April 5, 2012

Courtauld Institute of Art

Tom Nickson

A specialist in medieval architecture is to return to an institution he studied at in a teaching capacity. Tom Nickson, who is currently lecturer in the department of history of art at the University of York, has been appointed to a position at the Courtauld Institute of Art, where he completed his MA and PhD after obtaining a first-class bachelor's degree in the history of art from the University of Cambridge. Dr Nickson - who joins the Courtauld as lecturer in medieval art and architecture - said he was "excited at the prospect of teaching such talented students and working with such brilliant colleagues ... but I feel humbled by the succession of great scholars that have preceded me in this post". His expertise is particularly in the medieval art, architecture and visual culture of the Iberian peninsula, and he wants to use his experience to bring new research strands to the Courtauld. Dr Nickson said current funding constraints in higher education were hampering the arts and humanities and leading staff and students to become "increasingly obliged to be fundraisers, sometimes to the detriment of other roles". However, he added: "One way to promote the field is to strengthen ties with other public and academic institutions, museums and galleries in the UK and abroad, both within the field of art history and beyond it."

University of Stirling

Rory O'Connor

A psychology expert who has become president-elect of a global organisation for research on suicide said he wanted to use his new position to focus attention, both within academia and beyond, on the "heartbreaking" problem. Rory O'Connor, professor of psychology at the University of Stirling, will serve as president-elect of the International Academy for Suicide Research for two years before becoming its president. Professor O'Connor studied for a BSc and PhD in psychology at Queen's University Belfast, with his doctorate focusing on suicide and self-harm. He previously held a lecturing position at the University of Strathclyde and is an honorary professor at the University of Nottingham. "Although there have been many important advances in recent years, our understanding of why people die by suicide and how best to intervene to prevent such tragedies is still fragmented," said Professor O'Connor, who will be the first UK-based holder of the post. "I hope to use my position to promote the case for funding high-quality research into suicide and its prevention, not just in the UK but further afield as well. Suicide prevention is everyone's business...I devote a lot of time to disseminating my research findings to the general public, to loved ones bereaved by suicide and other professionals. All of us involved in suicide research have a duty to communicate new developments and applications beyond our ivory towers."

University of Leicester

Katja Ziegler

A scholar appointed to the Sir Robert Jennings chair in international law at the University of Leicester says that her deep interest in the field led her to pursue a career in the academy. Katja Ziegler, currently reader in European and comparative law at the University of Oxford, graduated from the University of Bonn with a law degree before obtaining a master's at Oxford and a doctorate at the University of Bielefeld. Before coming to Oxford as a lecturer in 2002, she "took a break from academia", first to train as a barrister in Germany and then to work in Brussels for an international law firm. "Although I loved being in practice, I found that I needed to be able to explore legal issues in more depth and shape the law," she said. "Academia provided me with this opportunity. I also love teaching, so academia was a career I considered fairly early on - although I also toyed for a while with joining the diplomatic service, which would have given me a different perspective on international law."

University of Adelaide

Warren Bebbington

The new vice-chancellor of the University of Adelaide was named to the post because of his "vision and exceptional leadership qualities" and his ability "to take the university to an even higher level", according to the institution. Warren Bebbington, who is currently deputy vice-chancellor of university affairs at the University of Melbourne, was selected by Adelaide after an extensive international search. "Saying goodbye to so many close colleagues at Melbourne will be no easy task: there is much about this great university I will miss deeply," he said, but added that "[Adelaide's] blend of history and innovation gives it many possibilities, and I am looking forward to being part of its future." Professor Bebbington studied music at the University of Melbourne, obtaining a bachelor's and then a master's degree. As a Fulbright Scholar, he obtained a further two master's qualifications and a doctorate at the City University of New York. He has held teaching positions at the universities of Melbourne and Queensland and at the Australian National University School of Music. At a leadership level, he has served as pro vice-chancellor of global relations at Melbourne and as dean of music at Queensland.


Five members of the Association of University Administrators have been named fellows in recognition of their contribution to the AUA's work and management practice in the sector. They are: Anne Craven, Theatre Academy Helsinki; Teresa Gibbs, planning officer, University of York; Nigel Phillips, senior executive officer, University of Huddersfield; Alison Smith, director of professional programmes, Loughborough University; and Tamara Winkler, business support manager, Cardiff Metropolitan University.

BBC director general Mark Thompson and Radio 4 Woman's Hour presenter Jenni Murray have been given honorary degrees by the University of Salford. The presentations, made at the opening of the new MediaCityUK campus, acknowledged links between the university and the media industry.

The Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol has given honorary fellowships to Meredydd Evans, Hazel Walford Davies and M. Wynn Thomas, recognising their work in Welsh-language education and their help in establishing the Coleg, a "virtual" institution offering Welsh-medium higher education.

Levi Pay joins Northumbria University as head of student support and well-being. He has previously worked at the Scottish Parliament, the Commission for Racial Equality and the University of Leeds.

Natalie Jarman is the University of Leicester's new carbon and energy officer. Her work includes reducing energy consumption and carbon emissions and boosting student employability via volunteering projects.

Alan White of Leeds Metropolitan University has won the Robert Tiffany International Award for his research. The world's first professor of men's health, Professor White led an international team in preparing a report on the subject for the European Commission, highlighting Continent-wide concerns including future workforce imbalances.

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