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Leicester strengthens management team and announces new academic structure

Issued on 2 February 2009

The University of Leicester today announced it has appointed four new academic leaders of international calibre to spearhead the development of a new academic structure.

Leaving its Faculty structure behind, four Colleges are being established in the next academic year and an expanded senior management team put in place to ensure that the University is in the best position to meet the future challenges of higher education.

Key advantages of the new structure are:

• Improved efficiency of decision making and implementation

• Injection of new talent into the management structure

• Facilitation of inter-disciplinary and multi-disciplinary work

• Streamlining and speeding-up of communications

• Greater control of budgets for College Heads

• Coalescence of academic and administrative areas

• Increased opportunities for the development of new academic programmes

The Heads of the four new Colleges (all of whom are Pro-Vice-Chancellors), joining Professor Mark Thompson (PVC - Resources) and Christine Fyfe (PVC - Students) in the new executive structure of the University, are:

Professor Martin Barstow (PVC and Head of the College of Science and Engineering)

Professor Elizabeth Murphy (PVC and Head of the College of Social Science)

Professor Douglas Tallack (PVC and Head of the College of Arts, Humanities and Law)

Professor David Wynford-Thomas (PVC and head of the College of Medicine, Biological Sciences and Psychology)

Vice-Chancellor Professor Bob Burgess said: “The new Pro-Vice-Chancellors (Heads of College) are distinguished academic leaders in their fields and will spearhead developments within the Colleges by driving innovation and collaboration, building on existing research and teaching strengths and fostering a spirit of enterprise.

“They will play pivotal and dynamic leadership roles as the University works towards improving upon its current ranking of 12th by the Complete University Guide and further justifying its recent award of University of the Year 2008-09 by the Times Higher Education magazine.”

“We have appointed four new Heads of College at Pro-Vice-Chancellor level. With the boundaries between academic and administrative work becoming increasingly blurred, I believe Pro-Vice-Chancellors – whose responsibilities straddle the two – will play a key role in driving forward academic developments. Engaging in inter-disciplinary work is now crucial and the new College structure will enable this to continue in a more strategic way whilst providing the opportunity for the development of new academic programmes.

“I am delighted that we have appointed a very strong group to the Senior Management Team. All together the team will ‘make a real difference’ to the University by developing new opportunities for teaching and research.”



University of Leicester Pro-Vice-Chancellors and Heads of Colleges:

Professor Martin Barstow (PVC and Head of Science and Engineering)

Professor Martin Barstow (PVC and Head of Science and Engineering)

Martin Barstow is Professor in Astrophysics and Space Science at the University of Leicester and currently Head of the Physics and Astronomy department. He has been involved in many space missions during his career, including NASA’s Voyager probes, which travelled to the outer planets of the Solar System. More recently he has worked on the Hubble Space Telescope helping to develop the plans for the final servicing mission, which is expected to take place in May 2009. Martin has been closely involved with the development of the National Space Centre in Leicester and is the current Chair of its Education Advisory Board. In 2005, he acted as consultant to the British National Space Centre to help develop a Space Education Initiative, which led to the report “Bringing Space into School Science”. In 2008, he was a member of the Wakeham panel, set up by the government to report on the health of Physics in the UK. He is also an active musician as a member of the choir and part-time organist at St Michael and all Angels, Cosby and has sung at the De Montfort Hall on several occasions in the Bardi Symphony Chorus. He is regularly seen performing around the county as a member of Leicester Morrismen.

He said: “I am very pleased to be appointed to lead the new College of Science and Engineering. I am looking forward to working with all my colleagues in this and the other Colleges to build on the University’s recent successes and to help make Leicester recognized around the world for its excellent teaching and research.”

Professor Elizabeth Murphy (PVC and Head of the College of Social Science)

Professor Elizabeth Murphy (PVC and Head of the College of Social Science)

Professor Murphy joins the University of Leicester from the University of Nottingham, where she has been Head of the School of Sociology and Social Policy since 2006. Educated at the Universities of St Andrews and Southampton and the Open University, Elizabeth Murphy began her academic career as a researcher in the Department of Primary Medical Care at the University of Southampton. In 1991, she joined the School of Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Nottingham where she was appointed to a Chair in Medical Sociology in 2004.

Professor Murphy’s extensive empirical research is located within the sociology of health and illness, particularly as it intersects with the sociology of parenting. This research is underpinned by a shared sociological concern with the relationship between individuals, families, professionals and the state. This interest has been pursued through a number of research projects, on topics as diverse as infant feeding, intellectual disability, chronic illness, smoking and adverse drug reactions, funded by grants from research councils, government departments and charities. She has also developed a national and international reputation for her work on the application of methodologies drawn from the social sciences to research in medical settings.

