March 20, 2008

The head of the Royal College of Art has announced his decision to leave next summer, after 35 years at the college. Sir Christopher Frayling has been rector of the Royal College of Art since 1996, and before that he worked as pro-rector, professor of cultural history and tutor. Sir Christopher will leave his post at the end of his current contract, and plans to focus on research, writing and broadcasting. He said: "Summer 2009 feels to me to be the right time to go. The major challenges facing the college in teaching, research and collaboration with industry seem to have been met, at least for the time being. The new estates plan, with a second campus in Battersea, is well on its way. The college is fighting fit. And I never want it to be said of me that 'he stayed too long'." The Council and Senate of the Royal College of Art will now select an appointments committee, made up of senior Council members and college staff, to find the college's next rector.

Further education troubleshooter Ray Dowd has joined Somerset College's board of governors, in what the college describes as a "major coup". Mr Dowd worked for 11 years as a college principal, notably at Wirral Metropolitan College, which he joined in 1999 and where he overturned a £14 million deficit. While at Wirral, he stepped in at Salisbury College after its principal was suspended, and he also took over as interim principal of Halton College in 2005, leading the troubled institution into a successful merger with Widnes and Runcorn Sixth Form College. The Guardian newspaper once said of him: "If there were a Wyatt Earp cup for the dude most willing to barge through saloon bar doors to restore order to wayward colleges, his name would be on it." Last March, he relocated to southwest Somerset to renovate an old mill house, and Somerset College snapped him up when its principal heard he was available for voluntary roles.

Lord Robert May, the Government's former Chief Scientific Adviser, and Sir Brian Hoskins, a climatologist based at the University of Reading and Imperial College London, are among the first five members of the independent Committee on Climate Change being set up by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. The committee is being established under the Climate Change Bill currently before Parliament and will advise on how the UK can best meet its climate change goals. It will be chaired by Lord Turner, chairman of the Economic and Social Research Council. The other three members are Jim Skea, research director at the UK Energy Research Centre, Samuel Fankhauser, managing director of the company IDEAcarbon, and Michael Grubb, chief economist at the Carbon Trust, the government-funded company that helps businesses and the public sector to cut carbon emissions.

Rob Perks, curator of oral history at the British Library Sound Archive, has been appointed visiting professor at the University of Huddersfield's School of Music, Humanities and Media. Dr Perks, who graduated in 1979 from what was then the Polytechnic of Huddersfield, will develop the work being done at the university's Oral History Unit, and will also contribute to the new MA in oral history - one of only three in the country. "As a former student there's something quite strange about becoming a visiting professor, but I'm looking forward to working with the university," he said. Also joining the school are producer and reporter Clare Jenkins, who becomes a visiting research fellow; Paul Wilcock, currently director of student services at the university, who becomes a research fellow; and Bill Roberts, who becomes visiting research fellow following his retirement as a history lecturer.

Mike Kelly, head of humanities at the University of Southampton, has been awarded the title of Officier dans l'Ordre des Palmes Academiques by the French Government for his contributions to language education. The Ordre des Palmes Academiques is one of the world's oldest civil awards, originally created by Napoleon to honour eminent members of the French university system. It was re-established in 1955 by French President Rene Coty to honour those who have made notable contributions to French national education or the expansion of French culture in the rest of the world.

Will Kaufman, of the University of Central Lancashire, has won the 2008 Woody Guthrie Research Fellowship. Named after the celebrated US folk musician, the fellowship is awarded jointly by the BMI Foundation and the Woody Guthrie Foundation. The award funds a period of research at the Woody Guthrie Archives in New York, where Dr Kaufman will research his book on Guthrie and the Popular Front.

The Courtauld Institute of Art has appointed Kerstin Glasow as its marketing and communications manager. Born and brought up in Germany, she has spent the past five years as the marketing manager at the Badisches Landesmuseum (Baden State Museum) in Karlsruhe in southwest Germany.

The University of Leicester's Institute of Lifelong Learning has appointed Tom Schuller as an honorary professor. Professor Schuller, who is director of an independent inquiry into the future of lifelong learning in the UK sponsored by the National Institute of Adult and Continuing Education, said: "I have a particular interest in the implications of demographic change and ageing populations, where the institute has a strong presence."

The University of the West of Scotland has appointed Kenneth Alexander as its university secretary, following the institution's merger with Bell College last year. Mr Alexander, 56, was previously secretary of Bell College and had been holding the position of university secretary designate until the retirement of David Rigg in January. As a chartered accountant, he has previously held positions at Price Waterhouse, White Horse Distillers and United Distillers.

Charles Kennedy, the former leader of the Liberal Democrats, has been elected Rector of the University of Glasgow, succeeding Mordechai Vanunnu, the Israeli whistle-blower. He beat Hardeep Singh Kohli, the television personality, lawyer Aamer Anwar and Patrick Harvie, Green Party MSP, in the vote.

Goldsmiths, University of London, has appointed Ruth Bailey as a lecturer in education (modern foreign languages). Barley Norton has been appointed senior lecturer in ethnomusicology in the department of music.

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