A lecturer from Anglia Ruskin University has netted a flexible working award for her online learning course. Shirley Pickford, who runs the university's BA in Learning Through Technology, won the Microsoft Remote Worker Award. However, she insisted that working from home does not mean that she is isolated from the university community. "Remote lecturing has always had its rewards for me in exploring the amazing opportunities that have opened up to communicate and collaborate with people, regardless of geographical location," she said. "The course I run is very much about social interaction, both with staff and students on the course and at the university." Ms Pickford moved into remote working after spending 20 years as a maths teacher. She worked on the Tesco SchoolNet project, which allowed schools to go to Tesco stores and use equipment to take part in the world's biggest online project, recorded by the Guinness Book of Records. Ms Pickford said she hoped that her award would help "prove she existed" to the wider community. "I remember a meeting where someone came up to me and said, 'You're real! You're not a cyber-fairy.'"
Stillman College, Alabama
Health and physical education expert Gunars Cazers has been appointed assistant professor at Stillman College, Alabama. Although Dr Cazers is from Minneapolis, Minnesota, his parents were refugees from Latvia and he is fluent in the language. "I still speak in Latvian at home with my wife and daughter," he said. Dr Cazers has been a physical educator since 1984 and accepted his first teaching position at a public boarding school in Germany. While there, he coached basketball, soccer and volleyball. He also met his wife, Rasma. Dr Cazers graduated from Minnehaha Academy, a private Christian school in Minneapolis. He earned a master's in human performance at Baylor University, Texas, before building on his lecturing skills at the University of Alabama while obtaining his doctorate in sport pedagogy. He said his new role at Stillman had already resulted in "very lively" class discussions. "I hope I can relate to the budding physical educators how challenging their jobs will be," he said. Dr Cazers said one of his reasons for joining the institution was its use of a certain type of technology. "I have been an Apple Macintosh user since 1984, and I always respected Stillman for being Mac-friendly and a local leader in wireless technology. I feel very at home here."
A scholar who said he has spent his life "going backwards and forwards" between Britain and New Zealand will be leaving one for the other once again. Andrew Stockley, currently senior tutor at Brasenose College, University of Oxford, has been appointed dean of law at the University of Auckland and will also be joining the institution's senior management team. He studied for his undergraduate and postgraduate degrees at Victoria University in Wellington and the University of Canterbury Christchurch in Christchurch, New Zealand, before completing a doctorate at the University of London. He then returned to New Zealand, working at Canterbury from 1994 to 2006 as lecturer in law, head of the School of Law, a member of the university's senior management team, and principal of College House before moving to his current role at Oxford. Dr Stockley has fond memories of his time at Oxford, and recalled a visit to the college by Sandra Day O'Connor, the first female Justice of the US Supreme Court. She delivered a seminar before taking a "lead role" in the college's Christmas pantomime. Dr Stockley is looking forward to comparing the political outlook of the two countries: both are expected to hold a referendum on their voting systems next year. "I want to compare how New Zealand and Britain have approached coalition formation and management," he said.
An expert in Wordsworth, Milton, psychoanalysis and the history of rhetoric has been appointed dean of humanities at Brock University in Canada. Douglas Kneale has joined the institution from the University of Western Ontario, where he was based for 25 years. He said he had enjoyed his time there - "the teaching, the research and even the administration" - but wanted to move on to a new challenge. He added that he was looking forward to exploring his new rural surroundings. "As a Wordsworthian, I am more than a bit of a nature enthusiast," he said. "I can't wait to explore more of the area." Professor Kneale is looking forward to Brock University celebrating its 50th anniversary four years from now; the university will also be at the centre of the bicentennial commemorations of the 1812 war between Canada and the US. "It'll go crazy around here," he said. "It will be fun to be a part of." Professor Kneale also plans to expand his department, including the renovation of an old factory for a new arts centre. "There is a really good connection between town and gown," he said.
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Heriot-Watt University has announced that Kirsten Black has been appointed university librarian. Ms Black joins Heriot-Watt from the University of Sunderland, where she is currently director of student and learning support.
Pam Dawson has joined York St John University as dean of the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences. Professor Dawson arrives from Northumbria University, where she was associate dean in the Faculty of Health, Community and Education Studies.
Noel Cox has been appointed head of the law and criminology department at Aberystwyth University. Professor Cox joins from the Auckland University of Technology, where he was professor and head of the department of law.
Mark O'Thomas is the University of Lincoln's new head of performing arts. He has joined Lincoln from the University of East London, where he was director of the Institute for Performing Arts Development.
Universities and science minister David Willetts has appointed four new independent academic members to the Arts and Humanities Research Council's governing body. They are John Butt, professor of music, University of Glasgow; Ewan McKendrick, pro vice-chancellor and professor of law, University of Oxford; Andrew Thompson, pro vice-chancellor and professor of history, University of Leeds; and Sarah Worthington, professor of law, London School of Economics.
The University of Wolverhampton Business School has appointed Anthea Gregory as its new dean. Dr Gregory is currently deputy dean of Hull University Business School.