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Appointments - 21 March 2013

Sakkie Pretorius, Macquarie University

Macquarie University
Sakkie Pretorius

Sakkie Pretorius, who has been named deputy vice-chancellor for research at Macquarie University, said it was an honour to “step into the boots” of his predecessor, Jim Piper, at a “relatively young and vibrant” institution. Professor Pretorius, currently deputy vice-chancellor and vice-president for research and innovation at the University of South Australia, is a microbiologist specialising in yeast biotechnology, and has interests in wine research. “I am fascinated by the winemaker’s bug - the yeast that is integral to fermentation performance and the creation of particular wine styles. To the winemaker, this yeast is integral to crafting wonderful, complex wines from simple, sugar-rich grape juice,” Professor Pretorius said. He has held a number of senior roles in the field, including director of South Africa’s Institute for Wine Biotechnology at the University of Stellenbosch and managing director and chief executive of the Australian Wine Research Institute. He attended the University of the Free State in South Africa for his undergraduate, master’s and doctoral degrees, and has held posts at the University of Adelaide and the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium.

Melanie Dodd, Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design

Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design
Melanie Dodd

The new programme director for spatial practices at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design said she was looking forward to “reconnecting with colleagues and peers in the UK and London”. Melanie Dodd, most recently head of architecture at RMIT University in Melbourne, added: “I am English by origin so I miss London and I adore coming back to it. I’ll miss friends and colleagues, and Melbourne is a great place, but I am sure I will maintain strong links. Not least because I’m leaving my two older sons there, studying at RMIT and Swinburne University.” In her new role, Dr Dodd will oversee the BA and MA programmes and serve as course leader for Central Saint Martins’ architecture MA in cities and innovation. “I see the role as providing critical leadership,” Dr Dodd said. “Universities should deeply value the specific social and cultural values of their location. London is a fantastic urban laboratory, full of difficulty and opportunity. Students of architecture and urbanism can learn from this context, but also give back to it.” After gaining a BA and a diploma in architecture from the University of Cambridge, Dr Dodd took a practice-based PhD at RMIT. She has also worked at London Metropolitan University and at Cambridge.

Indra Nath Choudhuri, Edinburgh Napier University

Edinburgh Napier University
Indra Nath Choudhuri

The first-ever chair in Tagore studies in Scotland is to be filled by Indra Nath Choudhuri, former member secretary and academic director of the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts in New Delhi. Professor Choudhuri, who will work at the Scottish Centre of Tagore Studies at Edinburgh Napier University, will use his role to promote the study of polymath and poet Rabindranath Tagore’s philosophy. The centre is the first UK hub dedicated to the field, and celebrates Indian culture, education, art and literature by highlighting Tagore’s legacy. “Edinburgh Napier is the only university in the world, besides Tagore’s own university, that has a Tagore centre and which India recognises,” Professor Choudhuri said. The centre was officially established within Edinburgh Napier’s Institute of Creative Industries in 2012, following an agreement with the Indian Council for Cultural Relations. Over the course of his career, Professor Choudhuri has worked at higher education institutions including the University of Delhi and Bucharest and Jadavpur universities.

Sara Keith, Heriot-Watt University

Heriot-Watt University
Sara Keith

The new lecturer in textile design with innovation at Heriot-Watt University said it was “extremely important” that entrepreneurship was taught within the arts school system. Award-winning textile designer Sara Keith said she predominantly saw her role as helping students become multidisciplinary - using new technologies with traditional techniques - but added that the innovation aspect of her position can be “interpreted in so many different ways”. Dr Keith, who set up her own accessories label, said it was essential to teach art students to be business-savvy. “It’s extremely important that entrepreneurship is taught…because it equips students with business skills, even if they don’t set up their own business,” she said. Dr Keith graduated from the Glasgow School of Art with a degree in embroidered and woven textile design and later completed a PhD at the Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design at the University of Dundee. In addition to holding positions at the University of Hertfordshire, Edinburgh College of Art and Duncan of Jordanstone, she has worked as a costume designer for the BBC, ITV, the Royal Opera and the Royal Ballet. “My favourite work has been opera. I’ve enjoyed it the most because I was allowed to be more of an artist there,” she said. “When I’ve done TV and film I sometimes felt that I was a bit more of a stylist. There isn’t as much opportunity to sit down with a paintbrush and design something from scratch, whereas in opera and ballet there is.”

Other changes

The University of Bristol has announced two professorial appointments in the fields of Classics and history of art. Both Shane Butler and Simon Shaw-Miller joined the university at the end of January. Professor Butler, chair in Latin language and literature, comes to Bristol from the department of Classics at the University of California, Los Angeles. Professor Shaw-Miller, chair in history of art, joins the institution from Birkbeck, University of London, where he was professor of history of art and music. His research interests are the history of art and music in the modern period. He is an honorary associate and research fellow of the Royal Academy of Music.

Historian and award-winning author Timothy Snyder has been named the Philippe Roman chair in history and international affairs at the London School of Economics for 2013-14. Professor Snyder, who is currently the Bird White Housum professor of history at Yale University, specialises in the political history of central and eastern Europe. He takes up the one- year post, which is based in LSE IDEAS, the centre for the study of international affairs, in October.

Jason Wolf, senior lecturer in evolutionary genetics at the University of Bath, has been awarded the Scientific Medal by the Zoological Society of London for his work in the field. The ZSL awards the medal for outstanding contributions to the fields of zoological research and conservation.

Brendan Dineen, director of marketing for IBM in the UK and Ireland, has been named visiting professor at the University of Portsmouth’s business school. While continuing in his role at IBM, Professor Dineen will spend three years at Portsmouth sharing insights gained in a career that has included senior marketing roles in the UK, North America, China, South Africa and Europe.

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