February 16, 2012

Harper Adams University College

Roger Mercer

A farmer who studied at Harper Adams University College as an undergraduate has been appointed chairman of the institution's board of governors. Roger Mercer, previously vice-chairman of the board, started his career as an arable farmer before moving into dairy and pig production. He now runs Mercer Farming Limited, a 5,500-acre business based primarily in Staffordshire, which focuses on arable and pig production. He also farms in Australia and has agricultural interests in Eastern Europe. Despite his extensive business commitments, Mr Mercer has managed to dip his toe into research, having been a Nuffield scholar studying pig and potato production in North America. His other business interests include property management, farm management consultancy and meat marketing. Mr Mercer said he was honoured to take on the new role. "I am a passionate believer in education, because the rewards are enormous for both the individuals and the businesses in which they are involved. There is no finer investment a person can make in their life," he said. "Agriculture is a great place to be, and a good education will help make the best of the opportunities it has to offer."

University of Glamorgan

Alison McMillan

A newly appointed professor of aeronautical engineering at the University of Glamorgan has swapped a role at Rolls-Royce for the Rhondda Valley in taking up the position. Alison McMillan studied for her undergraduate degree in maths and physics at University College London. She went on to complete a master's in applied mechanics at the Cranfield Institute of Technology (which later became Cranfield University) and a doctorate in physics at Staffordshire University. She held postdoctoral positions at the University of Oxford and Keele University and went on to work for the civil aerospace division of Rolls-Royce, where she spent 14 years. Professor McMillan said that her step back into academia was a natural move to make. "My work at Rolls-Royce also involved running research programmes with universities and other international aerospace companies, and supervising PhD students," she said. She added of her career in general: "As a female in a largely male profession, I have encountered little prejudice from fellow engineers because we are all like-minded people. I hope I can engage with the community to inspire young people, both male and female, to study science, technology, engineering and maths subjects and demonstrate the great variety of careers open to them in these areas."

University of California, Berkeley

Paul Alivisatos

Paul Alivisatos, director of the US Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Larry and Diane Bock professor of nanotechnology at the University of California, Berkeley, has won the Wolf Foundation Prize in Chemistry for 2012. The Wolf Foundation, based in Israel, recognises outstanding scientists and artists. Professor Alivisatos said that he was particularly pleased to be sharing his prize with Harvard University professor Charles Lieber, adding that it was also "thrilling" to be in the same class of Wolf Prize recipients as Placido Domingo, the world-renowned tenor and conductor. Professor Alivisatos was born in the US but moved to Greece at an early age. "When I found something very interesting, it was sometimes a struggle for me to understand it the very best that I could," he said. "That need to work harder became an important motivator for me." He attended the University of Chicago as an undergraduate and went to Berkeley as a postgraduate student, where he obtained a PhD in chemical physics. Professor Alivisatos then moved to AT&T Bell Labs as a postdoctoral fellow but returned to Berkeley in 1988, where he has worked ever since.

University of Sydney

Karl Kramer

A noted performer and academic has been appointed dean of the Conservatorium of Music at the University of Sydney. Karl Kramer, currently professor and director of the School of Music at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, received his undergraduate degree in music education from Temple University and completed his master's and doctorate at Yale University and the Manhattan School of Music respectively. He is a respected tuba player who, before going to Illinois, was dean of the Conservatory of Music at Purchase College, State University of New York, and dean of music at the New World School of the Arts at Miami Dade College in Florida. Professor Kramer said that taking up the role at Sydney was a "dream job come true". He added: "I am also excited at the prospect of collaborating with other arts institutions in Sydney, taking advantage of the multiple resources of a great research university, and exploring opportunities to work with my colleagues in the design and implementation of interdisciplinary programmes. The musician of the future, while needing to be firmly grounded in core musical values, will require the vision and courage to bend his or her art in unique directions to garner success."

Other changes

Jenny Shaw, director of the Yorkshire and Humber East Lifelong Learning Network based at the University of Hull, has been appointed head of higher education engagement at Unite Group.

John Leach has been appointed pro vice-chancellor of the Faculty of Development and Society at Sheffield Hallam University. He joins from the University of Hull, where he served as pro vice-chancellor for engagement.

The University of Manchester, AstraZeneca and GlaxoSmithKline have appointed Tracy Hussell director of the new Manchester Collaborative Centre for Inflammation Research. Professor Hussell is currently professor of inflammatory disease at the National Heart and Lung Institute at Imperial College London.

Simon Kemp, director of employability and employer engagement for engineering and the environment at the University of Southampton, has been appointed academic lead on education for sustainable development for the Higher Education Academy.

Suzanne Franks has joined City University London as head of undergraduate journalism. She was previously senior lecturer in political communication in the School of Politics and International Relations at the University of Kent.

The University of Central Lancashire has appointed Margaret Bruce to the post of pro vice-chancellor (engagement). She was previously professor of strategic marketing and design management at Manchester Business School.

Bournemouth University's School of Health and Social Care has appointed Anthea Innes to a chair in health and social care research. Professor Innes joins from the University of Stirling, where she was senior lecturer in dementia studies.

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