London Metropolitan University has appointed its first dean of students to act as a "champion of the student experience". Cécile Tschirhart was associate dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities at London Met before taking up this newly created post. "Learning should be exciting, challenging and rewarding," she said. "My vision is to make students feel that they contribute to and have a role in university life." Born and raised in rural France, Ms Tschirhart attended university in Paris, where she studied applied languages. When she moved to the UK, she simultaneously taught in a school in Liverpool, worked at the University of Liverpool and Liverpool John Moores University and studied for a master's in applied linguistics at the University of Salford. She joined the University of North London as a language consultant in 1995. Ms Tschirhart said: "I loved it. My job was to teach French to Eurostar train drivers; we trained them how to respond to crises. On one occasion, the scenario was a deer on the tracks. The driver didn't know the word for 'deer' in French, so he said: 'There's Father Christmas' animal on the track.' It was very funny." Shortly after joining, she began managing the Open Language Programme at London Met. When she took up the role, there were just 80 students in the programme, but by the time she stepped down to become associate dean in 2007, there were 3,000.
University of Western Ontario
An academic's book on how humans make sense of the world in the face of rapid change has won the Edelstein Prize, awarded by the Society for the History of Science and Technology to the top scholarly book on the history of technology published in the preceding three years. Joy Parr, Canada research chair in technology, culture and risk at the University of Western Ontario, said that the award, for her 2009 book Sensing Changes: Technologies, Environments and the Everyday, 1953-2003, was a real honour. "I'm a fan of the previous winners and a little in awe of joining their company," she said. Professor Parr received her undergraduate degree from McGill University and her master's and doctorate from Yale University. She taught at various institutions, including Yale, the University of British Columbia and Queen's University in Canada. She became professor at Queen's in 1988 and then moved to Simon Fraser University, where she was Farley professor of history. Professor Parr said it was important to look at the impact that global change had on human reflexes and habits: "Our bodies are archives of sensory knowledge. If global environmental changes continue at an unsettling pace, how will we make sense of the cascade of new normals, where the air, land and water around us are no longer familiar?"
University of Alberta
A medical researcher has said that he feels "humbled" to join a "who's who" of western Canadian physicians as the recipient of the 2011 Prix d'excellence from the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. Peter Hamilton, director of the Integrated Clinical Clerkship programme in the University of Alberta's Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, said he was flattered to have been nominated by colleagues. "Nothing like this happens in a vacuum; you've got people around you that make things happen, including support staff, secretarial staff, colleagues. I never could have achieved any of this on my own." Professor Hamilton, who joined Alberta in 1990, said his career highlights were his students' achievements: "It's very rewarding to see people you've mentored over the years succeed."
The first British editor of Cinema Journal, the publication of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies, has pledged to use his position to offer more platforms for "traditionally marginalised" scholars. Will Brooker, reader and director of research for film and television at Kingston University, said he hoped to put a "signature stamp" on the journal. "What I hope to do is treat cinema as part of an intertextual relationship," he said. "I want to try to offer more platforms for female academics, for academics of colour, queer scholars, early career researchers and independent scholars." Dr Brooker studied for a joint honours degree in literature and film at the University of East Anglia and a postgraduate diploma in communication and film at Goldsmiths, University of London. After some time teaching in further education, he went on to complete a master's at the University of Westminster and a doctorate at Cardiff University. He spent six years teaching at Richmond, the American International University in London, before moving to Kingston in 2005. He said that despite popular culture being his academic subject, he continued to enjoy it outside of his scholarship. "The worst thing for academics like me is the snobbery and hostility that you still sometimes get for taking popular culture seriously," he said. "I think that persists both inside and outside academia; I think there's a resentment that we've managed to make work fun."
Ryszard Piotrowicz, professor in the department of law and criminology and director of postgraduate studies at Aberystwyth University, has been reappointed to the European Commission's Group of Experts on Trafficking in Human Beings for a four-year term.
The N8 Research Partnership, which is a collaborative grouping of the North of England's eight research-intensive universities, has appointed Chris Brink, the vice-chancellor of Newcastle University, its new chair.
The Council of Church Universities and Colleges, known as the Cathedrals Group, has elected Joy Carter, vice-chancellor of the University of Winchester, its new chair.
Colin Orr has been appointed president of the Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists. Mr Orr is senior lecturer in architecture at the University of Wolverhampton.
Paul Hogg has been appointed vice-principal for research at Royal Holloway, University of London. Professor Hogg joins from the University of Manchester, where he was head of the School of Materials.
An alumnus has been appointed director of finance at the University of Leicester. Martyn Riddleston, who obtained his undergraduate degree in economics at the institution, returned to Leicester in 2002 to lead the management accounting team before being appointed deputy director of finance in December 2007.
The University of Edinburgh's School of Divinity has appointed its first Muslim professor. Mona Siddiqui has been named professor of Islamic and inter-religious studies at the university. Professor Siddiqui has taught for the past 15 years at the University of Glasgow, where she also served from 2002 to 2005 as head of the department of theology and religious studies.