Appointments

August 5, 2010

University of California

Rosie Meek

A scholar who entered academia "by accident" is heading across the Atlantic to begin a Fulbright Scholarship at the University of California, San Diego. Rosie Meek, lecturer in psychology at the University of Southampton, was largely home educated and in her teenage years she had jobs that included working as a farmhand, a gamekeeper's assistant and a groom. She became interested in psychology after enrolling for an introductory distance-learning class, which she followed up with an A level. It was then that she started volunteering for New Bridge, a charity offering support and advice to prisoners. "Little did I realise that this experience would inspire some of my subsequent research," she said. Dr Meek went to read social psychology at the University of Sussex, and said her lecturers "instilled a real passion for applying social psychology to real-world issues". Gaining research experience at the Brighton-based Trust for the Study of Adolescence, Dr Meek returned to Sussex to study for a master's in psychological methods and then a PhD. She supplemented her studentship by teaching throughout her doctorate, and she got a job at Southampton soon after completing. "I love the variety that my role entails, from the pastoral care of students, through to delivering lectures and carrying out and managing an exciting range of research projects," Dr Meek said. But work-life balance is also important: "I make sure I find time to spend with my family, friends, horses and sheep!"

Rutgers University

Yvette Taylor

A senior UK lecturer is moving to Rutgers University in New Jersey to research class, gender and race in the negotiation of same-sex rights. Yvette Taylor, senior lecturer in sociology at Newcastle University, said that voluntary work at the Citizen's Advice Bureau and the Scottish Prostitutes Education Project had "really grounded" her research interests in class and gender inequality. In 2004 Dr Taylor completed her PhD at the University of York, titled "Working-class lesbians: classed in a classless climate", and moved to Newcastle University soon after to take up a position as lecturer. In 2009 she held the Lillian Robinson Fellowship at Concordia University, Canada, and her year-long fellowship to Rutgers has been awarded by the Fulbright Commission. She explained that her project would build on previous work "including working-class lesbian life and lesbian and gay parenting". Dr Taylor said she will be leaving behind her cat, Malaise - "alas, she lives in York" - along with her 18-year-old car, Dennis, but will take with her another interest, "drinking coffee".

Aberystwyth University

Gareth Edwards-Jones

A professor of agriculture and land use, Gareth Edwards-Jones, has spoken of his plans after being appointed to a new chair of sustainable agriculture at Aberystwyth University. As reported last week, the chair at Aberystwyth's Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences is being sponsored by the supermarket chain Waitrose. Professor Edwards-Jones said one of his main objectives in the role would be to "bridge the knowledge gap" that exists between farmers and retailers. "I will be looking at how farmers need to adapt and change to meet consumer demand," he explained. He will combine the role with his existing position at Bangor University, where he had already been working with Waitrose to find ways for farmers to reduce their carbon footprint. He said it was vital that research did not look at subjects in isolation. "Environmental protection is key for the future of UK agriculture," he said, "but we also need to ensure that farmers continue to run a profitable business."

Stanford University

Simon Sprague

A PhD candidate whose thesis revolves around helping to simplify the synthetic route to a cancer drug has had his work rewarded with a scholarship to Stanford University. Simon Sprague, who has just completed his doctoral thesis in organic chemistry at Brasenose College, Oxford, will be the AstraZeneca Research Scholar at Stanford thanks to an award from the Fulbright Commission. "I chose Stanford because of the supervisor, Barry Troste," he said. "I'd seen him present at conferences and was very keen on his chemistry and his approach to dealing with his group." Mr Sprague studied natural sciences as an undergraduate at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, but said he had always intended to be a chemist. "It was always chemistry I really loved, despite getting higher marks in other subjects," he said. After graduating, Mr Sprague spent a sabbatical year as president of Cambridge's Raising and Giving society, and led the organisation to raise more than £160,000 in one year. He then "packed up the lab into a van - quite a lot of vans, actually" and moved to his current position at Oxford. Away from the lab, Mr Sprague said he is a keen cook, although he said he has been too tied to his studies to host many dinner parties recently. "When I do cook, I don't follow recipes," he said. "It's a bit like a lab - just sling in a bit of this and a bit of that and hope that it works."

OTHER CHANGES

The University of East London has appointed John Joughin deputy vice-chancellor (academic). Professor Joughin is currently pro vice-chancellor (research) and professor of English literature at the University of Central Lancashire.

Glasgow Caledonian University has named Karen Stanton, currently chief information officer at King's College London, vice-principal and pro vice-chancellor of external relations.

Following the conclusion of his term as president of the National Union of Students, Wes Streeting has joined the public-sector consultancy team at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, focusing on higher education.

The new dean of Henley Business School at the University of Reading is John Board. Professor Board is currently director of the ICMA Centre, the business school for financial markets at Henley.

Keith Horton, a former police officer, has been named the new dean of business, computing and law at the University of Derby. Dr Horton is currently director of strategic development and corporate intelligence at Edinburgh Napier University.

Queen's University Belfast has named Scott Rutherford its new director of research and enterprise. Mr Rutherford, who joins the institution from Imperial College London, is currently on secondment to the Higher Education Funding Council for England, coordinating the development of the research excellence framework.

Lawyer and philanthropist Helena Kennedy has been elected principal of Mansfield College, Oxford.

Leeds Metropolitan University has appointed Sally Glen deputy vice-chancellor for student experience. She is currently pro vice-chancellor (academic) and professor of education at the University of Wolverhampton.

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