September 8, 2011

University of Nottingham

Bob Webb

A leading expert on reproductive biology has received the prestigious Marshall Award from the Council of the Society for Reproduction and Fertility, awarded for work on large animal species that has major implications for humans. Bob Webb, pro vice-chancellor for research at the University of Nottingham, started his career there with a BSc in animal physiology. "I had already worked on a farm for a year to gain practical experience," he recalled. "Once at university, I became more and more interested in animal science and did a final-year project on hormone levels, which was cutting-edge at the time. I was then asked if I was interested in proceeding to a PhD." He continued such work at the universities of Michigan and Oxford, as well as the Animal Breeding Research Organisation in Edinburgh, before returning to Nottingham as professor of animal science in 1997. Although his current role allows him only occasional visits to the farm, Professor Webb said he was delighted to be carrying out fundamental research with clear practical applications. "We are looking at the basic mechanisms underlying ovarian function, which are crucial for embryo and even adult development," he explained. "But we have also examined the impact of nutrition and formulated diets that have a positive effect on pregnancy rates for cattle. These are now being used by feed companies when they talk to farmers."

Manchester Metropolitan University

Adam O'Riordan

An award-winning poet recently cited as one of the UK's 50 most eligible bachelors has been appointed lecturer in poetry writing at Manchester Metropolitan University. Born in the city, Adam O'Riordan read English at the University of Oxford, discovering "a more natural pull towards poetry, rather than essays, as a way of engaging with the writers I was coming into contact with". He then went on to an MA in creative writing at Royal Holloway, University of London, and jobs in publishing where he "was always sneaking off to google poems". In 2008, Mr O'Riordan became the youngest ever poet-in-residence at the Wordsworth Trust in the Lake District. The "presence" of many celebrated earlier writers, he said, "helped (him) make the transition from being a publisher to being a full-time writer". His first poetry collection, In the Flesh, won the Somerset Maugham Award in 2011. In teaching creative writing, he believes, it is often helpful "to look at poems from an editor's perspective, seeing how we can engage with them and make our own contribution. They are not just dead objects." He said he would also respond to "students' portfolios and how they are shaping up into collections".

Yale University

Clarissa Campbell Orr

A historian of royal courts is to take up a visiting fellowship at Yale University this autumn. Clarissa Campbell Orr, reader in Enlightenment, gender and court studies at Anglia Ruskin University, always wanted to work in cultural history and deliberately pursued an interdisciplinary path by studying both English and history and the philosophy of science at the University of Cambridge. She has spent her whole career at Anglia Ruskin, interrupted by an MA in women's history at the University of York, and is a leading authority on the Hanoverian court and the role of Queen Charlotte. "It is interesting to look at courts from the angle of the consort and the women at court," she said, "because it helps you understand family networks and dynasties rather than just individuals." She was asked to write the main catalogue entry for a 2009 exhibition at the Yale Center for British Art of the work of Mary Delany, a royal courtier who "invented a new form of art in her seventies, by using paper collage to create botanical portraits". She returns to Yale for the opening of the exhibition of another court painter, Johan Zoffany, and to continue work on her biographies of Delany and Queen Charlotte.

Technical University of Ostrava

John Anchor

An authority on strategic management has secured a position as a visiting professor at the Technical University of Ostrava, which should enable him to pursue a comparative project on students' perceptions of the returns from higher education. "I've been particularly active in the Czech Republic," said John Anchor, head of the department of strategy and marketing at the University of Huddersfield Business School, "working on research collaborations, curriculum development, teacher and student exchange." He will work at the Ostrava Faculty of Economics, which is home to 5,000 students. Over his 20-year career at Huddersfield, Dr Anchor has slowly shifted from economics into the strategic field, while a long stint as a municipal councillor gave him first-hand experience of "public policy in action". Although his new role should help his Czech partners "get into high-esteem English-language publications", it should also enable him to gain access to local companies for a study of political risk assessment - and to learn more about the views of students in one of the few European countries that do not charge tuition fees.


The Glasgow School of Art has appointed Christopher Platt as head of the Mackintosh School of Architecture. He was previously a senior lecturer and director of graduation studies in the department of architecture at the University of Strathclyde.

King's College London has appointed Dianne Rekow as the new dean of its Dental Institute. Dr Rekow is currently senior vice-provost of engineering and technology at New York University and provost of the institution's Polytechnic Institute. She is an internationally recognised authority on the performance of new materials and products for use in aesthetic and restorative dentistry.

The Higher Education Funding Council for England has named three additions to its board. They are: Sara Weller, former managing director of Argos; Anne Greenough, professor of neonatology and clinical respiratory physiology at King's College London's School of Medicine; and Hugh Ross, former chief executive of the United Bristol Healthcare Trust. Rob Douglas, business adviser at Douglas Associates, has been reappointed to the board.

Michael Dobson has been appointed director of the Shakespeare Institute and professor of Shakespeare studies at the University of Birmingham. Professor Dobson was professor of Shakespeare studies at Birkbeck, University of London. The academic has previously taught at institutions in the US, including Harvard University and the University of Illinois at Chicago.

The University of Hertfordshire has made Ross Renton its new dean of students. Mr Renton, who joined Hertfordshire in 2004, is currently head of the university's schools and college liaison department and deputy chair of Aimhigher Hertfordshire.

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