Not many academics are known to "rock out" during their lectures, but one has managed to get pretty close. George McKay, professor of cultural studies at the University of Salford, has become the first "professor in residence" at a music festival. Professor McKay appeared on the Soapbox Stage at the Lake District's Kendal Calling to give two lectures on the diverse topics of disabled rock stars and guerrilla gardening. He also held debates with festival musicians on the subject of politics and pop. Professor McKay said the residency was his idea: "I went down to Bristol for an Economic and Social Research Council event, speaking to travellers and anarchists," he said. "I was using a microphone and standing next to an almighty sound system. I was a bit intimidated but they were very happy and I thought: 'This is good.'" Professor McKay has written extensively about pop festivals, from a work exploring the free festival movement to a cultural history of the Glastonbury Festival. What hopes does he have for his appointment? "I want more readers. I want people to think: 'I knew about Ian Dury (being disabled) but I didn't know that about Curtis Mayfield'. I believe in academics having a public engagement role," he said.
A scholar has been recognised for three decades of work to improve sanitation in Africa. Sandy Cairncross, professor of environmental health and research director of Sanitation and Hygiene Applied Research for Equity at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, was awarded the Roll of Honour Award for lifetime service at AfricaSan, a conference hosted by the Rwandan president Paul Kagame. Professor Cairncross studied for a doctorate in soil mechanics at the University of Cambridge before moving to Lesotho in southern Africa to build water supplies. He then spent a year at the London School of Hygiene in 1977 before returning to Africa for a further seven years, working for the government of Mozambique as a water and sanitation engineer. He rejoined the school in 1984 as head of a research group in environmental health in developing countries. Between 1992 and 1995, Professor Cairncross took a leave of absence from academia to work with the charity Unicef in Ouagadougou on the Guinea Worm Eradication Programme. He was appointed OBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours in 2011 for service to environmental health overseas. Professor Cairncross said of his latest award: "Ensuring everyone has access to the basic services of sanitation and water requires a concerted global effort, and my work in Africa has always depended on the cooperation and commitment of my African colleagues and friends."
Jeffrey S. Russell has been named vice-provost for lifelong learning and dean of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Continuing Studies. Professor Russell, who is currently chair of the department of civil and environmental engineering at Wisconsin-Madison, studied for an undergraduate degree in civil and environmental engineering at the University of Cincinnati and went on to complete a master's and a doctorate at Purdue University. He spent a year as a postdoctoral research assistant at Purdue before moving, in 1989, to Wisconsin-Madison, where he has been based ever since. Professor Russell has also held the Pieper Foundation chair in servant leadership since 2008. He said he hoped to use his new position to encourage more "non-traditional" students to attend Wisconsin-Madison. "The challenge is to make education more meaningful, relevant and accessible," he said.
University of Western Ontario
A Canadian lawyer has spoken of his ambition to improve the smooth running of the sport of basketball after being asked to head its dispute resolution body. Richard McLaren, professor of law at the University of Western Ontario, who has been named the next president of the Basketball Arbitral Tribunal, said he expected the number of cases the organisation dealt with to double over the next two years, and that he was looking forward to expanding the organisation. The BAT is charged with helping to resolve disputes between players, agents and clubs. "It's a model of how to provide access to justice and deliver fast and well-reasoned dispute resolutions," he said. "The tribunal makes the sport run more effectively and players, agents and clubs are dealt with quickly and fairly." Professor McLaren earned his undergraduate degree in business administration from Western Ontario, where he went on to study law before moving to the London School of Economics to complete a master's in law. He joined the faculty of Western Ontario in 1972 and was called to the Bar in Ontario in 1974. In 1994, he became an arbitrator at the Court of Arbitration for Sport and has been part of the ad hoc panel of arbitrators for the past three Olympic Games, in Beijing, Athens and Sydney.
The Royal Academy of Engineering has elected new Fellows for 2011. They include: Simon Biggs, Royal Academy of Engineering/National Nuclear Laboratory professor of particle science and engineering, University of Leeds; Nicholas Buenfeld, professor of concrete structures, Imperial College London; John Carlton, professor of marine engineering, City University; Lord Drayson, owner, Drayson Racing and former minister of science in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills; Alastair Glass, chairman, Tyndall National Institute; Sir Michael Gregory, head of manufacturing and management division, University of Cambridge and director, Institute for Manufacturing; Eileen Harkin-Jones, professor of polymer engineering, Queen's University Belfast; Andrew Keane, professor of computational engineering and director, Rolls-Royce University Technology Centre for Computational Engineering, University of Southampton; Mohamed Missous, professor of semiconductor material and devices, University of Manchester; Jason Reese, Weir professor of thermodynamics and fluid mechanics, University of Strathclyde; Bill Roscoe, research professor and head of the department of computer science, University of Oxford; Harvey Rutt, Rank professor of infrared science and technology, University of Southampton; Paul Shayler, Ford professor and professor of mechanical engineering, University of Nottingham; Andrew Sherry, professor of materials, Dalton Nuclear Institute, University of Manchester; Yiannis Vardaxoglou, dean, School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Loughborough University; Ian Wallace, professor and head of Cranfield Defence and Security, UK Defence Academy at Shrivenham, Cranfield University; James Woodcock, anniversary chair and professor of software engineering, University of York; Hai-Sui Yu, professor of geotechnical engineering and dean of the Faculty of Engineering, University of Nottingham.
• For a full list, see: http://bit.ly/bGvyRa