March 24, 2011

Washington University in St Louis

R. Marie Griffith

A pioneer of the study of modern evangelical women who described her work as "bridging thorny divides" has been named director of the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics at Washington University in St Louis. R. Marie Griffith is currently the John A. Bartlett professor in the Faculty of Divinity at Harvard University. She was previously professor of religion at Princeton University and associate director of Princeton's Center for the Study of Religion. Professor Griffith studied for a bachelor's degree in political and social thought at the University of Virginia before going on to Harvard for her master's and doctorate. She said she saw her new role as an opportunity to examine "constructively" the US' political and religious divisions. "I very much want to sponsor real dialogues and debates among people who hold disparate views but are willing to think deeply together about substantive issues, perhaps even overcome a few stereotypes of other people," she said. "Part of my life's work seems to be about bridging thorny divides." Professor Griffith added that she wanted to cultivate robust but respectful dialogue. "We will remain rigorously non-partisan and we will not shy away from the hot-button issues of our time, whether they have to do with the role and size of government, religion in the public sphere, sexuality and the definition of marriage, bioethics, immigration, healthcare or other issues that divide us," she said.

University of Portsmouth

David Smith

David Smith, a strategic management expert, has been appointed associate dean of innovation and business engagement at the University of Portsmouth Business School. Mr Smith has been at Portsmouth since 1996 and is principal lecturer in strategic business systems. His research interests include exit strategies and strategic alliances. Mr Smith originally studied aeronautical engineering at Imperial College London, before undertaking an MBA at Cardiff Business School. He worked in industry for 16 years in fields such as international marketing, strategic management and consultancy. Mr Smith said that although the economy and the academy were facing uncertain times, it did not mean that there was no place for business engagement. "In many ways there has never been a more opportune moment for universities to be engaging more actively with the business community, the public and the third sector," he said. "A university combines a wealth of expertise from areas such as business, technology, science and the creative industries - so utilising skills internally as well as facilitating business engagement externally is a challenge I am looking forward to."

University of Chicago

Axel Weber

Axel Weber, the outgoing president of Deutsche Bundesbank, is to become a visiting professor at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Dr Weber has been president of the Bundesbank since 2004 but is on leave working as a professor of international economics at the University of Cologne and will step down from the presidency next month. Before joining the bank, he held various positions, including director of the Center for Financial Studies in Frankfurt, professor of applied monetary economics at Johann Wolfgang Goethe University and professor of economic theory at the Rheinische Friedrich Wilhelms University. Dr Weber said: "I am looking forward to teaching at Chicago Booth because from my practical experiences, especially during the financial crisis, I have learned several lessons. Results from economic research have been very important for the success in containing the crisis, not least by preventing us from repeating policy mistakes committed in past crises." He added: "The understanding of precisely what went wrong before and during the crisis is still incomplete. We have plausible, sometimes competing, explanations, but the design of a more stable framework for the financial system and better supervision requires more robust results and therefore additional research."

American Council on Education

Eduardo J. Padrón

A former refugee has been named chair of the board of directors of the American Council on Education, the coordinating body for US higher education institutions. Eduardo J. Padrón, who came to the US from Cuba at the age of 15, is president of Miami Dade College in Florida and has served at the institution - the largest in the US academy - since 1995. He is known for his advocacy work on behalf of marginalised groups and his innovative approach to teaching and learning. His work in the higher education sector has been recognised by three successive presidents, most recently by Barack Obama, who appointed him chair of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans. Dr Padrón said he was looking forward to his tenure as chair of the ACE. "This appointment comes at a time when there is much to do regarding higher education in America. Our work in higher education should equip our nation with a workforce ready for the challenges of a new era."


The Royal Society of Edinburgh has announced its new Fellows for 2011.

Duncan Dowson, emeritus research professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Leeds, has been appointed honorary Fellow. The title of corresponding Fellow has been awarded to: Alastair Campbell, Chen Su Lan centennial professor in medical ethics, National University of Singapore; José Alberto Cuminato, professor of numerical analysis, University of Sao Paulo; Christopher Hunter, professor of pathobiology, University of Pennsylvania; and Norman Lewis, Regents' professor, Washington State University. The title of Fellow has been awarded to 36 academics, including: Nigel Brown, vice-principal, University of Edinburgh; Ian Bryden, professor of renewable energy, Edinburgh; Neil Bulleid, professor of cell biology, University of Glasgow; Javier Caceres, senior scientist at the Medical Research Council's Human Genetics Unit; Peter Clarke, professor of physics and Cern associate, Edinburgh; Margaret Cusack, professor of biomineralisation, Glasgow; Wenfei Fan, professor of web- data management, Edinburgh; Mark Girolami, professor of statistics, University College London; Seth Grant, senior scientist, Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute; Iain Gray, chief executive, Technology Strategy Board; Francis Halliwell, professor of Greek, University of St Andrews; Martin Hendry, senior lecturer, department of physics and astronomy, Glasgow; James Ironside, professor of clinical neuropathology, Edinburgh; Bill McKelvey, chief executive and principal, Scottish Agricultural College; Kenneth McKendrick, professor of physical chemistry, Heriot-Watt University; James Mitchell, professor at the School of Government and Public Policy, University of Strathclyde; Vladimir Nikora, professor of environmental fluid mechanics, University of Aberdeen; Hugh Nimmo, professor of plant biochemistry, Glasgow; Nigel Osborne, Reid professor of music, Edinburgh; Douglas Paul, professor of semiconductor devices, Glasgow; Duncan Pritchard, professor of epistemology, Edinburgh; Stephen Reid, sixth century research professor of dynamic structural mechanics, Aberdeen; Randolph Richards, director, Institute of Aquaculture, University of Stirling; Frank Sargent, professor of bacterial physiology, University of Dundee; Alexandra Slawin, professor of chemical crystallography, St Andrews; Julia Smith, Edwards professor of medieval history, Glasgow; Jonathan Spencer, professor of the anthropology of South Asia, Edinburgh; Frank Sullivan, NHS Tayside professor of research and development in GP and primary care, Dundee; Andrew Taylor, professor of astrophysics, Edinburgh; Paul Thompson, professor of zoology, Aberdeen; Arthur Trew, professor of computational science, Edinburgh; Brian Walker, professor of endocrinology, Edinburgh; Neil Walker, Regius professor of public law and the law of nature and nations, Edinburgh; Joanna Wardlaw, professor of applied neuroimaging, Edinburgh; James Wright, professor of mathematical analysis, Edinburgh; and Klaus Zuberbühler, professor of psychology, St Andrews.

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