Appointing professional sportsmen and women to senior posts is common at US universities, but in the UK it remains relatively rare. However, the University of Worcester has bucked the trend by appointing England basketball coach Paul James as director of the sport. The university considered candidates from all over the world, but chose home-grown talent for the job. Mr James coaches the England men's team as well as the Worcester Wolves club, and will continue working with both when he takes up the new position. His role at Worcester will involve developing the university's reputation in basketball at the elite level and within the local community. "I have worked closely with the university for more than a year now during my time with Worcester Wolves and have seen and been a part of the many excellent programmes already in place," Mr James said. The university has already hosted International European Championship games and Worcester Wolves fixtures, and has introduced an MSc in basketball coaching in conjunction with the Lithuanian Academy of Physical Education and the Lithuanian Basketball Federation. "My role now is to cement the university's standing as a centre for excellence in basketball," Mr James added. He will also take responsibility for developing wheelchair basketball in the region.
The winner of a Times Higher Education award has been invited to sit on an international panel of advisers to address global health problems. Nicola Lowe, whose team from the University of Central Lancashire won the International Collaboration of the Year Award for its work with the Khyber Teaching Hospital in Pakistan, has been selected as one of a small band of nutritionists who will advise governments on how certain vitamins can boost the health of communities around the world. "The most important role we will have is to inform the future research agenda," said Dr Lowe, who is an expert on the nutritional value of zinc. "The idea is that we discuss key issues to do with nutrients and the requirements for that particular micronutrient." The Biomarkers of Nutrition for Development panel will bring together experts on vitamin A, iron, zinc, folate, vitamin B12 and iodine, the lack of which has been found to pose health problems. Deficiencies can lead to anaemia, poor immune function, stunted growth and problems with neurological development in children. Dr Lowe said that "the zinc world is relatively small", with the result that she already knew many of the other academics on the panel, including those from Europe, Africa, the US and New Zealand.
Carnegie Mellon University
An academic who has worked at the same US institution for three decades has been promoted to dean of the university's branch campus in Qatar. Ilker Baybars, deputy dean and professor of operations management at Carnegie Mellon University, has worked at the institution for more than 30 years. A native of Turkey, he received his bachelor's degree from the Middle East Technical University in Ankara. After spending a further year there as an instructor, he enrolled at Carnegie Mellon, where he gained master's and PhD degrees in the 1970s. He joined the university faculty in 1978 and went on to have a long career as a teacher and researcher, focusing on operations and production management. He takes up his post as dean of the university's campus at the Education City development in Doha in August. Professor Baybars is also a trustee of Bilkent University in Ankara, as well as vice-president of the Alliance on Business Education and Scholarship for Tomorrow in Tokyo.
Royal Irish Academy
The new president of the Royal Irish Academy has said that the organisation has a major role to play in restoring Ireland's economy and reputation. Luke Drury, director of the School of Cosmic Physics at the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, has been elected as the 54th president of the academy, which was established in 1785. Professor Drury explained that he sees a practical role for the organisation. "It's clear that Irish society faces an unprecedented amount of problems," he said. "It would be presumptuous to think that the Academy knows the answers, but at least we can get people to ask the right questions. There is a real need for much more critical debate, and academics have a role to play." Professor Drury was born in Dublin. His father, Maurice O'Connor Drury, was a close friend of the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein. Professor Drury studied physics and mathematics at Trinity College Dublin before obtaining a PhD in astrophysics at the Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge. He later worked at the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Germany before returning to Dublin in 1986 to head up the astrophysics department at the Dublin institute. He was first elected to the Royal Irish Academy in 1995.
Harminder Singh Dua, professor of ophthalmology at the University of Nottingham, has been elected the next president of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists.
Martyn Wade, the national librarian and chief executive of the National Library of Scotland, has been appointed an honorary professor in the department of information management at Robert Gordon University.
The University of Buckingham has announced that its vice-chancellor, Terence Kealey, has been awarded a professorship in clinical biochemistry at the institution.
Joy Carter, vice-chancellor of the University of Winchester, represented the International Federation of University Women at the United Nations 55th Commission on the Status of Women, which was held in New York.
Nishan Canagarajah, professor of multimedia signal processing and head of the Merchant Venturers School of Engineering at the University of Bristol, is to become dean of the Faculty of Engineering. He will take over from Nick Lieven, who is to become Bristol's pro vice- chancellor for education.
Peter Pope has joined the Cass Business School at City University London as professor of accounting. He previously held academic positions at Lancaster University Management School, Strathclyde Business School and the University of Liverpool.
Baron Currie of Marylebone, founding chairman of Ofcom, has been appointed chair of the University of Essex's council.
David Finkelstein, research professor of media and print culture at Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh, has been awarded a fellowship by the English Association.