April 1, 2010

Royal Holloway, University of London - Paul Layzell

The next vice-chancellor of Royal Holloway, University of London is clear about the uncertainties he will face as he leads the institution over the coming years. Paul Layzell, currently deputy vice-chancellor at the University of Sussex, explained: "We don't quite know what the future has to hold over the next five to ten years. There is going to be unprecedented change, so it's about operating from a position of strength." He said his first move when he joins Royal Holloway in August will be to throw open the doors to make public its many successes. "They have a lot of good work that's going on but it's very hard to see that. My mission in the first instance is to open the doors to Royal Holloway and let people see what's going on inside." Professor Layzell obtained his PhD in software engineering from the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (Umist) in 1982 before becoming a lecturer in computation. After rising to pro vice-chancellor for resources at Umist, he was appointed programme manager for the Umist-Manchester merger, a three-year process that culminated in the creation of the new University of Manchester in 2004. He served as vice-president for university development at the new institution before moving to the University of Sussex in 2006. Royal Holloway staff can expect Professor Layzell to foster a collegiate atmosphere. "I see it as a service role," he said. "I have a strong personal philosophy, which is that the centre of the university is what happens in the schools and the departments."

University of Salford - Haifa Takruri-Rizk

A lecturer who has spent her career encouraging women and ethnic-minority students into science and engineering has been recognised for her powers of persuasion and her status as a role model for young women. Haifa Takruri-Rizk has won the Fazlur Rahman Khan Award for Excellence in Engineering, Science or Technology, part of The Muslim News Awards, for her work in an area that is often dominated by white male academics. Dr Takruri-Rizk, lecturer in engineering at the University of Salford, said she was motivated by her shock at the lack of women studying for engineering degrees in the UK. "There aren't many women, and we need more. It's that simple. I've come from a different background where engineering and science were looked upon highly and valued. If you are going into these subjects you are at an advantage. I came to the UK 25 years ago to find there were not many girls motivated to do the subject. When I started my lecturing career and stood in front of a class of 100 there would be one girl and she would usually not be British." Dr Takruri-Rizk said the sector needed more female role models to show girls that engineering and science were interesting career options in the UK. "We need to give them the awareness of what's involved, that it's not greasy hands," she said.

University of Warwick - Mark Smith

As the newly appointed deputy vice-chancellor of the University of Warwick, Mark Smith intends to drive his institution up the world university rankings. His aim is to see Warwick named as a top 50 university despite the increasingly tough funding climate he will be working in. He said this would be achieved by employing "exciting" new academic staff to work across disciplines and across departments. "What it will mean is making sure that when we're making appointments, that won't be done by individual departments. We will be making exciting appointments not just for one single department but more broadly," he said. "Interdisciplinarity has become something that sounds a bit passe now, but it is one of the key things that will make that vision a reality." Professor Smith, who is currently pro vice-chancellor for research (science and medicine) as well as a professor of physics at Warwick, studied as a postgraduate at the university before moving into a career in industry and working in Australia. But 12 years ago he returned. "I was coming back to where I started I suppose," he said. After rejoining Warwick as a reader in physics, he was later made a chair and more recently pro vice-chancellor. Professor Smith will take up the role of deputy vice-chancellor for a period of five years. His start date is yet to be confirmed.

Teesside University - Simon Stobart

Simon Stobart, Teesside University's new dean of the School of Computing, has pledged to ensure that prospective students are as enthusiastic about the school as he is. "I'm aiming to make it the number one place for anyone in the world who wants to study computing, animation and games design," he said. Dr Stobart, a graduate of the University of Sunderland, first joined Teesside two years ago as assistant dean for recruitment and development in the school. Since joining, he has also taken a keen interest in fostering international links for the university and the computing department, and has helped to secure franchises in Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia.

Other changes...

Glasgow School of Art has appointed Alan Horn its director of development. He joins from the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, where he was director of development.

Andrew Lu, international marketing coordinator at Liverpool John Moores University, has been appointed international recruitment manager at the institution.

Huw Morris, dean of Manchester Metropolitan University Business School, has been elected chairman of the Association of Business Schools, while Paul Croney, dean of Newcastle Business School at Northumbria University, has been elected vice-chairman.

Ambreena Manji, a reader in Keele University's School of Law, is the first woman to be appointed director of the British Institute in Eastern Africa, a British Academy School based in Nairobi, Kenya. She is also the first lawyer to lead the institute.

Angus Lamond, Wellcome Trust principal research fellow and professor of biochemistry at the University of Dundee, has been awarded the 2011 Novartis Medal and Prize for his work on the structure and functional organisation of the nucleus of mammalian cells.

Gautam Bodiwala, University of Leicester honorary graduate, former member of the university council, clinical teacher and examiner, has been awarded the title "Distinguished Non Resident Indian" by the Vishwa Gujarati Parishad (Global Gujarati Conference).

Paul Connolly, director of the Centre for Effective Education at Queen's University Belfast, has been appointed co-chair of the Campbell Collaboration Education Coordinating Group and Donald Dewar visiting chair in social justice and public policy at the University of Glasgow.

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