August 19, 2010

University of Edinburgh, Greg Walker

The Regius chair of rhetoric and English literature at the University of Edinburgh will be filled by Greg Walker, who was been Masson professor of English at the university since 2007. He began his academic life at the University of Southampton, where he pursued two of his favourite subjects. "I was never sure whether I was a historian or a literature person, so I did a joint degree," he explained. "It was the best way to avoid declaring myself." After going on to complete a PhD, he took up a British Academy postdoctoral fellowship at the university, where he was based for nine years. As he admits that he had "no idea what I would do, or what you could do, with an English degree", he was fortunate enough to discover that he wanted to be an academic. "From there, it was just a question of where the first job was going to come from," he said. The answer was Queensland, Australia - "I'd never heard of it until the interview." Professor Walker then returned to the UK to teach at the University of Buckingham and the University of Leicester before he took up his current position at Edinburgh. He said modestly of his career: "I've been fortunate that, almost at the last minute in some cases, one more step has appeared under my feet before I fell into the chasm."

Stanford University, Stephen Kosslyn

The next director of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University has plans to take the "intellectual retreat" into the 21st century. Stephen Kosslyn said: "Web 3.0 is going to be the next big thing. It's going to personalise online interaction. In order to do that right, you need to know a lot about people and how they behave. The centre is the pre-eminent place for behavioural science, so it makes sense that we have a connection with Silicon Valley." Professor Kosslyn is currently based at Harvard University, where he is dean of social science and John Lindsley professor of psychology in memory of William James. He received his BA from the University of California, Los Angeles and studied for his PhD at Stanford. He has taught at Johns Hopkins University and Brandeis University, among other institutions. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Society of Experimental Psychologists. In his new role, he said, he was keen to keep the unique atmosphere at the centre that encourages "creative productivity", but he stressed the importance of adapting to a new technological age. "I want to play a role in nurturing the best scholars and researchers in behavioural science. I'm hoping to preserve what's best about the centre's past but have it move into the 21st century."

Stillman College, Renwick Jones

A former broadcast journalist hopes to bring his experience in the field to his new role as assistant vice-president of alumni affairs at Stillman College, Alabama. Renwick Jones, who has spent the past 23 years working in higher education communications, happened upon his career by chance. He was studying for a degree in laboratory technology at Alabama State University when he read some copy for a radio/television announcing class: "The instructor liked it," he said. "That instructor went on to be my mentor, my neighbour and best man at my wedding. I didn't realise I had the voice for broadcast journalism until he told me." He graduated with a degree in communication media and went on to work in a variety of roles, including news anchor and reporter for WVAS-FM Radio at Alabama State and sports director and news reporter at WXVI Radio in Montgomery, Alabama. It was while at Auburn University, where he was satellite uplink manager and producer-director in the office of university relations, that he discovered how to integrate his communications training into his work in higher education. "It taught me a lot about how an institution relates to its public as far as the job it's doing," he said. He returned to Alabama State to become director of alumni relations and annual and planned giving. Now, he said, he was moving on to his new post to fulfil "the promise" of Stillman College. "Education is a very important component in the lives of human beings across this Earth. To be at one of its entities is just a great opportunity."

Asia Task Force, David Greenaway

The vice-chancellor of the University of Nottingham has spoken of his appointment to a new body charged with helping the UK government to boost trade with Asia. As Times Higher Education has reported, David Greenaway has been asked to join the Asia Task Force, which brings together experts from industry, education and government. The body is co-chaired by Vince Cable, the Liberal Democrat business secretary. Professor Greenaway said that UK businesses needed to be "alert and responsive" to ensure that they maintained a presence in the region. "The global economic centre of gravity is shifting rapidly to Asia," he said. "In many ways, that poses a massive competitive threat to Western economies. But it also offers significant opportunities, through increased exports and cross-border investment."

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The British Academy has elected 37 new Fellows. They include: David Abulafia, professor of Mediterranean history, University of Cambridge; Alan Baker, life Fellow of Emmanuel College, Cambridge; Alan Barnard, professor of the anthropology of Southern Africa, University of Edinburgh; Mary Beard, professor of Classics, Cambridge; Jonathan Bradshaw, professor of social policy, University of York; Francesco Caselli, professor of economics, London School of Economics; Christopher Clark, professor of modern European history, Cambridge; Eric F. Clarke, Heather professor of music, University of Oxford; Rosemary Crompton, professor emeritus, City University; Stephen Daniels, professor of cultural geography, University of Nottingham; Neil Duxbury, professor of law, LSE; Anke Ehlers, professor of experimental psychopathology, King's College London; James Fawcett, professor of international commercial law, Nottingham; Conor Gearty, professor of human rights law, LSE; Robert Gildea, professor of modern history, Oxford; John Gledhill, Max Gluckman professor of social anthropology, University of Manchester; Cecilia Heyes, professor of psychology, Oxford; Deborah Howard, professor of architectural history, Cambridge; Terence Irwin, professor of ancient philosophy, Oxford; Colin Kidd, professor of modern history, University of Glasgow; Anthony King, professor of British government, University of Essex; Aditi Lahiri, professor of linguistics, Oxford; Shalom Lappin, professor of computational linguistics, King's; Richard Little, professor emeritus in international politics, University of Bristol; Graham Loomes, professor of economics, University of Warwick; Andrew Louth, professor of Patristic and Byzantine studies, University of Durham; Juliet Mitchell, director, expanded programme in theoretical psychoanalysis, University College London; Karalyn Patterson, senior research associate, department of clinical neurosciences, Cambridge; Emilie Savage-Smith, professor of the history of Islamic science, Oxford; Michael Sheringham, Marshal Foch professor of French literature, Oxford; Roland R.?R. Smith, Lincoln professor of classical archaeology and art, Oxford; Anthony Thiselton, professor of Christian theology, Nottingham; John Van Reenen, professor of economics, LSE; Nicholas Vincent, professor of medieval history, University of East Anglia; Andrew Wallace-Hadrill, master of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge; Stephen White, James Bryce professor of politics, Glasgow; Henry Woudhuysen, professor of English language and literature, UCL.

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