A scholar who dreamed of being a professor of politics in the "academic paradise" of Britain since he was 15 years old has become the first Austrian to be awarded a chair in politics at a British university for over 50 years. Christian Haerpfer has been promoted to a chair of political science at the University of Aberdeen, where he has worked since 2005. He said that although as a teenager his dream was "to become a football star like Bobby Charlton", his interest in the sport was soon replaced with the "mad" notion of "deciding to be a professor of political science at Oxford". "I did everything to reach my goal," he said. Professor Haerpfer spent his early academic career in his native Austria at the University of Vienna before moving to the UK, both because he felt the research funding opportunities were better and because his wife wished to return to her native country. Although it is not Oxford, Professor Haerpfer said he would not wish to swap his position at Aberdeen, and was jubilant at achieving a long-cherished goal. "I've finally got there," he said.
Until recently, Michelle Milligan was combining a full-time intensive two-year doctorate with the demands of a senior management role. She has been promoted to associate provost at Washington University in St Louis after 18 months at the assistant provost level. "I've been divided," she admitted. "I've worked in the office but also on the research for my dissertation." Dr Milligan began her academic career at Washington and Lee University in Virginia with an undergraduate degree majoring in English and French. She took up a one-year post at her alma mater in fundraising and found that she enjoyed the work. "I loved seeing how the university ran, the financial models that the university depended on," she said. After extending her position for a further year, she was asked to become director of the annual fund. "In effect, I was becoming my boss," she said. It was then she decided to look at her work in an academic context, signing up for a master's degree at Vanderbilt University with weekend classes a couple of times a month. "I enjoyed finding a pedagogical underpinning to what I was doing," she said. She was recruited in 2002 as associate director of development for arts and sciences at Washington University in St Louis. "When I got the job I thought, 'I may not know the school, but at least I know fundraising'," she recalled. "But when I arrived I realised I didn't really know fundraising, either." Dr Milligan worked her way up to assistant dean in arts and sciences and decided to study for an intensive two-year doctorate at the University of Pennsylvania, which she completed in May 2010. She said of her career: "It's been a fun trajectory that I never would have planned but nevertheless I feel comfortable and grateful to be where I am."
Ohio State University
A climate expert whose work focuses on the collection and analysis of ice cores from around the world has had a lifetime's service to Ohio State University recognised with the award of distinguished university professor status. Ellen Mosley Thompson studied for an undergraduate degree at Marshall University before moving to Ohio State for a master's degree, a PhD and then, in 1973, a graduate research associate position. She and her husband, Lonnie Thompson, have been at the institution ever since, and they jointly founded the Ice Core Paleoclimatology Research Group. Praising the support she had received during her time at the institution, she recalled that the university had built a clean room and a cold room in response to the group's needs. "We were just so well set up here that there really was no reason to leave," she said. The elevation to distinguished university professor comes with a monetary award, which Professor Thompson said she was pleased to be able to share with the team at the Byrd Polar Research Center. "If it wasn't for the team, I wouldn't have got the award," she said.
An Australian academic will be swapping summer in Sydney for the chillier prospect of winter in London when he joins Kingston University later this year. Charles Rice, who is currently associate professor of architecture and director of the Centre for Contemporary Design Practices at the University of Technology Sydney, has been appointed head of the School of Art and Design History at Kingston. Born in Adelaide, Professor Rice studied for his first degree at the University of Queensland before studying for his master's at the London Consortium. He has worked at the University of Technology Sydney for 10 years, and before his role there, he worked at the University of New South Wales. He has twice taught at the Architectural Association's School of Architecture and, in 2005, held a visiting research fellowship at Queen Mary, University of London. He said that he was looking forward to returning to the city. "Few places in the world function like London in terms of art and culture," he said.
The Centre for Sustainable Communities at the University of Hertfordshire has announced the appointment of Susan Parham as head of urbanism. Dr Parham was previously director at the UK-based CAG consultancy.
The University Hospital of South Manchester Academy has welcomed a new associate director, Jill Johnson. Ms Johnson, who will lead the team undertaking the day-to-day running of the healthcare education organisation, joins from NHS North West, where she was assistant director of health services resilience.
A specialist in children's cancer has been named pro vice-chancellor and executive dean of the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences at the University of the West of England. Helen Langton is currently dean of the Faculty of Education, Health and Sciences at the University of Derby.
Paul Lazarus, senior clinical educator in the University of Leicester's department of medical and social care education, has been elected president of the Association for Medical Humanities.
Kausik Ray has been appointed professor of cardiovascular disease prevention at St George's, University of London. Professor Ray was previously senior clinical research associate at the University of Cambridge.
The University of East Anglia, in a joint initiative with the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals, has appointed Andrew Stewart Coats as Norwich Research Park "professor at large". He joins from the University of Sydney, where he was deputy vice-chancellor.
Vivien Sieber has moved to the University of Surrey as head of learning and research services. She joins from the University of Oxford, where she was head of the Medical Services Division Learning Technologies.