April 2, 2009

The London School of Economics has recruited Niall Ferguson to a chair in international history. Professor Ferguson, an academic historian, journalist and television presenter, holds positions at Harvard University, Stanford University and the University of Oxford. He will take up the Philippe Roman chair in history and international affairs at the LSE for 2010-11.

A principal lecturer at the University of Glamorgan has been appointed to the royal household. Kevin Davies, who is based at the university's faculty of health, sport and science, becomes the Queen's honorary nurse in tribute to his involvement in military nursing and disaster healthcare. He has served in war zones such as Bosnia, Kosovo and Afghanistan, and has advised, taught and presented at conferences across Europe, the US and East Asia.

John Vinney, Bournemouth University's pro vice-chancellor (resources), has switched roles within the university to take over the position of pro vice-chancellor (education and professional practice). Having progressed from a lecturing post to dean of computing, engineering and mathematical sciences at the University of the West of England, Professor Vinney joined Bournemouth as dean of the School of Design, Engineering and Computing. He will take over the new role from Brian Astin, who retires at the end of July.

Rosalind Howells has been named the second chancellor of the University of Bedfordshire, succeeding Robin Biggam, who held the position since 2001. An active campaigner in the field of race relations, Baroness Howells is a trustee of the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust who has also served as an unofficial adviser to the Lawrence family. "When I was growing up in the Caribbean in the 1930s and '40s," she said, "education was seen as the number-one goal not only of my generation but of my parents and the generations that went before them, too. Education is freedom and power, and any investment in education is a good one."

Composer Brian Irvine is to become a visiting professor at the University of Ulster's School of Creative Arts at Magee. Dr Irvine, who is known for his commitment to social inclusion, is composer-in-association with the Ulster Orchestra. He has toured extensively in Europe, Russia and the US, and has worked with artists from a diverse range of forms including jazz, punk, classical and free improvisation.

A Lancaster University professor is the sole academic to be appointed to a panel of experts by the Government to review social work practice in the wake of the Baby P case. Sue White, professor of social work at Lancaster, has been selected to join the Social Work Taskforce, which will make recommendations for long-term reform in the field. One of its first priorities will be to review the effectiveness of Integrated Children's Systems and the technology used by social workers to keep records of their cases.

Mobile communications specialist Joe McGeehan has been appointed to an association that promotes understanding of science and technology among businesses. The professor of communications engineering at the University of Bristol joins the South West Science and Industry Council to help raise awareness of opportunities that science provides for businesses in the region.

David Williams has been awarded a professorship by University College Falmouth for his work on performance and live art. Professor Williams, an international performance studies specialist, is especially recognised for his impact on the understanding of contemporary French theatre in the UK.

The Equality Challenge Unit has appointed two new members to its board. They are Colin Riordan, vice-chancellor of the University of Essex, and Christina McAnea, national secretary for education and children's services at public service trade union Unison.

Josie Taylor has taken on her new role as director of The Open University's Institute of Educational Technology, the centre that provides information on the modern technologies that support effective learning in higher education. Working with scholars in the UK and abroad, the institute also promotes continuing professional educational development for higher education practitioners.

Historian Bill Williams has been awarded a medal of honour by the University of Manchester. Famous for his work on oral history and his studies of the history of Jews in Manchester, Mr Williams was given the prize for his involvement in the area, including helping to establish the Manchester Jewish Museum in 1984 and becoming its first chairman of trustees.

Allan Pacey, senior lecturer in andrology at the University of Sheffield, provided the commentary for a television show documenting the story of human conception. The documentary, The Great Sperm Race, was broadcast last week. It charted the journey of sperm from ejaculation to the egg, scaled up by 34,000 times, containing landscapes such as the Canadian Rockies and London's South Bank to illustrate the process.

Gioia Pescetto becomes dean of Canterbury Christ Church University's newly formed faculty of business and management. Formerly associate dean of postgraduate studies at Durham University, she will be responsible for implementing strategy and helping to form the faculty's identity. Her main areas of current research interest are corporate finance and private equity and venture capital.

Loughborough University's Alastair Adams has become the youngest president of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters. Mr Adams, who is aged 39, works as a practising portrait painter and holds a research-based position at the university. Part of his remit as president of the society will be to strengthen its role as a centre for those learning about or interested in pursuing a career in portrait painting.

Stephen Heppell of Bournemouth University, who was recognised as "the most influential academic of recent years in the field of technology and education" by the former Department for Education and Skills, has now been awarded a further accolade for his contributions in the field. Professor Heppell received the first Outstanding Achievement in ICT Education award during the British Education and Training Technology (BETT) 2009 educational technology event. Having worked to raise the profile and application of ICT throughout his career, he has recently been involved in a number of high-profile initiatives, including a social inclusion programme for young people disengaged through traditional learning methods.

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