Appointments - 6 June 2013

June 6, 2013

Birkbeck, University of London
Matthew Innes

The new vice-master designate of Birkbeck, University of London, said he felt both “flattered and excited” to have been appointed. Matthew Innes, a historian who has been at the institution for more than 13 years, added: “I don’t think I ever planned to take on a wider role but I did take up opportunities as and when they arose. By doing so it was possible to make a contribution that was broader than my own research and my commitment to my own students.” Professor Innes said that in a time of uncertainty for the sector, he hoped to help demonstrate the “unique contribution” of Birkbeck in being both a research-intensive institution and a major provider of student opportunities to all. As vice-master designate, he will oversee the opening of University Square Stratford, a major campus developed with the University of East London. “We were providing higher education in East London before the Olympics and have seen our student recruitment from the area increase as a result,” he said. “Now that the new building is about to open, the mainstreaming of Stratford provision as part of our institutional DNA heralds a new phase.” Professor Innes studied at the University of Cambridge and has worked there as well as at the universities of Birmingham and York.

Sharon Ruston, Lancaster University

Lancaster University
Sharon Ruston

The newly appointed professor of Romanticism at Lancaster University is known for her work on the links between Romantic poets and science. Sharon Ruston, who is currently professor of 19th-century literature and culture at the University of Salford, said that Romantic poetry was her “first and great love” and that this new job was a perfect fit. “I refused to believe the traditional line that the Romantics were against science and I wanted to explore this further,” she said. “I thought that poets who were so fascinated by nature and the body would be interested in science rather than simply dismissive of it, and this has often been confirmed in my research. Science and literature are both imaginative endeavours and I think this is the reason why they work so well together.” Professor Ruston originally wanted to become a political journalist, but in studying English at the University of Liverpool, discovered the possibilities of academia. She took her MA and PhD at Liverpool and has a postgraduate certificate of teaching in higher education from Bangor University. She worked at Bangor and Keele University prior to joining Salford.

Barry Everitt, University of Cambridge

University of Cambridge
Barry Everitt

The new provost of the Gates Cambridge Trust at the University of Cambridge said that his initial reaction to being offered the job was, simply, “wow”. Barry Everitt added, “I hadn’t really thought much about applying…I run a research group here in [Cambridge’s] department of psychology, I’m just about to relinquish my role as head of Downing College and my thoughts have been going much more to thinking about recapturing time and effort, writing and publishing, mentoring.” The Gates Cambridge Scholarship programme, which Professor Everitt will oversee, was established in 2000 by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, with the largest ever single philanthropic donation to a UK university. It awards 90 full-cost scholarships each year to outstanding international students. “I’ve had one or two great Gates students here myself,” Professor Everitt said. “We can bring really outstanding graduate students to Cambridge, which is extremely important to the university.” He added that he hoped to widen the scope of where the students come from, and focus in particular on emerging regions such as India, South America and Africa. After studying at the universities of Hull and Birmingham, Professor Everitt held positions at Birmingham and at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden before moving to Cambridge.

Luce Irigaray, University of Bristol

University of Bristol
Luce Irigaray

One of the world’s most influential contemporary thinkers has been awarded a Leverhulme Trust visiting professorship at the University of Bristol. Luce Irigaray, a world-renowned philosopher, has argued in the past that women are treated as commodities and said she believed that this is still true today. She added that academics can help to alter this mentality but that they first need to look at themselves. “[We can alter this] by changing the mentality of academic people which still privileges a masculine way of thinking and behaving, even if [scholars] try to hide this behind a presumed neutral and neuter discourse,” she said. In times of global civil and economic uncertainty, philosophy is as important a field as its empirical counterparts, Professor Irigaray argued. “It is more than ever necessary to face our technical, intercultural and global times,” she said. “Obviously we must elaborate and promote a philosophy that worries about cultivating life and the environment, our sexuate belonging and respect for difference(s) between sexes, generations and traditions.” Professor Irigaray studied at the Universite Catholique de Louvain in Belgium and the universities of Nanterre and Vincennes (Paris VIII) in France. She was formerly director of research in philosophy at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in Paris.

Other changes

Leeds Metropolitan University has appointed Nicki Latham visiting professor in its faculty of health and social sciences. She is chief operating officer of Health Education England, providing national leadership for the development and performance management of its local education and training boards.

Chris Hoyle, a cellist and former member of the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, has been named head of the School of Strings at the Royal Northern College of Music. He has worked as a chamber musician, orchestral player and soloist and, during 23 years with the BBC Philharmonic, played in more than 100 Proms concerts. An alumnus of the college, he returned as tutor in cello in 2002.

Heriot-Watt University has appointed John Underhill to a chair in exploration geoscience in the Institute of Petroleum Engineering. Professor Underhill will move to the institution in August from his current role as professor of seismic and sequence stratigraphy at the University of Edinburgh.

The University of Birmingham has appointed a provost and vice-principal as well as two pro vice-chancellors. Adam Tickell becomes provost and vice- principal; Jeff Bale and Malcolm Press have been named pro vice-chancellors for education and for research and knowledge transfer, respectively. All are presently in senior roles at Birmingham.

An expert in evaluating the impact of research on healthcare policy and practice has joined Kingston University and St George’s, University of London. Annette Boaz has been appointed reader in healthcare research at the faculty of health, social care and education, run jointly by Kingston and St George’s. Dr Boaz, who joins from King’s College London, is a social scientist who specialises in measuring how research into healthcare can influence policy and practice.

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