A "proud Welshman" who has spent his entire career working in higher education administration has been appointed chief operating officer at the University of Southampton. Malcolm Ace has been at Southampton since 2004 and was previously director of finance and chief financial officer. He began his career at the University of Manchester and said he "instantly enjoyed" the work. "It's the autonomy and responsibility you get working in a university," he explained. "From a very early stage in your career, you're involved in decision-making." He went on to work at the University of Oxford and Swansea University before moving to the University of Portsmouth in 1999. He joined Southampton in 2004. Mr Ace said he felt his career trajectory was rare in the sector. "I'm one of only a few people in a senior administration position who can say I've spent my whole career in the higher education sector." Although he acknowledges that this is "a time of immense change" for the higher education sector, Mr Ace said he did not want a fear of the future to negatively affect his approach to his job. "I want to inject an energy and enjoyment into the work of the staff I have working for me."
"Somewhat unexpected" is how Mary Fowler, the newly appointed dean of the Faculty of Science at Royal Holloway, University of London, describes her career. "I wasn't trying to have a career," she said. "I was just trying to do the things that interested me." Professor Fowler studied mathematics at the University of Cambridge, but after gaining her undergraduate degree opted to pursue a doctorate in geology. "I decided I wanted to do something more practical and less abstract," she explained. Professor Fowler then went to work at ETH Zurich on a Royal Society Fellowship before returning to Cambridge, where she had a career break to have children. "The university was wonderful," she said. "I held an honorary appointment to keep up to date." She moved to the University of Saskatchewan in Canada before joining Royal Holloway in 1992. From 2002 to 2008, she was head of Royal Holloway's department of earth sciences and was then appointed deputy dean research (science) in 2009. She is an elected academic staff member on the Royal Holloway council.
David Lont has seen something positive come out of the recent recession: new research opportunities to help people understand the ways in which accountancy firms operate. The newly appointed professor of accountancy at the University of Otago is also the incoming New Zealand president of the Accounting and Finance Association of Australia and New Zealand. He said that his new roles would "open some doors and provide extra credibility with fellow researchers and regulators. It will also give me the chance to help others emerging in this field." That is needed, Professor Lont said, because there is a shortage of accountancy expertise in New Zealand, which "creates challenges". He continued: "Part of the role, therefore, is to create a rich, sharing environment so we are able to undertake world-class research from New Zealand. It's an exciting time to be part of that." Professor Lont has been based at Otago since 1989, and has also been a visiting professor at the University of California, Davis, since 2002. He said he hoped that Otago's recent investment in accounting databases would attract more PhD students wanting to conduct empirical research in quantitative accountancy. "This is such a global field and the competition is immense. There are a lot of well-resourced US universities conducting this research so the bar is high."
A British scholar working in the US has been recognised for his work in computational chemistry. Ross Walker, assistant research professor at the San Diego Supercomputer Center at the University of California, San Diego, is a recipient of the 2011 Outstanding Junior Faculty award presented by Hewlett-Packard and the American Chemical Society's division of Computers in Chemistry. Professor Walker was an undergraduate at Imperial College London and stayed on to complete a doctorate, awarded in 2003. He then worked at the Scripps Research Institute before joining UCSD in 2006. Professor Walker said of his work: "One of the biggest problems facing scientists running simulations of systems of biological interest is the difficulties faced in obtaining access to supercomputers for extended periods of time. Graphics processing units (which Professor Walker has used to accelerate molecular dynamics simulations) offer the potential for supercomputing performance on the average desktop, giving researchers the ability to test multiple hypotheses in real time." He said that his work "promises to transform the way in which scientists approach applying molecular dynamics techniques to the understanding of enzymatic pathways, and ultimately the design of new drugs and biological catalysts."
Bournemouth University has appointed Roger Palmer dean of its Business School. Professor Palmer joins from Henley Business School at the University of Reading, where he was professor of marketing and management and head of the School of Management.
Sarah Hewlett, professor of nursing at the University of the West of England, has been elected a Fellow of the Royal College of Nursing.
The Leadership Foundation for Higher Education's new director for Wales is Teresa Rees, associate pro vice-chancellor and professor in the School of Social Sciences at Cardiff University.
Julia J.A. Shaw has been appointed reader in law at Leicester De Montfort Law School at De Montfort University. She previously held positions at Nantes School of Management, Aston Business School and Lancaster University Law School.
The Association of University Administrators has appointed four new Fellows: Melissa Bradley, administration manager in the faculty of humanities, University of Kent; Edith Caulfield, marketing and external relations in the Queen's University Management School, Queen's University Belfast; Ruth Davies, process and information manager, Sheffield Hallam University; and Peter Reader, director of marketing and communications, University of Portsmouth.