A lawyer who has been appointed pro rector at the Royal College of Art has said her new role is the culmination of efforts that began with a master's degree as a mature student. Jane Alexander, who will be pro rector for operations at the college, completed a master's in culture, policy and management at City University London last year. "I say I have a passion for the arts, which is a very easy thing to say. But I got to the point where I wanted to change career but use the skills I'd developed as a manager of legal services and use them in the arts sector," she said. Ms Alexander received a degree in jurisprudence from the University of Oxford and qualified as a lawyer with Norton Rose. She specialised in corporate commercial work before moving to work as an in-house lawyer with the international investment company 3i. She said that as well as building practical skills, her degree had increased her appreciation of the arts as an industry: "It opened my eyes to the sheer range of the arts and the cultural and creative things going on and how much they contribute to the economy."
City University London
Nigel Duncan has been appointed professor of legal education by City University London, becoming the fourth such professor in the UK. Professor Duncan gained his LLB at the University of Southampton and studied for a teaching qualification and his LLM at the London School of Economics, before joining the City Law School in 1989. He said of his interest in legal education: "As you acquire a deeper understanding of an area, its interest becomes more and more apparent to you." Professor Duncan, a university teaching and learning Fellow at City, is credited with establishing the first law access course in the UK. A specialist in the development of ethical legal professionals, he said lawyers occupied a unique position. "Lawyers not only face the ordinary ethical dilemmas that any professional faces, but they are in a particularly interesting position to address corruption. In roles such as judges, advisers of government and commercial organisations, drafters of legislation, litigators and regulators of professions, lawyers have a key role - and universities can help prepare students for that. That's what I want to contribute to."
His new job Down Under is a "dream come true" for Roger Eston. Currently professor of physiology at the University of Exeter, he has been appointed head of the School of Health Sciences at the University of South Australia in Adelaide. Professor Eston originally studied sports science at the University of Birmingham and went on to teach science and physical education at secondary school level while still lecturing. He said: "I've always been a very active sportsman, and since school I've been interested in how that can benefit health and well-being." Mid-career, he moved to the US to pursue a master's and a doctorate in physical education at Springfield College, Massachusetts. Although he works in higher education, Professor Eston's passion for teaching extends to all ages. He said it had been an "honour" to work at Exeter, and he plans to retain links with the institution, having been made an honorary professor in the College of Life and Environmental Sciences. On his new role, he said he had "great empathy" for the experiential and vocationally relevant learning that is emphasised at South Australia, as well as its strengths in community service. But he admitted that the academic environment was not the only draw. "It's just a wonderful place to be," he said. "I'm looking out the window now and it's grey and rainy and I'm thinking, 'I'm going to a Mediterranean climate!' That's lovely."
A South African academic who has relocated to Canada has been honoured by his adopted country for his work in medical science. Michael Hayden, professor of medicine at the University of British Columbia, has been awarded the Canada Gairdner Wightman Award, the premier honour for leadership in medical science in Canada. Professor Hayden, who is also director and senior scientist at the Centre for Molecular Medicine and Therapeutics at the Child & Family Research Institute, was selected for his leadership in medical genetics, entrepreneurship and humanitarianism. He said he was "thrilled" to receive the award: "As a physician scientist, to whom chance has given unusual opportunities, I am deeply aware of the degree to which my own success today is built upon the work, cooperation and struggles of others." Professor Hayden is best known for his work on Huntingdon's disease, for which he developed the predictive genetic test - the first such test for a genetic disorder. Professor Hayden moved to Canada in 1983 but maintains strong ties to his homeland. He led the establishment of a youth-friendly recreation, counselling and learning centre that promotes responsible sexual behaviour among young people, and he works with those affected by HIV/Aids in a township near Cape Town.
Susan Edwards has been appointed director of human resources by the University of Greenwich. She is currently HR director (continental Europe) for UTC Fire & Security.
Robin Jarvis, professor of accounting at Brunel Business School, has been appointed to the European Banking Authority's Board of Supervisors Stakeholders Group.
The University of Salford has appointed George Williamson, currently director of strategic network design for Openreach, BT's access network business, an honorary visiting professor.
Tony Covington, emeritus professor in leather science at the University of Northampton, has been awarded the Alsop Award by the American Leather Chemists Association.
Lord Currie of Marylebone, founding chairman of communications watchdog Ofcom, has been appointed chair of the council of the University of Essex.
Shearer West, director of research at the Arts and Humanities Research Council, has been appointed head of humanities at the University of Oxford.
Bournemouth University has promoted Matthew Bennett to pro vice-chancellor for research, enterprise and internationalisation. He was previously dean of the School of Applied Sciences.
Merfyn Jones, former vice-chancellor of Bangor University, has been named chair of the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol, which will work with Welsh universities to improve opportunities to study courses in the Welsh language.