Professor Murphy was an editor of the journal Sociology of Health and Illness between 2000 and 2006 and is currently a trustee of the Foundation for the Sociology of Health and Illness. She acted as an advisor to the Department of Health and, between 2001 and 2004, was a Non-Executive Director of the Broxtowe and Hucknall Primary Care Trust.

On her appointment Professor Murphy said “I am immensely pleased and excited to be appointed as Pro-Vice Chancellor and Head of the College of Social Science at the University of Leicester. I feel privileged to be joining the University during a period of expansion, when it has established a leading position in terms of teaching quality, student satisfaction and research impact. The University of Leicester provides a vibrant, energetic environment for staff and students alike and I am looking forward to working with colleagues to exploit the synergy between excellent teaching and research. I am delighted to have the opportunity to be involved in the restructuring of the University and to contribute to work with colleagues to position Leicester to meet the challenges of the rapidly changing environment of UK Higher Education.”

Professor Douglas Tallack (PVC and Head of the College of Arts, Humanities and Law)

Professor Douglas Tallack (PVC and Head of the College of Arts, Humanities and Law)

Professor Tallack is Professor of American Studies at the University of Nottingham. From 2001 to 2007 he was Pro-Vice-Chancellor, with responsibility, at different times, for Internationalisation, Students, Catering and Residences, as well as academic Schools in the Faculties of Science and Law & Social Sciences. He was a Board member of the University of Nottingham, China, and the University of Nottingham, Malaysia. Earlier in his career, he held the posts of Dean of Arts and Head of the School of American and Canadian Studies.

Douglas Tallack has published six books, most recently, New York Sights: Visualizing Old and New New York (2005) and has twice won the Arthur Miller Prize for the best American Studies article of the year. He is editor of a series of electronic books on international themes, and is co-editing the volume on Global Cities / Local Sites. Professor Tallack directed the very successful 3Cities project which was funded by the AHRC. He is Honorary Professor at Tsinghua University, Beijing and Shanghai International Studies University, and, during his AHRC research leave, is the Grolier Club (New York) Fellow for 2008. He has served on the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s Marshall Commission and on the Observatory for Borderless Education, as well as local school and FE college governing bodies.

On his appointment Professor Tallack said “I am really pleased to be joining the University of Leicester at such an important stage in its already successful development. I greatly look forward to working with my new colleagues, in particular the many talented teachers, researchers and administrators in the new College of Arts, Humanities and Law."

Professor David Wynford-Thomas (PVC and Head of the College of Medicine, Biological Sciences and Psychology)

Professor David Wynford-Thomas (PVC and Head of the College of Medicine, Biological Sciences and Psychology)

Former Dean of Medicine at Cardiff Professor David Wynford-Thomas is already in place at Leicester.

Professor Wynford-Thomas is a renowned cancer specialist who has built up a large research team studying the molecular basis of cancer and its clinical applications, with long-term funding from Cancer Research UK and the Research Councils. He was instrumental in forging closer collaborative links between cancer research groups working in different departments and schools across Cardiff, culminating in the establishment of a “virtual institute” for cancer research across Wales.

External recognition of his research achievements include the award in 2005 of the first “Goudie Medal” by the Pathological Society of Great Britain “for seminal advances in the understanding of human disease” and election to Fellowship of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2003.

Last year, the Institute of Medical Genetics, part of the School of Medicine at Cardiff, received the Queen’s Anniversary Prize, which recognises world class levels of excellence in UK Higher Education, from Her Majesty the Queen.

Professor Mark Thompson PVC (Resources)

Professor Mark Thompson PVC (Resources)

Professor Mark Thompson has been a Professor at Leicester since 1996, having previously held a chair at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne. He is a specialist in Property Law, and has been the author or co-author of nine books, and numerous articles in the area. He also acted as consultant to the Law Commission on their Working Papers on The Rule in Bain v. Fothergill and on The Passing of the Risk from Vendor to Purchaser.

He was the Casenotes Editor of The Conveyancer and Property Lawyer between 1994 and 2004, and continues to be a member of the editorial board. He was Head of Department between 1999 and 2002 and a Pro-Vice-Chancellor since 2004. He is now the Senior Pro-Vice-Chancellor. He is currently completing the fourth edition of Modern Land Law for Oxford University Press.

Christine Fyfe PVC (Students)

Christine Fyfe PVC (Students)

Christine Fyfe is Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Students) and University Librarian at the University of Leicester. She joined the University in 2002 after holding several senior library positions at the Universities of Keele and Warwick. She has held leading roles in a range of national library bodies and on the steering groups of a number of research projects concerned with the development of digital libraries. She is responsible at the strategic level for the student experience at the University of Leicester and for university library strategy. Over the last five years she has played a key role in the project to extend and remodel the award-winning University Library, creating an adaptable and inspirational setting for learning and discovery. Her key professional interests include holistic, evidence-based approaches to the enhancement of the student experience in an era of rapid social and technological change, service quality improvement and digital libraries

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