Queen Mary, University of London
A newly appointed professor of politics at Queen Mary, University of London said it was a difficult decision to leave his post at the University of Sussex but added that his new institution's location in the capital - "where the political action is" - was a big draw. Tim Bale said he was keen to do more work with practitioners: not only politicians, but also people in "para-political" fields at "thinktanks, opinion research, public affairs and pressure groups". Before joining Sussex, Professor Bale taught European politics at Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand. He graduated with a BA from Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, gained an MA from Northwestern University in the US, and then undertook doctoral study in politics at the University of Sheffield. He said that after the party conference season, the UK was at a "critical juncture" politically. "David Cameron certainly looks and sounds like a prime minister, and we know from polling that not so many people think the same about (Labour Party leader Ed) Miliband". However, Professor Bale added, "the quirks of our electoral system currently give (Labour) an unfair advantage, so it would be silly to write off Ed's chances".
St Mary's University College, Twickenham
St Mary's University College, Twickenham, has appointed Chris Keith to a professorship of New Testament and early Christianity. At 32, he will become one of the youngest chairs in his field. He said he had experienced a whirlwind of a career so far, having completed a PhD at the University of Edinburgh only in 2008. He added that he was "ecstatic" at joining the institution, which is aiming to be the first Catholic university in the UK. Professor Keith said he saw it as an ideal place to pursue his academic interests. "Catholic universities offer latitude in a lot of directions in a way that other schools don't...It's a powder keg of potential; it has a lot to offer." Professor Keith has also been made director of the Centre for Social-Scientific Study of the Bible, which he said would be a "formal mechanism to raise the profile of biblical studies" at St Mary's. He hoped the centre would become "a hub for top-notch biblical studies work" hosting international research scholars. Professor Keith took a BSc, an MA and an MDiv at Cincinnati Christian University before relocating to Edinburgh for his doctoral studies. He previously held the position of assistant professor of New Testament and Christian origins at Lincoln Christian University in Lincoln, Illinois.
University College London
The new dean of the Faculty of Medical Sciences at University College London said he wanted to work with stakeholders to improve an "already great" institution. David Lomas, who joins from the University of Cambridge, where he was professor of respiratory biology, added that UCL could be made better by "allowing people to build bridges" between departments, facilitating more collaboration and greater success in obtaining research funding. "The first item on the agenda is clearly an item of growth," he said. "We can achieve it that by bringing different parties together in collaboration...For me, growth means better science, better output, funding and strategic position. Strategic collaborations are the ideal ways for achieving this. The second most important thing for me is training. Training works at all levels, from the medical students through to the really senior fellows." After completing a medical degree at the University of Nottingham, Professor Lomas undertook a PhD at Trinity College, Cambridge. This began a 22-year relationship with the institution. In addition to his professorship, he has held the posts of deputy director of the Cambridge Institute for Medical Research, honorary consultant physician at Addenbrooke's and Papworth hospitals and director of the Wellcome Trust PhD programmes for clinicians at the university.
The Mary-Dell Chilton distinguished professor in the department of biology at Washington University in St Louis has been appointed dean of the university's Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Barbara Schaal, a world-renowned evolutionary plant biologist, was named by Barack Obama to the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology in 2009. In her new role at the university, she will implement initiatives stemming from three years of faculty-led strategic planning that identified priorities for the future of arts and sciences at the institution. Professor Schaal was born in Berlin but grew up in Chicago, where she earned a bachelor's degree in biology at the University of Illinois in Chicago. She then took a master's degree and a doctorate in population biology at Yale University. Before joining Washington in 1980 as associate professor of biology, she held positions at the University of Houston and Ohio State University. Professor Schaal, who takes up her new post in January 2013, has also served on numerous committees at the institution, including the academic planning committee in arts and sciences, the curriculum implementation committee and the university affirmative action committee.
Hazel Willis has been appointed pro-dean (academic) in the Faculty of Arts and Human Sciences at London South Bank University. Dr Willis' responsibilities will centre on the student experience, student success and employability. She is the former head of the psychology department at the University of Derby.
University College London has announced the appointment of Lord O'Donnell and Sir John Gieve as visiting professors in the department of political science and the School of Public Policy. Lord O'Donnell was head of the Civil Service and Cabinet secretary until the end of 2011. Sir John was a senior official in the Treasury, permanent secretary in the Home Office and deputy governor of the Bank of England.
There have been a number of changes to the board of the Higher Education Statistics Agency. Simon Gaskell, principal of Queen Mary, University of London, has been appointed chair. Professor Gaskell replaces Dame Julia King, vice-chancellor of Aston University, who stood down as chair and board member in September. Meanwhile, Mark Smith, vice-chancellor of Lancaster University, has been named to the board, following his nomination by Universities UK.
The University of Leicester has appointed Tammy Ayres to the post of lecturer in the department of criminology. Ms Ayres graduated from the university in 2001 with a BSc in sociology before completing an MSc in criminology, also at Leicester.
Alejandro Armellini has been made professor of learning and teaching in higher education and director of the Institute of Learning and Teaching at the University of Northampton. He joins Northampton from the Beyond Distance Research Alliance at the University of Leicester, and previously held posts at the universities of Manchester and Kent and ORT Uruguay University in Montevideo.