The UHI Millennium Institute is moving closer to its goal of university status in 2007 with a series of senior appointments.
Until now, its three faculties have been headed by part-time deans who carried out the role alongside their daily commitments. But now the UHI has attracted external academics to be full-time deans.
Kerry Godfrey has moved from Oxford Brookes University, where he was principal lecturer in tourism and director of postgraduate programmes, to become dean of business and leisure. He is based at Inverness College, one of the UHI's 14 partner colleges and research institutes.
Sheila Lodge, previously head of Napier University's School of Communication Arts, is dean of arts, humanities and social sciences, based at Perth College.
In January, Paddy Maher, an assistant director of the Open University in Scotland, will become dean of science and technology, based at Moray College.
Writer and broadcaster Jim Hunter has been made the UHI's first professor.
Dr Hunter, who has chaired the development agency, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, is professor of the history of the Highlands and Islands.