June 23, 2011

University of East London

Dusty Amroliwala

Dusty Amroliwala was, by his own admission, a "late starter" in the world of higher education, but the former Royal Air Force officer is now evangelical about the importance of university education. Mr Amroliwala, who has started as pro vice-chancellor (services and infrastructure) at the University of East London, joined the RAF at the age of 18 in 1979 and spent nearly three decades in the service. "I had this ambition to go and start earning a living doing something that I felt was worthwhile and honourable," he said. During his time in the RAF, Mr Amroliwala was awarded two master's degrees: an MA in international studies from King's College London and an MBA from Imperial College London. "I was a late starter in understanding the value of study and of academic endeavour," he said. "If I could live my life again I would probably go to university after school. I now understand how important it is to give people a good academic foundation in life from which to take off." After a variety of roles in overseas security policy, human resources and learning and development training, Mr Amroliwala joined the Ministry of Defence as director of defence diplomacy. In 2006, he left the military and joined the Civil Service, first as HR director for the Home Office, then as director of the Civil Service workforce in the Cabinet Office. He left the service in February 2011 and carried out consultancy work before taking up his role at UEL.

Queen's University Belfast

Aidan O'Rourke

A former Gaelic footballer and All-Ireland medal winner has been appointed Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) development officer at Queen's University Belfast. Aidan O'Rourke graduated in engineering from Queen's and worked in industry for three years before setting up his own business selling sports photography. He has been an active participant in Gaelic games and said his passion for the sports, which he has played and coached, could be attributed to his upbringing. "Gaelic games are a tradition as much as anything else," he explained. "The love of the sports within the GAA was something I was brought up with. Sports development was something I wanted to do, and doing it with the GAA seemed like a natural fit." In his role at Queen's, Mr O'Rourke said that he hoped to combat a common misconception of Gaelic sports. "I want to make the sports more accessible to a wider spread of people - people think it's a sport purely played at an elite level rather than for recreation," he said.

University of Canterbury

William "Deak" Helton

A psychologist who has used his studies of ergonomic science to investigate the habits of working dogs has been awarded the Earl Alluisi Award for Early Career Achievement by the American Psychological Association. William "Deak" Helton, associate professor of psychology at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand, was given the accolade in recognition of his work in the field of human-factors psychology. Professor Helton received his undergraduate degree at Evergreen State College and went on to a PhD at the University of Cincinnati. He worked at Michigan Technological University before moving to his current role in 2008. He said he felt "especially honoured" as the award is rarely made to those working outside North America: "Having senior colleagues in the field note my contributions to the science of human factors and applied psychology is definitely rewarding." He is one of the first researchers to have looked at how psychology can be applied to dogs. "If my work helps people find and eliminate improvised explosive devices, landmines and unexploded ordinance, that is really all the reward I need," he said.

University of Alberta

Chris Le

Chris Le, Canada research chair in bioanalytical technology and environmental health at the University of Alberta, has been honoured with two awards by the Canadian Society of Chemistry. Professor Le won the 2011 Maxxam Award for distinguished contributions to the field of analytical chemistry, and the Environment Research and Development Award for distinguished contributions and/or developments in the field of environmental chemistry or environmental chemical engineering. Originally from China, Professor Le studied at Wuhan University and the Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences. After emigrating to Canada, he studied at Brock University and completed a PhD in environmental/analytical chemistry at the University of British Columbia. He then won a postdoctoral Fellowship to study at Alberta and was recruited to the faculty in 1995, becoming a professor in 2003. Professor Le said the awards recognised the work of the entire chemistry department, which was not a "traditional" one. His work focuses on arsenic, in particular the levels of the metalloid in wells and groundwater. "One-third of the world's population relies on groundwater," he said. "It's an important area. Currently the well water from rural areas is not automatically measured (for arsenic levels)."


The University of Reading has appointed Tony Downes as acting vice-chancellor. Professor Downes, who is currently deputy vice-chancellor, will take up the role on 1 August, when Gordon Marshall leaves to become director of the Leverhulme Trust.

The University of Lincoln has appointed two academics to Lincoln Business School. Charles Dennis has been appointed director of research and professor of marketing and retailing, and Martin Hingley has been made professor of strategic marketing.

Sir John Tooke, vice-provost (health) and head of the School of Life and Medical Sciences at University College London, has been named the next president of the Academy of Medical Sciences.

Indrachapa Bandara, associate lecturer in computing at Bucks New University, has been selected to sit on the executive team of The Institution of Engineering and Technology.

Pol O Dochartaigh, dean of the Faculty of Arts at the University of Ulster, has been elected president of the Association for German Studies in Great Britain and Ireland.

John Harwood, deputy director of the School of Biosciences at Cardiff University, has won the Supelco/Nicholas Pelick Research Award, which recognises outstanding original research in fats, oils, lipid chemistry or biochemistry.

Chris Cobb, pro vice-chancellor at Roehampton University, has been appointed to the new post of secretary and chief operating officer of the University of London.

The University of Leicester has made Clare Anderson professor of history. She currently works at the University of Warwick, where she is associate professor and director of research in the department of sociology.

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