January 1, 2009

A professor of international law at the University of Leeds has been appointed to a key nature-conservation post in his native Nepal. Surya Subedi has been named a governor of the National Trust for Nature Conservation, which is responsible for preserving the flora and fauna of the South Asian state, which became a republic last year. Among his areas of study, Professor Subedi has expertise in international environmental law, including the management and conservation of nature and natural resources. He said: "I am honoured to be invited to serve such a high-profile body. Nepal is a fascinating country with a unique biodiversity."

The Association of Business Schools has selected Howard Thomas, the dean of Warwick Business School, as its new chairman. He succeeds Michael Osbaldeston, director of the Cranfield School of Management, in the post. Professor Thomas, who is well known in the field of strategic management, is chair of the Global Foundation for Management Education (2007-08). He is a past president of the Strategic Management Society (1997-2000), of which he has been elected an inaugural fellow. The ABS is the representative body for all the business schools in universities, other higher education institutions and independent management colleges in the UK.

A professor from the University of Nottingham has been awarded the 2008 Douglas Hay Medal by the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining Engineering. Ian Lowndes, an associate professor and reader in environmental engineering, received the accolade in recognition of the quality of his technical publications and services to the profession. The medal is named after the late president of the former Institution of Mining Engineers, who also served as the chief mining engineer of the National Coal Board. Other colleagues and research fellows who worked with Dr Lowndes on the award paper include Zhiyuan Yang, principal engineer, Golder Associates; Stephen Silvester, principal engineer, Ansys; Michael Tuck, associate professor, University of Ballarat, Australia; and Sam Kingman, professor of process engineering and head of the research division, University of Nottingham.

David McConnell has been appointed professor of learning innovation at Glasgow Caledonian University's Caledonian Academy. Professor McConnell will lead academic professional development across the university. He joins the academy, which develops and researches forms of learning and teaching, from Lancaster University. Professor McConnell, who has been at the forefront of computer-mediated communications in UK distance learning, helped create the first UK online masters in management learning. He is also a visiting professor at South China Normal University.

"One of those completely left-field events that surprise and delight you in equal measure; retirement can now wait!" was Biddy Fisher's response to her appointment as vice-president to the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP). Ms Fisher, a motorsports fanatic, has been head of information services at Sheffield Hallam University for the past 13 years, and is a member of the International Federation of Library Associations' Library Theory and Research Committee. As well as having performed a variety of roles for CILIP in the past, she has reviewed higher education libraries in East Asia and has presented conference and seminar papers on her published areas of mentoring, professional development, library design and quality standards in library services. She will take up the new position in 2010.

A doctor who has identified the genes responsible for five neurological conditions, including infantile seizures and motor neuropathy, has been appointed professor of molecular genetics at St George's, University of London. Andrew Crosby's research interests, which focus on neurological disease and particularly the neurodegenerative diseases of the motor neuron, stem from work to identify illnesses that occur at high frequency in the Amish population in Ohio. As part of a continuing clinical and genetic project termed "Windows of Hope", which he is conducting with Harold Cross of the University of Arizona, Dr Crosby has mapped the genes responsible for eight neurological conditions.

Lisa Mooney Smith has been named the associate dean of arts at the University of Northampton. She will help to develop Northampton's research and enterprise portfolio as well as working with the Arts and Humanities Research Council on its Knowledge Transfer Strategy Group and Knowledge and Evaluation Committee. She was previously based at the University of Nottingham's Humanities and Social Sciences Research Centre, where she acted as adviser to the dean of the arts and humanities faculty.

A dozen fellows have joined Nottingham Trent University's School of Art and Design and School of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment, as part of plans to develop their research activity. The new fellows - Joanna Poon, Chienwe Isiadinso, Jose Casamayor, Sarah Kettley, Jane McCormack, Kevin Hunt, Iryna Kuksa, Marta Filipova, John Perivolaris, Amy Tan, Jeanine Breaker and Tom McGuirk - will pursue their own research interests, which include areas such as property and construction management, product design and visual arts and drawing, as well as supporting academic staff by helping them to attract grant funding. Judith Mottram, associate dean for research and graduate studies, said: "That these appointments came after the research assessment exercise submission is a clear message that we were not sitting back awaiting its results. We are actively exploring ways to continue working for the future by encouraging the development of our research portfolio, and these fellows will play a major part in that."

A former production manager at the Royal Shakespeare Company has joined the University of Leeds. Rebecca Watts has been named theatre and production manager at the university's new theatre complex, "stage@leeds". The complex provides a venue for student performances, staff research, professional touring theatre and dance groups. It can also be used for conferences, seminars and workshops. Susan Daniels, head of the School of Performance and Cultural Industries, said: "Since opening, the theatre has demonstrated its value in supporting teaching and research among students and staff, together with its potential to contribute to the university's cultural strategy; with Rebecca, we are all looking forward to that potential being realised."


In our 11 December issue, we said that Joanna MacGregor was a "former professor of music at Liverpool Hope University". She is, in fact, still working at Liverpool Hope.

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