March 17, 2011

University of Greenwich

Christopher Hallas

The University of Greenwich enticed its new director of student affairs, Christopher Hallas, by appealing to his "sense of purpose about public service". Mr Hallas will join Greenwich from University College London, where he is academic registrar. He will lead a team of 150 staff in his new role, supporting students in the UK and overseas. "As a modern university, with an excellent reputation for enhancing and expanding opportunities, Greenwich appeals to my sense of purpose about public service," Mr Hallas said. He began his career in local government, before becoming head of registry services at London Guildhall University and principal manager for planning and resources at London Metropolitan University. He is chair of the Association of University Administrators, as well as a member of the Times Higher Education editorial board. Mr Hallas will succeed Christine Rose, who is retiring after 17 years as a senior manager at Greenwich. Tessa Blackstone, Greenwich's vice-chancellor, said: "Students are at the heart of everything we do and I am sure that Christopher will help us to continue to improve the services we provide to them."

Anglia Ruskin University

Aled Jones

An academic who switched fields from cosmology to climate change has been appointed inaugural director of the Global Sustainability Institute at Anglia Ruskin University. Aled Jones has a PhD in cosmology from the University of Cambridge. He became a Fellow of mathematics at King's College, Cambridge before moving into industry. It was during his time as a technology consultant, he said, that he first became involved in sustainability. Dr Jones said it was not as seismic a scholarly shift as one might imagine. "My scientific background has always been how you use scientific understanding and scientific analysis to make better decisions and sustainability is one of those big global challenges. "I've always been interested in the environment, but (my focus has been on) the use of knowledge in effective decision-making. Sustainability is one of those areas where there has been a lot of knowledge around and a lot of understanding but it hasn't translated into effective decision-making because it's a difficult long-term problem." Dr Jones moved back into academia to become the deputy director of the Programme for Sustainability Leadership at Cambridge and is a former director of the Climate Leadership Programme and Chevening Economics of Climate Change Programme for the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

University of Alberta

Billy Strean

When asked the familiar question: "What do you teach?", Billy Strean has his own unique response. "I often say, 'students'," explained the professor in the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation at the University of Alberta. "My wife doesn't think that's funny. But I think that there's a difference between focusing on your content or your discipline versus being truly learner-centred." Professor Strean's "learner-centred" focus has been rewarded with a 3M National Teaching Fellowship from the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education in Canada. He specialises in experiential learning, in particular using laughter, humour and "playful movement" to enhance results. He has a BA in philosophy from Grinnell College in Iowa and a master's and doctorate in sport psychology from the University of Iowa and the University of Illinois, respectively. Professor Strean is a certified "laughter leader" and laughter yoga teacher and author of the book The HoHo Dojo: Lighten Up and Love Life Laughing. He said he was looking forward to learning from his peers and fellow 3M Fellows. "The more one learns, the more one realises the size of one's ignorance," he said. "It's that feeling of, 'Gee, I think I'm just starting to get this right'. There's always more to learn; there are always different ways to develop."

Brown University

Lawrence Larson

Lawrence Larson has been appointed founding dean of the School of Engineering at Brown University in the US. Professor Larson said he was honoured to be given the role at such a pivotal time. "Engineering in the 21st century is undergoing a fundamental transformation, as the barriers between traditional disciplines disappear and engineers work to solve the complex global challenges in energy, the environment, healthcare, information technology and economic development," he said. Professor Larson received his PhD from the University of California, Los Angeles and went on to work for Hughes Research Laboratories. In 1996, he joined UC San Diego, and he was based at the Center for Wireless Communications between 2001 and 2006. He holds a chair in the electrical and computer engineering department in the Jacobs School of Engineering at San Diego. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and co-winner of the 1996 Hughes Electronics Lawrence Hyland Patent Award and the IBM Microelectronics Excellence Award. He holds 39 patents for his work.

Other changes

The UK Council for International Student Affairs has announced that Paul Webley, director of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, has been elected chair of its board of trustees. Professor Webley replaces Christine Hallett, former principal and vice-chancellor of the University of Stirling, who will be standing down in July.

Charles Clarke, the former Home Secretary and former Secretary of State for Education and Skills, has been appointed visiting professor of politics and faith at Lancaster University.

The Institute for Animal Health has announced that it has appointed John Fazakerley as its new director. Professor Fazakerley is group leader and professor of virology at The Roslin Institute, University of Edinburgh.

Richard Trembath, head of the division of genetics and molecular medicine at King's College London, has been named vice-principal of Queen Mary, University of London, and warden of Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry.

Malcolm Evans, professor of public international law at the University of Bristol, has been appointed to chair the United Nations Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture. The subcommittee is the largest international torture-prevention body in the UN human rights treaty system.

The British Council has made two new senior appointments. Graham Sheffield has been appointed director for arts. He was previously chief executive of the West Kowloon Cultural District in Hong Kong. Jo Beall has been appointed director for education and society. Professor Beall is currently deputy vice-chancellor at the University of Cape Town, South Africa.

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