March 27, 2008

Paul Manners has been appointed director of the new National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement, which was set up to improve links and dialogue between universities and the public. Funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England, Research Councils UK and the Wellcome Trust, the Bristol-based centre is a partnership between the University of the West of England and the University of Bristol. Professor Manners spent five years as an English teacher in secondary schools in East London, worked for The Open University for 12 years and has worked at the BBC since 2001. He was an executive producer at the BBC's learning division and worked on a number of public outreach campaigns, including the BBC's People's War project, which captured 50,000 online reminiscences about the Second World War, in partnership with museums, libraries and age agencies.

Mike Short, vice-president for research and development at mobile network operator O2, has been appointed visiting professor at De Montfort University's faculty of computing sciences and engineering.

A film director described as one of Britain's rising stars has accepted an invitation to work as a visiting professor at Kingston University. Paul Andrew Williams, whose first film London to Brighton won critical acclaim, earlier this month screened his latest work The Cottage before an audience of Kingston students. Mr Williams' collaboration with the university will see him offering advice to young people hoping to follow in his footsteps. "As a film-maker I'm always learning and observing, so I'm hoping to gain as much from my association with the students as they will from learning how I launched my career," he said. Will Brooker, Kingston's director of film and television studies, said: "As one of the country's brightest new writing and directing talents, Paul has a great deal to offer our students. There is no better way to learn the trade than by hearing from a true master of the big screen and observing his work first hand."

Cranfield University's School of Applied Sciences has made two senior appointments. Kambiz Kayvantash has joined as professor of automotive technology from the French office of US-based company, Altair, where he was director of programme management. Professor Kayvantash said that Cranfield's "reputation among key organisations in the automotive and motorsport sectors was a major attraction". The school has separately confirmed that Andrew Jones will become its new finance director, joining from Aspect Education, where he was also finance director.

Alan Pert, director of the Northern Office for Research and Design, has been appointed visiting professor to the Canterbury School of Architecture at the University College of the Creative Arts. Oren Lieberman, head of architecture at Canterbury, said: "We are ecstatic to have Alan joining us. His practice exemplifies the notion of 'design is research', a way of looking at architecture that our programmes share. Students are very excited to have his input into their education."

Susan Foreman has been appointed dean of Staffordshire University's Business School. She was previously director of open programmes and professor of marketing at Henley Management College. She is keen to increase interaction with local businesses. She said: "It's about getting in touch with businesses in the region to see what we can provide for them, and identify their needs."

Film producer Roger Shannon recently returned to his alma mater, the University of Teesside, to give a guest lecture about his film career. After graduating in 1976 from what was then Teesside Polytechnic, he went on to enjoy a successful career in the British film industry, working as a producer, executive producer, financier, film festival director, writer and broadcaster. He is now a professor of film and television at Edge Hill University.

Terence Stephenson, professor of child health and dean of the faculty of medicine and health sciences at the University of Nottingham, has been elected president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health. Nottingham vice-chancellor Sir Colin Campbell said that his election "is excellent news for doctors working in child health in the UK and represents a significant achievement by a senior academic at the university". Professor Stephenson will serve a three-year term from April 2009 until 2012.

Two academics from Royal Holloway, University of London, have seen recent literary endeavours honoured. Eric Robertson, professor of modern French literary and visual culture, has been named the winner of the R. H. Gapper Book Prize for his book Arp: Painter, Poet, Sculptor. The award, for the work judged to be the best book published in 2006 by a scholar working within French studies in Britain and Ireland, was founded by the journal French Studies, Jean Duffy, Colin Davis and the R. H. Gapper Charitable Trust. Professor Robertson said of the honour: "Some eminent scholars have won it in previous years, so it is a great privilege to have my work recognised in this way." Anne Varty, a senior lecturer in Royal Holloway's English department, has been shortlisted for the annual Theatre Book Prize, awarded by the Society for Theatre Research to recognise books on British theatre. Her book, Children and Theatre in Victorian Britain: All Work and No Play, was the first major study of children in Victorian theatre. The winner will be announced on 1 April.

A see-saw that generates electricity when played on by children has won a Coventry University undergraduate a prize for enterprise. Daniel Sheridan, 23, won a Bizcom prize at Coventry's Enterprise Festival, an ideas competition launched in 2002 to encourage students to develop commercially viable ideas. Mr Sheridan, a final-year student on the combined masters in consumer product design, hopes his invention will help communities in sub-Saharan Africa without access to electricity supplies.

Ashraf Jawaid has been appointed deputy vice-chancellor, external relations, of the University of Bedfordshire. Professor Jawaid will join the institution from Coventry University, where he has been pro vice-chancellor since 2004. He was previously dean of the school of engineering at Coventry, and before that was with the Warwick Manufacturing Group at the University of Warwick, where he obtained his PhD. He will take up his post at Bedfordshire on 1 April.

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