May 12, 2011

Staffordshire University

Rosy Crehan

A clarinettist and fashion expert has been appointed executive pro vice-chancellor at Staffordshire University. Rosy Crehan, formerly dean of the Faculty of Arts at the University of West London, began her academic career as a further education lecturer in music, arts and fashion. But before turning to teaching and research, Ms Crehan enjoyed a successful first career as a classical musician. She trained at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama before becoming a founding member of Opera North in Leeds, as principal clarinettist. She later worked with leading UK orchestras at venues including the Royal Opera House and London's West End theatres. In a change of tack, she became a lecturer at the London College of Fashion, going on to become head of the department of art and design and acting dean of the School of Arts and Education at Middlesex University. In 2008, Ms Crehan joined the University of West London (then called Thames Valley University). Of her move to Staffordshire on 30 May, she said she was looking forward to reviewing its portfolio to ensure that the subject mix was "vibrant".

Association of Commonwealth Universities

E. Nigel Harris

In the wake of the global downturn, with public funding for universities shrinking worldwide, the Association of Commonwealth Universities has a tough job. Its remit includes helping members deal with demanding funders and calls for evidence that research is benefiting society. E. Nigel Harris, who has been named the association's new chairman, said that "in the face of these demands, coupled with competition from new types of private universities, the traditional Commonwealth universities are working to meet new types of needs". Professor Harris, who is vice-chancellor of the University of the West Indies, has succeeded Theuns Eloff, vice-chancellor of North-West University in South Africa, in the post. His focus will be on developing "coping strategies" for universities, he said. He will also encourage members to collaborate more closely, something he has also tackled in his complementary role as president of the Association of Universities and Research Institutions of the Caribbean. Professor Harris, a biochemist, devised the "anticardiolipin test", widely used to diagnose autoimmune disorders such as lupus. He has served as vice-chair of the ACU for two years.

Durham University

Roger Searle

A Durham University academic who has won a prestigious prize for his research on the geophysics of the ocean floor has said the award will help showcase the UK's expertise in the subject. Roger Searle, professor of geophysics at Durham, was awarded the Price Medal by the Royal Astronomical Society - one of the society's highest honours - in recognition of his long-term contribution to oceanography. Professor Searle said he was pleased to receive the award because it helped to demonstrate that the UK had a strength in the discipline that belied its size. "This work does receive a lot more prominence in the US, France and other countries," he said. "The work we do has an international reputation, but it's a particularly small group of people who are doing it (in the UK). We send out maybe one or two expeditions a year, compared with 10 or 20 in the US. With that sort of difference, it's very hard to maintain progress - but we have." Professor Searle uses imaging sonars to investigate tectonic and magmatic processes on the ocean floor. Although he has retired, he is working on a book on mid-ocean ridges that brings together the findings he has made over his career.

University of Ottawa

Francois Carrier

An alumnus of the University of Ottawa has returned to become its new director of international research. Francois Carrier has spent the past eight years as director of the international research office at McGill University. An engineer by profession, Mr Carrier spent more than 10 years of his early career working on development projects in Canada and abroad, specialising in sanitation and water projects in countries including Ghana, Haiti, Lesotho and Morocco. When he entered academia, he put his experience on international projects to work, developing new relationships between academics across the world. "The days of First World universities performing philanthropic works in developing countries are long gone," he said while at McGill. "Whereas international activity was once primarily a hobby for a few privileged faculty members, the model that works today is that of a partnership of equals based on respect and trust." He added that universities in Canada and the developing world chose to work together because they had shared values and complementary skills. "Projects with a lasting impact have at their core the missions common to the universities of both worlds: teaching and research." At McGill, he led a unit that helped academics prepare research proposals, formulate contracts and liaise with foreign governments and institutions. "Dealing with foreign governments and agencies can lead to headaches ...? It can be nightmarish to handle this paperwork," he said.


Gary Argent has been appointed director of careers and skills development services at City University London. He was formerly business operations manager at the Association of Graduate Recruiters.

The University of Bedfordshire has appointed James Armit, until recently registrar at the School of Nursing and Midwifery at King's College London, its director for student experience.

The University of Derby's new pro vice-chancellor, Philip Plowden, will take up the post in July. Professor Plowden is currently dean of the School of Law at the University of Northumbria, as well as being a qualified solicitor and practising barrister. He replaces Michael Gunn, who is now vice-chancellor of Staffordshire University.

Heinz Tuselmann, professor of international business at Manchester Metropolitan University and director of the institution's Centre for International Business and Innovation, has been elected UK and Ireland chairman of the Academy of International Business.

Sir Tim Brighouse, former professor of education at Keele University and former schools commissioner for London, has been appointed by Queen's University Belfast to chair the panel that oversees the Sharing Education Programme. The initiative encourages collaboration between Protestant, Catholic and integrated schools across Northern Ireland.

The University of Nottingham has appointed 24 new professors, 14 new associate professor readers and new associate professors from across its faculties. New professorial chairs include Yuying Yan, chair in thermofluids engineering, and Matt Clark, chair in applied optics. New associate professors include Matthew Green in the School of English Studies and Richard Gaunt in the School of History.

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