing arts venture at Bath Spa University. Bath Spa Live allows students to work and perform for the public alongside professionals in music, theatre and dance as an integral part of their courses. The university said the venture marked another step forward in its ambition to be the region's premier arts university. Mr Popple plans to "import" leading practitioners not just to perform, but also to contribute to the creative and professional development of students.

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