October 11, 2012

School of Advanced Study, London

Colin Blakemore

World-renowned neuroscientist Colin Blakemore has been appointed director of the Institute of Philosophy's Centre for the Study of the Senses at the School of Advanced Study, University of London. Professor Blakemore joked that he was "looking forward to having a real job again". In his new role, he will pioneer collaborative sensory research involving philosophers, psychologists and neuroscientists to consider the way our senses cooperate to create perceptions of the world around us. He acknowledged that the post might be a "slightly risky" experiment that many universities would be reluctant to run, but the school's remit of "stimulating new developments in the humanities" made it an ideal setting. He hopes to conduct his own research as well as facilitate others', highlighting plans to work with artist Patrick Hughes, who coined the term "reverspective". "[This] is the creation of works where the perspective information of depth and distance are pitted against real, physical differences in position, and they contradict each other," he said. "We're using his pull apart how the brain interprets distance and depth information." Professor Blakemore studied medical sciences at the University of Cambridge before completing a PhD in physiological optics at the University of California, Berkeley. He was director of the Oxford Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience and then chief executive of the Medical Research Council before returning to Oxford as professor of neuroscience.

University of Lincoln

Julie Williams

The new director of nurse education at the University of Lincoln said the role was like being "offered a blank sheet of paper" to rewrite nursing training across Lincolnshire. Julie Williams, who joins from the University of Chester, added that Lincoln's "clear vision" of its future was a key reason for joining. In the role, Dr Williams will liaise and collaborate with the local health authority and service providers nationwide. "My job is to try and improve the relationships...and to raise the profile of nurse education, not only locally, but also nationally," she said. Dr Williams qualified as a nurse in 1982 at the Royal Liverpool Hospital and gained a master's in nursing from the University of Liverpool in 1998, before joining it as assistant director of nursing (later becoming director of studies). She obtained her PhD in educational research from Lancaster University. Her time on the wards had been crucial to her pedagogy, she said. "It's incredibly important to have an interpersonal nature - basic communication, warmth and compassion - because if you don' doesn't matter how many degrees you've got, you won't [connect] with your patients," she said.

Queen Margaret University

Jacquie L'Etang

One of the first generation of people in Britain educated in the field of public relations has joined Queen Margaret University as chair of public relations and applied communications. Jacquie L'Etang has 20 years' experience in the field and hopes to attract additional funding to the area. "PR and applied communications [are] not long-established subjects and it's quite a challenge encouraging funders to see [that they] can make a genuine difference to society," she said. "It's very easy for people to think [PR] is not a proper subject. It's an interesting, developing area that is very under-researched, so I hope to move that forward." Professor L'Etang forged her interest in public and cultural diplomacy at the British Council, where she held a number of posts after graduating with a BA from the University of East Anglia. While at the council she completed an MA at Birkbeck, University of London. She also has an MSc in public relations, an MPhil in social justice and a PhD, all awarded by the University of Stirling, and has held academic posts at that institution and a visiting professorship at the University of Ulster.

University of Sunderland

Steve Levett

Steve Levett has been appointed associate dean of recruitment and development at the University of Sunderland's Faculty of Business and Law. Mr Levett moves from the College of Law, where he was head of business development for the institution's eight centres across England. His role at Sunderland is focused on employer and external engagement, as well as recruiting students to the faculty. "Sunderland's London campus is creating new opportunities for international business and law students, and the approach here is refreshingly outward-facing," he said. However, Mr Levett stressed that his role would also contribute to the economic health of the North East. "The local impact of the faculty's courses and engagement is also a priority, and we will work with companies to train employees and create bespoke programmes for both the public and private sectors," he said. Mr Levett graduated from Durham University with a politics degree before completing Law Society finals at the University of Glamorgan. Before joining the College of Law - where he was senior lecturer and later deputy director of staffing - he was a solicitor at the Government Legal Service.


The University of Leicester has made a number of appointments. Will Norton joins the department of biology as lecturer in animal biology, where he will continue his research into the genetic basis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and aggression. Sue Jamison-Powell has joined the university's Super Identity Project, which explores the concept of identity in real-world and online domains. She was previously a researcher at the University of Lincoln's Social Computing Research Centre. Trevor Humphreys, who joins from the University of Manchester, has been appointed director of estates to spearhead the next phase of Leicester's £1 billion Development Framework Plan.

Twin brothers have joined Durham Business School. Paul and Mathew Hughes have been appointed senior lecturer in strategy and reader in entrepreneurial management, respectively. Both completed their undergraduate, master's and PhDs together at the School of Management and Business at Aberystwyth University (formerly University of Wales, Aberystwyth), before pursuing their academic careers separately. The appointments mark the first time the twins have been part of the same academic community since 2004.

Heriot-Watt University has appointed Andrew Menzies as director of finance. Mr Menzies is currently based at the Scottish Legal Aid Board, where he is director of corporate services, and he will join Heriot-Watt later this autumn.

The University of Lincoln has appointed Lisa Mooney Smith as dean of research to oversee its research excellence framework processes. Dr Mooney Smith has worked across a diverse range of subject areas and has experience - at Lincoln and previously at the University of Nottingham - of leading complex interdisciplinary work and the wider knowledge-exchange agenda.

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