August 25, 2011

University College London

Michael Worton

An English academic has been honoured with an award usually reserved for French nationals. Michael Worton, vice-provost (international) and Fielden professor of French language and literature at University College London, has been awarded the Legion of Honour. He first became interested in the language at school, despite his teachers recommending he concentrate on subjects such as the sciences. "I felt at home with French," he said. Professor Worton added that the language enabled him to discuss "complex, abstract ideas" that he did not feel able to express in English. He went on to study the language to doctoral level at the University of Edinburgh. Professor Worton's first academic appointment was at the University of Liverpool before going to UCL, where he has been lecturer, senior lecturer, dean of arts and vice-provost (academic) in addition to his current roles. In 2009, he produced the Review of Modern Foreign Languages Provision in Higher Education in England for the UK government. Professor Worton said he was glad that the recommendations in his report were adopted, arguing that "modern languages should be at the heart of any truly global university". However, he added that "stronger messages" still needed to be sent out about the value of modern languages.

University of Aberdeen

Monty Priede

A scientist has been recognised for his groundbreaking research in the marine and fisheries fields. Monty Priede, director of Oceanlab at the University of Aberdeen, has been presented with the Beverton Medal by the Fisheries Society of the British Isles for his work in the area over the past four decades. Professor Priede grew up by the sea in Southampton and said he discovered a love for the sea at an early age: "As a teenager I enjoyed sailing and going out on boats," he said. "I suffered from hay fever, and getting away from land and out on the water in the summer made me feel much better." Professor Priede joined Aberdeen in 1975, and during his time at the institution has made some notable advances, including being the first in the world to tag and track a basking shark by satellite off the west coast of Scotland. He said that even after so many years working in the area, setting off on a voyage was still "tremendously exciting". "However, before satellite phones and internet on board ship this could mean being out of personal contact in mid-ocean for up to six weeks every summer," he said of his travels. "I very much appreciate the sacrifices my daughters and family made supporting my lust for adventure."

University of Plymouth

Adam Corney

A former submarine navigator has joined the University of Plymouth as marine commercialisation director. Adam Corney spent 12 years in the Royal Navy and then went on to run the business development company Marine South West. He joins Plymouth from the British Marine Federation, where he has been based for the past two years as South West manager. Mr Corney said that, coming from industry, he was well placed to explain to private partners how they could benefit from working with the university. "Business managers do not necessarily understand universities and how they operate," he said. "They do, however, understand people and how an influx of new ideas and talent can deliver a step change to their business. So an important aspect of my role will be to translate the benefits we can offer into a proposition that they can engage with." As part of his new role, Mr Corney said that he wanted to look into the possibilities of opening up the university's resources, which include a catamaran research vessel, a bridge simulator and underwater remotely operated craft, to private businesses.

University of Texas at Austin

Eric Hirst

A scholar who co-wrote a seminal paper in accounting standards is being recognised for his work by the American Accounting Association. Eric Hirst, John Arch White professor of business in the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin, has been presented with the Distinguished Contributions to Accounting Literature Award for his 1998 paper, "Comprehensive income reporting and analysts' valuation judgments", which helped inform an accounting standards update. "It's kind of fun to know that you did some work, it was interesting work, it was fun to do and then ultimately someone outside academe reads it, not just your peers," Professor Hirst said. "It's an example of how the knowledge we create through our research slowly but surely impacts practice." Professor Hirst studied for his undergraduate and postgraduate degrees at the University of Waterloo, Ontario. He went on to complete a doctorate at the University of Minnesota before joining Texas in 1991. The award is not the first time Professor Hirst has been recognised by the American Accounting Association. In 1999, he was given the Best Financial Reporting Paper Award and, in 2001, he was honoured with the Notable Contributions to Auditing Literature Award.


Richmond, The American International University in London, has announced the appointment of John Annette as president and Phil Deans as provost. Professor Annette joins from Birkbeck College, University of London where he was pro vice-master. Professor Deans has joined from Temple University, Tokyo, where he was chief academic officer.

Rüdiger Gorner, professor of German at Queen Mary, University of London, has been elected a corresponding member of the German Academy for Language and Poetry.

The University of Ulster has appointed two new pro vice-chancellors. Anne Moran has taken up the post of pro vice-chancellor (educational partnerships and international affairs) and Hugh McKenna is now pro vice-chancellor (research and innovation). Professor McKenna is professor of nursing at Ulster and was, until recently, dean of the Faculty of Life and Health Sciences. Professor Moran is professor of education and was dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences from 2002 until 2010.

Guy Perring, formerly the British Council's regional manager for transnational education in Asia, is moving to education consultancy i-graduate as regional director.

Darya Gaysina has joined the University of Leicester as a lecturer in the School of Psychology. She was previously with the MRC Unit for Lifelong Health and Ageing.

Yue Zhang, a senior lecturer in the department of computer science and technology at the University of Bedfordshire, has won the Royal Academy of Engineering's Industrial Secondment Scheme Award.

Frank McDonough has been promoted to professor of international history at Liverpool John Moores University. He was previously reader of international history.

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