A professor of health and exercise has swapped the bayou for Bath. Conrad Earnest, who joined the University of Bath in April from the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, will continue researching the effects of exercise as an augmentation strategy for treatment and prevention within various populations with or at risk of disease. "In my last role I worked within a research group that examined a variety of intervention outcomes ranging from genomics to clinical applications in order to prevent and reduce obesity, diabetes and other clinically relevant markers related to disease processes," he said. "At Bath, I am going to be researching the metabolic syndrome that is an early warning of Type 2 diabetes. This is an important area of research because intervening at an early stage is better than trying to reverse the onset of diabetes." Professor Earnest studied for bachelor's and master's degrees at the University of Akron in Ohio, specialising in exercise science, followed by a PhD at Texas Woman's University. "Coming to Bath has given me a unique opportunity. The UK agenda has a lot of similarities to that of the US, so I can bring my expertise and experience."
The new director of GuildHE's Consortium for Research Excellence, Support and Training (Crest) says she feels "privileged" to take on the role. Kerstin Mey, who is director of research and enterprise and professor of fine art at the University for the Creative Arts, will become Crest's second director following the decision of Graeme Wilkinson, pro vice-chancellor of academic affairs at Glyndwr University, to stand down to become vice-chancellor of Sunway University in Malaysia. "This is a thriving platform for small and specialist higher education institutions, enabling them to share their research strengths and research training expertise and continue to build capacity and capabilities in these areas," she said. Professor Mey holds an MA in art and German language and literature, and a PhD in art theory/aesthetics, from Humboldt University of Berlin. Given the growing importance of research impact, she noted, "there are opportunities for Crest members to harness and join up their specialist knowledge and focused connections to places, communities and businesses, to shape innovative partnerships and to pioneer approaches to subject-specific and cross-disciplinary research and research training."
The new dean of the business school at London Metropolitan University has pledged to turn the "sleeping giant" into students' first choice. "My main mission is to ensure that we produce London's most business-ready graduates. I want to capitalise on our location in the heart of the international city of London and the many links we have with business," said Stephen Perkins. He joins from the University of Bedfordshire, where he was associate dean for research and quality. The move marks a homecoming, as Professor Perkins began his academic career in 2000 at the University of North London (one of the institutions that merged in the creation of London Met), following senior posts in industry during internationalisation and privatisation initiatives. He has also held positions at the University of Oxford and City University London. "We are a sleeping giant, and in five years I expect us to be the first choice of business school in London," he added. "One of the key things I want to do is ensure recognition of the tremendous expertise we have. There is some excellent knowledge and talent here, and we need to harness it better." Professor Perkins took his undergraduate degree at what was then Birmingham Polytechnic, followed by a master's and a doctorate at the University of Oxford.
Birmingham City University has named Cliff Allan its new vice-chancellor. Currently deputy vice-chancellor at Sheffield Hallam University, Professor Allan will succeed David Tidmarsh, who is retiring in 2013. Birmingham City's strong staff and student relationship is remarkable, Professor Allan said. "I have been particularly impressed by the spirit of partnership between staff and students, which has already received national acclaim," he said. "I am convinced that together we can further develop this innovative approach to learning and teaching to ensure that the university is a first-choice institution." He added that he was keen to build on Professor Tidmarsh's work in building "the university's popularity and reputation" besides "developing an estates strategy that will give the university state-of-the-art facilities in an increasingly competitive market". Professor Allan has held numerous senior positions during his career, and prior to his post at Sheffield Hallam was deputy vice-chancellor of development at Teesside University and a deputy chief executive of the Higher Education Academy. Having started his career as a lecturer in international relations and politics, he later worked for development organisations and charities, primarily developing public policy and educational programmes.
St Mary's University College, Twickenham has announced the appointment of John Nicholson as research professor in the School of Sport, Health and Applied Science. He joins St Mary's from the University of Greenwich, where he was professor of biomaterials chemistry. The appointment follows the establishment of a new applied physics undergraduate programme at the university college, developed in conjunction with the National Physical Laboratory.
The University of Manchester has appointed the novelist Jeanette Winterson professor of creative writing. Ms Winterson, who starts her two-year tenure in October, will be running MA seminars and workshops as well as delivering lectures for undergraduates.
A University of Bath lecturer has been named Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Palmes Académiques by the French government. Steve Wharton, senior lecturer in French and communication, has been honoured in recognition of his services in the promotion of French culture.
One of the country's leading medical educators has been awarded an honorary doctorate by St George's, University of London and Kingston University. Sean Hilton was honoured by the Faculty of Health and Social Care Sciences, which is run jointly by St George's and Kingston, for his medical education work at St George's, where for 25 years he played a key role in teaching innovation.
A University of Stirling professor is the recipient of a Higher Education Academy doctoral programme award, part of an HEA initiative to support learning and teaching development in the sector. Cognitive neuroscientist David Donaldson is one of only 15 UK academics to receive such an award, which provides funds for a PhD psychology student at Stirling.